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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Numismatics ▸ CounterfeitsView 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.


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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Mankind's first counterfeit coin type! Rare and important. This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with a simple square punch mark on one side (two or three punch marks on larger denominations). But this is not solid electrum; it is a counterfeit of electrum plated copper or bronze. Counterfeiting began almost immediately after the first coinage was introduced.
SH86630. Fouree electrum plated hemihekte, cf. 1/12 stater, SNG Kayhan 676, SNGvA 7763, Rosen 324, Trait II -, Weidauer -, VF, bumps and marks, a few plating breaks, weight 0.839 g, maximum diameter 6.8 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Ionian mint, period of the Artemision Find, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain flattened globular surface; reverse incuse roughly square pyramidal punch; $540.00 (459.00)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IX, c. 116 - 80 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit or Imitative

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This is an unusual counterfeit or imitative with a Cypriot style portrait of Zeus Ammon. The central "dimples" are skeuomorphs, actually cut into the dies to imitate the central "dimple" on official coins. On the official coins the center "dimple" resulted from a production process and was not a feature of the dies.
GP86872. Bronze AE 22, cf. Svoronos 1698 (official Ptolemaic mint issue), EF, style quite similar to official issues, remnant of pre-strike casting sprues, slightly rough, weight 5.167 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial mint, c. 116 - 80 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (blundered), two eagles standing left, side by side, on thunderbolts, cornucopia left; $140.00 (119.00)


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

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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 FORVM (2006), ex Goodman collection; $140.00 (119.00)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander, c. 116 - 80 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

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This is an unusual ancient counterfeit with a Cypriot style portrait of Zeus Ammon. The central "dimples" on this counterfeit type were actually cut into the dies and struck into the flan. On the official coins the "dimple" resulted from a production process and was not a feature of the dies. This is the third specimen of this counterfeit type known to Forum.
GP84120. Bronze AE 21, cf. Svoronos 1698 (official mint), VF, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, pre-strike casting sprue remaining, struck imitations of centration dimples, weight 5.201 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial Cypriot mint, c. 116 - 80 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus Ammon right, central "dimple"; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, two eagles standing left on thunderbolts, side by side, heads left, wings closed, cornucopia left, central "dimple"; $115.00 (97.75)







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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 Monday, April 23, 2018.
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Ancient Counterfeit Coins