Forgery, Caught in the act, additional features.

Diên Ninh Thông Bảo, 延寧通寶.

This forgery of the rare variety of Diên Ninh Thông Bảo is an interesting example of a forger seemingly caught in the act. Diên Ninh Thông Bảo is one of the more beautiful coins of Vietnamese history and most varieties are quite common. The only rare varieties are ones with a double horizontal stroke in the lower part of the character Ninh, formed from the radical 皿 and the character丁, and these coins are often faked.

The above forgery was made by altering a real Diên Ninh Thông Bảo coin but the work was interrupted before fake patina was used to hide the manipulation, producing an opportunity to examine the forger's workmanship.

The image on the right shows a microscopic view of the work done on the character Ninh. The forger started by making a small horizontal cut in the character just big enough for a stroke. A piece of bronze was then fashioned to fit into the cut to make the double stroke character.

The bronze is not a piece of wire but a carefully fashioned piece of metal made to look like a real stroke. The piece is slightly curved, the edges have been rounded, and the surface has been smoothed.

The coin is obviously authen-tic and the finished forgery would have been very decep-tive if the altered area had been covered with a little natural looking patina. Even if the work had been successfully completed, there would still be one clue to the forgery because this coin is lighter than most genuine double stroke varieties, which usually weigh about 6 grams. Lighter weight varieties may exist but they should be checked carefully.