Forgeries of South Asian Coins

Summary of discussion on southasia-coins eGroup.

From: Richard Anderson  
Date: 2000 Feb 28, 1:07am

My concern is moderate quality fakes which would fool the intermediate
collector, as opposed to tourist quality fakes. Are there series which
are particularly notorious for fakery?  How prevalent is this
problem. Are there coins which have been counterfeited in such large
quantities that one should avoid them unless they come in a PCGS
holder :-).

From: Nupam Mahajan Date: 2000 Feb 28, 3:35pm One series of coins that have been widely counterfeited are the Indo-Greeks. The reason was pretty obvious, the breathtaking numismatic specimen of these rulers were so much sought after by both western and oriental collectors that they were sold many times of their metal value, sometimes almost 1000 times! I have encountered maximum fakes of this series, mostly made in subcontinent itself. I had an opportunity to study (if I can use that term) some of these fakes made by a counterfeiter. They were made by simple casting method (using genuine coin as template), and later polished. I might say, they were not difficult to distinguish. But I am sure, some of the specimen are created with perfection, and that is where one need to be careful. If one is buying coins from reputed dealer or collector, then there is nothing to worry about. Most of those have studied their inventory and chances of they selling fakes conciously is almost zero.
From: Stephen Album Date: 2000 Feb 28, 5:40pm There are forgeries of Indian coins, some of them quite deceptive. The following categories should be noted: 1. South Indian gold fanams. These have been forged for decades, partly for distribution through promoters and telemarkers in North American an Europe, advertised as "the world's smallest gold coin" (NOT true, India and Nurnberg in Germany have smaller coins). Many are good gold, but some are just gold-washed base metal. Many tens of thousands were distributed around the US by a Florida dealer (now deceased) in the 1970s and 1980s. The fakes were probably made to order in India for western telemarketers. 2. India Princely States. Many scarcer state issues, especially of the period from the 1850s and later, were forged, partly for the international market, partly for the domestic Indian market. One of the first to turn up, back in the 1960s, was the 1, 2-1/2 and 5 kori silver from Nawanagar. There have been many since, some in silver, some in gold, even some in copper. So far it seems only the scarce to rare pieces that have been forged. 3. Murshidabad mohurs, the common "san 19" British issue of the end of the 18th and early 19th century. Because there was such a shortage of gold coin in the raj after 1834, jewelers filled the need by imitating various circulating gold coins, above all the san 19 mohur. Some of these bear the name of the issuing jeweler and are thus considered collectible. The rest may have just an initial or some other identifying symbol or may just be a crude, always die-struck, imitation. These are collectible, not forgeries made to deceive collectors, but were traded by weight as gold bullion coins throughout the 19th century. 4. Mughal rarities, mainly in silver, especially fractional rupees and nisar coins. These are pressure-cast or die-struck and are VERY deceptive. They have been surfacing in the market since the mid-1980s; some have even reached major auction firms (where nearly all were caught and rejected). There are others, and I'll report on them as I recall them.
From: Vashisht Vaid Date: 2000 Feb 29, 00:26am I am in one hundred percent agreement with Dr. Mahajan's remarks as i own a few specimen of the indo greek fakes in very good quality, some of them were made using ancient materials( siver from very bad quality ancient coins, and then casting them) even some were then burried in mud for some time to give them an authentic look. It is always good to buy them from a specialist or a reputable dealer.
