California Gold, real, replica and fake

We are seeing plated tokens being billed on Proxibid as “California gold.” A few of these are jeweler’s tokens of the 1930s. Most are outright fakes produced by the millions. Here are a few tips to tell if you have the real deal.

There are four kinds of tiny metal disks being billed as “California gold”:

  1. California fractional gold coins. These usually come in denominations of 1/4, 1/2 and 1 Dollars, and Dollar is sometimes abbreviated to D. or DOL.
  2. California gold tokens. These were minted privately up until around 1871 and are authentic gold, usually with a miner or other scene on the reverse or text on an obviously gold planchet.
  3. California jeweler’s charms. These are made of gold, typically in the 1930s, and sold as souvenirs of the west.
  4. Replica brass or plated tokens. These are fakes and usually feature a bear on the reverse.

Here is real California gold being sold on Proxibid. (Click picture to expand.)

Click here to view a California gold token.

Here is a California gold charm. To identify, you have to use a very good gold detector. Here’s a 22K charm offered by Silvertowne, correctly described. (Click picture to expand.)

Below are photos of California gold replicas, the most prominent on Proxibid and a violation of the US Hobby Protection Act, as they typically lack the word “Copy.”

Unlike other Proxibid auctioneers selling base-metal as California gold, Silvertowne’s Larry Fuller shows how to correctly describe these fake tokens, earning our trust and living up to ethical standards of the National Auctioneer Association and the American Numismatic Association. We encourage bidders reading our blog to take integrity like this into account when deciding whether to bid in a Proxibid auction. Click this Silvertowne Auction picture to see how to correctly identify California gold replicas.


We advise all auctioneers to use PCGS CoinFacts to identify California gold. You’ll find accurate descriptions, photos and values from realized prices of other auctions.


Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.

2 thoughts on “California Gold, real, replica and fake

  1. I have some 1852 and 1850 California House dollar gold pieces trying to figure out their fake they have a bear on them how can I tell

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