September 1, 1996 in Nation/World

Ancient Counterfeit Coins Are Now Priceless

Compiled From Wire Services

Excavators have unearthed priceless gold coins apparently counterfeited by Crusaders in southern Egypt more than 800 years ago.

The eight coins were discovered recently in the village of Toha in the southern province of Minya - a region rich in antiquities - after villagers stumbled upon three similar coins last year, Abdel-Halim Noureddin, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquities, said Saturday.

The coins are almost perfect counterfeits of the currency used during the Fatimid dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 969 to 1171, Noureddin said. The Crusaders invaded the Middle East in 1096, arriving in Egypt in 1117.

That dates the coins to the 12th century, he said.

Experts found imperfections proving they were counterfeited, said Abdallah Attar, a spokesman for the council. He refused to elaborate.

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