From: Alan VanArsdale Date: 2000 Feb 29, 4:06pm I have not seen very many South Asian forgeries in hand but have heard about them. The use of period metal in medium to high quality forgeries is common everywhere. A worn example of a coin can be restruck or even engraved by hand to improve its value. This way the metal composition, weight and other particulars will be correct. Many old coins are authentic and restruck on older flans, I notice this especially in early struck Indian silver. It is easy to tell if a coin has been struck twice, but not so easy to tell when the second striking took place. Any twice struck coin should be carefully examined. Sometimes engraved coins can be detected by their high quality. Once a coin importer (and broker in this case) appealed to me to authenticate a coin he had sold as the buyer, a dealer not very experienced in ancients, was complaining it was a forgery. The coin was a striking Macedonian silver with a lion attacking a Bull? as I recall. The condition of this image was about mint state, but the flan was filed down from a coin that was at best fine in its original condition, with the reverse image (an incuse) original. Sometimes a coin can be sealed on one surface and exposed to detoriation on all others, but of course I was suspicious. Upon closer examination the fine image was engraved, with some kind of clever polishing process to make the surface look struck. This is called retooling (retooling is where a coin is not simply cleaned but made better by reworking, often by comparison to a fine original of the type), in this case it was even more than retooling I would say an outright forgery as none of the original image was apparent in the reworked surface. In this case there was an expertly renditioned forgery which should not have fooled anyone (except maybe the three non experts involved in the trade, I knew all three parties, the broker admitted he had 200% profit in the transaction and was quite pleased that he had made such a good buy). My understanding is most South Asian forgeries are easy to defeat using similar common sense approaches, or knowing of their existance. A reputable dealer will not knowingly sell a forgery, and will take the coin back for full refund any time if it is proven a forgery. Still, now thanks to internet trading cheaper coins is not only a valid research medium but a legitimate investment with low round turn trading cost, so every buyer should know at least something about forgeries, how they are made, and how to detect them, or be at some risk (at the same time the internet allows easier access to market for forgeries, though the FBI is active and closes down anyone who is too flagrant within about six months now). Lists such as this will prove most usefull in protecting the market from forgeries (as has been pointed out already they are usually made in groups, so exposing any group coming to the market is most usefull, at the same time great caution must be taken not to falsely accuse anyone of selling forgeries, and anyone found to be selling forgeries should be allowed to correct their mistake at their expense). To be very honest with this list I am almost certain a few Roman silver forgeries have passed me. I have caught a few at such a late stage which were so well done it seems likely. I also happen to know such forgeries were passing the best auction houses a year or two ago. I have sold thousands of such coins, the vast majority of which were obvioulsy authentic. The Slavic forgers art became very high is all, but is now less advanced than the technology to detect them for the moment. It is almost like a war, and a war we do not always win even if we are expert and experienced. Still nobody should be afraid that their collections are fakes (so long as they were not bought from a single dealer who was inexpert or dishonest). The vast majority of coins sold, even by inexpert dealers, are real. This problem should just be taken in stride, if anything is even interesting and gives much insight into how coins are made when studied. I have never had anyone claim I have sold them a forgery by the way, except once and that claim was retracted. I think about any large dealer will admit to having had some problem at some point in his career. I can sometimes take these issues too seriously myself, fighting with suppliers who probably only sold me forgeries by ignorance etc.. Collectors should be able to enjoy buying coins in a safe environment, with any dealers who are intentionally deceiving not lasting long. Still the issue should be of interest to everyone, and I find it most interesting and appreciate all posts on the topic.
From: Kavan Ratnatunga Date: 2000 Mar 1, 7:53am One of the most commonly Forged coins in Lanka is the 1785 Dutch 4 3/4 bars. I show one on and makes some observations on these dutch forgeries from Lanka. The tourist quality stuff are easy to spot. However I assume it is not impossible to make higher quality fakes of the more expensive rare types.
