Cherresosos Lion
Bulgarian School
Forgeries

 

Authentic Cherronesos hemidrachm (2.2g), from Cherronesos, Thrace (present-day European Turkey), c. 400-350 BC, Sear Greek 1603v., McClean 4117-4118, Weber 2415, SNG Cop. 830, with the reverse depicting a lizard, pellet, and monogram

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the forgeries illustrated below copy the above authentic Cherronesos hemidrachm, an ancient Greek coin minted c. 400-350 BC in Thrace on a finger of land justting into the northeast Aegean Sea near Asia Minor that today is called the Gallipoli peninsula and is part of Turkey. These fakes copy the same Cherronesos variety (McClean 4117-4118, Weber 2415, SNG Cop. 830), with the reverse depicting a lizard, pellet, and monogram. They all come from the same pair of fake dies.

These forgeries have been sold as authentic coins repeatedly on eBay by the same Bulgarian counterfeit scammer or scammers using multiple I.D.s. In addition to selling fakes of this and dozens of other ancient Greek and Roman coins, the same ones over and over, he has sold dozens of fakes of antiquities as well, the same ones over and over. He has operated successfully on eBay for at least eight years, cheating thousands of people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, estimating conservatively based on the number of feedbacks generated by his various I.D.s. There are many other scammers on eBay just like this one, operating in a very similar fashion.

Fakes like these, and the ability of the scammer behind them to take advantage of eBay, exemplifies how you should never buy without knowing the seller or getting a recommendation from a reliable source anything on eBay that can be faked, including but not limited to coins, antiquities, fossils, computer software, music CDs, movie DVDs, books, paintings, clothes, sneakers, jewelry, watches, handbags, toys, sporting goods, and film. If caution is taken, eBay with its huge selection and low transaction costs can be a good way to buy. If caution isn't taken, and this appears to happen with untold numbers of inexperienced or naive buyers, it's a great way to get cheated.

As you can see by looking at the fakes below, a similar photographic technique was used, with a similar background. It's likely that one scammer is behind this, though another possibility is that several criminals are working in concert, supplied by the same forgery workshop and using a similar photographic technique. One buyer has reported that the name of the seller he bought from is Bulgarian. Two other sellers' names associated with these fakes are also Bulgarian. According to this buyer and according to the scammer's eBay I.D.s, the scammer ships out of Germany and also provides to buyers a California or Las Vegas address. He reportedly honors return requests while vehemently denying he's selling fakes. He also reportedly started out primarily selling authentic items and currently appears to salt in some inexpensive authentic items among the fakes he auctions.

His fakes appear to be Bulgarian in origin, using techniques the Bulgarian replica maker Slavey Petrov made famous. The pieces appear to have been originally engraved, with flamboyant "Bulgarian School" styling, then coined with a hydraulic press. The fakes have different shaped flans, and they're given further individualizing treatments afterward, with different flan defects, centricity, simulated wear, scratches and gouges, edge cracks and bumps, artificial toning, acid corrosion, and fake encrustation (with one of his techniques, the encrustation reportedly washes off easily in tap water). When the weight is given for this particular fake (it's usually not), it's between 2.1g and 2.4g, the correct weight. One specimen that I've examined in person weighs 2.29g.

Regarding diagnostics, compared with authentic coins of this variety, as illustrated above, on the fakes the tufts of hair on the lion's mane are more separated rather than flowing together, the lizard is straighter and has smaller feet, and the reverse incuse consists of four quarters all having the same relief rather than two raised quarters and two lowered quarters.

Since it's possible that more than one Bulgarian scammer is behind these, it probably makes sense to label them generally as "Bulgarian School." At least seven forgery workshops operate openly in Bulgaria, according to Ilya Prokopov, the acclaimed Bulgarian numismatist, in his 2005 book Counterfeit Studios and Their Coins. Though forgers are reported to also work out of Italy, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere, Bulgaria appears to be the ancient coin forgery capital of the world, with more fakes by far emanating from Bulgaria in recent years than anywhere else.

The 28 counterfeits below are just a sampling or subset of the same Cherronesos forgery type sold repeatedly by this scammer or scammers, with this forgery type being just a subset of the thousands of forgeries sold by this same scammer or scammers on eBay over the past eight years, and with the forgeries of this one scammer or scammers being just a subset of the many millions of ancient coin and artifact fakes that get passed into private collections as authentic through eBay.

After this Web page went up, the scammer stopped selling this particular fake. A seller operating out of Bulgaria, however, then began selling it and other Bulgarian fakes on eBay by disclaiming knowledge of the coins' authenticity, which is against eBay rules but also happens regularly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Forgeries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The counterfeit below was sold on eBay as an authentic coin by a seller from Israel selling other forgeries as well who said in an email exchange that he buys his coins on eBay and who professed no knowledge of them being forgeries. The piece below came from the same fake dies and the same Bulgarian forgery workshop as the above fakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This counterfeit was sold on QXL.no, a Norwegian auction site, as an authentic coin by a seller from Oslo selling other forgeries as well. It also came from the same fake dies and the same Bulgarian forgery workshop as the above fakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Cherronesos Lion

Other glomworthy coins:

Oldest Coins

 Athenian Owls

Alexander the Great Coins

Medusa Coins

Thracian Tetradrachms

House of Constantine

Draped Bust Coins

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

Coin sites:
Coin Collecting: Consumer Protection Guide
Glomming: Coin Connoisseurship
Bogos: Counterfeit Coins
Pre-coins

© 2014 Reid Goldsborough

Note: Any of the items illustrated on these pages that are in my possession are stored off site.