Possible contemporary fouree or modern Attica imitation tetradrachm?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Here's a coin that is supposed to be the famous Athens imitation of a tetradrachm from Philistia, Gaza. It is not.

    Here is an original, very rare and big bucks, courtesy of Heritage Auctions:


    Now, for my masterpiece:

    D-Camera Probable Fouree of Gaza Imitation Tetradrachm, 16.2 grams , eBay purchase, 7-9-20.jpg

    Not even close. So, the question is, is this coin a contemporary fourré or some modern tourist copy?

    This coin has clearly been cast (lots of bubbles and filing on the rim), but there also appears to be copper showing on the obverse where apparently a test punch was administered. There's another one on the reverse, dead center of the owl. Additionally, there's a fair amount of wear, and the surfaces are in pretty bad condition, as would be expected with a coin of this sort.

    Whatever coin was used to create this one was apparently double struck, as a die shift is can be seen on the obverse, or this might be a double impression in the mold.

    The weight of this coin is 16.2 grams.

    Here's a photo of the edge:

    D-Camera Edge Shot, Probable Fouree of Gaza Imitation, 16.2 grams , eBay purchase, 7-9-20.jpg

    Any thoughts?

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
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  3. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    That would fool me! I have a New Style with more holes than Blackburn Lancashire!
    The file mark uhm!

    What is the link to the Heritage original if you have it please- I have not noticed the type before.
  4. PeterD

    PeterD Member

    Well it can't be a cast AND a fourré. The Heritage coin is an imitation of an Athens coin by another city-state. I think yours is a contemporary fourré forgery, made in some back alley. Still an interesting coin.
  5. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Here's the link:


    This is a super rare coin. Apparently it is still available (didn't sell at auction). The estimate isn't mentioned, but it must have been very high. As a specialty coin, there probably wasn't a very large pool of potential bidders.

    Heritage does mention, in the lot's description, that another example sold for $30,000. That's a lot of shekels.
    NewStyleKing and DonnaML like this.
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter


    The reason I think it is cast is obviously the pits, which are numerous. My guess is that the coin was cast and then plated over. I've seen other ancient fake Athenian tetradrachms with the same treatment, and apparently this was a quite widespread practice.

    Here's a paper on the subject of ancient counterfeits of archaic and classical Greece. Check out figure 6.

    Attached Files:

  7. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Contemporary with what? Today or 2400 years ago?
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  8. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Normally contemporary is used in the context that something, someone or some event is contemporaneous, in other words occurring or living within approximately within the same period.

    I'm fairly sure that my coin is rather old, at least older than me, and that's pretty ancient! But really, I do think it is probably one of many ancient fakes that circulated throughout the ancient world.

    Fraud is as old as humans, when they first walked on the planet, no doubt.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  9. Lolli

    Lolli Active Member

    It is almost certainly a modern tourist cast fake.

    1. fouree, means plated ancient counterfeits with copper core. Your coin has no copper core, you would see it under the circular holes from gas bubbles and under the 2 counterstamps (hair obverse and owl reverse) and under the filemark on edge (which is fresh because you can still see the VERY VERY VERY fine vertical scratches caused by the file.)

    2. I have never heard that fouree were produced by casting, generally they casted a planchet of copper and then they did a very very thin foil of silver or gold on the planchet and then they struck the counterfeit from either hand cut dies or transfer dies. "

    "Counterfeit Coins of Archaic and Classical Greece"
    "(Figure 6) Athens 4thcentury B.C.E.fourréetetradrachm. Smith (1997) http://dougsmith.ancients.info/fourreeg.html. ThisfourreéAthenian tetradrachm is likely from the 4thcentury B.C.E. as Athena’s eye is in profile. This is a cast fake as it shows the typical signs of this counterfeiting technique."