From: Alan VanArsdale Date: 2000 Mar 26, 8:00pm If there are any dealers who are consistently selling forgeries and continue to do so despite being informed about this there are ways to deal with them. It is often done in ignorance, but some do it intentionally. The FBI is very active now in this area, as well as the US postal inspectors. If a dealer is warned by list members that they are selling forgeries, and continues to do so flagrantly, any list member may present a case to me for this and I will proceed to initiate criminal prosecution and/or termination of that dealers eBay account. Or they can make a case to eBay investigative unit or the relevant authorities. EBay is not so bad as it was, largely thanks to some successfull prosecutions already and a number of accounts being terminated. I sold some forgeries of India coins a while back. They seemed strange to me, but the source was of the highest reputation. Turns out he did not examine them and knew instantly they were forgeries upon return when I finally did some tests and concluded they had to be bad. I recovered two of the three coins I sold, unfortunately I have lost the third with many many sales since then. Any dealer who is honest will recall forgeries, and investigate if the coins they sell are forgeries if someone informs them that they are. I probably have sold a few other forgeries, it is unavoidable for anyone to sell as much as .2% or so forgeries. Not all authentic coins can be authenticated with certainty without extensive testing, some hoards even have been condemned only after a few years on the market. Anyone not meeting these standards of ethics does not belong in the market. Such rogues not only injure collectors but they injure internet coin dealers in general, fueling the criticisms of non internet dealears about the internet market (they are jealous as it is clear for coins under $500 each the internet is now the market, there is no other market nearly so important). I have had a few conflicts already with such dealers, so if anyone is nervous about dealing with such people personally I am experienced in it. They can hire hackers who can make life difficult for you, but I am experienced already with this a couple of times, both from competitors as well as nervous criminals. I could tell some stories about how people have given me trouble on the internet, and how sometimes thay have had more trouble back than they anticipated, but this is a different story. EBay investigative unit is pretty effective now, they just gave me a call two days ago (my private investigator friend imagines he can find violations of eBay rules in my auctions and so have my account terminated, at least he has a hobby and somebody is stupid enough to pay him for such work). If multiple complaints are made to eBay investigators by buyers about forgeries being sold on eBay, they may move slowly but with time that dealer will be crushed if the allegations are true. Anyone can find how to contact eBay investigative unit by following the links on eBay. All tips are anonomous, though sure if you harass somebody and then a complaint is made against them along the same lines they can figure out who it is often enough. I was read what rules I was in "violation" of by the investigator. Every one was ridculous and the investigator quickly backed down on every point, only one person could create such a list of bizarre and meticulous complaints. If anyone does wish to complain to eBay safer not to be agressive with the dealer first, just give friendly warnings, and then proceed with eBay if there are no results. As criminals have many enemies (compared to me), they will not understand who is attacking them and will not be able to take counter measures.
From: Rajat Bedi Date: 2000 Jun 19, 6:46pm Recently I purchased some bull - horseman type coins. I don't know they are geniune or not. Please tell me how can I differentiate between a geniune coin and a fake one.
From: William F. Spengler Date: 2000 Jun 20, 12:36pm The only advice I could give you on how to distinguish between a genuine and a fake Shahi bull/horseman coin would be to apply the tests you would use for any coin, assuming you are talking silver: (1) Is its weight up to standard for Shahi units, i.e. about 3.3 grams or a bit less if worn or of the later issues; (2) Under magnification, does it appear to have sharp features and thus be die-struck (usually genuine) or more smooth features as cast in a mould (usually fake); (3) Does its "fabric" (style, appearance) compare favorably with genuine pieces, either in hand or in good catalogue plates, especially the Sharada calligraphy; (4) If you have several pieces which look identical including their die orientations they are obviously fake (nakli) since no two hand-struck coins will look exactly alike -- as cast copies, or copies made with fake hinged dies, often do. Having said this, I can tell you that I have examined tens of thousands of Shahi silver coins in the bazaars of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India over the years and have rarely discovered a counterfeit copy among them, except for obviously cast base-metal pieces of the highly stylized late late types. And even they might have been authentic debased issues or contemporary counterfeits. Shahi coins are just too common and low-value as a rule for modern counterfeiters to have bothered to reproduce. I have a sizeable collection of fake Indian coins ranging from atrocious replicas or downright "fantasies" which would fool only a gullible tourist, through casts made from authentic coins but in the wrong metal (!), up to good-looking cast or die-struck pieces which have failed the weight or eyeball tests; but there isn't a single Shahi type among them (except the abovementioned late late types). Please let us know your conclusions after applying these tests or put photos on the internet if you can. If you happen to be talking coppers, the same rules would apply only the Shahi coppers are generally lighter, about 2 to 2 1/2 grams. Namaste, Bill Spengler
From: Kamran Khan Admiral SOHAIL Date: 2000 Jun 20, 11:25am The best way to differentiate between genuine and fake coins is to ' get used to them'. I hope you like the phrase !! Don't feel offended..... but how would you find yor brother in 10 million people of New York ! In one look you will say .... there he is. By the way that is also the way a cashier at bank finds a fake note..... by the feel of it. Another ' best ' way is to be bitten by it ' . You will be very wise. I learnt it that way 30 years ago. REMEMBER.... TO START WITH, NEVER BUY AN EXPENSIVE COIN IF YOU CANNOT CLASSIFY IT OR YOU DO NOT KNOW ITS KIND WELL. It is like eating in a Chinese restaurant for the first time. Then one gets wiser. Do not think that others were all good. Probably we have made ten times more mistakes but we hide them and do not tell others !!! There are some papers on how to find fakes, cast coins from dies, from ' lost wax process' etc. If I find some , I will let you have them. Generally, there is not much money in producing fake copper coins [ also one does not lose much in getting them by mistake ] Do look at Robert Tye's book JITALS, it will give you a feel like 'Aircraft Recognition ' journal does. Last word. DO NOT WORRY. Keep at it. One learns VIOLIN also like this. Any help we can give....of course in meetings in coin fairs etc in person... can be of great help. BUT go ahead. It is as good a throw of money as Bungee Jumping. There is thrill in it. One day you will spend hours gazing at your collection and a thing of beauty is joy for ever.
