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Rare Empresses Denarii - Too Good To Be True?

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 Posted 05/28/2020  4:37 pm Show Profile   Check Paul Bulgerin's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add Paul Bulgerin to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I saw an auction for six Third Century AD denarii of some of the scarcer empresses. There were two Aquilia Severas, a Julia Paula and two Plautillas.

While I couldn't find any obvious matches to the Aquilia Severas at the Ancient Coin Forum fake site, they looked off to me, especially the Aquilia Severa in the middle of the top row.

Opinions? Fakes? Did someone hit it rich? It wasn't me.


Paul Bulgerin
Edited by Paul Bulgerin
05/28/2020 4:38 pm
Bedrock of the Community
17077 Posts
 Posted 05/28/2020  9:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I bought a denarius of Julia Paula from England that turned out to be fake. That was decades ago, but ten years after I bought it, I met the dealer face to face at a Sydney coin show. Although I had already given the coin to another dealer to add to is reference 'black' collection, I came away from the meeting with the guy who sold it to me that he had made an honest but careless mistake.

That experience left me with the attitude that I must investigate how different types of fakes are made, because their method of manufacture always leads to their betrayal, provided that rational and careful investigation is done.
Now, I have a reasonable specialist reference library on the manufacture and identification of fake coins.

I have to agree, some of them look 'off' to me as well, but it is always hard to pass conclusive judgement on suspect 'borderline' coins from on screen pictures.
If I number the coins (obverses):-
1 2 3
4 5 6
1: fake 2: fake 3: genuine
4: genuine 5: fake 6: genuine
Same opinion applies to the reverses.
I stand to be corrected.

Examine the radial flan splits with a high powered loupe, looking inside them for evidence of tensile metal distress, which is always a good sign for a die strike, as opposed to cast coins.

Silver crystallization and horn silver can support evidence of ancient manufacture, but they could still e ancient counterfeits. Beware! Silver coins suffering from these problems can be fragile.

Good to see that you have already visited Ancient Coin Forum fake site. Check all other reference sites for fake ancient coins that you have access to.

Be that they be may die struck or cast,
copies off copies always produce 'mushy' devices and lettering on the the fake product. Pressure die casting can mask this problem.

XRF can be very useful for ancient coins.
The ancients were only able to refine silver to about 95-98%, before adding alloying metals.
If they have modern manufacture, it is the trace elements and impurities in the alloy that need to be considered, not the silver copper zinc or lead only, and nothing else that would be found in a coin of modern manufacture.
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 05/28/2020  10:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Kushanshah to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
"If it's too good to be true, it's probably eBay". Caveat emptor.
Bedrock of the Community
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 Posted 05/28/2020  11:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Trouble with caveat emptor is that you
have to be aware of what types of risks there are, and how they should be addressed.

If you are unaware, then the principles of caveat emptor may not be obvious to you.
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