I recently bought, from a reputable dealer on VCoins (Herakles Numismatics), what certainly appears at first glance to be a genuine example of Crawford 378/1c: the 81 BCE C. Marius Capito denarius with Ceres on the obverse and a husbandman plowing with two oxen on the reverse. It's a type with a control number appearing on both the obverse and the reverse (the numbers go from I to CLI, and the same number should appear on both sides), as well as a control symbol on the obverse. At the time I bought the coin, I could see the reverse number CXXIII very clearly from the seller's photo, but the obverse number was partly off the flan and difficult to read, and I simply didn't notice before I bought the coin that there was a different number (CIIII) on the obverse from the one on the reverse. I don't think the seller noticed either. I noticed that it's a hybrid of CIIII and CXXIII only when I did some research afterwards to try to identify the obverse control symbol, which I thought might be some sort of bracelet, but in fact is a torc or torque (Celtic neck-ring) -- the symbol that goes with control number CIIII; see Crawford Vol. I p. 394. (There's no obverse symbol listed for CXXIII, and in fact I've found no published example of a coin with CXXIII on the obverse as well as the reverse.) I figured this out by looking at three examples of Capito reverse CXXIII that I found on acsearch, and realizing not only that they're all the same coin (sold three times, each time as a genuine example), but that even though the control symbol itself is off the flan on the obverse of that coin, the control number is easily readable (unlike on my coin), and is clearly a different number, namely CIIII -- for which Crawford and Grueber (at BMCRR 2875) both list the control symbol as a torque (torc). Which matches the visible control symbol on the obverse of my coin. So I concluded that my coin, like the coin on acsearch, is actually a hybrid of a CIIII obverse and a CXXIII reverse. The coin arrived today, and it's quite obvious from looking at it in-hand that the obverse number is CIIII, and is not the same as the number CXXIII on the reverse. So my coin is clearly a hybrid, and the question becomes whether it (and/or the example I found on acsearch) could possibly be genuine, or, like all Roman Republican hybrids (with a couple of exceptions) are supposed to be (see Crawford p. 562), is a plated coin (fourrée). Crawford states that "hybrids are often wrongly reported as being of pure silver, when they are in fact plated (for the only examples known to me of hybrids of pure silver see pp. 272 and 279 and no. 391; cf. also Table XVIII, 114)." He does not list my hybrid as one of these examples. So, on the one hand, the weight is in the range of a genuine example, there's no sign whatsoever of any copper showing through, and so far as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with the style, which I happen to like a lot (it's the reason I bought the coin!). The coin seems to be no different in general appearance or quality from the indisputably genuine examples I've seen of Crawford 378. (The Richard Schaefer die examples for Crawford 378 have not yet been published online, so I can't yet try to figure out whether either side matches an official die.) There's no sign of casting, and even the notches around the serrated edge all appear to be entirely silver. On the other hand, Crawford not only asserts that hybrids are counterfeit in general, but specifically identifies (see p. 395) examples of this very hybrid combination (CIIII obverse with CXXIII reverse), held in Paris and by the British Museum, as "plated." Here's the seller's photo, together with my description of the coin, cobbled together from various sources. (See especially the footnote regarding the coin's hybrid nature and the portion of the text accompanying the footnote, with my apologies for the partial repetition of the discussion above.) Roman Republic, C. [Gaius] Marius C.f. Capito, AR Serrate Denarius 81 BCE [Harlan: 81/80 BCE], Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust of Ceres right, wearing earring, head bound with corn wreath, hair falling down neck; CAPIT• upwards behind, with legend followed by control number CIIII; control symbol (torc; Celtic neck ring) beneath chin / Rev. Husbandman with yoke of two oxen plowing left, control-number CXXIII [sic] above; C•MARI•C•F / S•C [Senatus consulto] on two lines in exergue. Crawford 378/1c (hybrid of obverse control number CIIII and reverse control number CXXIII; Crawford lists control-symbol for CIIII as a torque [torc]; see Vol. I p. 394)*; RSC I Maria 9; Sear RCV I 300 (ill.); Sydenham 744b; BMCRR Vol. I 2855-2890 [Control-number CIIII is no. 2875, with control symbol identified as a torque; control number CXXIII not listed]; Harlan, Michael, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (2012) [“RRM I”], Ch. 2 at pp. 8-13. 