From: Alexander Akin Date: 2000 Jun 20, 1:36pm In regard to the bull-and-horseman coinage, I want to support what Bill Spengler and the Admiral have said, which is that these coins are generally too common to make forgeries worthwhile, and that even a fake coin is not a tragedy in the usual price range for these things. However, one caveat - there are some rare early issues with Arabic inscriptions that are worth enough to counterfeit, including an expensive CAMEL and horseman variation on the theme, so it is best to become familiar with the general texture and qualities of the coinage before moving on to collect these. I, too, recommend Tye's book as a way of getting familiar with the designs of the coins. For the purpose of self-education, however, nothing can compare to sifting through piles of them in the bazaar!
From: Kavan Ratnatunga Date: 2000 Jun 21, 9:18pm What is the estimate of the price of coin that "make (quality) forgeries worthwhile". I guess it depends on the economy of the country of the forger, but wish to know working value for south asia coins to look more carefully. For example gold pagodas. I find that forgeries seem to come in two grades, those made cheap and sold cheap to tourists which a very easy to spot, and the high quality forgeries which even experts sometimes differ in their judgment of if the coin is genuine.
From: Shailendra Bhandare Date: 2000 Jun 22, 9:08am I think I agree with Kavan. In many instances, very common coins do get forged. All depends upon what the forger has in the act for himslef - if he could make a 100% profit, the exercise is well worth it! A decade ago, fake copper coins of Wima Kadphises appeared in Bombay. They were numerous, and every roadside coin dealer had them. They were being sold for about 10-20 rupees, even when genuine ones were available at a price not far exceeding that sum.
From: Kamran Khan Admiral SOHAIL Date: 2000 Jun 22, 12:53pm Forgery is an act when a crook is trying to pass something on as real to a reasonably versed person. On the other hand the type of fake coins you talk about can be seen as FAKE from miles. They are ugly, dumpy and badly finished.These are meant for strangers, foreigners, children and alike. People make money on these also as well as on real ones. I have heard of a rich Japanese tourist ask for the price for a BC era genuine copper oin[ worth 20-50 rupees]. The seller replied "one hundred. It is BC coin". And, lo and behold, the tourist paid $100 US note. The man [ who was expecting Rs 100 ] thanked him and vanished. Coming back to the topic, look at the coin. If it looks good ,you like the looks of it and it is WORTH IT [ say here$ 10-20 and no more ] take it. As I have said earlier " This is the best education ". It is like the first fall when learning to ride a bicycle or to skate. For the question of ' what value coins are forged'. I have partly given the answer above. Also gold coins are narmally attractive to forgerers, be very careful. Then silver of high values, eg. Zodiacs of Jahangir and so many in that range.
