White metal strike, ca1830, of Becker's "copy". Apparently the type, based on actual 1577 Breda issues, exists only as Becker pieces. Van Gelder's catalog of dutch siege coins assigns this number 108; this piece, with the value XX --- ST, is 108B. Hill, Becker the Counterfeiter, #333. XF condition.
Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772-1830) has always been the most "admired" counterfeiter or "imitator" of ancient coins (along with the Paduan Cavino). His work spans the Greek, Roman and Medieval fields (300+ gold and silver types). His die-engraving is uniformly superb, meticulously and unfailingly capturing the detail, and usually the nuance.
Near the end of his life he struck off finished white metal (chiefly lead) impressions from all his dies, selling them in sets. Sales were not robust, but he was then poor. His widow remarried quickly after his death and her new husband, one Martin Seidenstricker, helped her continue these sales for a few more years.
While chasing medals in Europe several years ago, I stumbled on one of these sets, intact enough to still contain 300+ pieces, including a handful of genuine ancients that must have been remnants of Becker's collection. Nearly all pieces were wrapped and identified in little folded pieces of parchment. The handwriting matches that on the bulk of pieces in the ANS collection (acquired before 1930), altho their "wrappers" are paper, not parchment. I don't know if the handwriting is Becker's (most likely?), his widow's or Seidenstricker's. I donated a dozen pieces the ANS lacked, but kept the balance intact until now.
US $169,29 (EUR 129,98), 15-jan-07, ebay, paulbosco