Making Fake Roman Coins in 1st Century India (!)

Very interesting item from the Deccan Herald:

For those who think financial fraud or circulating fake currencies is a modern day phenomenon, an ancient Roman coin mould on display at the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage in the city is a startling revelation.

The Roman coin mould, which is being displayed for the first time since its excavation in 1993, indicates that fake coins were in circulation around 19 to 20 centuries ago. The terracotta mould is among the most important objects displayed at the exhibition, apart from terracotta figurines, iron objects, bronze dies, stone beads.

M S Krishnamurthy, a retired professor of Archaeology who led the team that unearthed the mould, told Deccan Herald that it was a mould for Roman coins in circulation during the first century AD. “The coins probably were minted either during the period of Augustus or his son Tiberius,” he said.

“In the area where we spotted the mould, a foundry with a crucible was also found. Considering this, it is possible that a person living in Talkad was minting duplicate coins of Romans,” he said. He added that it was one of the rare and unique moulds excavated in the State.

Archaelogist Gowda N L said that the mould contained an inscription of Greek goddess Livia with words, ‘Maxim Pontis’.

“The coins with the same inscriptions were in circulation around the country. Roman coins belonging to the first century AD have been found in various excavation sites around the country. However, such a terracotta mould has never been found elsewhere.”

He added that the coins might have been minted at Talkad and circulated around the country. “It is possible that the value of Roman currency was more in India during the period, which might have led a few individuals at Talkad to indulge in minting fake coins,” he added.

Talkad, of course, is in India … so already in/around the time of Augustus we’re getting fake Roman coins abroad. Anyone know anything more about this find (was it ever published in English? Identifying Livia as a “Greek goddess” doesn’t really lend confidence to this)? The original article is accompanied by a grotty little photo which doesn’t really give you an idea of the coin …

Roman Hoard from near Kalingrad

From the Voice of Russia:

Archeologists from the Sambian expedition of the Russian Institute of Archeology have found a unique collection of Roman coins dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD in the Kaliningrad region, Interfax reports.

The Kaliningrad Regional Historical and Arts Museum told Interfax that the discovered treasure has already been handed over to the museum.

The find consists of over 100 Roman bronze sestertii bearing the portraits of emperors from the Nerva-Antonine dynasty: from Trajan, famous for his vast conquests, to the eccentric Commodus whose accession to the throne in 180 AD marked the end of the era of “the five kind emperors.”

The majority of coins were minted during the reign of Marcus Aurelius often referred to as “the philosopher on the throne.” His rule is considered the golden period in the ancient historical tradition.

According to historians, this unique numismatic collection narrates the most interesting period in the history of the Roman Empire.

[…]

Historians claim that the treasure buried in the ground is quite valuable and worth approximately one-third of the annual pay of a Roman legionnaire.

Archaeologists say that the origin of the Roman coin collection found in the Zelenogradsky district remains a mystery.

It might have been hidden by a merchant in the late 2nd – early 3rd centuries. At the time Roman sestertii were used as a medium of exchange for Baltic amber.

According to another theoy, they were offerings to local gods.

The Kaliningrad museum is planning to exhibit the collection in the very near future.

via Rare ancient Roman coins found near Kaliningrad. (Voice of Russia)

Also Seen: Real Roman Women on Coins

Interesting feature over at Coin Week … here are the first couple of paragraphs as a bit of a tease:

Much like Americans, Republican Romans had a deep-rooted prejudice against depicting living people on their money. It was something that pretentious Greek kings and tyrants did. When Julius Caesar violated this taboo, his assassins claimed that he was trying to make himself a king. And yet, within a few years, Brutus struck his own portrait on coins to pay his army – the famous “Ides of March” denarius.

The civil wars that tore the Republic apart (49-30 BCE) saw dramatic social change, including changes in gender roles. Female figures had appeared on Roman coinage for centuries, but these were goddesses, personifications, or legendary figures like the Vestal Virgin Tarpeia, who appeared on a denarius in 89 BCE. […]

Follow Up: Antony and Cleopatra Coin from Bethsaida

A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned a report about a nice Antony and Cleopatra coin which had been found at Bethsaida last year (Antony + Cleopatra Coin from Bethsaida!). The article wasn’t accompanied by a photo, but the ‘official photographer’, Hanan Shafir kindly did send one to me with permission to post it:

Photo by Hanan Shafir

Photo by Hanan Shafir

We stress that the coin was found last year, as the photographer confirms, and not this year, as stated in Simcha Jacobovici’s coverage of the find which includes the same photo (Ancient Lovers’ Coin).

Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic Online

This one’s been hitting all my social media sources and a few lists as well … here’s a description from the page:

Coin hoards of the Roman Republic Online (CHRR Online) is a database of Roman Republican coin hoards mainly from the period 155 BC to AD 2. This database began life as a personal research database constructed by Kris Lockyear using a combination of published data and Michael Crawford’s personal archive now housed in the British Museum. The online database, which utilises the Numishare application developed by Ethan Gruber, is a joint project between Kris Lockyear (Institute of Archaeology, University College London) and the American Numismatic Society. Project coordination provided by Rick Witschonke of the ANS. […]

Check it out: Coin hoards of the Roman Republic Online

Roman Republic Numismatic Database Project

Saw this mentioned on the Classicists list … the folks at UWarwick are putting together something which will, no doubt, be very useful … here’s a bit from the introductory blurb:

Work on provincial coins in the Roman Empire has demonstrated their potential to be used as a source to understand local culture as well as perceptions of the emperor and Roman power. The provincial coinage of the Republican period, however, has received little attention. By examining the iconography of coins struck by Roman officials and cities outside Rome in the period 168-27 BC, this project seeks to uncover how Roman power was represented, negotiated or rejected before the creation of the principate.

Bulgarian Coin Hoard

From Novinite … sounds like one we’ll be hearing more about (hopefully):

A team of Bulgarian archaeologists has found a coin treasure from the 3rd century BC near the southeastern-most Bulgarian Black Sea village of Sinemorets.

The coin treasure was discovered by the team of Prof. Daniela Agre excavating archaeological sites in the region in a ceramic vessel.

“We are now working, cleaning around the vessel. Once we lift it, we will be able to say how many are there. This is a treasure consisting of silver coins, a large one,” she told the Focus news agency.

Prof. Agre explained the vessel containing the coins was found buried next to a tower of the fortified home of an Ancient Thracian ruler that has been known to the Bulgarian archaeologists since 2006.

The archaeologist pointed out that there are only a few cases in which coin treasures of such scope have been found during excavations in Bulgaria.

She believes the coins in question were most likely minted by Alexander the Great or his officer and successor Lysimachus. Agre promised to provide more information later.

… if you’re keeping score of who finds what in Bulgaria, Dr Agre is the archaeologist who found that chariot burial a couple of years ago (Chariot Burial (and more) from Borissovo)