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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 39, September 24, 2006, Article 19

COUNTERFEITS AS RECORDS OF REAL COINS WHICH NO LONGER EXIST

Alan Luedeking writes: "Reid Goldsborough's interesting piece on
counterfeit collecting ended with a couple of valid justifications
for collecting fakes, but he missed one that is extremely important,
perhaps the key justification that legitimizes the collecting of
counterfeits numismatically: It is often a record of real coins that
no longer exist.

A counterfeit by definition imitates a legitimate coin, and if
contemporary (rather than modern, made just to fool a collector)
was meant to circulate and fool society at large. As such, it was
often carefully made to resemble the real thing, and when the real
thing was by happenstance rare to begin with, it may no longer exist
today. In this case, the counterfeit becomes a valuable historical
record keeper, testifying to the former existence of its real muse,
and providing a basis on which to recognize such, should it ever
appear; it is thus collectible in its own right.

A superb source of scholarship in this area is "Circulating Counterfeits
of the Americas" edited by John M. Kleeberg, Coinage of the Americas
Conference, American Numismatic Society, New York, November 7, 1998."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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