Replica (2)

I recently talked about ancient book replicas, but this time I would like to discuss museum replicas…

For fun my sister gave me for Christmas a key-chain made with a roman coin replica that she purchased when she visited the “Pompeii: The Immortal City” exhibit at the Quebec City Museum of Civilisation.

It is reproducing a dupondius of Nero which shows on the obverse the radiated head of the emperor, right, with the latin inscription NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P (the last part is not very clear). The reverse illustrates a Roma helmeted and cuirrased, seated left, holding a winged victory in her right hand, and resting on Parazonium with a shield behind (although those details are not very clear either), with a ROMA in exergue and a S C on each side of the field. The original coin was struck in Rome in 65 CE (Sources: RIC 293, CoinArchives, Numismatics).

It is a nice reproduction, probably molded. It is engraved on both side “WRL” to clearly indicate that it is a reproduction. It comes with a small label saying “Roman Coin key-ring” that also tells us “WRL” stands for Westair Reproduction Ltd (MCMLXXII). It lists a website,, but this site is down because of COVID (they got a virus?) and is being blocked by Norton Life Lock. However, I found another website,, dedicated for trade customers (whatever that means). It tells us that they are a UK company specialized in “supplying historical reproductions to Historic Houses, Castles and Museums not only in the UK but also to over 36 other countries around the world.”

There are one-hundred and thirty item listed in their roman section. They are the usual trinkets that you would find in a museum gift shop. They have a catalog available in PDF format. All stuff of little interest… The coin alone (without the key chain) is listed on their website and it come in pack of one-hundred (No price listed, order code RCDUPN). It is also listed with the key-chain (pack of 10, no price, order code RCKR).

There’s a lot of companies offering such replicas and often of much better quality:

One thing I am really looking for (a future birthday gift maybe?) is a fairly sized bust of the emperor Lucius Verus. It’s quite a minor emperor and yet there are a lot of possibilities on the market:


eBay: Lucius Verus marble bust

1st Dibs: Lucius Verus bust (if you want something really expensive)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any reproduction with Verus in armor (Hermitage, Prado, Uffizi) or wearing a nice toga

Of course, the cheaper option is to find a 3D scan file of the object you want and print it yourself at a 3D print shop (some libraries offer that service, like the Benny Fab Lab). There is such a thing even for Verus:

Some places even take custom orders (like a bust of yourself!). If you like art but cannot afford the real thing this is definitely an option to consider. Now you know…

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