Roman Coins Thought for Centuries to Be Fakes Get a Fresh Appraisal – by April Rubin (New York Times – November 27, 2022)

New research suggests that the gold coins, which were found in 1713 and long dismissed as forgeries, may be authentic.

In 1713, a medals inspector documented the acquisition of eight gold Roman coins that had been buried in Transylvania. For centuries, experts believed them to be forgeries — and poorly made ones, at that.

The coins featured the image of an otherwise unknown leader and characteristics that differed from other mid-third century Roman coins. But now researchers who have re-examined the coins, which were in a collection at the University of Glasgow, say they may, in fact, be authentic.

The design on the coin was irregular for the time period, and the man depicted on them, Sponsian, was mostly lost to history. The coins included references to “bungled legends and historically mixed motifs,” experts said.

Research published on Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE posited that the coins — and Sponsian, the man depicted — deserved another look.

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