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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.

The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D., Irregular (Unofficial?) Issue

|First| |Jewish| |Revolt|, |The| |First| |Jewish| |Revolt,| |66| |-| |70| |A.D.,| |Irregular| |(Unofficial?)| |Issue||prutah|
This is an irregular issue with unusual crude style. Perhaps it was struck by a secondary mint or perhaps it is a counterfeit struck at an unofficial mint.
JD111786. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6389b (irregular issue); Meshorer TJC 198a (crude style), VF, crude irregular style, green-brown patina, earthen deposits, small sprue remnant, obv. edge beveled, weight 2.177 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 90o, Jerusalem(?) mint, year 2, 67 - 68 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew: Year two, amphora with fluted body, narrow neck, broad rim, and two small curved handles; reverse Paleo-Hebrew: The freedom of Zion, vine leaf on small branch with tendril; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 314; ex Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection; ex Herb Kreindler (April 1984); $110.00 SALE PRICE $88.00

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Ancient Counterfeit

|Counterfeits|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||tetradrachm|
J. G. Milne wrote in 1933, "There are scarcely any counterfeits or forgeries of Alexandrian coins in existence, other than those made in modern times." This is an ancient counterfeit Alexandrian tetradrachm of Nero struck with unofficial dies shared with counterfeit coins published by William Metcalf in "Two Alexandrian Hoards." The first of the two hoards, a "Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor" was acquired by E. T. Newell at Luxor in March, 1908. The American Numismatic Society Collection includes 76 pieces from the hoard. The counterfeits were probably struck c. 138 A.D., the date of the latest official prototype imitated in the hoard. The die combination of our coin is upublished.
RX85240. Billon tetradrachm, Metcalf Two, part 1, A Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor, Obv. IV / Rev. 8 (unlisted die combination); cf. Dattari 246, RPC I 5293 (official, Alexandria), VF, attractive dark toning, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 13.386 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, unoffical counterfeiter's mint, c. 138 A.D.; obverse NEo KΛΛV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEPM, radiate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVTO KPΛ, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Roma right, L IΓ (year 13 = 29 Aug 66 - 28 Aug 67 A.D.) to right; very rare; SOLD

Roman Republic, First Triumvirate, Faustus Cornelius Sulla, 56 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Counterfeits|, |Roman| |Republic,| |First| |Triumvirate,| |Faustus| |Cornelius| |Sulla,| |56| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
This type honors Pompey the Great, Faustus' father-in-law; three trophies were engraved on the signet ring of Pompey the Great symbolizing his victories on three continents
RR43583. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. SRCV I 386, Sydenham 884, Crawford 426/3, BMCRR 3909 and RSC I Cornelia 63 (official, Rome mint, 56 A.D.), VF, core exposed, weight 2.372 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, illegal mint, obverse laureate and diademed head of Venus right, scepter on shoulder, SC behind; reverse three military trophies between jug and lituus, FAVSTVS monogram in exergue; SOLD

Julia Titi, Augusta c. 79 - 89 A.D. Ephesos Ionia, Ancient Counterfeit

|Julia| |Titi|, |Julia| |Titi,| |Augusta| |c.| |79| |-| |89| |A.D.| |Ephesos| |Ionia,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||cistophorus|
Julia Titi was the daughter of the Emperor Titus, and although married, she had an affair with her uncle Domitian. In 83 A.D., Domitian divorced his wife and lived openly with her. It has been said that she died because Domitian forced her to have an abortion but modern research indicates this allegation is false.
RS94294. Fouree silver plated cistophorus, cf. RIC II-1 p. 330, D848, RPC II 871, BMCRE 258 (official prototype, solid silver, very rare), F, gaps in silver plate, scratches, potentially active corrosion, weight 9.560 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, 81 - 90 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA DIVI TITI F, draped bust right, hair in a knot in back; reverse Vesta seated left, palladium in right hand, scepter in left hand, VESTA in exergue; SOLD

Holy Roman Empire, Leopold I the Hogmouth, 18 July 1658 - 5 May 1705, Counterfeit From the Time

|Bohemia|, |Holy| |Roman| |Empire,| |Leopold| |I| |the| |Hogmouth,| |18| |July| |1658| |-| |5| |May| |1705,| |Counterfeit| |From| |the| |Time||3| |Kreuzer|
The obverse legends translates, "Leopold, by God Grace, Emperor of the Romans always august, King of Germany, Hungary and Bohemia." Similar coins were struck in Austria, Bohemia, and Silesia, but this coin has an impossible combination of a Bohemian reverse legend, the arms of Vienna Austria, the and a privy mark that is not listed. It can only be an unofficial counterfeit. We do not know why the counterfeiter made a completely new impossible type instead of just copying an official coin.
WO99072. Silver 3 Kreuzer, Apparently unpublished, gF, porous, small edge chip, weight 0.882 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial mint, 1699 - 1705; obverse LEOPOLDVS D G R I S A G H B R (Leopoldus, Dei Gratia, Romanorum Imperator Semper Augustus, Germaniae, Hungariae Bohemiaeque Rex), laureate and draped bust right, 3 (denomination) in frame below; reverse GER HVN BO-HEMIA REX 16-99 (Germaniae Hungariae Bohemiaeque Rex), arms of Vienna on breast of crowned imperial two headed eagle, crown breaking date above, (G:B) (privy mark) below; ex Zeus auction 16 (26 Feb 2021), lot 883; SOLD

Roman Republic, M. Aemilius Lepidus, c. 61 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Lepidus|, |Roman| |Republic,| |M.| |Aemilius| |Lepidus,| |c.| |61| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
An early appearance of triumvir Lepidus as simple moneyer. He later followed the late Julius Caesar in the position of Pontifex Maximus and in 43 B.C. formed the Second Triumvirate with Octavian and Marc Antony.
RR21883. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. SRCV 371, Crawford 419/1, Sydenham 827, RSC I Aemilia 20 (official Rome mint 61 B.C.), VF, rough, weight 2.944 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 315o, illegal mint, obverse laureate and diademed female head right; reverse equestrian statue of Consul M. Aemilius Lepidus, carrying trophy; SOLD

Serbian Kingdom, c. 1285 - 1350 A.D., Counterfeit or Imitative

|Serbia|, |Serbian| |Kingdom,| |c.| |1285| |-| |1350| |A.D.,| |Counterfeit| |or| |Imitative||grosso|
ME36712. Silver grosso, VF, weight 1.659 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, obverse IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ), Christ facing sitting on throne; reverse blundered legend, King receiving banner with patriarchal cross from St. Stephen; SOLD



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 Thursday, November 30, 2023.
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