From: Krish Khambadkone Date: 2000 Jun 24, 9:25pm As always, when you are dealing with a topic like Numismatics, the three golden rules are, * Read before you buy * Read before you buy * Read before you buy The value of educating yourself in the various branches of Numismatics can never be underestimated. This is especially true in the case of hand struck coinage where the possibility for encountering counterfeits is very high. If you are into Ancient Indian Numismatics, here are some good sources of Information. - American Numismatic Association Libary - If you are a member ($30/year US), you will not only get their wonderful monthly magazine but have access to their excellent library. They carry all the titles on Numismatics ever published. It is worthwhile to go and spend a week there for study. They are in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you cannot do that, they will ship the book to you and you get to keep it for reference for about 1 month and then you ship it back to them. This is a free service for members. - Michael Mitchiner's, * Ancient and Classical World * Non-islamic states and Western Colonies * Coinage of South India (Two vols.) TN-Kerala and Karnataka-Andhra - There are several excellent publications from Motilal Banarsidass and Oriental Publications whose titles I cannot recall at the moment. - The great World Wide Web an infinite source of information, including this wonderful newsgroup that I am proud to be a member of. - Center for Numismatic Studies near Nasik in Maharashtra. This is undoubtedly the ANA of India. I heard, they too have an excellent library and facilities for research. - Check to see if there is a chair for Numismatics/Archaeology in a local University (for ex. Madras University has one and I believe Tanjore University has a special chair for South Indian Coinage). You can contact the professors and I am sure that they will be more than willing to help you and even identify some of the coins for you. - There are several coin Coin Grading services here in the US (PCGS, NGC etc.) but they are mainly for US coins. I believe Spink, Sothebys and Chrisities provide coin grading/authentication services. If you are into expensive ancient such as one of those Gold Gupta coins, it maybe worthwhile to send the coin to them for Authentication. - Several dealers provide coin authentication services. Stephen Album in Santa Rosa, CA is an authority on ancient indian coinage. He trades in them and has several publications devoted to them. I can send you contact info. if you are interested.
From: Michael Bates Date: 2000 Jun 26, 9:49am Good advice, only you forgot the American Numismatic Society's library, the best numismatic library in the world (although maybe there are better collections for Indian numismatics only). You don't have to be a member. The library is open Tuesday through Friday, 9-4:30. We also have hundreds of books on Indian history and culture, as well as other subjects. There is no lending directly to individuals, but we make and send photocopies. In addition to the several hundred books and journal volumes on Indian numismatics, we have a couple of drawers of separate articles, and almost every dealer's catalogue ever published. The card catalogue is indexed by subject (also available on the internet via and includes articles in periodicals as well as separate volumes and offprints. The dealer's catalogue collection is indexed by owner, so you can find out where and when the "Jones" collection was sold and consult the catalogue. Air conditioned. The librarian is Mr. Francis Campbell, campbell@a.... He is very helpful with reference inquiries.
From: Allan LT Speedy Date: 2000 Nov 10, 2:26pm During a recent trip to Pakistan I spent much of my time - to my wife's annoyance! - on looking at coins. I am not an expert - just an interested and wary amateur. In my humble opinion fakes are a plague on the sub continent - especially in the higher value category. Be very aware of any silver coin except for Mughal era (unless u dig it up yourself!) Be wary of all ancients unless they are scrappy low value coins. All coins of Alexander are likely to be fakes. My policy when purchasing coins during our wonderful holiday in Pakistan was to go to the bottom of the market and pick out the best there. I assume that making fakes is a pain - time consuming and costly - and that forgers can't be bothered unless there is enough profit for them. BTW anyone looking for an interesting holiday location should consider Pakistan. The people are wonderful and kind - just be wary of officials though - police, customs etc - they are nearly all crooks. One customs officer at Chitral airport tried to give us a 'drugs search' hassle. What annoying (and potentially dangerous if they set u up) bullshit!
From: Kavan Ratnatunga Date: 2000 Nov 10, 5:52pm I recently read an interesting article on the web on this subject Also Thy are mostly about ancient greek-roman coins, although valid for the subject in general. Such an article on ancient SouthAsian coins will be useful for collectors, since else you gain this wisdom after wasting some money in ignorance.
