Coin of the Month

June 2023: Forgeries and New Functions

The Coin of this Month is presented by Angela Berthold

In June we would like to introduce a special coin from the Hemidrachm series, attributed to the Thracian Chersonese. At the same time, we would like to make you curious about a function in the Corpus Nummorum database that will soon be available in an expanded form.

The hemidrachm shows the usual motifs of the series of the second half of the 4th c.- backward looking lion protomes on the obverse and various symbols, monograms and letters on the reverse, here a bee and A with a pellet. A closer look at this coin compared to the others in the series reveals some distinctive features in the style. The composition of the lion's protome on the obverse has a strong additive impression, little plastic and schematic, which is particularly noticeable in the design of the mane, abdominal muscles and paws; the same goes for the bee on the reverse. Also unusual for the series is that on both sides of the coin the dies are very well placed on the planchet. Since this coin is not known from an autopsy, but only from a photograph of an auction from the year 2000, technical and material aspects cannot be assessed. 

In fact, this specimen is an interesting case of a forgery, since the stamps of the forgers have become known here. A group of forgeries from the so-called 'Black Sea Hoard', which included coins from Apollonia Pontica, Istros, Mesembria and Thracian Chersonesus mints, are identified by Ilya Prokopov in his book 'Counterfeit Studios and Their Coins' as coming from what he called the forgery workshop “Studio 'Varna-1'”.

Previously it was only possible to flag individual coins in the Corpus Nummorum database as counterfeit. On the website in the overview of the coins, a red banner "Forgery" appears at the top of the image and in the individual coin entry the text "The coin is counterfeit" in red letters. Now we have expanded these input options for the forgeries and they will soon be visible online on the website. This expansion will contain information on technique, forger/workshop, date, specifics, and description. The individual forgeries can also be linked to a possible template type. In this way, all information on the original type can be compared and the coins assigned to the type can be subject to an authenticity check again.

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