Specialists recommend vigilance when purchasing gold coins via the Internet since the merchandise cannot be handled and clever photography can hide blemishes that otherwise would be dead giveaways as to the authenticity of the coin.

Blemishes to look for are letters, dates and other writing that is sunken. This clue is indicated by mottoes or numbers that no longer look crisp, as if they're deflated.

Tools that are used to alter coins typically leave stray marks and nicks that sometimes are minute. Another telltale sign of counterfeit coins is edges that are uneven or poorly minted.

Renowned numismatist Bill Fivaz wrote a book that includes other clues about counterfeiting and how to recognize it. In addition to writing United States Gold Counterfeit Detection Guide, Fivaz also wrote Cherrypicker's Guide to Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins.

Counterfeiting has always been prominent and it likely will continue to be of issue, particularly as the value of gold continues rising, as investors and analysts believe it will.

Following delivery of coins ordered online, a full examination of the merchandise should ensue for the aforementioned clues.