Terms about ancient imitations

[under construction]

Fourrée  [a French word for "filled" or "stuffed" (in the case of coins, with base metal)].  A struck counterfeit of a silver coin made by wrapping a base-metal flan in a thin sheet of silver foil and then striking it with counterfeit dies. Originally, it would have the deceptive appearance of a full-silver coin. There are other methods of producing surface-silvering on counterfeit coins, but only this method yields imitations properly called fourrées (A similar method was used to make counterfeit gold coins also called fourrées). There has been a great deal of discussion about whether the Roman government might have, itself, used this method to create coins and the scholarly consensus is that "plated coins = false coins." Therefore I feel comfortable in saying they are counterfeits.
    Counterfeit coins of, say, the Severans and Antonines, in perfect style are likely to be casts and not fourrées. I find that the style of engraving on fourrées is usually somewhere between slightly incorrect and very bad. There are many casts of coins of the Severans and Antonines and they, of course, have perfect style but rarely show much in the way of remaining silver. The ancient method of giving cast denarii deceptive silvering (assuming they had it) is not known for certain. [A page on the known technology of making counterfeits is under construction.]

Limesfalshung (singular), Limesfaschungen (plural), Limesfalsa (plural).  Originally a modern term for lightweight cast copies of AE (not silver or silvered) Roman coins found along the northern borders ("limes" = pathways) of the empire, especially along the German and Pannonian frontiers. The term was introduced by Anton Kubitschek (1858 - 1936). In Britain, they are called "light-weights." They could hardly have been deceptive and must have served as small change.
    In the last decade huge numbers of ancient imitations of Roman silver denarii have come out of the Balkans and Bulgaria. These are sometimes fourrées and sometimes casts and not what the term limesfalsa referred to before very recent times (late 1990's). However, sellers on ebay have been using this term to describe imitations of denarii, and that usage of the term has become established in the trade. Actual "light-weights" (a term not used for fourrées) are uncommon in trade. Therefore, it seems likely that the term limesfalshung will continue in it new meaning -- any imitition, including silver-plated and base metal imitations of denarii, struck or cast along the frontier in regions where the regular coin supply was insufficient and supplemented by counterfeits.

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