Editor's note: The following is the first of a multi-part Coin World series about the market for ancient coin fakes and forgeries prepared by Jeff Starck for the December 2014 monthly edition of Coin World.
However, there is a growing market for some reproductions and forgeries, as substitutes for the more expensive real thing.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to coins, it’s usually a bad thing.
Read other posts in this series:
Not all fakes are created equal — some were sold to serve educational roles and may have even been labeled by their maker so they could be easily identified as such. Others were the product of nefarious intentions, created to deceive. Either way, as some of the real coins have soared in price, the historic fakes have become more collectible, according to Kerry Wetterstrom, former editor of The Celator (an ancient coin publication), who now works for auction house Classical Numismatic Group.
“A counterfeit is still a counterfeit, and it’s not going to bring [huge sums], but more people are collecting them because, across the board, they have been priced out of the areas,” he said, in an email interview.
Collectors could consider several areas to pursue; we’ll highlight four major segments and provide some jumping off points for a collector looking to explore the topic further.
One of the earliest groups of collectible reproductions are those that sprang out of the Italian Renaissance.
Wayne Sayles, founding editor of The Celator and author of seven books on ancient coin collecting, writes in Classical Deception: Counterfeits, Forgeries and Reproductions of Ancient Coins that there is a subtle difference between counterfeits and forgeries, with the former intended to pass as money in commerce and the latter to have collector value.