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Billie and Charlie Fake Antiquity

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1962A720
Collection:Antiquities - Mediaeval
Date:1850 c - 1850 c

Maker Information

Maker:Charles Eaton - View biography for Charles Eaton
Maker:William Smith - View biography for William Smith


Billy (William Smith) and Charley (Charles Eaton) used to search the banks of the River Thames in London and sell the old coins and antiquities they found to collectors. In 1857 they decided they could make more money by making their own antiquities. This is one example of their work.Billy and Charley were illiterate and had almost no knowledge of history, so the things they made were full of mistakes. This plaque has the date '1022' on the back, but our modern numbers were not used in England before the 1400s. In 1022 they would have written the date in Roman numbers, MXXII.

Presented by Birmingham Archaeological Society.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Place of Origin:Shadwell, Norfolk, England
Place of Excavation:Shadwell Dock


Height:11.5 inch
Width:6 inch