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Not Kosher, Forgeries of Ancient Jewish and Biblical Coins

Just got my copy of Not Kosher, Forgeries of Ancient Jewish and Biblical Coins by David Hendin.  I have spent the last few days reading it and closely reviewing the forgeries in this book.  If you are a collector of Biblical coins, you will need this book.

This is not a how to create forgeries book.  Hendin does briefly discuss forgery methods and some of the methods used to identify forgeries.  The best part to this section is the section on 'Diagnostics for Jewish and Biblical Coins.'  Here Hendin gives the common characteristics of what a genuine coin are for the different types discussed in this volume.  I feel his discussion of edge characteristics is very important.

I also enjoyed the section in which Hendin gives different stories about his and other encounters with Biblical forged coins.  He has stories about the Fake Menorah coin, a Hadrian sestertius of his visit to Judea, a replica of a Bar Kochba sela that someone made to give as a gift to friends, and the famous Bar Kochba coins from Kentucky (USA).  These stories are great and help to enliven a book that is basically a catalog of fakes.

As for the catalog, it is well organized with each coin fully illustrated.  Many are shown at two times their original size to show the details better.  To see what the original coin, that the forgery is based on, you also need Guide to Biblical Coins, also by Hendin.  My only complaint about the book is that the illustrations are a little dark and I wish they were of higher quality. In some catalogs, you can use a low power magnifier to see more detail in the image.  This does not work with the illustrations in this book.  All you see are dots.

Review by Howard Cole from the Classical Numismatic Discussion Board, 29 December 2004.