Fakes, Frauds & Forgeries - Dangers In Coin & Artefact Collecting
Famous Forgers and Fakers
- Billy and Charley - The Story of the Shadwell Forgeries
- The Omega Man - Counterfeit Gold Double Eagle Coins
- The Cragg Vale Coiners
- The James Ossuary
- The Acambaro Figures
- The Sinaia Lead Plates
- The Tiara of Saitaferne
- Mary Peck Butterworth - The Rhode Island Forger
- Counterfeiter Emanuel Ninger
Fake Coins in Circulation
Above: Fake pound coin on top, a genuine pound coin beneath for comparison.
There seems to be very large numbers of fake pound coins in circulation at the moment, does anybody have any facts or figures on this?
Are other denominations of coins being copied too? I imagine the bi-metal two pound coins would be too expensive for the forgers to reproduce (but I could be wrong about that), have you ever seen a fake 50, 20, 10 or 5 pence piece?
If you have spotted any fake coins in your change and have a scanner, I would love to see some pictures of them. When I get some pictures I'll start an online fake coin photo gallery to help people spot the forgeries.
Fake Pound Coin Update
Above: Fake pound coin I received in my change today. At first I thought it was just really badly worn - until I checked the inscription around the edge - it is almost illegible in places and what is legible is very poorly executed.
The thing that most stands out about the above fake (apart from the dodgy inscription around the edge, photos coming soon) is that it seems to have been produced by casting rather than striking, hence the weak design.
Indications that the coin has been cast rather than struck are strongest on the lettering around the portrait, click on the image to see a larger version.
For more information about fake pound coins and a lot more images click here.
Fake Banknotes In Circulation
- Operation Bernhard - an operation run by Nazi Germany during the Second World War to manufacture forged Pound Sterling notes on a large scale.
- The Super Dollar - near perfect forgeries of US banknotes thought to be produced by North Korea
Online Auction Sites and Fake Coins and Artefacts
With the rise of online auction sites the market for antiquities has boomed, unfortunately, the potential for large profits has caused some very undesirable elements to enter the fray.
The problem is not just the hundreds of fakes and forgeries being passed off as authentic ancient objects to unsuspecting buyers, but also the deliberate misidentification of genuinely ancient artefacts (for example, an ancient Persian or Chinese object being passed off as British or European) to increase the value.
The companies that run the online auctions sites seem unwilling or unable to tackle the problem, so don't expect them to protect you from unscrupulous sellers.
If you are new to collecting ancient coins and antiquities, my advice to you would be to avoid online auctions like the plague, at least until you have educated yourself sufficiently to know exactly what you are buying and no longer have to rely on the sellers description for information about the object.
- Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain By John Y. Akerman. Part 1
- Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain By John Y. Akerman. Part 2
Links to Useful Sites
- CoinForgeryEbay group on Flickr
- Robert Matthews Coin Authentication, important UK site on coin forgery.
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter Cumulative Index
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.1, December 2003
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.2, July 2004
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.3, December 2004
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.4, July 2005
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.5, December 2005
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.6, July 2006
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.7, December 2006
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.8, July 2007
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.9, December 2007
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.10, July 2008
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.11, January 2009
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.12, September 2009
- Counterfeit Coin Newsletter No.13, January 2010
- Forgeries of ancient Roman and Greek coins offered for sale on a large scale on the internet
- Modern fakes of ancient coins at Calgary Coin