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Curtisimo last won the day on October 17 2023

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  1. Very interesting observations. Your point concerning the fact that even small percentages of auctions being made up of new finds becomes significant over time is a good one. I wonder if the reasonable laws concerning cultural property in the UK are skewing the results toward a higher percentage of new finds than you might find elsewhere. Even though smuggling happens it only makes sense that recent draconian laws would have a dampening effect on coin finds in those countries, especially on single or small coin discoveries. The hobbyists detectors would be dis-incentivized to search and the financial rewards for smuggling small coin finds is certainly not in line with the risks for individuals. Perhaps I am too much of an optimist. I certainly have a temperamental tendency towards giving the benefit of the doubt on matters of honesty and intentions. Hopefully more countries will follow the lead of the UK and the whole topic will become moot.
  2. This has me very interested. Do you know when this hoard started to be dispersed? I looked on ACSearch from the beginning of 2023 and didn’t see that many of the Aspendos coins sold matched the condition and look of the Leu examples. The Leu examples are pleasantly toned like they have been stored for a while. I’ll be honest when I first looked at the Leu offerings I figured they were part of a focused collection of Aspendos counterstamps. I had two of them on my “watch list” with a thought to research them further.
  3. It’s not even ubiquitous today for all coins to be photographed in an auction. Really great coins from less “high value” areas get put into group lots without even full descriptions. See the huge lots from the pre-1960 Taeger collection last year. Factor in dealers buying whole collections from estate sales and selling them privately and there are still a huge amount of coins slipping through the documentation cracks even now. I do take your point though. A pre-2000 provenance for an LRB is almost as exciting as a pre-1970 provenance for a Greek tetradrachm. The 90s were probably the heyday for new hoard finds due to metal detectors becoming available at a reasonable price. My guess is that most of the volume introduced to the market from this dynamic is long in the past. Locals know where the ancient settlements were and have picked them over many, many times with the help of metal detectors. The easy finds have mostly been found. I would be shocked if new finds made up a majority of the market even in the 1990s, but certainly they don’t now. The largest generation that ever existed in North America and Europe has moved into retirement and many of the collectors of this generation are selling their coins back into the market.
  4. It’s very reasonable to speculate about this, particularly since the Roma situation confirmed that deceptive or false information on provenance can and is given at auctions. However, I think it is important to remember that it is only speculation unless buttressed with concrete data. I think in a lot of cases people who are interested in this subject are too pessimistic about the prevalence of fake provenance (for reasons I outline below). The knowledge of an Aspendos hoard being currently dispersed is interesting though and you may be into something there. I don’t think anyone can seriously question the value that I place on provenance for my collection and that I have put my money where my mouth is and invested heavily in both time and money into my research library. I have well over 3000 catalogs from the 19th century to the 1990s. My research has impressed on me just the shear volume of coins that have been sloshing around the market for decades… and centuries. I think it is likely a large percentage of coins sold without provenance have been ping-ponging around the market for a long time and have just never been documented. I genuinely think it is unlikely that Leu is making up a boilerplate “collection formed before 2005” and applying it to consignments that they think are suspect. This would make no logical sense. As you pointed out they could simply sell it without saying anything. By making something up they are opening themselves up to potential fraud allegations for no reason at all. I mean, have you ever seen the “2005” provenance demand a premium? The only explanation that makes sense is that some auction houses ask their consigners who want to remain anonymous if they know when the collection was formed and then follow up with “do you know if it was formed before 2005.” If the consigner says “yes” in writing then they have themselves covered if a coin gets caught up in customs. There is also a ton of listings in Leu and elsewhere that say things like “collection formed in the 1970s” or whenever. The consignor may be lying but auction houses are aware of what happened to Roma and it would be strange for them to go out of their way to lie when the risk/reward dynamic is so lopsided. … more response to come.
  5. Why so easily dismiss the possibility that many of these coins are indeed from pre-2005 collections or that Leu was at least told that they were? Imagine the conclusions we would draw about the Harptree hoard or poorly documented parts of the Dattari collection if the consignors hadn’t passed on a lot of information to the auction house / dealers. I’ve had pretty great success with finding provenances for my Leu wins. Over the last two years I found a pre-WWII and a ~50 year old provenance from my Leu wins that had vaguely described boiler plate provenances.
  6. Does this mean that CNG never followed up with you after agreeing to consign or that they took your consignment, sold the books and then never squared up with you after? If the later then that would be shocking. I had the same question as @DonnaML. Are you planning to sell some of these books or are these your “keepers”?
  7. Croatia may well be my favorite country in the world. It has wonderfully rich ancient and medieval history and sooo many under-visited cultural sites. When I traveled there a few years ago I was amazed at how universally friendly every single Croatian I met was. I hope I get a chance to visit again someday.
  8. You could put them in a bag with a bunch of kitschy tourist stuff and souvenirs and they probably won’t even get a look. If you have your invoices and proofs of purchase you can keep those with you just in case. If it were me I wouldn’t draw attention to it by asking too many questions. Good luck!
