Here is some good advice that will help you avoid fakes. revised August 15, 2015
1) There are many criminal fake sellers who
For a list of eBay sellers who have sold fakes, see:
Forum's eBay fakesellers list: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=18502.0
The best simple way to avoid fakes is to avoid those
sellers. (However, new criminal sellers pop up frequently.)
Yahoo e-mail group (the CoinForgeryDiscussionList)
a blacklist of fake
sellers. If you intend to buy ancient coins you should join it. You can
ask about particular items and receive frequent updates about fakes and
(You will have to "join" to see it but you can easily check a box to not to get any communications if you don't want them.)
2) If you question a particular coin, look at
which allows people to post fakes they have
spotted. Go there and enter in the identification (for example, the
name of the Roman emperor or the name of the Greek city) in the search
3) Never buy from sellers located
in Bulgaria, China, or Malasia.
4) Never bid on "private auctions" (where the names of bidders are private).
5) Never bid on auctions where the seller's feedback is private. (What could be the possible excuse for that!)
6) With sellers unknown to you, always look at "seller's other items." If any are fakes, don't bid. If almost all are low-value coins of much worse quality than the one that interests you, don't bid. (Some fakesellers surround their high-cost fakes with lots of genuine junk to increase their feedback record.)
Particular web sites with more information are discussed below.
the way, do NOT assume that a large number of good feedbacks means the
seller is okay. Many sellers of fakes have 100% feedback because the
suckers who bought from them do not know they bought a fake instead of
a bargain (and, they did not read this page!)
Con men gravitate to eBay. If you were going to sell
high-value fakes, would you want to do it face-to-face where an irate
customer could confront you, or anonymously from a distant state or
country where the law's tentacles do not reach?
Doug Smith's good advice about fakes. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/dougsmith/fake.html
Ancient Coins and Modern Fakes: How To Tell The
Authentication Primer, by Dennis J. Kroh
"Brad's Introduction to Ancient Coins" with information about
Forum's discssion board on fakes: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?board=9.0
Sites with lots of fakes illustrated
The most important site, mentioned above: http://forgerynetwork.com/Another major site, Forum's fake coin reports: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/fakes/index.php
A huge page (I hope you have a high-speed
a great number of fakes offered on eBay:
The site also has notes on the MO, and seller names, of this person, or group of people, who sell fakes on eBay. If you see a nice coin offered in a "private auction", beware! Some of us who can recognize fakes e-mail buyers to warn them not to pay. However, sellers can prevent that by making the auction "private." Not all "private" auctions are of fakes, but it is a major warning sign. Fraud on eBay is primarily (but not exclusively) conducted using "private" auctions.
Some denarius fakes that appeared on eBay in December,
"The Slavey Catalog" by Twelve Caesars, an extensive illustrated
list of some of the most common fakes by the famous Bulgarian
forger Slavey and his school.
A French site (CGB) with many forgeries illustrated: http://www.cgb.fr/monnaies/articles/faux/indexgb.html
Fakes of coins of the Roman emperor Severus Alexander (AD 222-235) http://www.severusalexander.com/fakes.htm
Ed Snible's site on the infamous "Black Sea Hoard and
other Apollonia diobol fakes"
Sites with a few particular fakes individually discussed
Calgary Coin Gallery's Pages on Forgeries. Four fakes discussed. http://www.calgarycoin.com/reference/fakes/fakes.htm
Counterfeit of a Decadrachm of Syracuse by Kimon, 405 -
B.C. by John R. Gainor
Copies of a Sasanian-style coin of the huns: http://www.grifterrec.com/y/gobl_8-9_comp.jpg
Chris Hopkins' pages on counterfeits of Parthian coins, at
A pdf file posted by the Celator about Becker the
Some firms make "reproduction" ancient coins. If you buy from them, you know what you are getting. If someone else buys from them and sells to you, you might buy a fake. Here are some sites:
Museum Reproductions, another source for coin
page 3 of the introduction to collecting that linked to this page about
Return to the index page of the whole site.