The (fake) coinage of Lipara – Part IV

Hemilitron, reduced. CNS I.12

(At this link a genuine sample from BnF)

This case was already discussed on the Italian forum one year ago. The comparison says it all: here we are facing with modern forgeries struck by fake transferred dies. Coin 1 (Gorny & Mosch) is the host coin, coins 2 (Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH) and 3 (ACR Auctions) are fakes. The same obverse fake die was used to realize a forgery of CNS I.20 I will report in a future post.

Comparison Lipara 12.jpg

Following Continue reading “The (fake) coinage of Lipara – Part IV”

New dies? No, fake dies!

Hard times for forgers now the online databases can help collectors to spot their frauds. You just need some good reference books, an internet connection, some patience, and some time to spend surfing online sales, ebay and auction databases.

For example tonight I was surfing and I saw on acsearch this bronze coin of Syracuse, struck under Pyrrhos…

Syracuse Pyrrhos Roma numismatics IV-1121.jpg

This coin was auctioned by the British auction house Roma Numismatics Limited on september 2012. The dies are not listed by Calciati or other reliable references about this coinage. So I just compared the type with the many modern dies sold on ebay in recent years, which I collected in a folder of my PC, and… Continue reading “New dies? No, fake dies!”

Detecting signs of modern engraving of dies: the Haslemere Hoard

modern dies machine sign.jpg

This is a didactic post about an amazing story occurred in the second half of XX century. In 1962 D. F. Allen published on the British Numismatic Journal Vol. 31 an article (available here), titled “The Haslemere Hoard”, discussing a recently found hoard of new types of Celtic staters declared “found in Britain”. In the following years many collectors dreamed of adding Continue reading “Detecting signs of modern engraving of dies: the Haslemere Hoard”

Fakes Agrippa (again) currently on auction.

Beware collectors of Roman coins, two new fakes are on auction these days.

agr tlf1agr span

The first one is from famous bulgarian fake dies (also published in: Prokopov Volume III, Agrippa no. 1), the same already discussed in this blog (go on the index “Rulers->Agrippa” on the left side of the main page of this blog to see them).

This time the auction house is british Continue reading “Fakes Agrippa (again) currently on auction.”

Two fakes didrachms of Karystos in the Dewing Collection (now Harvard)



Cited from the article:

“From the important collection of ancient Greek coins at the Sackler Museum formed by the late Arthur S. Dewing ’02, Ph.D. ’05, a professor of finance at the Harvard Business School. Dewing bought the fakes from shops in Athens in 1937 and 1954.

The catalog of the Dewing Collection published in 1985 did not include the second forged coin because the editors, Silvia Hurter and the late Leo Mildenberg, and Alan S. Walker, the author of the section on this part of the Greek world, thought it undoubtedly false. The catalog did include as genuine the first forged coin, but curator of numismatic collections Carmen Arnold-Biucchi would call it fake simply because it is so similar to the undoubted fake in its style and in its “fabric,” its general appearance as a piece of metal. Research by Hurter, published in theBulletin on Counterfeits in 1987, associates it with a group of fake two-drachma coins of Karystos probably made in the 1930s. “These counterfeits are struck [as the genuine is, and as opposed to cast]…and they often have an artificially crystallized surface. Apparently two obverse and two reverse dies were used.” Continue reading “Two fakes didrachms of Karystos in the Dewing Collection (now Harvard)”

Akarnania, Stratos: “Not found in the major references”… I wonder why?

The U.S. auction house Gemini LCC listed this coin on January 2013, pointing out it was “not found in the major references“.

strato s fake g.jpg

In the commentary they even stated: “The coinage of Stratos has not yet been carefully studied. This coin appears to add something new to the record, an issue supplementing the output of Corinthian colonies in Acarnania and Illyria that took part in the oversea grain trade between Sicily and the mother-city Corinth“.

In fact the coin was a fantasy modern fake, combining the Sigma symbol Continue reading “Akarnania, Stratos: “Not found in the major references”… I wonder why?”

Taras unique and Unpublished gold coins? No, fakes! Previously on…

After publishing this article some days ago ( I realized that on the italian board other similar cases had already been discussed in the past years. I post here a summary. Continue reading “Taras unique and Unpublished gold coins? No, fakes! Previously on…”

Fake pressed Kentoripai, again!

In the wake of the previous article, it was enough to spot the star as false detail of the undertype and to make a quick online search, to find another similar modern fake die. Also in this case we see the “impossible” trace of undertype always in the same position on the lion’s body, but the die is different, look at the foreleg of the lion, more angled. Likely these fakes were produced in the same modern forger’s workshop from which comes the coin currently listed on ROMA auction.

Here four fake specimens I’ve found, all sold by major auction houses…


ken cgb1ken cgb1 l


ken cgb2ken cgb2 l


ken cng fken CNG


ken kunkerken kunker l


Two notes

  • the 2006 CGB sold fake shows the following commentary: “Poids léger. Notre exemplaire ne semble pas surfrappé sur une litra de Syracuse comme cela se produit souvent. Cependant, nous avons la trace d’une petite molette sur le poitrail de l’animal au revers.” Maybe their experts should have raised some more questions about how could be possible to see traces of undertype of a coin which should weight much more.
  • The CNG sold fake “includes a David Sear Certificate of Authenticity“. Chapeau!


Fake pressed Kentoripai – Update

An update for this article I published yesterday:

BTW, this same specimen, now on auction at Roma Numismatics, was first sold on 13 october 2014 by the german auction house Gorny & Mosch:

To understand that here we are facing a pressed fake would be enough to look at concavity of both sides, as if the coin had been struck by two hammer dies, this feature is sometimes seen on modern pressed forgeries.. The concave obverse should be the first feature to raise a red flag on an ancient coin.

But in this case we have another feature which screams that the coin is a fake. Look at the detail I circled in red…

fake-kento-roma star

…that little star was added by the forger to simulate an overstrike on a bronze drachm of syracuse, the type with Athena/dolphins around star (traces of the undertype are clearly visible on some genuine specimens published by Calciati in the third volume of CNS). Well, that little star is indeed the key to spot other fakes!! In fact it is impossible that this little trace of undertype could be found in the same exact position of the lion’s body.

Now, look here: another fake, struck by the same modern dies, where the star is engraved directly on the fake reverse die, not really being a trace of the undertype.

kento fake gornykento gorny list



Fake tetradrachm of Philip III Arrhidaios currently on auction.

philip cng f.jpg

As spot by the cointalk member “ancientnut”, Classical Numismatic Group is currently listing a modern fake tetradrachm attributed to Philip III Arrhidaios, listed as “unlisted dies”, indeed struck by modern bulgarian dies.


Philip cng

At this link the match from forgery network:


EDIT 25/04/2016: