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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |Counterfeits||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Counterfeit 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. These are not modern replicas.

Imitative Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, c. 970 - 980 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Imitative| |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |c.| |970| |-| |980| |A.D.|, |anonymous| |follis|
Of this type of imitative, Lampinen writes, "The second phase of Balkan coinage production goes into high gear with the introduction of the anonymous follis series during the reign of John I (969 - 976). The explicit Christian imagery must have struck a chord with the recently converted Balkan masses because the official mint issues were accompanied by a fair quantity of copies, to meet the excess demand. These Christian issues would also be the prototypes for the initial coinage of several medieval Christian states, such as the first Crusader issues of Edessa and Antioch, medieval Armenia and distant Georgia in the Caucasus."
BZ89911. Bronze anonymous follis, See Lampinen Imitative p. 154 for a similar imitative; for the likely prototype cf. official Byzantine anonymous class A1 folles; SBCV 1793, VF, green patina, double struck, porous, crude and blundered, weight 6.880 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, unofficial (Balkan?) mint, c. 970 - 980 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, wears nimbus cruciger ornamented with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, blundered imitation of the abbreviation: IC - XC (Greek: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse blundered inscription imitating: + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings); rare this crude; $220.00 SALE |PRICE| $198.00
 


Lot of 16 Roman Empire, Unofficial Ancient Counterfeits, Imitatives and Limes, c. 50 - 250 A.D.

|Roman| |Bulk| |Lots|, |Lot| |of| |16| || |Roman| |Empire,| |Unofficial| |Ancient| |Counterfeits,| |Imitatives| |and| |Limes,| |c.| |50| |-| |250| |A.D.|, |Lot|
 
LT89856. Mixed Lot, 16 Roman Empire, plated fouree ancient counterfeits, bronze fouree cores, limes or imitatives, F - VF, most with flaws, unattributed to type, no tags or flips, the actual coins in the photograph, as-is, no returns; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00
 


Cilicia, Tarsos, c. 425 - 400 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Cilicia|, |Cilicia,| |Tarsos,| |c.| |425| |-| |400| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit|, |obol|
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean. With a history going back over 6,000 years, Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders and a focal point of many civilizations. During the Roman Empire, Tarsus was the capital of the province of Cilicia, the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the birthplace of Paul the Apostle.
GS90992. Fouree silver plated obol, cf. SNG France 207, Trait II 530bis (official civic issue, silver, square dot border within rev. incuse), VF, minor plating breaks, scratches, weight 0.726 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 425 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of a winged animal (griffin?) left; reverse ankh-like Persian dynastic symbol, within incuse square; very rare; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00
 


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

|Marcus| |Aurelius|, |Marcus| |Aurelius,| |7| |March| |161| |-| |17| |March| |180| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit|, |denarius|
There are no clear breaks to the copper core but the lamination defects are typical of a plated fouree.
RS89769. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC III AP424a, RSC II 451, BMCRE IV AP277, Hunter II 4, SRCV II 4786 (official, silver, Rome mint), VF, well centered, light toning, nice portrait of slightly unusual style, double strike, light marks, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.982 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, as caesar, c. 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS, bare head right; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), implements of the augurate and pontificate: secespita (knife), aspergillum (sprinkler), ewer (jug), lituus (augural staff), and simpulum (ladle); $135.00 SALE |PRICE| $122.00
 


Thourioi, Lucania, Italy, 350 - 300 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Italy|, |Thourioi,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit|, |stater|
The possible plating breaks are so darkly toned black within that we cannot detect any copper color. So, why do we think this coin is a plated counterfeit? It is about a full gram under normal weight. Another indicator is behind Athena's head. Fourree were often made by wrapping a bronze blank in two pieces of thin silver foil. A piece of foil was applied on each side and folded tightly around the edge. Striking would fuse the foil to the core. Behind Athena's head you can see an irregular darker line roughly following the edge. We believe this was the edge of the foil applied to the reverse and folded over on the obverse.
GS93383. Fouree silver plated stater, cf. HN Italy 1813; SNG ANS 1056; BMC Italy, p. 293, 63; HGC I - (official, solid silver, Thourioi mint), VF, toned, underweight, obverse off center, scratches and bumps, possible plating breaks, weight 6.581 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 225o, unofficial mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with Skylla; reverse ΘOYPIΩN, bull butting right, tail raised above, head turned facing, I above, dotted exergue line, tunny right below; from the Errett Bishop Collection (purchased by Dr. Bishop as official, but we strongly suspect it is plated); $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00
 


Roman Republic, Unofficial, c. 169 - 91 B.C.

|before| |150| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Unofficial,| |c.| |169| |-| |91| |B.C.|, |quadrans|
Crawford notes, "The very common quadrantes with M • and N• (as Milan 351) are clearly unofficial."
RR79715. Copper quadrans, cf. Milan 351 (from Crawford appendix p. 309 unofficial issues of bronze coins), Sydenham -, VF, centered on a tight flan, light marks,, weight 4.182 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 135o, unofficial mint, c. 169 - 91 B.C.; obverse head of Hercules right, wearing Nemean Lion scalp headdress, three pellets behind; reverse prow right, ROMA below, three pellets before, M• above; ex Forum (2006), ex Goodman collection; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00
 







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REFERENCES

Campbell, W. Greek and Roman Plated Coins. ANSNNM 75. (New York, 1933).
Metcalf, W. "Two Alexandrian Hoards" in RBN CXXII (1976), pp. 65 - 77, & pls. 1 - 2.

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