This is an anonymous translation I found inside an old book. (This is not the Oikonomides translation from the 1974 Ares Publishers reprint).

Synopsis de Mille Coins Faux du Faussaire C. Christodoulos

J. N. Svoronos

Translated into English by Anonymous

(AKA Christodoulos the Counterfeiter, AKA Christodoulou)

photos of two coin die pairs

What the most famous falsifiers of ancient money, assisted by experts like Padovani and Becker, never were able to achieve was to deceive the most experienced numismatists and archaeologists, but a completely illiterate person, who in reality was not even able to engrave coins nor to distinguish a false piece from a real one was able to achieve all this.

This man, named Constantin Christodoulos, from the village of Barosia, of the isle of Cypress came in 1900 for the first time to the National Numismatic Museum in Athens. He brought us as a present some old pieces, asking for half a dozen impressions of old and rare coins.

After a few months, I found said pieces extraordinarily well falsified in the trade and in some collections.

At the beginning it seemed that the falsifier worked only for a famous antiquarian of Athens. While Christodoulos was out to deceive collectors by selling these false coins as real ones, the antiquarian's purpose was, by using these forgeries, to make it impossible for collectors and honest local merchants, with whom he competed, to buy rare coins, the buying of which he nearly monopolized.

Since this time Christodoulos, well provided with self-made coins (fig. 1-3) and copying mechanically authentic pieces — coins made with a metal coating, the analysis for which astonishes today the chemists of our university and which could only be made with the help of an expert skilled in all the mysteries of metal and ancient coins — started to manufacture plenty of false coins and other small objects of art.

First he copied, completely ignorant as he was, either rare authentic coins, furnished by his boss, or false common coins which he was not able to recognized himself as such (e.g. No. 20, plate A), and finally false coins, invented and engraved in a primitive way since a long time in one of the three shops (Corfon, Piraeus, Athens) of his boss (e.g. No. 395-396, plate M.)

After the death of his boss, Christodoulos and one of his aides started mechanically to forge and without any change a tremendous amount of old rare coins as well as not so rare coins. They were mostly furnished by two new bosses, antiquarians archaioxapaeloi which now had the same interest as the first boss. He also forged common coins to even more disguise experts. By mixing them always with real pieces, when showing them to the victims, Christodoulos, his bosses and their secret agents achieved to overflow all European and American collections with false pieces. Now there is a true panic among the experts and honest merchants who are not as able as they think to always identify these false pieces. Mostly the falsifiers are cheating the thousands of tourists who all wish to take at least one old coin with them as a souvenir of their visit to Greece. These tourists leave happily with their fine purchase, but find out later that they have been cheated, they state in their countries that if modern Greece has not any more its legendary King of the Mountains, it has kept at least first class bandits in its glorious capital.

In order to fight this disgrace of my country thus defamed, I started as soon as I was nominated Director of the Numismatic Museum, to reveal publicly the cheating of our falsifiers of Athens. [1] At the same time, I proposed to the Government of my country, as only means, to exterminate the falsifiers and all powerful clandestine merchants of antiques, which made big fortunes, to take over this trade as the Museums of Egypt, Berlin, London etc. are doing. One would sell to the public and trade doubles and other antique objects of which we have millions in our filled Museums, pieces for the sale of which our Museums could make a lot of money. This would give them an opportunity to acquire regularly all the findings at a good price and without cheating, like our achaioxapaeloi, the peasants and all other persons finding antiques by chance. photo of coin dies

I had bad luck with my proposition which was adapted by many successive Governments. The powerful gang of falsifiers and merchants of antiques, doing illegal exports, even after their number was drastically reduced, attacked me and also the board of the Numismatic Museum, as well as the Department of Public Instructions which had dared to prepare a bill, that we were forced to give up our idea temporarily.

But when the situation got worse, and our local Museums got robbed — not to long ago the Museum of Argos was robbed, and at the Museum of Tegea the famous, priceless head of Atalante, called of Scopas, was stolen by 'unknown' people, — I made up my mind to risk everything, even my life, to serve my country, (the gang seems to have even murderers among them!) justice, science, my colleagues and honest merchants of all countries, suffering by the falsifiers. I decided to prosecute the falsifiers in the courts of my country, starting with the most dangerous Christodoulos and his gang.

In order to obtain and give proof of the cheating of this gang, in 1914 I provoked the confiscation of about 1000 coins and other art objects from his shop and in his presence, by the Department of Justice and the Archaeological Service, coins he had sold as real pieces by cheating many natives and foreigners. To invite all Museums, collections and persons thus cheated to make their complaints in the courts of my or their countries, now that we had the obvious proof that the falsifier cheated by selling forgeries for authentic pieces, I prepared, shortly before World War I, on 17 engraved plates the prints in plaster of the 1000 confiscated coins. A severe illness, then World War I, other important patriotic engagements and finally the high price of printing, prevented me from publishing these plates. Luckily foreign colleagues, especially one of them, provided the necessary funds for this publication through subscriptions. Therefore, today I am giving first to these subscribers the plates made of 150 exemplars with a short summary of the mentioned coins, and inviting them, as well as anyone else cheated, to inform me of the forgeries they have acquired as authentic pieces, by sending the prints and especially their complaints to me, in order to assist me in court. Even before this publication, since several years, many complaints were made to me describing the way they had been cheated by Christodoulos, who sold to them forgeries as authentic pieces. Now as I can prove to them that the seller was himself a forger, they certainly will not back out from testifying together with me, the scientist and the archaeologists against these forgers.

The same plates and others pertaining to another thousand of forgeries found at the same or other places, will be published in my Journal International d'Archaeologie Numismatique beginning with volume XX, together with the history and details, sometimes astonishing, of each piece. There, too, I will expose in detail the history and the cheating of the most famous falsifiers of Athens since the Royal Hellenic Constitution, when the first of our falsifiers loved, forefather of two generations of falsifiers of which Christodoulos and his gang were the followers.

For the moment I only want to point out that the false coins of Christodoulos don't look as rough on the plaster made of these coins for our prints. Christodoulos worked them over by hand, he put on countermarks, stamps of old bankers, signs of double marks made by the stamping press, 'graffiti' etc., he clipped them, gave them the appearance of oxidized coins and rubbed them on the surface in 100 different ways with a diabolic talent and in such a way that it needs extreme attention and long experience to recognize them. He used always different ways for the pieces coming out of the same mould.

J. N. Svoronos.

[1] Ephaem Archaiol, 1890, p. 162-165.


Christodoulos continued making dies after the 1914 seizure. Over 100 additional counterfeit dies were discovered in the 1990s. For photos see Moulakis' papers (bibliography follows). Twenty-four of these dies were published by Frank Kovacs in The Celator (August 1994, reprinted in Best of The Celator 1994).



Christodoulos is most famous for his patinas and adding wear to his coins. I haven't been able to find any examples of his work other than fresh from dies. Readers owning a Christodoulos forgery are encoraged to submit images for inclusion on this page.

Back up to coins page.