Sunday, January 27, 2008

e-Book on counterfeits by Prokopov

Ilya Prokopov's new book, Coin Forgeries and Replicas 2007, is only available as an e-Book.

This book is as good, or better, than previous books in the series. The other books cost $20 plus $8 in postage. The e-Book is only $9. The publisher is SP-P & Provias.

After purchasing the book (with Paypal), an email arrives with a one-time URL. The buyer is expected to use the browser to save the URL rather than opening it. This produces a 48MB .PDF file. There is no troublesome DRM on this file. You should have no problem printing the book or copying it to a CD-ROM. Obviously, please don't make copies for your friends — $9 is a pretty good price for Dr. Prokopov's hard work. This is an eighty page book!

The book covers
  • 72 Greek coins (2 are gold, 1 AE, the rest silver)
  • 8 Roman Republican
  • 66 Roman (silver, AE, and gold)
In most, but not all cases, the coins are high-resolution and easy to see. There are a few nice blow-ups. Unfortunately, a few coins only have tiny, low-resolution images. It is explained that these were made “under urgent conditions”. Dr. Prokopov is documenting a criminal enterprise and sometimes it is difficult to get the criminals to cooperate!

For many of the coins Prokopov identifies the forgery “studio”. If he knows he describes the manufacture and patinating process used by the forger. There is a lot of interesting stuff here, much of which was new to me. I found a group of Roman Republican fakes the most interesting. The forger made porous casts then partially silver plated them. From a distance, it looks a lot like genuine “crystalization”.

Prokopov's English is easily readible. There are a few minor spelling errors and unexpected word choices. These minor defects are not important. This is an important work and highly recommended.

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