From: Alan VanArsdale Date: 2000 Nov 10, 10:49pm Forgeries of quality high enough to pass experts are not much of a problem for collectors when dealing with reliable sources (they will be rare, and refunds will usually be readily granted). However, I disagree with this article on two points. One they state that in the last 20 years most forgeries are being removed from the market place, that it becomes less of a problem (it is always commercially nice to believe this is true at least, to think positive). This may be true of older and well known types of forgeries, but I estimate thanks to advances in technology forgeries are becoming more of a problem over time (in the last two years probably some progress has been made against forgeries, about three to five years ago was the low point I think, with some forgeries passing very advanced dealers and auction houses). This brings me to the second point I disagree on, or more like an ommission. Very advanced forgeries are being made using advanced technology in the last five years. For example in the former Soviet Union some very good forgeries have been made I suspect using Soviet military manufacturing equipment and cheap scientific expertise there, along with numismatic consultation. I have seen some of these in coins as low of value here in the US as $80 (Roman silver), and there as low as $20 in the open market (Greek bronze). I am of the opinion any forgery is defeatable, and with time methods will be developed to defeat all forgeries at reasonable cost. Still some of these new forgeries have fooled some very experienced people, including myself temporarily on a few occasions, I can not name any other names than my own. I think usually these are struck from dies made by pressure casting of original coins, and I suspect in the past forgeries have been made from ancient dies (as ancient dies are usually not in perfect condition there are tell tale signs of this). The flans are reworked ancient ones or specially prepared new ones made to imitate the ancient ones closely in all respects (even using ancient metal, buying lots of junk ancient metal I have seen signs of this work in rejected materials which were partly worked with the end objective being use in forgeries, but these pieces were rejected for some reason, and presumable stolen by workers finding their way to me or else there was very lax security). None of the methods given in this article even come close to defeating this new generation of forgeries. I am not expert about catalogues of forgeries or the various styles of different engraving forgers, modern forgeries, which have not been published yet for the most part, are of more interest to me (mostly I buy newly found coins, or in rare cases newly made forgeries, I do not see so many old forgeries). These new forgeries can be mixed with authentic coins, and care taken to never sell the same die twice to the same dealer (once I was emailed that I had accidently used another dealers photo on a coin, immediately I examined the coin closer and it was a sophisticated forgery of one of the new types). Striking speeds, alloying temperatures and these sorts of things are a bit technical (and the truth is many dealers are secretive about these methods of forgery detection, not only to not aid the forgers, but to keep other dealers from having the same strengths, sorry if this seems unfriendly for me to say this but it appears to be true). For the novice beware of thin to medium dark and very uniform patinas, or coins with spider web cracks with dark infill with the cracks very uniform over the coin in spacing and appearance (such coins can be authentic, or some of the most deceptive forgeries I have seen are like this). Avoid very crusty coins, especially with very even attacking of the metal fabric, try putting overcleaned coins in different acids and see what they look like. Deposits of many types can be added, especially limey or dark ones, crystaline deposits are more difficult to imitate (as in the article). Generally an authentic bronze or silver coin does not undergo uniform processes in nature, giving a uniform appeance in the finished product. Heavily overcleaned coins are often not much better than forgeries to me, as I am not sure how to distinguish them from forgeries by the eye (without metallurgic analysis). I work with cheap coins (under $200 each mostly), less problems with forgeries, also less time to examine them all carefully and economically impractical usually to have them expertly analised in the lab or authenticated. When considering coins as a group, such as found in the same area, or the same hoard, a large battery of tools become available that are not available for single coins. Something like population studies etc.. The processes acting upon a number of coins in circulation over time, being made over time, are so complex they are very hard to imitate well enough to fool an experienced person (forgers can try things like recutting dies to make different "types", but not many dealers will be fooled these days). Also specific areas produce specific ranges of appearances in coins, depending on climate and soil chemistry, as well as local bullion sources. Ultimately the best defense is experience, seeing a large number of authentic coins over time and studying them carefully, or buying from someone who does this on a regular basis as a collector or dealer. Also being cheated a few times does not hurt, one should not expect to win every time and losing is a form of experience. Not so easy for everyone to learn medicine and treat themselves, nor is it so easy for everyone to try and become expert on forgeries in general and rely only upon themsleves for protection. Coin handling society as a whole can be very strong against forgeries, and lists like this one are a powerfull weapon of defense against the forgers art.
