Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Counterfeit Silver Lunar Dragons - Don't Get Stung!

On the Bullion Baron Blog I recently wrote about fake coins and bars that were hitting the market and included a photo of a fake 1 Ounce Gold Kangaroo and also mentioned a recent warning that there were counterfeit Perth Mint 2012 Year of the Dragon 1oz silver coins being sold.

Some photos of the fake Lunar Dragon (assuming the origin was China) were posted online recently. I've cut them out and posted them next to images of the real coin so you can see the differences. The images on the left are the counterfeit Silver Lunar Dragon coin and the images on the right are a real coin. Click any of the below images to enlarge the view. 

Major Differences.

Dragon Side:
- Swirls in clouds not as visible on the fake coin
- Smooth (instead of scaled) claws on the fake coin
- "Year of the Dragon" text on the real coin is thicker
- Detail in general (scales/edges) is more defined on the real coin

Queen Side:
- Queen looks to be smiling on the fake coin (not so on the real one)
- Queen has a sharper looking nose on the fake coin
- Wrinkle lines on forehead missing on fake coin
- Much more detail in the hair and crown on the real coin

These fakes even came in coin capsules which replicated the look of those from the Perth Mint.

This is only one version of a fake 2012 Silver Lunar Dragon, there may be others out there which look closer to the real item or have other differences to watch out for.

The safest way to avoid fake/counterfeit Lunar coins would be to ensure you are buying your coins from a reputable source (Official Perth Mint Dealer). Site sponsor Bullion Money is one of the dealers that I can recommend as a reputable source for your Silver Lunar Dragons.


Thanks for the heads up.

I've noticed that on the new 2 ounce coloured dragons, in some pics on e-Bay the pearl looks black, and in others it appears white. Plus the background in some looks more grey than others. Do you know if there are two versions? These were being sold by seemingly legitimate German dealers.

Also, do you think it is worth purchasing these coins at around $140 US? The one ounce and half ounce with colour have much lower mintages, so I am leaning against it. One only needs so many dragons.

Thanks very much

I have taken quite a few photos of the bullion dragon coins and also found that the pearl can either look white or black depending on the angle of the light, so if they are trusted dealers and the rest of the detail looks sharp enough then it's likely they are real coins.

Personally I am not a big fan of he coloured coins and there aren't enough of them (Mouse/Ox/Tiger/Rabbit) sold on the Australian markets to know how well their premiums perform. I recently bought some 1/2oz, 2oz and 5oz bullion (not coloured) dragons for $23/$83/$205 (AUD). The bullion coins are safer (IMO) because they are closer to Silver spot price and historically have not had very high final mintages and premiums have risen nicely in the Australian market for earlier coins in the series.

Thanks, BB. I agree about the bullion coins. I got one of each of those ones when silver was cheaper, and premiums seem to be quite strong in the US because of limited availability. The 5 oz has done esp. well. Another thing about the new painted ones is they only come in a capsule, whereas the one ounce and 1/2 ounce coloured come with boxes and papers, which add some value, though I would not buy one of the ANDA 2 oz. ones at secondary prices.

Hi , do you see any benefit in adding to one's collection the 10 kilo silver coin , as it comes with a hefty premium.....

IMO not for investment purposes. Not liquid enough to resell.

man! all this site you have and not a page on specifications?

I'm gettin mad about correct diameter and thickness of the lunar series, I and II.

I've found different numbers in any site!

I've just received a 2 oz silver dragon from Germany and it's
55,00 mm diameter
2,90 mm thickness

but i read:

54,00 mm x 2,60 mm

55,60 mm x 3,60 mm

can you please check your coins with a caliber?



I don't have a caliper to measure, but you will probably get different measurements depending on whether you check the rim or middle of the coin for example. Perth Mint has 55.6/33.6 in their official bullion coin guide, so I would be relying on that for accuracy:

You could email the mint to find out how to accurately measure it, e.g.

Unfortunately the fakes are getting more and more perfect nowadays. The fake Pandas are especially wide-spread on sites like eBay.
What you're telling us there is really useful. Thanks for sharing.
Queen on the fake coin smiling? That's hilarious! :D

Everyone knows that Queen Elizabeth II doesn't smile!

Learn to use a neodynium magnet. And don't buy a coin online after good fakes have energed.
Seriously, why won't people just swipe a coin with a good magnet and compare with with a verified coin of identical measurements?

I have yet to hear of a coin that both fully tricks the magnet AND has the correct water displacement. The former is rare enough in itself.

I also just bought a 2 oz lunar dragon from Germany, and the dimensions are all messed up...thinner than the others. (horse/rabbit/goat) However, it ways just the same as the other 2 ouncers with different dimensions.

Anyone know if fake 2 oz lunar dragons are prevalent?

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