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Invisible marking of antique coinage

Invisible marking of antique coinage Invisible marking of antique coinage

Counterfeiting is one of the most pressing problems facing those concerned with preservation of the historical and cultural heritage. The threat is not confined to the most important and famous works of art, but can also apply to artefacts, such as ancient coins, whose value comes from having been produced in a specific epoch rather than from complex workmanship. The risk that paintings or coins may be replaced by fakes has created a paradoxical situation in which the most interesting objects may be held at secure sites far from the exhibitions and museums that might otherwise display them.


Elettra's contribution
Elettra has developed a technique that allows antique coins to be catalogued by means of fluorescent mark stamped upon a strip of special material tens of nanometres thick and visible only under ultraviolet light. The mark has no effect on the coin surface and can be removed if necessary. If the strip needs to be further concealed, it can be reduced in size to the order of one micron.
This method of marking can also be applied to various non-metallic surfaces, a feature of interest to other sectors at risk of counterfeiting.


Facility: ESCA Microscopy Beamline
Patent PD 2007 A 000036.