Author Topic: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !  (Read 1288 times)

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Offline reichspfennig_lt

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Maybe anyone could tell which of these coins are real and minted in Riga, and which were forged in Suceava ?








Offline FosseWay

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Re: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2014, 07:11:39 PM »
It's rather hard to tell from photographs, but the colour of some of those suggests significantly debased silver, which would indicate forgeries (not necessarily from Suceava). Another telltale, but one I don't see on any of yours, is "impossible" dates - i.e. coins that carry a date after the death (or in Kristina's case, abdication) of the monarch whose titles and monogram are featured.

Gut feeling would suggest that such impossible combinations are probably the work of forgers further afield, e.g. Suceava, as local forgers would be perfectly well aware that the king had died etc.

Nos 44 and 57 look particularly suspect. They are not just worn and mechanically damaged but corroded. Good silver doesn't corrode like that in most natural conditions. Either those have been sitting in very acidic conditions or they're not (or substantially not) silver.

From the colour, 5, 26, 30 and 67 are more or less OK for the real thing, plus 23 if it's dirty rather than more fundamentally discoloured. But as I say, it's hard to tell from photos - often photos of sterling silver coins from the 20th century on eBay make the coins look like copper or brass, never mind coins from 3 centuries earlier.

Offline reichspfennig_lt

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Re: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2014, 07:21:20 PM »
It's rather hard to tell from photographs, but the colour of some of those suggests significantly debased silver, which would indicate forgeries (not necessarily from Suceava). Another telltale, but one I don't see on any of yours, is "impossible" dates - i.e. coins that carry a date after the death (or in Kristina's case, abdication) of the monarch whose titles and monogram are featured.

Gut feeling would suggest that such impossible combinations are probably the work of forgers further afield, e.g. Suceava, as local forgers would be perfectly well aware that the king had died etc.

Nos 44 and 57 look particularly suspect. They are not just worn and mechanically damaged but corroded. Good silver doesn't corrode like that in most natural conditions. Either those have been sitting in very acidic conditions or they're not (or substantially not) silver.

Nos 44 and 57 were cleaned with chemicals. All coins are from archaeological excavation, so they shape is pretty bad. Maybe You know were I could find info about silver percentage in Swedish Riga shillings ? I kinda suspect that the amount of silver even in original Riga coins were very little.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2014, 07:36:25 PM »
I don't know what the silver content of the real coins is, and none of my books or any website I can find in English or Swedish dares to pronounce on this subject!

I suspect the silver content of the real coins is low, but even at say 20-25% the coin is still recognisably silver (look for example at the "silver" of British-controlled East Africa during WW2 - at 25% silver they are an ugly colour but still definitely silver and not mistakable for bronze or cupro-nickel). The forgeries will have even less, or no, silver and thus be more prone to discolouration and corrosion.

Here is a list of coins issued by the Swedish occupiers of Riga during the reigns of Gustaf II Adolf, Kristina and Carl X-XII. I don't know how accurate it is.

One sentence in the introduction to that page stands out:

Quote
På grund av minskande silverhalt i mynten som präglades under 1620-talet var dom inte populära bland folket och många föredrog att använda kopparmynt från Sverige.

"Because of the constantly reducing silver content of the coins struck during the 1620s, they were not popular among the people and many preferred to use Swedish copper coins." This suggests to me that after the 1620s something was done about it and the silver content increased. KM certainly lists Gustaf II Adolf's issues as billon but Kristina's and later as silver.

Offline reichspfennig_lt

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Re: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2014, 07:45:40 PM »
Is it possible if that acidic environment eroded silver from outside of coin and it now looks like copper one ?

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2014, 07:50:47 PM »
Generally silver is less prone to corrosion than copper AFAIK.

Also AFAIK none of the official coins were plated in silver but rather made of an alloy that contained a small amount of silver. In other words, the silver content is evenly distributed throughout the fabric of the coin, not just on the outside. However, it could well be that the forgeries were minted in copper and then plated, and that that plating has worn off over the years.

Offline reichspfennig_lt

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Re: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2014, 08:21:49 PM »
Maybe You could recomend any books or articles on these Riga shillings and they counterfeits ? I only have Krause catalogs and Haljak's livonian coins.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Swedish Riga shillings or Suceawa forgeries ? Help Needed !
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2014, 10:25:22 PM »
There's not much available unfortunately. I thought I had a book with a short section on these at the end of the homeland Sweden section, but I must have consulted it elsewhere.

Otherwise I can suggest:

Ivanauskas, Eugenijus. Okända förfalskningar av Riga-skillingar från litauiska fynd. Sveriges Numismatiska Förenings tidskrift 1993: 2 p37. (in Swedish; I don't have a copy. Title translates as "Unknown forgeries of Riga shillings from Lithuanian finds")

The website I linked to earlier: http://www.home.neab.net/gandalf/coins/possessions/ is the overall page for all of Sweden's colonial coins. This site is referred to by a number of other prominent Swedish coin sites, e.g. Ingemars Myntsida.

I haven't found anything (except KM) in English about these coins at all. If you need help with translation from Swedish that's not a problem.