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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Unofficial & BarbaricView Options:  |  |  |   

Counterfeit, Unofficial, Imitative and Barbaric Roman Coins

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

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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; $580.00 (€516.20)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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References list numerous Carausius varieties with Pax reverse legends but depicting Salus and also types with Salus reverse legends but depicting Pax. The references provided for comparison list a PAX AVG, with Salus type, without controls or a mintmark; David Sear attributes to London, 286 - 287 A.D. References do not list our variety but other types with F - O across the field and ML in the exergue are attributed to London, c. 289 - 290 A.D. This is the only example of this variant known to Forum.
RA73904. Billon antoninianus, Apparently unpublished; cf. RIC V, part 2, 930 ff. (no mintmarks); Webb Carausius 1031 ff. (same); SRCV IV 13661 (same, London, 286 - 287), aVF, nice green patina, overstruck or double-struck, tight flan cutting off parts of legends and mintmark, weight 2.615 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 315o, Londinium(?) or unofficial(?) mint, 289 - 290 A.D.; obverse IMP CARAVS[IVS P AVG] (or similar), radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVG[GG?], Salus standing half left, head left, feeding snake rising from altar at left from patera in her right hand, vertical scepter in left hand, [F?] - O flanking across the field, M[L?] in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; possibly unique!; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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The quantity of PAX coinage issued by Carausius probably exceeded the entire output of all his other types combined. The type was an appeal by the usurper Carausius for peace with the "official" emperors. Diocletian and Maximian did not recognize Carausius as emperor, nor did they reciprocate his desire for peace.
RA73252. Billon antoninianus, cf. RIC V, part 2, 130 (R); Webb Carausius 155 ( (official, London mint, no control marks across field, ...P F AVG), VF, dark sea-green patina, interesting crude portrait, blundered legends, scratched, weight 4.200 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 225o, unofficial mint, c. 289 - 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F I AVIC (or similar, blundered), radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVC (the peace of the Emperor), Pax standing slightly left, head left, olive-branch in extended right hand, cornucopia in right hand, S - C(?) across fields, ML in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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This type has been attributed to "Mint II," which is believed to be Cologne, but it is quite crude and could also be imitative. See RIC V, Part II, p. 349, note 1, for comments on imitative of this and similar types.
RB90466. Bronze double sestertius, cf. CNG auction 109, lot 243 (same reverse die); Bastien Postume 313; Méricourt-l'Abbé Hoard in TM XIII (1992) 95, VF, struck with damaged reverse die, corrosion, weight 9.446 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 90o, Mint II Cologne (or imitative) mint, c. 266 - spring 269 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse galley right, five oarsmen, AMV above, retrograde P left, Q(?) right, waves over palm frond left below; $145.00 (€129.05)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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The quantity of PAX coinage issued by Carausius probably exceeded the entire output of all his other types combined. The type was an appeal by the usurper Carausius for peace with the "official" emperors. Diocletian and Maximian did not recognize Carausius as emperor, nor did they reciprocate his desire for peace.
RA73491. Billon antoninianus, cf. King Unmarked 31; Burton Latimer 59; Croydon Hoard 63 (...P F AVG); Webb Carausius 128 (same); Bicester Hoard -, F, green patina, edge chip, weight 2.934 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial mint, obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse PAX AV (or similar, blundered), Pax(?) standing, raising branch(?) in right hand, anchor(?) in left hand, no control or mintmarks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


Thracian or Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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This type was minted by and used as currency by tribes outside the Roman Empire in Thrace. It copied a Roman votive type issued under Constantine the Great. The inscriptions are made up of illiterate imitations of letters.
CE76987. Bronze AE 18, Imitative of Crispus types, for prototypes see RIC VII p. 379 ff. (official Roman, Ticinum mint, c. 320 - 325 A.D.), Choice VF, nice green patina, weight 2.047 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, tribal mint, mid 4th - early 5th century A.D.; obverse laureate bust left, illiterate blundered imitation of a legend; reverse blundered VOT X within wreath, illiterate blundered limitation of a legend around, ST in exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit With Julian II Reverse

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This coin combines an obverse die of Constantius II, 337 - 361, with a reverse die of Julian II, 360 - 363 A.D. The unlikely hybrid of types from different emperors and issues, the light weight, and the flan flaw on the reverse indicate it is a plated ancient counterfeit.

