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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; $195.00 SALE |PRICE| $176.00
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 275 - 250 B.C., Possibly an Ancient Counterfeit

|Italy|, |Neapolis,| |Campania,| |Italy,| |275| |-| |250| |B.C.,| |Possibly| |an| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||drachm|
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
GI95913. Silver drachm, cf. Sambon 546 (controls); SNG BnF 865 (same); SNG ANS 420 (same); HN Italy 588; HGC Italy 456 (R2) (all solid silver, official, none with BΦ), F, a few bumps, encrustations, corrosion, no clear core exposure but the weight is light and signs of possible plating exist, perhaps a silver plated fouree, weight 3.092 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis or unofficial(?) mint, 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph (Parthenope?) left, BΦ behind neck; reverse man-faced bull (river-god Achelous) walking right, head turned facing, Nike above flying right and placing wreath on bull's head, IΣ below, NEOΠOΛITHΣ exergue; apparently unpublished with BΦ behind the Nymph's neck, we were unable to find another specimen with this control mark; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


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, Traité 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; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00
 


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
Isis was the goddess of motherhood and fertility in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. In later myths about Isis, she had a brother, Osiris, who became her husband, and she then was said to have conceived Horus.
MA96710. Fouree silver plated denarius, RSC III 174, RIC IV S577, SRCV II 6606 (official, silver, Rome mint), VF, unusual style, about 1/4 of the bronze core is exposed, weight 2.450 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial criminal mint, c. 196 - 211 A.D.; obverse IVLIE AVGVSTA (sic), draped bust right; reverse SAECVLI FELICITAS (retrograde), Isis nursing the infant Horus, standing left with right foot on prow, anchor rests against altar behind (the entire reverse, not just the legend, is a reverse of the official type); $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 







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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.

Catalog current as of Friday, July 30, 2021.
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