Fake aureus

gorny fake

 

In 2006 a new aureus of Carausius was offered for sale. The coin, pictured above, featured the reverse type PAX AVG with MVLT X in the exergue. The coin, ostensibly of the type identified as RIC 4, was obviously rather knocked about and carried with it an estimate of 10,000 Euros (not unreasonable for a gold coin of the British usurper).

In early 2007 I was researching the gold and silver coinage of Carausius when I encountered a copy of the IAPN forgery bulletin (vol. 17, no.1, 1992). Coin 25a listed in that journal was an aureus of Carausius, listed as a known fake, supposedly found with a number of other coins of Carausius and Allectus contained in a leather purse, rescued from the Thames mud in London. reproduced below it is a die duplicate of the top coin!

 

The diagnostic signs that the two are from the same dies are:

1.    the drapery from the left arm of Pax, and indeed the entire left arm

2.    comparison of MVLT X in the exergue

3.    the ear of Carausius on the obverse

4.    the first V of CARAVSIVS

plus other points of reference.

It is obvious that the first coin was distressed to try to disguise the diagnostic points above and get the coin accepted. It does not seem to have worked because the top coin was offered twice by a well known European auction house and twice it didn’t sell.

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