>>I am still rather concerned with the British B2 staters, they have been
>>condemned as fakes because of their high zinc content, but this might
>>just mean that they were a late issue that used Roman orichalcum in the
>>alloy. They are a die linked series of quite a number of dies and what
>>bothers me most is that the alloy is of variable compostion one coin to
>>another, just like genuine Celtic gold.. If the forgers were crafty
>>enough to create this elaborate subterfuge, why did they not use bronze
>>instead of brass as one part of the alloy?
>This is interesting; maybe they just didn't have any bronze or tin
>handy? If they are forged, is there any hypothesis of when that
They are assumed to be modern forgeries. Here they are:
They seemed to have started showing up in the mid sixties, and were published
MACKENSEN, M. 1973: Eine neue Serie britischer Goldstatere. Jahrbuch fur
Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 23, 45-51.
MACKENSEN, M. 1974: Die alteste Gold- und Silberpragung in England.
Numismatik und Geldgeschicte 24, 7-63.
but one of them adds a further twist to the story:
"Published in Mackensen 1973, pl. 4.16. Private Collection G. when indexed, ex
Grantley coll.; apparently ex Sotheby's 3-4.2.1914, lot 129, though the coin
appears to be a modern forgery. Also ex SNC 1971, 331 no. 8445. Shown by C
Rudd, July 1999."
If this is the 1914 Sotheby specimen, then something strange is going on.
>>Then they would have got away
>>with it and we would believe that B2 was a local issue. It is a
>>conundrum. They do not show the usual weak area of striking that can be
>>seen in B1 staters and other Celtic gold, but this might be a feature of
>>the alloy in combination with striking practices. A better testing
>>technique might put my mind at rest.
>Alloys containing copper and either zinc or tin can be of greatly
>varying hardness and ductility, depending on the exact proportions, and
>what else is present (arsenic?). Has any professional metallurgist been
As I recall (my Mackensen is not at hand), the analyses were variable, a
just listed the main elements. They were not included in either Cowell's or
Northover's analyses in BAR 222 (British). Having just moved, a lot of my
photocopies are packed away among various boxes. Haselgrove, BAR 174
(British), 1987 p. 237 cites personal communication from J. P. C. Kent that
they contain "significant quantities of zinc", but no other details. There
appears to be no subsequent publication from Kent with regard to this. It
be mentioned in:
COWELL, M., ODDY, W. and BURNETT, A. 1987: Celtic coinage in Britain: new
hoards and recent analyses. British Numismatic Journal 57, 1-23.
Perhaps someone has access to this (It's often a pain being so far away from a
good library and not being wealthy enough to increase my own very quickly).
Hooker & Perron, Total Project Coordination
Database-Web...Graphics...Custom Maps...Colour Suites...Expert Systems
Building the Celtic Coin Index on the Web: