In this research, we report on the compositional, microstructural and crystallographic properties of a lead coin which has been regarded for many years as a genuine silver coin minted in the Southern Italy in the course of the 4th century BC. The material characterisation of this object allowed detecting an ancient forging technology, not previously reported, which was meant for the silvering of lead substrates The data collected have disclosed a contemporary counterfeiting procedure based on a metal coating process onto a Pb substrate. This coating has been identified as a bi-layer with a Cu innermost and an Ag outermost visible layer. As far as the coating application technique is concerned, the gathered evidence has clearly indicated that the original appearance of this artifact cannot be explained in terms of any of the established methods for the growth of an artificially silvered coating in classical antiquity. This technology is now being explained in terms of modern, fully non destructive scientific methods.