Ancient Counterfeit aureus Auctioned for $4,250

14 Oct 2017  Sat

Counterfeiters from ancient times made fake gold aureus of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius using designs for two different rulers. The lettering on these fake coins did not match with that of the real versions. Even then, there is a demand among collectors for fake coins issued in ancient times. One such counterfeit coin was sold for $4,250 during the Classical Numismatic Group’s Internet auction on 13th September. Nobody knows where these imitation coins were struck.

Aurelius reigned from A.D. 161 to 180. He joined his son Commodus from 177 onwards. Commodus reigned until 192 after his father’s death. The obverse for Marcus Aurelius and the reverse for Commodus are combined on this counterfeit coin. Experts believe that counterfeiters made these hybrids purposely to defend the fact that their coins were not fake. The blundered legends on the coins support this fact.

The offered coin features Castor, one of the Dioscuri/Gemini twins Castor and Pollux in Greco-Roman mythology. He is wearing a cloak on breast and shoulder, a round cap, holding a horse by the bridle with his right hand and a spear in his left. The “unpublished” coin in Extremely Fine condition weighs 7.38 grams.