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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Unofficial & BarbaricView Options:  |  |  |   

Counterfeit, Unofficial, Imitative and Barbaric Roman Coins

Roman Provincial Egypt, Terracotta "Coin Mold," c. 316 - 320 A.D.

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Some call these counterfeiter's molds. However, Malloy notes on his tag for this specimen, "Originally thought to be molds for producing coins, now it is thought that these terracotta impressions themselves were used as a crude medium of exchange."
AS85456. Unofficial pseudo coin used for small change, VF, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, c. 316 - 320 A.D.; obverse retrograde impression of: IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head of Galerius right (obverse of Galerius follis, c. 308 A.D.); reverse retrograde impression of: IOVI CONSER-VATORI AVGG, Jupiter standing facing, head left, Victory on globe in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, eagle left at feet on left, K above eagle on left, wreath over X over A right in right field, ALE in exergue (reverse of Alexandria mint follis, 316 - 317 A.D., RIC VII Alexandria 17 - 19); $300.00 (€267.00)
 


Crispina, Wife of Commodus, Augusta 178 - 182 A.D., Retrograde Reverse!

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There are no breaks in the plating and the interior of the edge cracks is dark black. The style is extraordinarily similar to the official Rome mint, but this must be the plated work of an ancient counterfeiter?!
RS85201. Silver denarius, perhaps plated(?); apparently unpublished, cf. RIC III 283 (S), RSC II 21, BMCRE IV 41, SRCV II 6001 (all normal, not retrograde, reverses), VF, light marks and scratches, light corrosion, tiny edge cracks, no sign of a bronze core, weight 3.254 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome (or counterfeiter?) mint, 180 - 182 A.D. (or later?); obverse CRISPINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse IVNO (retrograde starting at 3:00), Juno standing facing, veiled, head right, patera in left hand, long scepter in left right, peacock right at feet on right (the entire reverse is retrograde); extremely rare, possibly unique, retrograde reverse!; $280.00 (€249.20)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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References list numerous Carausius varieties with Pax reverse legends but depicting Salus and also types with Salus reverse legends but depicting Pax. The references provided for comparison list a PAX AVG, with Salus type, without controls or a mintmark; David Sear attributes to London, 286 - 287 A.D. References do not list our variety but other types with F - O across the field and ML in the exergue are attributed to London, c. 289 - 290 A.D. This is the only example of this variant known to Forum.
RA73904. Billon antoninianus, Apparently unpublished; cf. RIC V, part 2, 930 ff. (no mintmarks); Webb Carausius 1031 ff. (same); SRCV IV 13661 (same, London, 286 - 287), aVF, nice green patina, overstruck or double-struck, tight flan cutting off parts of legends and mintmark, weight 2.615 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 315o, Londinium(?) or unofficial(?) mint, 289 - 290 A.D.; obverse IMP CARAVS[IVS P AVG] (or similar), radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVG[GG?], Salus standing half left, head left, feeding snake rising from altar at left from patera in her right hand, vertical scepter in left hand, [F?] - O flanking across the field, M[L?] in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; possibly unique!; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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The quantity of PAX coinage issued by Carausius probably exceeded the entire output of all his other types combined. The type was an appeal by the usurper Carausius for peace with the "official" emperors. Diocletian and Maximian did not recognize Carausius as emperor, nor did they reciprocate his desire for peace.
RA73252. Billon antoninianus, cf. RIC V, part 2, 130 (R); Webb Carausius 155 ( (official, London mint, no control marks across field, ...P F AVG), VF, dark sea-green patina, interesting crude portrait, blundered legends, scratched, weight 4.200 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 225o, unofficial mint, c. 289 - 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F I AVIC (or similar, blundered), radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVC (the peace of the Emperor), Pax standing slightly left, head left, olive-branch in extended right hand, cornucopia in right hand, S - C(?) across fields, ML in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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This type has been attributed to "Mint II," which is believed to be Cologne, but it is quite crude and could also be imitative. See RIC V, Part II, p. 349, note 1, for comments on imitative of this and similar types.
RB90466. Bronze double sestertius, cf. CNG auction 109, lot 243 (same reverse die); Bastien Postume 313; Méricourt-l'Abbé Hoard in TM XIII (1992) 95, VF, struck with damaged reverse die, corrosion, weight 9.446 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 90o, Mint II Cologne (or imitative) mint, c. 266 - spring 269 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse galley right, five oarsmen, AMV above, retrograde P left, Q(?) right, waves over palm frond left below; $130.00 (€115.70)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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The quantity of PAX coinage issued by Carausius probably exceeded the entire output of all his other types combined. The type was an appeal by the usurper Carausius for peace with the "official" emperors. Diocletian and Maximian did not recognize Carausius as emperor, nor did they reciprocate his desire for peace.
RA73491. Billon antoninianus, cf. King Unmarked 31; Burton Latimer 59; Croydon Hoard 63 (...P F AVG); Webb Carausius 128 (same); Bicester Hoard -, F, green patina, edge chip, weight 2.934 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial mint, obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse PAX AV (or similar, blundered), Pax(?) standing, raising branch(?) in right hand, anchor(?) in left hand, no control or mintmarks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit With Julian II Reverse

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This coin combines an obverse die of Constantius II, 337 - 361, with a reverse die of Julian II, 360 - 363 A.D. The unlikely hybrid of types from different emperors and issues, the light weight, and the flan flaw on the reverse indicate it is a plated ancient counterfeit.

