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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.

Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

|Galba|, |Galba,| |3| |April| |68| |-| |15| |January| |69| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
This coin is dedicated to Rome reborn, presumably due to the leadership of Galba. To Galba it seems rebirth primary concerned an attempt to restore state finances. To this end he undertook a number of unpopular measures, the most dangerous was his refusal to pay the praetorians the reward promised to them in his name. Galba scorned the notion that soldiers should be "bribed" for their loyalty. According to the historian Suetonius, Galba levied massive taxes against areas that were slow to receive him as emperor.
RS99191. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC I 43, BMCRE I 180, RSC II 211, Hunter I 68, SRCV I 2095 (official, solid silver, Tarraco mint, Apr - late 68 A.D., minor variations), VF, toned, small core exposures, scratches, bumps, weight 2.846 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial, counterfeiter's mint, c. April 68 - 69 A.D.; obverse IMPERATO (sic) GALBA, laureate head right, globe at the point of neck; reverse ROMA RENASCENS (Rome Reborn), Roma advancing right, wearing helmet and military garb, Victory on globe presenting wreath in right hand, transverse spear in left hand; ex CNG e-auction 500 (22 Sep 2021), 735 (part of); ex Mercury Group Collection, ex Thomas Cederlind (20 Nov 2002) ; $490.00 SALE PRICE $441.00


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

|Vitellius|, |Vitellius,| |2| |January| |-| |20| |December| |69| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
RS99193. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC I 109, RSC II 111, BMCRE I 39, BnF III 77, Hunter I 18, SRCV I 2201 (official, solid silver, Rome mint, legend variations), VF, toned, small plating breaks, tiny edge splits, weight 2.984 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 255o, unofficial, counterfeiter's mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVG GERM IMP AVO TR P (sic), laureate head right; reverse XV VIR CICR FAC (sic) (fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters), tripod-lebes of Apollo, dolphin right on top, raven standing right on strut below lebes; ex CNG e-auction 500 (22 Sep 2021), 735 (part of); ex Mercury Group Collection, ex Mike Vosper (25 Jan 2005); $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
 
RS99187. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC I 207, RSC I 43, BMCRE I 533, BnF I 1651, Hunter I 217, SRCV I 1597 (official, silver denarius, Lugdunum mint, 2 B.C. - 4 A.D.), gVF, toned, core exposures, light scratches, weight 3.484 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial, counterfeiter's mint, c. 2 B.C. - 4 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE, laureate head right; reverse C L CAESARES AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT, Caius and Lucius Caesars stand facing, togate, each resting hand on a round shield with spear behind, above center on left a simpulum right and on right a lituus left; ex CNG e-auction 500 (22 Sep 2021), 735 (part of); ex Mercury Group Collection; $195.00 SALE PRICE $176.00


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

|Domitian|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
Minerva is the virgin Roman goddess of wisdom, justice, law, victory, poetry, music, medicine, commerce, weaving and strategy. Minerva is not a patron of violence such as Mars, but of defensive war only. From the second century B.C. onward, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. Minerva is one of the three Roman deities in the Capitoline Triad, along with Jupiter and Juno. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the "owl of Minerva", which symbolized her association with wisdom and knowledge as well as, less frequently, the snake and the olive tree. Minerva is commonly depicted as tall with an athletic and muscular build, as well as wearing armour and carrying a spear. As the most important Roman goddess, she is highly revered, honored, and respected.
RS99197. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC II-1 787 (C2); BMCRE II 230; RSC II 292; BnF III 206; Hunter I 91; SRCV I - (official, solid silver, Rome mint, 95 - 96 A.D., gVF, light toning, light marks, flow lines, minor plating breaks, weight 3.027 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial, counterfeiter's mint, c. 96 - 100 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV, laureate head right; reverse IM (sic) XXII COS XVII CENS P P P, Minerva advancing right, draped, wearing helmet with crest and aegis, brandishing javelin in right hand, round shield on left arm; ex CNG e-auction 500 (22 Sep 2021), 735 (part of); ex Mercury Group Collection; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


Clodius Albinus, Late 195 or Early 196 - 19 February 197 A.D., Possibly an Ancient Counterfeit

|Clodius| |Albinus|, |Clodius| |Albinus,| |Late| |195| |or| |Early| |196| |-| |19| |February| |197| |A.D.,| |Possibly| |an| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|NEW
This coin may be a fourree, an unofficial ancient plated counterfeit. Although the style appears official and there is no exposed darker bronze core, these types of lamination defects are most often the result of corrosion within a base core that pushes up silver plating.
RS110099. Silver denarius, cf. RIC IV 4 (R) corr. (D CL SEPT ALBIN CAES only); RSC III 15; BMCRE V 91; SRCV II 6141; Hunter III p. 8, 4 var. (obv. leg. SEP ALBIN), VF, toned, scratches, tight flan, lamination defects, weight 2.642 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome or counterfeiter's mint, as caesar, 194 - 195 A.D.; obverse D CLOD SEPT ALBIN CAES, bare head right; reverse FELICITAS COS II, Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, short caduceus in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; from the Shawn Caza Collection, ex Kunst-und Antikmarkt Am Hof (Vienna, Austria); rare; $160.00 (166.40)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
There is another fouree specimen on Coin Archives struck with the same dies. Blundered legends are unusual on fourree denarii.
RS95665. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC I 418 (R5), RSC I 384, BMCRR II Rome 4677, BMCRE I 132, BnF I 567 (official, solid silver, Rome mint, 12 B.C.), F, very little silver plate remaining, weight 2.547 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 45o, unofficial mint, c. 12 - 14 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTO SAPRCA (sic, or similar, counterclosckwise), bare head right; reverse L CANINVS (sic) GALLVS III VIR (L. Caninius Gallus triumvir), cippus inscribed in four lines: CC / AVG / xXT / T; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00







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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 Tuesday, October 4, 2022.
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