As a coin collector, I quickly became aware that we have been deployed to a part of the world with a long, rich cultural history. Afghanistan was once part of the “Silk Road” because of its trade route from Asia to the West. Alexander the Great came through here in the 300s B.C. on his march of conquest and set up mints during his travels as he progressed further into this region. His circulated coinage showed the masses that he had power and would use it.

Naturally, upon arriving here, I was interested with the history of the region and asked some local vendors about the coins they had in stock. I was later approached with a number of silverlike coins, but I was not quite sure about their authenticity. I enlisted the help of my father, who is a certified numismatic appraiser in the States, and he confirmed my doubts by identifying the coins as “cast” counterfeits.

Therefore, I wish to caution all of you who are interested in the purchase of collectable antiquities. Be aware that, while in wartime occupation, the local community will naturally want to sell us something, regardless whether it is real or fake.

First Lt. Leon SternForward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan

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