If you’re an avid silver bullion collector or just starting out, you don’t want to pay for a fake. Fake silver coins can be difficult for an untrained person to spot, but there few telltale signs.
Study the coin carefully. Does anything raise your suspicions? If you don't have a good feeling about the coin, don't buy it.
Assess the weight of the silver bullion in your hands. If it feels too heavy or too light, then it’s likely a fake. Fakes are often made of silver-plated copper or silver-plated lead.
Measure the diameter and thickness of the silver bullion and compare it with a genuine coin; fakes often differ slightly in size.
Examine the edges of the coin. If your research indicated that the bullion should be reeded, then the ribbed file markings should run consistently around the edge–not start and stop. Fakes may have protrusions or a seam around the edge.
Study the coin's surface. Silver has a distinctive sheen that's neither too shiny or too dull. Many fakes don’t even have a silver-plated finish. Examine the coin with a magnifying glass. If you spot any crevices without a silver finishing, or the finishing is missing between the reeds, then the bullion is a fake.
Perform a sound test. When you tap a silver bullion with another coin you should hear a distinctive “ring” sound.