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          The beginning of the fourth century AD, the dynasty of the Gupta emperors rost out of a small principality, situated somewhere in Bihar; and it lasted for more than two centuries. The king named Gupta was the progenitor. His grandson, Chandragupta I was the first paramount ruler, who extended his kingdom far and wide. His son Samudragupta made extensive conquests and made his influence felt over the rulers of the south-eastern coast as well as over the rulers beyond his frontiers in the north-west. His son Chandragupta II extended still further the boundaries of his empire upto Kashmir in the north and Orissa in the east. Chandragupta II's son Kumaragupta I added to the empire a greater part of Central India, Gujarat and Saurashtra. Towards the end of his reign, he had some set-backs probably at the hands of the Hunas, who were invading India during this period. His successor Skandagupta remained occupied mostly in defending the empire against the inroads of the Hunas. He ultimately gained a decisive over them. Soon after him, the empire began to crumble. By the time of Budhagupta, the western part of the empire was lost; and after him it remained confined to Bihar, Bengal and some parts of Orissa; and ultimately it went into oblivion by 543 AD. During this period of decline, the rulers were Chandragupta III, Prakasaditya, Vainyagupta, Naraisimhagupta, Gumaragupta III and Vishnugupta. The coins of these Gupta emperors are known chieftly in gold.

          The Gupta dynasty gold coin was named the dinare after the Roman denarius aureus, a reflection of Indian trading contacts with the West and the export of Roman coinage as bullion to India. however the designs of Gupta coinage were completely Indianized, and they were closely connected with the ancient Indian concept of a Chakravatin, a universal monarch or ideal ruler.

          Gupta period is called the Golden Age of India. The main purpose behind the choice of Gupta coin designs seem to have been one of political propaganda. The king is always shown in ways that emphasize his status as a great ruler and heroic warrior king. The representations are idealized images that athere to the strict contemporary artistic concepts of the perfect human form. The eary coin of the Gupta period are undoubtedly influenced by the Kushanas. But as the Gupta Empire progressed the coins began to be more and more indiginous. The coins of Chandragupta II can be called as purely Indian.








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Deceptive Countefeit: The Electrotype | NGC

Posted on 5/1/2007

Skip Fazzari explains how to spot the insidious electrotype counterfeit coin.

Skip Fazzari, NCS Authenticator and Senior Conservator


One of the most difficult types of counterfeit coins to detect with the naked eye is the electrotype. Since some of these fakes can look quite good even under low magnification, it is important to be diligent. Once you have been fooled by one of these coins, in addition to a close microscopic exmination, you may want to start checking the weight and specific gravity of your important coins.

An electrotype is a copy of a coin made using a process similar to electroplating. Usally, the counterfeiter makes a copy of the genuine coin that he can work with so as not to ruin the original. There are several ways to do this. While modern fakes probably use spark erosion techniques to make their models, most electrotypes we see at the grading services were produced many years ago when a simple wax impression of a genuine coin was sufficient as a starting point. The wax model is coated with a metallic powders such as graphite or copper and then it is electroplated. This process allows a thin layer of metal to be built up on the surface of the model. When the coating becomes thick enough, it's separated from the wax form leaving a hallow shell bearing the details of one side of the original coin. A second shell is made of the coin's other side in the same way. Finally the two halves are joined together and the hallow center is filled with metal to give the electrotype the "feel" of a solid coin.

Most of the electrotypes I have encountered over the years have been copper coins, chiefly Large cents, Half cents, and Colonials. In some instances, the base metal interior of an electrotype can be seen as its outer shell becomes worn. This is one instance that detecting electrotype fake can be done with the naked eye but your findings should be confirmed by other tests because toning, especially on silver coins, can mimic this effect. Usually, collectors and dealers who have access to a balance may confirm that a coin is an electrotype by taking its weight and specific gravity, which are offen out of tolerance to that of a genuine coin. But here again, there are rare exemptions to this, so be careful and have important coin check by NGC.

There are several other diagnostics to look for if you suspect that a coin may be an electrotype. Perhaps the first thing to look for is evidence of a seam around the edge of the coin where the two halves were joined together. This will usally appear as a very thin, dark line running through the center of the edge. The micrograph show such a seam. In some cases, the faker will try to eradicate this seam or at least make it less noticeable by filing or burnishing its edge. When a model is produced from the original coin, a wax impression in the example above, some of the sharp detail of the coin is lost during the transfer process. This may give the relief of an electrotype, especially its legend and date, a rounded, bloated look when compared to that of a genuine coin. Additionally, any defects that were created in the mold during the transfer process to make the electrotype and any contact marks or scratches on the original coin used as a model may appear on the fake if not "touch-up" by the faker.

This article previously featured in Numismatic News.