Denarius of the Emperor Septimius Severus (193‒211)

Zernez-Lavin, as of 210

Silver denarii were a common means of payment in the Roman Empire. This one was also in circulation in our region. At first sight nothing about this find seems extraordinary.

If one takes a closer look, however, irregular spots on its surface can be seen. In fact, a coin made of silver is not supposed to corrode. What we have here in front of us, though, is an ancient forgery: the coiner hid a copper core under a thin silver coating. Thus he made it look like a denarius made of precious metal.

Even though such activities were illegal, they were common in ancient Rome. If a counterfeiter was caught, he faced banishment or even execution.