Ancient counterfeits often have mismatched obverses and reverses. Transfer dies were made using genuine coins which were destroyed in the process. Since making each die destroyed the coin, the same coin could not be used to make both dies. The destroyed coins were undoubtedly melted to contribute to the silver foil plate.

Unlike counterfeit denarii, counterfeit siliqua are very rare. Siliqua are so thin, that striking counterfeits with a bronze core apparently could not provide an economic benefit worth the effort and risk.
RS79849. Fouree silver plated reduced siliqua, cf. official, Lugdunum mint, silver, RIC VIII Constantius II 180 (for obverse) and RIC VIII Julian II 233 (for reverse), aVF, well centered on a tight flan cutting off parts of legend, marks, scratches, corrosion, edge crack, edge chips, weight 1.385 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, illegal mint, c. 360 - 365 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VOT / X / MVLT / XX in four lines within wreath, eagle in circle closing wreath at the top, CONST in exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Iberian(?) Barbaric Imitative

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RB70583. Copper as, cf. SRCV I 1685, RIC I 431, BMCRE 226, Cohen I 515, BnF I 687 (official, Rome mint, 7 B.C.), F, interesting crude style, nice green patina, edge cracks, scratches, pits on reverses, weight 10.390 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 225o, Iberian(?) unofficial mint, obverse bare head right; reverse large S C; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Barbaric Imitative

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Tribal peoples outside the Empire struck coinage imitative of Roman types beginning in the second century B.C. and continued to strike imitative types even after the Western Empire ceased to exist. Several official issues used this reverse type, but the style is exotic and crude. These legends were never used on any official issues.
RS90386. Silver denarius, for possible prototype: cf. RIC IV 516, RSC III 719, BMCRE V 678 (Roman official, Laodicea ad Mare mint, 198 - 202 A.D.), gVF, fantastic unofficial style, frosty surfaces, weight 2.520 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, c. 198 - 210 A.D.; obverse S VERVS - AVGVSTVS P, laureate head right; reverse TR - PO CO VIII VICTO AVG, Victory ascending left, open wreath in both hands, round shield on a low base at feet on left; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Geto-Dacian, Roman Republic Imitative, 106 B.C. - 1st Century A.D.

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CE76909. Silver denarius, cf. Davis A/II M14 (possibly same prototype but not very similar), cf. possible prototype: Crawford 313/1 (Rome mint, L. Memmius Galeria, 106 B.C.), F, scratches, uneven strike with some areas unstruck, weight 3.596 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 45o, obverse stylized head of Saturn(?) right; reverse biga right, MEΛΛIVS (or similar) in exergue; $100.00 (€89.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Cahn, H. "EIDibus MARtiis" in QT 18 (1989), pp. 229-231, 9a, 20a, and 25b.
Campbell, W. Greek and Roman Plated Coins. ANSNNM 75. (New York, 1933).
Crawford, M. "Plated Coins - False Coins" in NC 1968, pp. 55-59, pl. xiv.
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974), vol I., pp. 560-565, vol II, p. 570.
Davis, P. "Dacian and Celtic Imitations of Republican Denarii" in The Celator 18-4, April 2004, pp. 6-16.
Davis, P. "Dacian Imitations of Roman Republican Denarii" in Apvlvm Number XLIII/1. (2006).
Davis, P. Imitations of Roman Republican Denarii, website: http://rrimitations.ancients.info/.
Davis, P. & E. Paunov. "Imitations of Republican Denarii from Moesia and Thrace" in Studies Prokopov. (2012).
Lawrence, L. "On a Hoard of Plated Roman Denarii" in NC 1940, pp. 185-189.
Ranieri, E. La monetazione di Ravenna antica dal V all' VIII secolo: impero romano e bizantino, regno ostrogoto e langobardo. (Bologna, 2006).
Southerland, C. "'Carausius II', 'Censeris', and the Barbarous Fel. Temp. Reparatio Overstrikes" in NC 1945.
Sydenham, E. "On Roman Plated Coins" in NC 1940, pp. 190-202.
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1927 1952). pl. xliii-xliv.
Vasic, M. "A IVth and Vth Centuries Hoard of Roman coins and imitations in the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade" in Sirmium VIII, p. 128-129, 6-19.

Catalog current as of Monday, September 25, 2017.
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Unofficial and Barbaric