Gold Scam No. 1: Grading GamesThe Coin Con: In gold coins, MS-70 is the top of the heap -- a "mint state" coin that has never been handled. But what's an easier way to increase the value of a coin than to lie about the condition? For instance, a 2002-W $50 Gold Eagle is worth $1,650 at a grade of MS-60 -- a very clean condition, but not perfect. MS-70 for the same coin tallies a tag of $2,850. Unsuspecting coin buyers may not be able to tell the difference, thereby overpaying by hundreds of dollars. Solution: Check the grades of coins with an independent source before buying. A reputable dealer will stand by his product and welcome a third-party appraisal. Just make sure that third party is of your choosing and not a rubber stamp on the dealer's payroll.
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