Fakes A Rogue's Gallery: Bronze fakes, reproductions, copies, counterfeits, replicas, fantasies

Click here for links to some excellent sites with good examples of some common and some unusual fakes, especially modern silver productions from Bulgaria by Slavei.

I'll include here some of my own that are uncommon, or dangerous, or pretty, or interesting.

  1. Æ hemidrachm of Otho, Alexandria, Egypt obv. and rev. AE 30, hemidrachm, 0° die axis, 13.0 grams.

    obv: laur. bust r.; AYT MAPKOY - OQWNOC CEB [sic: KAIS absent]
    rev: emperor r. on horse stepping r., right arm raised, cape flowing behind; legend gone, presumably LA.

    This type for Otho not listed in Emmett, BMC, Geissen, Förschner, Mionnet, Suppl., Milne, Dattari, Feuardent (Demetrio Collection), RPC.

    Danger signs: Irregular legend, unrecorded type, bad style obv. Can be deceptive because the reverse is evidently completely genuine, and only the obverse reworked, as reported by David Sear:
    "This is a modern (19th/20th) forgery of an Alexandrian bronze hemidrachm of Otho (AD 69). It appears to be based on an authentic coin of this mint, of uncertain period, but the obverse inscription and type have been totally re-engraved in an attempt to conceal the coin's identity and to produce a much rarer and more valuable type. However, the style of the portrait and the quality of the lettering is totally unconvincing and clearly modern."

  2. Æ sestertius of Faustina the Elder obv: draped bust r. rev: empress on throne on car, drawn r. by two elephants, driven by mahouts. edge view 1, edge view 2, edge view 3, edge view 4.

    A cast of average quality, but in a worn sestertius this can be deceptive with only a head-on view in low resolution. The style seems good, this was probably cast from a genuine example. Danger signs: soft details, casting seam. No attempt has been made in this case to conceal the casting seam, but in other examples I've seen the edges are often smoothed or otherwise monkeyed with. Also, the fields are somewhat concave, which seems also to be a symptom of some casts.

    Notice also the concave scraped area on the lower bust, where the countermark "WRL" (Winter Reproductions Limited) has evidently been effaced. I've seen this reproduction with such a stamp intact on the reverse.

  3. Æ diobol (19 mm, 6.6 grams). Roman Egypt, Alexandria, Trajan. 19th C. British Museum electrotype, probably made from BMC 506. obv: laur. hd. r. AYTTPAIAN CE-BTEPM (AKIK?) rev: Androsphinx right over "Lς" = (Year 6 = 102/3AD). edge view 1, showing the stamped initials "RR", for "Ralph Ready", a British Museum employee. edge view 2, showing the fine seam.

    Danger signs: ground edges, fine seam. Has the characteristic beveled flan for Roman Alexandra, and nicely retoned with dark cover applied to the fields. Head-on this could be dangerous. The seam is not obvious, and neither are the stamped initials, unless you look for them. The edge, though, is obviously ground smooth and wrong. Nice work by Mr. Ready.

  4. Æ sestertius of Gordian I or II Africanus obv:laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust r. rev:Virtus stg. l., leaning on shield and holding spear. closeup of reworked legend.

    This is a genuine sestertius that has been re-engraved. Danger signs: depressions surrounding legends, exaggeratedly raised rim. I'm still in the process of figuring out exactly who the original was, don't spoil my fun :-) Perhaps a Gordian (who does have this reverse type)? Even the reverse legend looks tampered with. Is the entire Virtus reverse re-engraved, or is there an appropriate common original? Notice the mirror-reversed "N"s in the obverse legend, which suggests to me that the re-engraver was not familiar with the western alphabets, perhaps middle- or far- eastern? Or perhaps a template was engraved in reverse and applied to the coin to guide the re-working. This would then be more likely to result in a mirror-reversal mistake. The surface has also been nicely re-toned after the re-engraving. A dandy little piece of work!
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