Modern copies of Roman coins

Modern copies are those that were made in relatively recent times, roughly speaking from the 16th century until the present day. These coins are either replicas (such as those you can buy in a museum shop) or fakes produced with the intention of deceiving collectors.
Generally speaking copies are given away by one or more of the following things:

  • Fabric: They are made from a different metal alloy, plated or show evidence that they were not produced in the correct way.
  • Style: The person producing the copy has made mistakes in copying the designs and/or the inscriptions on the coin.
  • Size: They are smaller and lighter than genuine coins of the same type.

Copies produced in relatively modern times (from the 16th century until the present day) are normally made to deceive collectors. Others, however, may have been produced as museum replicas or souvenirs. Any ‘archaeological’ finds of such coins are assumed to be either modern losses or hoaxes.

A modern invented copy of a denarius of Julius Caesar

Figure 1: Invented type of Julius Caesar made by Giovanni Cavino (1500-1570). He was one of the most famous producers of Roman imitations and ‘fantasy’ types during the Renaissance.

A Westair reproduction obverse

Figure 2: Modern replica denarius signed ‘WRL’ (Westair Reproductions Limited) and another similar modern copy. Both are struck from modern alloys and not silver. The weigh and ‘feel’ of these coins is very different from a genuine denarius.