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learn the size, shape and weight of widely held coins. Only accept those you trust.

You do pay more of a premium for US Eagles, but IMHO the premium is well worth the ease of recognizing it.

Although I doubt you would find many 'fake' coins or bars, that aren't way out of size/weight proportions I still wouldn't buy most of the bullion out there. But the biggest issue would actually be on jewelry where you have plated pieces and many different alloys - if you don't really know your stuff you could easily get burnt.
I agree, Eagles and Canadians are the best assurance of the real deal. But if you learn the "ping" sound of silver you can trust it as well.
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