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Types of Fake Ancient Coins

There are several methods forgers can use to manufacture false coins, each of which has its own problems that leave telltale signs by which they can be spotted. Clever forgers overcome some of the problems, but perfect fakes will probably never be possible. Learning the problems each type of forgery encounters is the key to detecting fakes. One must be careful as some of these methods were used by ancient counterfeiters, so one must be careful not to confuse an ancient counterfeit with a modern forgery. I will discuss each method in enough detail to allow you to understand the process and its problems. I will leaving out details that might help forgers improve their work.

The basic techniques:

  1. Casting - Molten medal is poured in to a mold made from an original coin. This method methed is as old as counterfeiting and forging.

  2. Electrotyping - An original coin is impressed into fine clay onto which metal is electroplated creating a shell with a good impression of the coin. This method was invented in the mid-19th century.

  3. Die striking - Dies are produced produced on which an image of a coin has been replicated and the false coin is struck. This is a version of how most genuine ancient coins were minted.

  4. Tooling - Engraving details either by hand or machine. Normally used to alter a coin to either improve its details, or to alter design from a common type to a rare type, but sometimes to improve details on a fake to make it look more genuine.

Nearly all fake ancient coins are made by one of these methods so sometimes combining two of them as when a cast fake is tooled to remove evidence or casting.

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