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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.

Ephesos, Ionia, Phanes, c. 625 - 600 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit Electrum Plate Over Silver

|Ephesos|, |Ephesos,| |Ionia,| |Phanes,| |c.| |625| |-| |600| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit| |Electrum| |Plate| |Over| |Silver||1/24| |stater|NEW
The official coin, of which this is an ancient counterfeit, is known to be among the oldest coins because a hemihekte from the issue was in the famous "Artemision Find" excavated from the foundation of the temple of Artemis at Ephesos. Seven different denominations are linked by the stag type, a common weight standard, and reverse die links. The stag is a symbol of Artemis and thus of Ephesus. The two larger denominations bear the name Phanes, who was likely a prominent citizen of Ephesus, perhaps a despot, a magistrate, or a wealthy money-lender. This coin is undoubtedly one of the very first counterfeit coins. Criminal counterfeiters were evidently a problem from the very beginnings of coinage.
SL112770. Fouree electrum plated 1/24 stater, Weidauer - , BMC - ; cf. SNG VA 7773 (not plated), NGC VF (6827718-002), weight 0.435 g, maximum diameter 6.2 mm, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, after c. 625 B.C.; obverse forepart of stag right, head turned left, three pellets before; reverse incuse square with raised lines; photo taken before certification, NGC| Lookup; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00


Ephesos(?), Ionia, c. 610 - 575 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Ephesos(?),| |Ionia,| |c.| |610| |-| |575| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||1/24| |stater|
This type is among the earliest of coins. The location of the mint is not certain but examples have been found at and near Ephesos. As soon as there were coins, there were counterfeits.
GA111793. Fouree electrum plated 1/24 stater, for prototype see: Rosen 284 (Asia Minor uncertain), SNG Kayhan 724 (Myletos?), Mitchiner ATEC 106 (all solid electrum), F, with plating broken, exposing silver or base core, weight 0.430 g, maximum diameter 6.2 mm, Ephesos (near Selçuk, Turkey)(?) mint, c. 610 - 575 B.C.; obverse crude lion's paw seen from above; reverse deep incuse square; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


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 $99.00


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


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |I| |Nikator,| |312| |-| |280| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||tetradrachm|
Superb ancient counterfeit with intact plating and of finest style.
SH24647. Fouree silver plated tetradrachm, cf. Houghton-Lorber I 173 (official Susa mint), combining monograms of 173.14 and 173.16, Choice EF, weight 14.724 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial mint, after 305 B.C.; obverse bust of Alexander or Seleukos wearing helmet covered with panther skin and adorned with horns and ears of bull; reverse BAΣIΛΕΩΣ ΣΕΛΕYKOY, Nike with spread wings, standing right, crowning trophy with wreath, AX and ΠA control-marks across lower field; ex Gorny&Mosch 141, lot 161; SOLD


Abdera, Thrace, c. 365 - 346 B.C.

|Abdera|, |Abdera,| |Thrace,| |c.| |365| |-| |346| |B.C.||stater|
Abdera was sacked by Philip II of Macedon in 350 B.C. and was absorbed in to Philip's empire. According to May, Philip closed the mint in 346 B.C. The city was later sacked and controlled by Lysimachos of Thrace, the Seleucids, the Ptolemies, again the Macedonians, Eumenes II of Pergamon and finally the Romans.
SH42186. Silver stater, Possibly an ancient counterfeit, cf. May Abdera 464 ff. (none retrograde); SGCV I 1551 (same), VF, porosity around edges, weight 6.108 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, obverse EΠI above, ΠAYΣANIΩ in exergue (all retrograde), recumbent griffin right; the entire obverse is retrograde (the griffin is normally left); reverse ABΔHPI/EΩN, laureate head of Apollo right, within incuse square; ex Gorny and Mosch; SOLD


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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |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.
RX99623. Fouree silver plated tetradrachm, Metcalf Two, part 1, A Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor, Obv. V / Rev. 1 (unlisted die combination); cf. Dattari 204, RPC I 5289 (official, Alexandria), VF, toned, plating breaks, pitting, weight 11.137 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, unoffical counterfeiter's mint, c. 138 A.D.; obverse NEb KVV [KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEPM] (or similar), radiate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVTO KPΛ, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Alexandria right, L IB (year 12 = 29 Aug 65 - 28 Aug 66 A.D.) to right; very rare; SOLD


Maroneia, Thrace, Roman Rule, 146 - 45 B.C.

|Maroneia|, |Maroneia,| |Thrace,| |Roman| |Rule,| |146| |-| |45| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
This coin came to us identified as a fourree, a silver plated counterfeit with a bronze core. There are a few spots that may expose a copper core, but this may be an official issue with just some coppery areas. The obverse appears to have been struck with the same obverse die as Schnert-Geiss Maroneia 1329 - 1333, none of which are identified as plated counterfeits.
SH68724. Silver tetradrachm, possibly a silver plated fourree; cf. Schnert-Geiss Maroneia 1329 (V101 / -), VF, weight 14.347 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 0o, Maroneia (Maroneia-Sapes, Greece) mint, 146 - 45 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right wreathed in ivy and grapes; reverse ΔIONYΣOY ΣΩTHPOΣ MAPONITΩN, Dionysos standing half left, nude, bunch of grapes in right, two narthex stalks and cloak in left, Π/O monogram lower left, Π/A monogram lower right; SOLD


Manlia Scantilla, Augusta 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D., Wife of Didius Julianus, Ancient Counterfeit

|Manlia| |Scantilla|, |Manlia| |Scantilla,| |Augusta| |28| |March| |-| |2| |June| |193| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Didius| |Julianus,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||denarius|
Juno was the chief female divinity in the Roman pantheon. She was the wife of Jupiter and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She had many different aspects, such as Juno Moneta, Juno Sospita, and Juno Lucina, but here she is depicted as Juno Regina, "Juno the Queen." Juno is usually shown holding a patera, scepter or a statuette of Athena, and is often accompanied by a peacock.
RS88177. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC IV 7a (R4), RSC V 2, BMCRE V 11, Hunter III 1, Cohen III 2 (300 fr.), SRCV II 6082 (silver, official, Rome mint, 28 Mar - May 193 A.D.), aF, edge cracks, no clearly visible base core but the surfaces indicate a fouree, weight 2.343 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 193 A.D.; obverse MANL SCAN-TILLA AVG, draped bust right, hair in a flat coil at the back of head; reverse IVNO REGINA, Juno standing left, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, peacock at feet left; very rare; 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.

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