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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 (€202.40)
 


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; $125.00 (€115.00)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 124 - 85 B.C.; Ancient Counterfeit New Style Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |124| |-| |85| |B.C.;| |Ancient| |Counterfeit| |New| |Style| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
Remarkable style, on par with that of the official mint.
SH60008. Fouree silver plated tetradrachm, cf. Thompson Athens 478f and SNG Cop 267 (official, solid silver, c. 124 - 123 B.C.), gVF, areas of core exposer, weight 14.463 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial mint, c. 124 - 85 B.C.; obverse head of Athena Parthenos right, wearing crested helmet ornamented with a griffin; reverse AΘ−E, owl standing right on amphora, MIK−IΩN / EYP−YKΛ[EI] / ∆IO/KΛH/Σ (magistrates' names), Dioskuri on right, Γ on amphora, ME below, all within olive wreath; SOLD







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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.

Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
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