Precious Metals Management: FAQs: I have heard that some counterfeit Johnson Matthey platinum bars are in circulation, is this true?

This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more about cookies

I have heard that some counterfeit Johnson Matthey platinum bars are in circulation, is this true?

Johnson Matthey is aware that over a number of years there have been numerous apparently fraudulent offerings of large quantities of purportedly platinum bars in various styles - in particular bars purportedly manufactured by Johnson Matthey bearing an inverted horseshoe mark. Usually the offers (or even bids) have originated in Asia and have centred around Indonesia. The common thread has generally been the "horseshoe" brand and AZL18.

It is impossible to accurately estimate the number of "horseshoe" bars in circulation. However, the quantities offered are often out of all proportion to the amount of platinum that could possibly be in existence. Commonly they have been for tens, hundreds or even thousands of tonnes. Mostly the offers are routed through small traders and individuals unfamiliar with precious metals or platinum. Forged certificates, mostly of a poor and amateurish nature, have been provided and a variety of different methods and forms of contracts have been proposed attempting to arrange a "deal".

Whenever Johnson Matthey has had the opportunity to make a physical examination of this type of bar they have always been manufactured of base metal, typically what is, in effect, a high grade stainless steel. The degree of technical skill shown in manufacturing the bars is considerable.

To avoid purchasing counterfeit platinum products Johnson Matthey recommends that you always make a purchase from a reputable source and that you always verify hallmarks and serial numbers wherever possible. A quick and very approximate test you can perform to check the genuineness of a platinum bar is to measure the dimensions of the piece in centimetres. Multiply together to give the volume. Multiply the volume by the density of platinum, 21.45 gm/cc. This will give you the theoretical weight that the bar should be if it is really platinum. If the actual weight is less than 85% of theoretical it is probable that it is not platinum.