How to avoid buying fake ancient coins.

Here is some good advice that will help you avoid fakes.                revised August 15, 2015

1)  There are many criminal fake sellers who use eBay.

For a list of eBay sellers who have sold fakes, see:
Forum's eBay fakesellers list:

The best simple way to avoid fakes is to avoid those sellers. (However, new criminal sellers pop up frequently.)

The Yahoo e-mail group (the CoinForgeryDiscussionList) keeps 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 fake sellers. 
    (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.)

If the eBay dealer is new, you will want to "search" for that username on the list to see if a more-recent message mentions fake items from that seller. 

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 box.

Here is more good advice:

    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.

By 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? 

The advice above is enough to avoid most fakes. Continue if you want more details and web sites.

Sites with information and advice

Doug Smith's good advice about fakes.

Ancient Coins and Modern Fakes:  How To Tell The Difference. An Authentication Primer, by Dennis J. Kroh

"Brad's Introduction to Ancient Coins" with information about fakes.
Forum's discssion board on fakes:

Sites with lots of fakes illustrated

The most important site, mentioned above:

Another major site, Forum's fake coin reports:

A huge page (I hope you have a high-speed connection) with 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, 2003:

"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.

AncientCoinArt's gallery of fakes:

A French site (CGB) with many forgeries illustrated:

Fakes of coins of the Roman emperor Severus Alexander (AD 222-235)   

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.

Counterfeit of a Decadrachm of Syracuse by Kimon, 405 - 380 B.C.     by John R. Gainor

Copies of a Sasanian-style coin of the huns: 


Chris Hopkins' pages on counterfeits of Parthian coins, at

A pdf file posted by the Celator about Becker the Counterfeiter.

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 reproductions.

A Czech company that makes copies:

Return to page 3 of the introduction to collecting that linked to this page about fakes.

Return to the index page of the whole site.