With every passing day it becomes more and more difficult to track the flow of counterfeit ancient and medieval coins that appear on the market. However, it is even harder to precisely document these fakes. The dishonest producers and dealers already noted the danger for themselves caused by the activities of internet forums, anti forgery groups, and publications on this theme.
The feeling of impunity was gradually substituted by higher caution. Frauds have realized the new situation and now they do not offer coins in the country they were produced, but directly export them to the end clients in Western Europe and North America. Besides, the quantity and range of coins made are growing constantly and greatly troubles the processes of detecting and forewarning. It is now not in the potential of separate scholars without a serious coordination to cope with this matter.
Fake Ancient Coins
AR Stater, 10,591 g
The metal is crumbly and porous. Its color is more grey than the pure silver used in the original staters of this town. The incuse square here is divided into 6 even zones, and in the originals of the same type they are 5 uneven zones. Sea or land tortoise is situated in a hollow which has ideal proportions and angle. Made by modern machines.
Coins 2-4 are precise copies of 3 different silver staters. They are made very realistic and could mislead even experienced numismatists. In all specimens, however, there is a difference in the color tones and density. The obverses were patinated simultaneously and have the
same tones and density. When the artificial patina has dried, the forger has turned all coins to apply the patina on the reverse. Then he did not guess he should leave one for a sample. He has worked using his memory and the effect is a lighter and much thinner patina.
If only one of the coins is observed, this could be hard to notice. Fortunately, I could see them together and was able to orientate. On all of them, there are traces of plasticine and plaster which makes me think that they were also used for taking prints and probably there are more forgeries with these pairs of coin dies.
2. AR Stater
3. AR Stater
4. AR Stater
AR Stater, 5,709 g
Obv. Naked ithyphallic satyr, carrying in his arms a struggling nymph on r.Rev. Rough quadripartite incuse square.The coin is an accurate copy made by a print of an original coin. The metal is more greyish than usual. On the surface, there are knots and caverns as a result of the casting that can be seen with a naked eye. The coin is aged and covered with artificial patina. Cast. “Pernik Studio”
AR Stater, 9,029 g Galvanoplastic copy. Like the previous coin, this one is also a precise copy made by a print of a genuine coin. However, this specimen is not cast but pressed with a thick galvanoplastic (electrogalvanic) cover applied on it. In the production process, there have appeared some slight deformations on the nymph’s nose and lips, and the Silen eye is blurred. The image contours are also blurred and the transition to the low relief is unnaturally smooth. On the reverse around the concave square, there are traces of galvano plastics – the metal is very light and clearly differs from the rest of the surface.
Everyone who has ever held a real electron stater of Cyzicus in his hands will immediately feel the difference in the metal nuances, as well as the unusual roughness of the surface. Besides, there are clear signs that the coin was struck on a hydraulic or mechanic press. The easiest way to note this is when observing the high points of the incused square. There is an odd structure of the wall as it can be seen in the detail. This is the effect of the gradual and slower pressing of the steel die on the cold coin core. The metal is furrowed in horizontal levels. This does not happen with the original coins when the core is well heated and the coin is struck only with a single hard hammer hit. Then the side wall of the concave square is smooth and has no marks from matrix skidding. Otherwise, this electron stater is a good one and could mislead somebody. “Dimitrovgrad” Studio?
AR Stater, 5,568 g
This is a copy cast from a metal used in the dental laboratories. On the edge, there are obvious knots. On the reverse, at the inscription the surface height is uneven and the letters base level remains low. This effect appears when the print is not made well. The metal color is greyish and the artificial patina cannot hide it.
The print is taken from a struck fake coin struck by Varna-1 Studio.
AR Tetradrachm, 33/32 mm; 16,365 g
This is not a very high-quality cast, an exact copy of a genuine Byzantion tetradrachm of Lysimachos type. To hide knots, pearls and other defects on the surface, a very thick artificial patina is plastered by the producer. “South West -2” Studio.
ANCIENT COINS AND THEIR MODERN FAKES: AN
ATTEMPT OF PHYSICO‐CHEMICAL UNMASKING