Portuguese coins that more frequently appear false or counterfeited

There are several ways to forge collection coins. Mostly, they can be divided in 2 great groups: the fake coins where the coin itself (or the matrix that gives origin to it) it's false and the counterfeited ones, made from a base genuine coin to which some details had been modified, normally the date.

Regarding the FAKE ones, those are generally easy to identify, since the most common method is the casting process, attained from a mould from a genuine coin. These copies usually present a porous surface and the engraving somewhat trembled. Many of these specimens that appear in the market are fakes from "époque", they had not been made with the intention to deceive collectors, but for use as a means of payment.

The counterfeited ones can be much more difficult to detect, depending on the ability of the author. Here you can find some that most frequently appear on the market:

Most commonly counterfeited Portuguese coins

1935 escudo

Is one of the Portuguese coins that more frequently appears counterfeited. Normally manufactured from a 1965 coin, modifying 3º digit from a "6" to a "3". Small differences of the dies of these two dates help identify these fakes.

altered date, 3º digit (6) changed into a 3 genuine date



$10 aluminium 1969

This coin (the genuine one) has the particularity of being bigger about 1 mm (16mm against 15mm of the normal issues dated between 1971 to 1979). The fakes are generally easy to detect, since they are made from  coins of $20 1969 of copper  (16mm), to which is applied a white metal layer and the "2" of "20 centavos" is changed to one "10 centavos". This is extremely noticeable and only can fool someone o doesn't know the coin at all.
In the genuine coin, the five shields are different (raised) from the other dates (1971 to 1979) and "20 centavos" coins which are only outlined, as it can be seen in the above images.
More perfect fakes are also known.

counterfeited coin, outlined  shields  genuine coin, raised shields



$10, $50 and 1$00 from 1979, milled edge

The coins are genuine, the milling is not. These specimens appear discriminated in some older catalogues but, nowadays it's clear that the milling is not original from the mint, but made later.




$10 1930

The counterfeit is made from the $10 of "Cabo Verde" of the same date, aside the legend "CABO VERDE" the dies for the republic coin and the African ex-colony are equal. These fakes appear generally in a lower grade of conservation and with much artificial patina created to hide the scratches. It can be quiet difficult to identify, particularly if the coin is in a very bad state.

coin counterfeited by removal of the legend coin from "Cabo Verde" used on counterfeits

$50 1925

One of the more hard to find and valued coins of the Republic and also one of the most counterfeited.

counterfeited date, last digit altered  
genuine date  

(*) image donated by Mr. António Pinto



500 Réis D. Carlos

Despite this series is very abundant, three dates exist (1894, 1895 and 1900) that for its rarity and great demand are often seen counterfeited

counterfeited date, last digit altered genuine date
(*) image donated by Mr. Pedro Barbot




50 Réis 1888

Only two genuine coins known.

counterfeited date, last digit altered


other commonly seen counterfeited coins:

1 Centavo 1922:    Only six genuine known and all accounted for in major collections.

5 Centavos 1922, 20 centavos 1922: Counterfeited by alteration of the date. High quality counterfeits exist, extra care in the validation of its authenticity.

2 Centavos Iron 1918: Counterfeited by plating a common coin of copper of the same date. The magnetic properties of the metal distinguish them easily.

Dislocated axles: The counter faction is made through the longitudinal cut of the coin (separating obverse and reverse) and having the two parts glued in a different position. This operation is also done using two "halves" from different coins. Only detectable by small imperfections in the rim and edge.


Common fake Portuguese coins

1$00 - 1914 to 1916

Some reproductions of the large silver "Escudos" from the beginning of the republic exist in the market but, made in a nickel alloy called "alpaca".
These reproductions, have a mark "ALP" next to the face value. Sometimes this mark is erased or deliberately faded with the intention of making the coin pass for genuine.

fake coin, "alpaca" reproduction
(*) image donated by Mr. Pedro Barbot



500 and 1.000 Réis G.P. 1910

"Alpaca" reproductions. Same method as previous coin.

fake coin, "alpaca" reproduction
(*) image donated by Mr. Pedro Barbot




1$00/500 Réis and $50/1000 Réis in silver: generally contemporary fakes, casted in zinc, lead or tin, with a fine covering of silver:


moedas.org: on-line desde 27-Julho-2000 Última actualização: 25-07-2006