  9. Interesting coin. It sure looks like an overstrike to me. Possibly over another seated Securitas flipped 180 degrees.
  10. Next up is a provenance find I was extremely happy to make. I recently bought a bunch of Seaby’s Coin and Medal Bulletins and I found my JC portrait coin in both the January and December issues for 1976. I bought this coin last year without any verifiable provenance and I have since been able to push the provenance back 48 years, illustrated from three different auction houses and one named collection. Not bad! Roman Imperitorial Julius Caesar, 49-44 BC. AR Denarius (Lifetime Portrait), P. Sepullius Macer (moneyer), Rome mint, struck first half of March 44 BC (17 mm, 3.53 g, 4 h) Obv.: CAESAR [DIC]T PERPETVO Laureate and veiled head of Julius Caesar to right. Rev.: P•SEPVLLIVS - MACER Venus standing front, head lowered to left, holding Victory in her right hand and long scepter adorned with star in her left; to right, round shield set on the ground. Ref.: Babelon (Julia) 49 and (Sepullia) 4, Crawford 480/11, CRI 107b, RBW 1684, Sydenham 1072 Ex Seaby’s Coin & Medal Bulletin (January 1976), lot A51; Ex Seaby’s Coin & Medal Bulletin (December 1976), lot C541; Ex Münzhandlung Ritter Lagerliste no. 19, lot 327 (November 1983); Ex Collection formed in the Rhineland, Leu Numismatik Web Auction 24, lot 496 (Dec. 3, 2022)
  11. Both great coins Donna. I will just reiterate that I think Spink did a solid job on documenting and photographing the hoard. Not to name any names but one could easily contrast with the terrible job that was done handling large parts of the Dattari collection which was arguably a much more important group of coins. I thought about this too. I bought my coin in 2017 from CNG and I assume they were the winner of the Spink group lot my coin came from. I calculate that their break even was about $200. I got my example for $280 hammer, which was $20 under estimate. If my example was typical they would have made about $1600 profit on the lot.
  12. Great coin @Ursus. I bought several coins from the Taeger collection and I was happy with the quality of all of them. Below is one that made my Top 10 last year. SICILY, Syracuse Second Democracy, 466-406 B.C. AR Tetradrachm, struck ca. 460-440 BC (25 mm, 17.08 g) Obv.: Charioteer driving slow quadriga right, Nike above flying right, crowning horses, Pistrix (Sea serpent or ketos) in exergue Rev.: Head of Arethusa facing right, ethnic before, four dolphins around. Minor smoothing present, though a lovely head of Arethusa with each strand of hair visible. Ref.: Boehringer-546 (Obv. 276, Rev. 378); cf.SNG ANS-177. Ex collection of German historian Fritz Taeger (1894-1960†), Rhenumis Auktion 11, lot 10015
  13. I’ll start off with the research equivalent of low-hanging fruit. I knew this coin was Ex Harptree Hoard ca. 1887 when I bought it from CNG back in 2017. However, the hoard was not photographed in its entirety after its discovery and this coin didn’t come with any ephemera that would allow me to connect it definitively to the hoard. Some additional research was needed. The hoard was discovered in the summer of 1887 on the land of William Kettlewell, as workers were searching for the source of a spring that could supplement the nearby town’s water supply. A total of 1,496 coins were discovered in a broken pewter container buried about 6 inches under the ground. The coins were turned over to the British Museum for study. The BM kept about 25 coins and returned the rest. William’s son later loaned the pewter container and about 250 coins to the local church for display, where they were stolen. The remaining ~1200 coins were sold by Spink in September of 2016. A fuller story of the hoard and its journey to Spink can be read here: https://www.spink.com/media/view?id=339 From this research, I knew that in order to connect my coin most securely to the hoard I would have to find it in the September 2016 Spink sale. Luckily, from what I can tell, Spink did a great job of photographing every coin in the hoard on at least one side (even the group lots). Not all of the group lots were illustrated in the print catalog but fortunately they are still available online at Spink’s website (Making a PDF of these online only lots is on my “to-do” list). I was happy to find my coin in one of the online group lots. For my records, I put together a collage of the relevant catalog information needed to connect my coin to the provenance. My coin is in the center of the group lot photo below. Roman Empire Julian II, AD 360-363 AR Siliqua, Lugdunum mint, struck ca. AD 360-361 Wt.: 2.23 g Dia.: 18 mm Obv.: FL CL IVLIA NVS P P AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right Rev.: VICTORIA DD NN AVG, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm frond Ref.: LVG. RIC VIII 212; Lyon 259; RSC 58†c, IRBCH 1424 Ex Harptree Hoard (discovered in 1887), Spink Auction 16006, lot 2983 (part of)(September 26-27, 2016); CNG E-auction 407, lot 604 (October 11, 2017)
  14. I have been spending a lot more time in my numismatic library recently. That has led me to some really interesting discoveries. I thought it might be fun to start this thread to document some of this research. For now I intend to use this thread to post about; Provenance discoveries as I make them. Discoveries regarding collector tags and other ephemera. Interesting or noteworthy articles and information that I come across. Interesting catalogs or books that I think notable. (I’ve been adding both to my library at a record pace this last year!) Observations on topics such as: notable fabric peculiarities for specific coin types, style comparison of dies, historic trends in the coin market based on my catalog research etc. I will use this OP to link to later research posts. I hope others will consider adding to the thread with your random research also as I hope to link to contributor posts as well as my own.
  15. Interesting thread @Valentinian. Here are a few I think fit the description.
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