Ancient counterfeits often have mismatched obverses and reverses. Transfer dies were made using genuine coins which were destroyed in the process. Since making each die destroyed the coin, the same coin could not be used to make both dies. The destroyed coins were undoubtedly melted to contribute to the silver foil plate.

Unlike counterfeit denarii, counterfeit siliqua are very rare. Siliqua are so thin, that striking counterfeits with a bronze core apparently could not provide an economic benefit worth the effort and risk.
RS79849. Fouree silver plated reduced siliqua, cf. official, Lugdunum mint, silver, RIC VIII Constantius II 180 (for obverse) and RIC VIII Julian II 233 (for reverse), aVF, well centered on a tight flan cutting off parts of legend, marks, scratches, corrosion, edge crack, edge chips, weight 1.385 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, illegal mint, c. 360 - 365 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VOT / X / MVLT / XX in four lines within wreath, eagle in circle closing wreath at the top, CONST in exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Iberian(?) Barbaric Imitative

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RB70583. Copper as, cf. SRCV I 1685, RIC I 431, BMCRE 226, Cohen I 515, BnF I 687 (official, Rome mint, 7 B.C.), F, interesting crude style, nice green patina, edge cracks, scratches, pits on reverses, weight 10.390 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 225o, Iberian(?) unofficial mint, obverse bare head right; reverse large S C; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Barbaric Imitative

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Tribal peoples outside the Empire struck coinage imitative of Roman types beginning in the second century B.C. and continued to strike imitative types even after the Western Empire ceased to exist. Several official issues used this reverse type, but the style is exotic and crude. These legends were never used on any official issues.
RS90386. Silver denarius, for possible prototype: cf. RIC IV 516, RSC III 719, BMCRE V 678 (Roman official, Laodicea ad Mare mint, 198 - 202 A.D.), gVF, fantastic unofficial style, frosty surfaces, weight 2.520 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, c. 198 - 210 A.D.; obverse S VERVS - AVGVSTVS P, laureate head right; reverse TR - PO CO VIII VICTO AVG, Victory ascending left, open wreath in both hands, round shield on a low base at feet on left; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Barbaric Imitative

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Tribal peoples outside the Empire struck coinage imitative of Roman types beginning in the second century B.C. and continued to strike imitative types even after the Western Empire ceased to exist. Several official issues used this reverse type, but the style is exotic and crude. These legends were never used on any official issues.
RS90412. Silver denarius, for possible prototype: cf. RIC IV 497a, RSC III 642 (Roman official, Laodicea ad Mare mint, 198 A.D.), VF, double struck, reverse off-center, weight 2.603 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial mint, obverse [...] CAE L SEP SEV PERP IWC (or similar, blundered), laureate head right; reverse [...]TAS AVG P P (blundered, S reversed), Salus seated left, with patera in her right hand feeding snake rising from altar at her feet, cornucopia in left; $100.00 (€89.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Cahn, H. "EIDibus MARtiis" in QT 18 (1989), pp. 229-231, 9a, 20a, and 25b.
Campbell, W. Greek and Roman Plated Coins. ANSNNM 75. (New York, 1933).
Crawford, M. "Plated Coins - False Coins" in NC 1968, pp. 55-59, pl. xiv.
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974), vol I., pp. 560-565, vol II, p. 570.
Davis, P. "Dacian and Celtic Imitations of Republican Denarii" in The Celator 18-4, April 2004, pp. 6-16.
Davis, P. "Dacian Imitations of Roman Republican Denarii" in Apvlvm Number XLIII/1. (2006).
Davis, P. Imitations of Roman Republican Denarii, website: http://rrimitations.ancients.info/.
Davis, P. & E. Paunov. "Imitations of Republican Denarii from Moesia and Thrace" in Studies Prokopov. (2012).
Lawrence, L. "On a Hoard of Plated Roman Denarii" in NC 1940, pp. 185-189.
Ranieri, E. La monetazione di Ravenna antica dal V all' VIII secolo: impero romano e bizantino, regno ostrogoto e langobardo. (Bologna, 2006).
Southerland, C. "'Carausius II', 'Censeris', and the Barbarous Fel. Temp. Reparatio Overstrikes" in NC 1945.
Sydenham, E. "On Roman Plated Coins" in NC 1940, pp. 190-202.
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1927 1952). pl. xliii-xliv.
Vasic, M. "A IVth and Vth Centuries Hoard of Roman coins and imitations in the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade" in Sirmium VIII, p. 128-129, 6-19.

Catalog current as of Sunday, August 20, 2017.
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Unofficial and Barbaric