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Forgery Alerts Reports and discussion regarding possible forgeries.

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Old Oct 4, 2009, 08:33 PM   #1
Congius
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Nicomedia aureus / AE trial strike

The top coin here is being offered in the upcoming Gorny & Mosch 181. The description is a bit vague as to what it actually is, not surprising since it pairs, in bronze, an obverse of Constantius I as caesar with an aureus (or 1.25 solidi medallion) reverse, RIC VII Nicomedia 164, issued for his son Constantine c.330AD!

From the die size of obverse vs reverse, the obverse die is obviously from a follis rather than an aureus.

The piece really makes no sense.

The second coin, obviously similar, was sold in Baldwin's et al NY Sale XX in January of this year, but this time has a Constantine obverse appropriate to the reverse, and was therefore sold as a trial strike in bronze (from aureus dies).

The third coin in an example of the aureus/medallion in question, RIC VII Nicomedia 164. This one was sold in NAC 49. Another specimen from the same dies was sold in recent years by HD Rauch (I didn't note the sale at the time, and Coin Archives is no longer available to schmucks like me).

Here's the problem...

The last coin, the Constantius I follis, is an obverse die match to the top upcoming G&M one, but it's from modern bulgarian dies. Published by Ilya Prokopov in 2004 as Lipanoff Studio # 138. The G&M coin is therefore also obviously a modern fake.

Now, note also the apparent reverse die link for all three quadriga coins, and maybe also an obverse die link between the gold and AE Constantine pieces (very close, but the slant of the top of the 2nd "T" of CONSTANTINVS appears different on the two coins). Note also the similarity of fabric of the two AE pieces. For that matter note also the rather unique style of the Constantine bust on these coins...

So, how many fakes do we have here?

Just the top one, or both AE pieces, or the aureii too?

Ben
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Old Oct 4, 2009, 10:00 PM   #2
Volodya
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Intriguing batch of "coins;" well spotted! Surely these are all fake. To my eye, only the first is at all dangerous, i.e. plausibly ancient-looking, and of course, as you point out, that one makes no sense at all, as a "trial strike" or anything else. I'm confident the 2nd & 3rd share an obverse die as well as a reverse, and the apparent slight differences are easily explained by vagaries of lighting and strike.

Phil Davis
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 04:32 AM   #3
Roma_Numismatics
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It is not inconceivable that the Bulgarian fake used an obverse that was cloned directly from an existing, and authentic, Constantius I piece. If this is the case then there is no need for concern. I have noted that a number of coins auctioned by G&M have subsequently (or perhaps prior to auction) been copied and used to strike fakes, and hence caution is, as always, required. However I see nothing in the top three coins that would lead me to condemn them.
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 08:18 AM   #4
bpmurphy
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Ben,

The Kunker coin was the same coin as the NAC piece.

There are two more examples on Coin Archives.

This coin from Rauch which is from the same dies as the NAC/Kunker specimen and the AE "trial strike"
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 08:19 AM   #5
bpmurphy
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and this coin from CNG which is from different dies
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 08:42 AM   #6
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As Roma said, it's possible that the obviously fake (Aquileia mint) follis could have been cloned from an authentic piece. The question though is is it probable?

What are the odds that a Bulgarian forger took an authentic Constantius I Follis and made fake dies from it. The style is not that of Aquileia so the reverse die he used to strike the follis was either cloned from another authentic Aquileia mint follis or the reverse die is a modern invention. Now, Constantius I folles are common and there are 1000's of obverse dies, but our forger just happened to chose a coin from the one die that just so happened to be used to strike this "aureus" trial specimen. Not likely. It's also unlikely, in fact impossible in my mind, that a Constantius obverse die was used 20+ years later, paired with a Constantine reverse, and used to strike this bronze trial strike.

Best case scenario: The Constantius trial strike is clearly a modern invention made from the fake Constantius obverse and another fake reverse die made from an authentic Constantine AV. The two Constantine coins are authentic.

Worst case scenario: The Kunker/NAC, Gorny, Baldwin and Rauch coins are all modern fakes as shown by the die links.

That just leaves the CNG coin which is from different dies and probably ancient.

Barry Murphy
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 06:30 PM   #7
hydatius
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Could the CNG coin (real) be the model for the others (fake)? The combination of the mismatched dies on the 'trial strike' condemns everything from that die to my mind.

Richard
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Old Oct 6, 2009, 09:36 AM   #8
bpmurphy
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The Gorny Trial Strike has been withdrawn from the auction.

Barry Murphy
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 04:22 PM   #9
galeriusmaximinu
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To me it seems that the "Constantius from Aquileia" follis forgery used here for the averse has been actually made with help of a heraclea follis averse (looks stylistically very close). The reverse is clearly closer to another mint style and not heraclea style.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 08:51 PM   #10
gibfrog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Congius View Post
The top coin here is being offered in the upcoming Gorny & Mosch 181. The description is a bit vague as to what it actually is, not surprising since it pairs, in bronze, an obverse of Constantius I as caesar with an aureus (or 1.25 solidi medallion) reverse, RIC VII Nicomedia 164, issued for his son Constantine c.330AD!

From the die size of obverse vs reverse, the obverse die is obviously from a follis rather than an aureus.

The piece really makes no sense.

The second coin, obviously similar, was sold in Baldwin's et al NY Sale XX in January of this year, but this time has a Constantine obverse appropriate to the reverse, and was therefore sold as a trial strike in bronze (from aureus dies).

The third coin in an example of the aureus/medallion in question, RIC VII Nicomedia 164. This one was sold in NAC 49. Another specimen from the same dies was sold in recent years by HD Rauch (I didn't note the sale at the time, and Coin Archives is no longer available to schmucks like me).

Here's the problem...

The last coin, the Constantius I follis, is an obverse die match to the top upcoming G&M one, but it's from modern bulgarian dies. Published by Ilya Prokopov in 2004 as Lipanoff Studio # 138. The G&M coin is therefore also obviously a modern fake.

Now, note also the apparent reverse die link for all three quadriga coins, and maybe also an obverse die link between the gold and AE Constantine pieces (very close, but the slant of the top of the 2nd "T" of CONSTANTINVS appears different on the two coins). Note also the similarity of fabric of the two AE pieces. For that matter note also the rather unique style of the Constantine bust on these coins...

So, how many fakes do we have here?

Just the top one, or both AE pieces, or the aureii too?

Ben
http://www.acsearch.info/record.html?id=7477
The NAC "coin" has a proported provenance to 1955 "..... Privately purchased in 1955 for 7’000 Swiss Francs....."
".....The placement of the type is difficult because it has no mintmark, and its attribution to Constantinople is based solely on the similarity of its reverse with one produced a decade later for Constantine and sons at Constantinople (RIC VII, nos. 103-106). The lack of a mintmark may indicate it was struck before mint signatures had been developed at the new facility, but at the very least it attests to the special character of this issue. Beyond its festive design and lack of mintmark, this gold piece is of interest for its weight. At 5.36 grams – approximately the Diocletianic aureus struck at 60 to the Roman pound – it is an unusual weight for this late in Constantine’s reign, when the standard gold coin was the solidus, struck at 72 to the Roman pound (c. 4.55 grams). These gold pieces are generally called festaurei, and they certainly were intended for ceremonial use. The relationship between the festaureus and the solidus is of some interest, for the festaureus is essentially a 1º solidus; thus four of these coins are equal in weight to five solidi. Since the accession bonus during the time of Julian II onward was fixed at five solidi and a pound of silver, we may have a meaningful antecedent for that convention in coins such as this festaureus of Constantine."
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