Coin and Paper Money Collecting/1968 Malta 3 Scudi Coin
I have recently become interested in collecting coins from the United Nation's FAO series. I have heard that the 1968 Malta 3 Scudi coin is often faked. I purchased a coin on ebay. I became suspicious when I weighed it and the scale read 10g. Krause says that this coin should weigh 12g. I have talked to several other coin dealers who say that Krause is wrong - that the coin should actually weigh 10g.
My two part question is:
1. What should a genuine 1968 Malta 3 Scudi coin weigh?
2. Other than measuring dimensions, weighing the coin, testing for magnetic response, and looking at pictures, how can an amateur coin collector determine whether a coin is genuine if they don't possess a genuine example to compare against?
I believe the confusion stems from the fact that other Scudi coins around this period went by factors of 12. For example, 1 scudi = 12g, 2 scudi = 24g. This particular commemorative piece was never intended for circulation, and as such did not adhere to this standard. Also, this coin was made in .800 silver rather than the much higher .986 of the standard issue coins. Every example I've seen sold from a reputable dealer that had actually weighed the coin (instead of just looking at reference info in Krause) had it at 10 grams.
As for counterfeit detection methods, those are pretty much it. There are more advanced techniques such as specific gravity and XRF spectrum analysis, but these require either specific equipment and/or lots of practice to get familiar with interpreting the results. And with the new generation of fakes coming out of China, none of these methods are helpful as they are exact copies down to every detail. For those you just need a very practiced eye, there are no shortcuts and the counterfeiters are constantly getting better. I wish I had good news, but the market is already flooded with these counterfeits and reputable dealers and certification companies like NGC/PCGS are all getting fooled.