Via Coin World, a story about an unusual auction item: "Contemporary Counterfeit Ancient Aureus Sells in CNG Auction":
In ancient times, one counterfeiter’s imitation of a gold aureus of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius mixed designs intended for two different rulers. In addition, lettering on the contemporary fake does not match what appears on genuine examples. These problems and the coin’s status as a counterfeit do not damage its collectibility, however.
The counterfeit in question realized a $4,250 hammer price in Classical Numismatic Group’s Sept. 13 mail bid/Internet auction. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee of 19 to 21 percent, depending on bidding method. With this fee factored in, the coin topped the estimate of $5,000.
Aurelius reigned from A.D. 161 to 180, jointly with his son Commodus from 177 forward. The counterfeit combines an obverse for Marcus Aurelius with a reverse for Commodus, who, following his father’s death, reigned until 192.
It seems that the obvious error in this counterfeit coin, however, may have been deliberately calculated to create a legal loophole:
According to CNG: “Contemporary counterfeits of Roman coins are often hybrids; perhaps counterfeiters did this intentionally to provide themselves with a potential defense that their products were not actually copies of genuine coins. The blundered legends would further support this theory.”
Whether this stratagem ever saved a counterfeiter from the draconian punishments prescribed by Roman law is unclear. From "Damnatio ad Bestias, or: What Happened to Roman Counterfeiters?" (Coin Week, May 7, 2015):
This punishment is laid down in the lex Iulia peculatus, a law dating from the times of [Julius] Caesar or Augustus dealing with the embezzlement of public property. Counterfeiting of coins was classified as such:
“IF THEY [THE COUNTERFEITERS] ARE FREE, THEY SHALL BE GIVEN TO THE BEASTS; IF SLAVES, THEY SHALL PAY THE ULTIMATE PENALTY.”
By the wording alone, the modern reader cannot tell the subtle underlying difference in respect to the punishment. Both terms are describing the death penalty.