19 mm., 3.44 g. [Second footnote discussing symbolism of coin, summarizing different interpretations of Grueber, Crawford, and Harlan, omitted.] *See also Crawford p. 395, at the end of his list of control numbers and symbols for No. 378 (Table XXXIII), stating that hybrid “plated specimens” with CIIII on the obverse and CXXIII on the reverse (among other “aberrant combinations”) -- i.e., the same combination as this coin -- are held in Paris and by the British Museum. However, this coin does not appear on superficial examination to be plated. Another example of the same hybrid (not this coin) is listed three times on acsearch as having been sold as a genuine example: as GORNY & MOSCH GIESSENER MÜNZHANDLUNG, AUCTION 191, LOT 1960 (11 Oct 2010); FRITZ RUDOLF KÜNKER GMBH & CO. KG, AUCTION 257, LOT 8407 (20 Oct 2014); and GORNY & MOSCH GIESSENER MÜNZHANDLUNG, AUCTION 236, LOT 364 (7 Mar 2016). [End of description.] Here's a photo of the example on acsearch that's been sold three times in the last 10 years; I am certain that it's a reverse die match to mine, and suspect that it's an obverse die match as well. (I have found no photos of the examples of this hybrid apparently held in Paris and by the British Museum, and don't know how Crawford made the determination that they're not genuine.) There's a well-known difference of opinion among various authorities as to whether plated coins of the Republic were the work of private counterfeiters (Crawford's view), or were official mint products. For a very vigorous presentation of the latter view, see the lengthy 2010 article by Pierluigi Debernardi entitled "Plated Coins, False Coins?," originally published in Revue Numismatique, Année 2010, 166, at pp. 337-381, and available online in English at https://www.persee.fr/doc/numi_0484- 8942_2010_num_6_166_2941 . (It contains, among other things, a catalogue of Republican types known to have been produced not only in silver but also as plated coins -- the list includes Crawford 378 -- and photos showing die links between plated coins and official issues). Interestingly enough, the issuance of plated Republican coins apparently reached its peak before Sulla's victory, whereas my coin was issued after Sulla was in power (and, in fact, may well symbolize the founding of colonies by Sulla's veterans: see discussion in Harlan RRM I at pp. 10-12; see also Grueber, BMCRR Vol. I p. 353 n. 2). However, if my coin is actually plated rather than genuine silver, I don't particularly care whether it was issued by private forgers or is a product of an official mint. (I must say, though, that I don't understand why either would have issued an obvious hybrid like this one even though they obviously knew what they were doing and had a lot of skill. This isn't a crude imitation crafted by barbarians!) What I care about is whether it's a plated coin in the first place, or might possibly be a genuine silver example. I know that the determination of whether an ancient coin is genuine silver or plated is usually made by testing the coin's specific gravity -- for example, the SG of pure silver is 10.49, and the SG of copper is 8.95. Debernardi discusses the specific gravity of plated vs. genuine Roman Republican specimens at pp. 340-341 and Table I, listing a number of plated Republican coins with specific gravities ranging from 6.99 on the low end to, on the high end, 9.07 and 9.08 for two coins which -- like mine if, in fact, it is not a genuine silver example -- "have reached us without any damage to their silver plating, which is intact." (Id. p. 341.) Unfortunately, although I did find a guide to measuring specific gravity without specialized equipment -- see http://coinsblog.ws/2016/06/detecting-counterfeits-specific-gravity.html -- my very inexpensive digital scale measures only in 10ths of a gram rather than the 100ths of a gram necessary for proper measurements. A difference of a few hundredths of gram in the weight of a coin while suspended in distilled water (using a harness made of thread) can make a huge difference in the specific gravity number. (One divides the "dry weight" by the weight while suspended in water.) For comparison purposes, I did make some rather crude calculations (based on several repetitions of the process) of the SG number for one of my undisputedly genuine Republican serrated denarii issued around the same time as the C. Marius Capito denarius -- a C. Poblicius denarius issued in 80 BCE, Crawford 380/1. I got SG numbers of around 9.6 each time (3.84 g. [weight provided by dealer]/0.4 g.). I did the same for my new Marius Capito denarius and got considerably lower SG numbers, around 8.6 (3.44 g. [weight provided by dealer/0.4 g.) -- although if I were to base the calculation on the couple of times my scale measured the weight of the Capito denarius suspended in water as 0.3 g. rather than 0.4 g., the SG number would jump to 11.33! Obviously, a more sensitive digital scale would be very helpful, and I've already ordered one from Amazon that measures in 100ths of gram, for $17. It should be here in another couple of days. I'm certainly not going to do anything until I'm able to accomplish a better SG calculation. But if the SG number continues to be below 9 -- and continues to be considerably lower than other denarii I own from the same time-period -- I suppose I'll have to conclude that regardless of appearance, the coin is plated, albeit (presumably) ancient. If that turns out to be the case, I'll have several options: 1. Contact the seller, explain my conclusions, and try to return the coin for a full refund. 2. Contact the seller, explain my conclusions, and tell him that I'd like to keep the coin for it's historical interest, but think he should give me a partial refund (perhaps 50%) because, as appealing as the coin may be, and despite the fact that it's probably ancient, it's still a counterfeit and shouldn't have cost me the same price as a genuine silver example. (I don't usually like to say how much I paid for a coin, but in this case I'll say that even with the modest discount I received as a previous customer, I still paid around $300 -- way more than I've paid for most of my ancient coins.) 3. Do nothing and just keep the coin because I like it and it's historically interesting. 4. Do nothing, say nothing, and commit fraud by selling the coin as a genuine silver coin to an unsuspecting buyer. (J/k.) What do people think, and what would you do?