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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Numismatics ▸ CounterfeitsView Options:  |  |  | 

Counterfeit, Imitative and Barbaric Ancient Coins

Counterfeits of some of the very earliest coins prove that counterfeiting is nearly as old as coinage. The coins on this page are not the official issues of the various Greek cities or kings, or of the Roman or Byzantine empires, but they are all ancient, historic and collectible.


Roman Republic, Servius Sulpicius, 51 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

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The reverse probably refers to the naval victory of P. Sulpicius Galba Maximus. The proconsul in Greece during the First Macedonian War, in 210 B.C. he led the first Roman fleet into the Aegean Sea and captured Aegina, which was plundered and given to the Aetolians, allies of the Romans.
RR83521. Fouree silver plated denarius, RSC I Sulpicia 8, Sydenham 931, Russo RBW 1553, Crawford 438/1 (official, solid silver, Rome mint, very rare), VF, corrosion resulting in many small platting breaks, scratch in obverse right field, weight 3.807 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial mint, c. 51 - 60 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo, SER downward behind, SVLP upward before; reverse Naval trophy made of captured rudders, anchor, oars, prows, and aplustres, between draped figure on left, nude Macedonian captive on right; very rare; $280.00 (Ä249.20)


Pescennius Niger, April to 1 June 193 - March, April or May 194 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

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Pescennius Niger was declared emperor by his troops after the murder of Pertinax. Septimius Severus, after consolidating his own forces and taking Rome, marched upon Niger and defeated him three times. After a fourth in a final defeat at Issus, Niger fled towards Parthia but was overtaken and executed.
RS84163. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC IV 70c (solid silver, official, Antioch mint), Fair, pierced, weight 2.194 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial counterfeiter mint, obverse IMP CAE PESC NIGER IVST AV (or similar), laureate head right; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated left on throne, wearing in military attire, Victory in right hand, spear vertical behind in left, round shield behind resting at base of spear; $215.00 (Ä191.35)


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; $125.00 (Ä111.25)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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The origin and purpose of the bronze "limes" denarii is uncertain. They may have been a token currency used only along the borders of the Empire. They may have been illegal counterfeits with a now long gone thin silver wash.
BB77890. Bronze limes denarius, cf. BMCRE IV p. 401, MA120; RSC II 139; RIC III MA696; Hunter II 12; SRCV II 5256 (silver, Rome mint), F, well centered, rough dark green patina, some corrosion, weight 2.601 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, wearing a double strand pearl diadem, hair in a bun at the back; reverse IVNONI REGINAE, Juno standing left, veiled, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, peacock at feet on left standing left; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $9.99 (Ä8.89)







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REFERENCES

Campbell, William. Greek and Roman Plated Coins. ANSNNM 75. (New York, 1933).

Catalog current as of Sunday, April 30, 2017.
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Counterfeits