From: Kavan Ratnatunga Date: 2000 Nov 23, 9:27am Subj: Numismatic creativity in Lanka .. Interesting how 17th century cobs are found along side 4th century roman coins in Lanka. Maybe an old coin collection or manufactured more recently for sale to tourists by some merchants in lanka who are ignorant of numismatics and chronology ;-) I recently was able to get a copy of John Still's 1907 papers in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Ceylon Branch, 19.58 161-216 In which on page 164 he puts a footnote to the word "genuine" I quote " How rare genuine specimens are I am inclined to think very few people thoroughly recognize. Gold "Lankesvaras" and "Vijaya Bahus' are turned out wholesale in Kandy now, and are so skilfully done that most of them are duly absorbed into collections. The improved manufacture of late is marked" See also page 67 of Codrington's "Ceylon Coins and Currency" I quote "It is known that not a few of the coins in this writer's (Colonel B. Lowsley) collection were spurious, and unless confirmed by finds, the authenticity of his gold and silver pieces is open to suspicion." Lankan numismatic creativity is clearly very old, and well known to the experts long time ago. Maybe we have forgotten more recently.
From: Rifki Sameem, Asian Collectibles Network Date: 2000 Nov 24, 1:44pm Thanks, Shailendra Bhandare for the quick identification of the Spanish cob. Thank you Kavan Ratnatunga for your valuable comments. 17th century coins are found alongside 4th century ones when they form part of a collection or accumulation of coins; I would be most interested to further explore the theory proposed that every time a 4th century coin is found alongside a roman coin, it becomes "manufactured more recently for sale to tourists by some merchants in lanka who are ignorant of numismatics and chronology". This theory is nearly as interesting as the proposition that all Dutch Ceylon bar coins that don't have flat ends (like in the pictures in Codrington and Scholten) are forgeries.
From: Kavan Ratnatunga Date: 2000 Dec 8, 9:26am Subj: Portuguese Tanga x63x Few months ago I got an E-mail inquiry about a Portuguese Tanga shown on right with a clear XF date indicated by "x63x". The same coin was listed (#77) in the 1914 Catalogue of Coins of the Colombo Museum with the date of that coins described as x63x using x to indicate an illegible digit. Since the coin refered to is also illustrated there is no ambiguity that the real coin does not have x63x. Catalog #78 is described as xx4x but that is not illustrated. Next time I am in Lanka I will try to get scans of these two coins from the Museum. I decided this was a great amusing example of a recent reproduction and listed it with image in Few days a go I Got E-mail from a dealer who said I quote ** Begin Quote ** "I was told by my colleageu that the particular tanga x63x was once sold by Schulman auction no.1316 24th May 1968. So I think this coin maybe genuine. Also, theres another type xx4x sold by Henry Christenson USA 1985." "xx4x tanga - also to add, that Gomez had one sample of the coin too! and I was just being informed that in 1995? Baldwin Auction in Hongkong sold one xx4x too!!! These coins are all illustrated with the figure exactly on the coin xx4x or x63x. I understand the numismatic terms 'x' being not clear, this term is also being used in KM. But what made me couldn't understand at all is that these coins were owned/sold by VERY well known numismatist. Could it be true that there are such coins exist? I was told also xx4x means 4tanga, and x63x was for year 1663." ** End Quotes **. Sale at an leading Auction does not make a fake reproduction Genuine. It just makes it an interesting Fantasy. IMHO this reflects that some leading Auction Houses, who should be experts are sometimes misled even by stupid reproductions. One of the aims of our group should be to discuss coins such as this with reference to old well researched publication which are the Authority rather than recent Auction catalogs. Codrington is the definitive work on Ceylon Coins. It makes no mention of coins using X instead of a digit of date. I would appreciate comments from the experts on this list and if the dealer who sent me the above comments read this E-group to please join in the discussion.
From: Uno Barner Jensen Date: 2000 Dec 8, 10:17am Just to tell I on my homepage under Portuguese Malacca have a 2 tanga 1631 as I think may be forgery. I have bought the piece in Malaysia and seen some more og the same type with different years. It looks nearly like the piece x63x Regards Uno Barner Jensen
From: Jean-Michel Dumont, Date: 2000 Dec 9, 2:24am This mail directly to let you know that on Sept. 15, 2000, I also got an inquiry mail about this "x63x" coin from somebody identifying himself as ........... answered: "This looks like a very nice 2 Tangas coin struck in Malacca by the Portuguese; the date "x63" is totally unknown, and very unusual. I should add that the authenticity of this coin is questionnable; my personal himpression is that it could be a fake made in Hong Kong... Unfortunately, there are many." This for your information.