    The coin shown there (Figure 6) is a corroded fourrée (you can see red copper under a thin silver plating) produced by striking and not cast, the holes are sharper and not so round and so typical corrosion holes, casting holes from gas bubbles are generally very round (circular).
    You have to consider that copper is a non-precious metal and the more noble a metal is the higher the resistance against acid/corrosion. And so siver has a much higher resitance against corrosion. That there is no copper under test cut (Figure 6) implies that his fourrée was struck with transfer dies in ancient times and that the mother had an test cut and so this test cut was transferred into transfer dies and so of course on tranfer die fakes, too.
    Fourrée generally have a massive corrosion problem because of the low acid (corrosion) resistence of copper and if anywhere the plating is not intact anymore then from this point the copper will be eaten (corrode) with time by acid even under plating. So the plating can start for example on the edge and eat the copper from inside (und plating).

    3. Next point is that even if you consider that your coin would have a copper core (which is not true), that they would have to cast your coin first and then doing the cast fake in melted silver bath to plate it. Ok, but why did they remove the sprue after plating?
    This would be stupid because they only used a thin silver layer for plating and if you then remove the sprue on edge you would remove certainly the plating there and you could then see the copper under plating. But we have many thin vertical scratches which would and could not be there if the sprue would have been removed before silver bath, because the thin silver layer would be 100 % thick enough to cover this scratches.

    4. As written above fourrée sould have corrosion due to corrosion of the copper under plating, (to find fourees without corrosion is extremely difficult), but I can not see any corrosion on your coin only casting defects and holes from gas bubbles and no copper.

    D-Camera Edge Shot, Probable Fouree of Gaza Imitation, 16.2 grams , eBay purchase, 7-9-20.jpg

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  10. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    According to Heritage it sold $31200 but the "new" owner is actively seeking offers?

    Had a look at the recent New Styles sales and they are going for crazy prices.The NGC grading looks dodgy-obviously not being a modern US coin collector I don't understand grading but how can an reverse be 4/5 when the amphora control is worn away?
    Obverses that are well worn through striking and wear and tear 5/5?
  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, the coin could be modern. The crude style suggests a "back alley" origin.

    What's your opinion of the center punch marks? I think they could have been part of the original casting mold. There is some break on the obverse's punch mark surface, exposing a darker surface, which I assumed to be copper of some base metal, definitely a very dark reddish color.

    I bought this coin as a curiosity, and a fake a couple of years ago.

  12. Lolli

    Lolli Active Member

    Fresh punch marks are supposed to be sharp and I think that they are not completely sharp anymore so they were most likely already on the mother. Did you look for other coins from this dies? Maybe you will find the mother? It could be the that the cast was not made of pure silver and that the metals of alloy were not perfectly mixed or impurities in Silver, even on the same coin the metal alloy is not always everywhere 100% identical but almost. It would be very interesting if there is really copper under a Silver plating, on your cast (some modern fakes are silver plated fourees to make them more deceptive).

    Lipanoff Macer, modern hand cut dies, exist in Silver and as fouree with copper core and silver plating


    In Silver withdrawn as modern fake


    The black toning could be hydrogen sulfide. "Silver becomes black because of hydrogen sulfide (sulfur), a substance that occurs in the air."


    You can test if your coin is made of pure silver or not. Silver, Copper and and other metals have different density . 1 gram Gold is smaller (size/volume) than 1 gram silver and 1 gram Silver is smaller (size/volume) than one gram Copper (size/volume). You can put something with pure silver in a bath with identical weight as your coin and then your coin and then calculating how much water went out of the bath for the one with pure silver and then for your coin. And so calculating the purity of your silver. Or you make a XRF analysor test, can only analyse the surface and not what is under surface but it can tell you the alloy composition of the surface metal of your cast. In Germany the stores who buy Gold have XRF analysor, I do not know how it will be in USA, you can go there telling them you want to sell , then they will test the silver or asking them if they would test it for free or little money for you.

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  13. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the suggestions and observations.

    This coin does not match any mother coins that I know of. It seems to be a very crude approximation of the Gaza tetradrachm from the Heritage auction, posted at the beginning of this thread.

    I would think a modern coin would be much better in appearance, like the Bulgarian fake tetradrachms, but it is possible that someone decided to make something that looks old and crude. Unless I have the coin tested as you suggest, this issue of contemporary fake versus modern fake won't be resolved.

    I'm now thinking it is modern in origin.
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