When counterfeiting a coin, it might be important to pay attention to
In ancient times, one counterfeiter’s imitation of a gold aureus of
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius mixed designs intended for two different
rulers. In addition, lettering on the contemporary fake does not match
what appears on genuine examples. These problems and the coin’s status
as a counterfeit do not damage its collectibility, however.
The counterfeit in question realized a $4,250 hammer price in
Classical Numismatic Group’s Sept. 13 mail bid/Internet auction. This
amount does not include the buyer’s fee of 19 to 21 percent, depending
on bidding method. With this fee factored in, the coin topped the
estimate of $5,000.
Make your ‘worthless’ note worth something
Have you noticed the weapons depicted on early American notes?
John Kraljevich Jr. puzzles over what’s generally missing from that
arsenal, in his “Collecting Paper” column.
Where the contemporary imitation was struck is uncertain.
Aurelius reigned from A.D. 161 to 180, jointly with his son Commodus
from 177 forward. The counterfeit combines an obverse for Marcus
Aurelius with a reverse for Commodus, who, following his father’s
death, reigned until 192.
According to CNG: “Contemporary counterfeits of Roman coins are
often hybrids; perhaps counterfeiters did this intentionally to
provide themselves with a potential defense that their products were
not actually copies of genuine coins. The blundered legends would
further support this theory.”
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The example in the CNG auction shows Castor, one of the
Dioscuri/Gemini twins Castor and Pollux in Greco-Roman mythology. He
stands nude, except for a cloak on breast and shoulder, wearing a
round cap, in front of a horse facing left, holding it by the bridle
in his right hand, a spear in his left.
The “unpublished” coin is in Extremely Fine condition, according to
the auction house.
It measures 21 millimeters in diameter and weighs 7.38 grams, about
the size of a Jefferson nickel, but 50 percent heavier.
For full auction results, visit the firm’s website.