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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Numismatics ▸ CounterfeitsView 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.


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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Mankind's first counterfeit coin type! Rare and important. This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with a simple square punch mark on one side (two or three punch marks on larger denominations). But this is not solid electrum; it is a counterfeit of electrum plated copper or bronze. Counterfeiting began almost immediately after the first coinage was introduced.
SH86630. Fouree electrum plated hemihekte, cf. 1/12 stater, SNG Kayhan 676, SNGvA 7763, Rosen 324, Trait II -, Weidauer -, VF, bumps and marks, a few plating breaks, weight 0.839 g, maximum diameter 6.8 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Ionian mint, period of the Artemision Find, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain flattened globular surface; reverse incuse roughly square pyramidal punch; $540.00 SALE PRICE $486.00 ON RESERVE


Roman Republic, c. 169 - 91 B.C., Unofficial Issue

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Crawford notes, "The very common quadrantes with M and N (as Milan 351) are clearly unofficial."
RR79715. Copper quadrans, cf. Milan 351 (from Crawford appendix p. 309 unofficial issues of bronze coins), Sydenham -, VF, centered on a tight flan, light marks,, weight 4.182 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 135o, unofficial mint, c. 169 - 91 B.C.; obverse head of Hercules right, wearing Nemean Lion scalp headdress, three pellets behind; reverse prow right, ROMA below, three pellets before, M above; ex FORVM (2006), ex Goodman collection; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

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Philips portrait on this counterfeit is superb, and of the same style and quality of his portrait on the official issue.
RS86647. Fouree silver plated antoninianus, cf. RIC IV 36b, RSC IV 80, SRCV III 8935 (official, Rome mint, solid silver), Choice EF, well centered and struck, toned, reverse die wear, many plating breaks, weight 4.217 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, illegal counterfeiter's mint, c. 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse LAETIT FVNDAT (joy founded), Laetitia standing left, wreath in right hand, rudder in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $110.00 (93.50) ON RESERVE


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and to make provision for the future. This ability was considered essential for the emperor and providentia was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the imperial cult. Cicero said that providentia, memoria (memory) and intellegentia (understanding) are the three main components of prudentia, the knowledge what is good or bad or neither.
RS85049. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC III 19, RSC II 804, BMCRE IV 66, Hunter II -, SRCV II - (official, Rome mint, 10 Dec 180 - 10 Dec 181 A.D.), aVF, well centered, toned, bumps and scratches, edge cracks, copper core exposed in a few spots, weight 2.713 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 181 - 182 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P VI IMP IIII COS III P P, Providentia standing half left, head left, wand in right hand over globe at feet, long grounded scepter in left hand; $55.00 SALE PRICE $49.50







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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 Sunday, June 24, 2018.
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Ancient Counterfeit Coins