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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
- 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 www.amnumsoc.org) 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
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
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
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"
"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 http://coins.lakdiva.org/fake/
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 www.tranquebar.dk/welcome.htm 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
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.