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Kaleun96

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  1. I think you have to be a bit careful drawing any conclusions so early into the year and also from specific auction houses/dealers. January is a feature auction month and e-sales tend to be a bit weaker following them. We all know what's going on with Roma. Re: Leu, a lot of their inventory appears to come from hoards so you see some big swings in trends for certain types of coins. But excluding hoards, large consignments can dominate an auction house's calendar for half a year or more and we may never know it if the consignors choose to not use a collection name. An example of this for my own collection area is the Don T. Hayes collection that CNG has been selling off but his collection included a lot more than just Alexander tetradrachms. CNG started selling them in March 2023 and it's still going, though it feels like it's dying down a bit Certain dealers also often get a sudden influx either from a consignment or hoard. Regular collectors also might be less likely to have consigned their coins in Nov/Dec last year than at other times during the year So I think it's just the normal ebb and flow. Sometimes I'll go months without buying a coin from CNG or Leu just due to the kind of coins they're consigning at that time. I just assume that while those sales may not be interesting for me, I'm sure they're interesting for someone else. Those other people are probably glad that finally these auction houses are back to selling coins they collect, while for me those previous sales were perfect for me.
  2. This is just what the DHL rep told me, they'd not cover the loss of any goods considered to be antiques, which included collectible coins older than 100 years. I can only find reference to this for DHL Freight and DHL eCommerce services. I can't see any terms and conditions for DHL Express that explicitly exclude certain goods from the insurance for that service but I also didn't look for too long.
  3. Hopefully I'm not derailing the thread too much from the intended purpose but I have always wondered how auction houses offer insurance on shipping. From my understanding, both DHL and FedEx refuse to insure ancient coins (at least when I have asked), as well as my local national postal service. So when I sell coins I always explicitly state that they're not insured even if the shipping option I used says insurance included. I believe some auction houses have insurance provided through a third-party rather than the carrier. It's possible this auction house is doing the same and hence the arbitrary doubling of the price and lack of insurance on a FedEx parcel, or they're offering their own "insurance" by working out how much $$$ they lose in lost packages each year and how much they would have to charge for shipping to recoup that expected loss.
  4. I think it's likely pitting from corrosion rather than casting bubbles too. It's not too uncommon to see on a lot of the low budget Alexander drachms we see coming to market on biddr. In terms of Zurqieh, I wouldn't say they're unlikely to sell fakes as they absolutely have (and removed them when alerted) but they're probably better than your average budget biddr auction house. They have the help of a reputable numismatist for checking attributions and authenticity I believe but even one fake that I know of has slipped past him and it was a known forgery.
  5. Congrats on nearly getting the map and timeline done! Always cool being able to visualise your collection in different ways. Re: the timeline chart, as you mention it's not ideal for some devices yet due to the page width. One thing that helped me with scaling my own timeline chart on narrow-screen devices was putting the chart in its own container with overflow-x set to auto, that way the page itself doesn't stretch in width but the user can still easily scroll across the width of the chart 🙂
  6. 50% unsold at this point sounds about right for the last few Buy or Bids from HJB. I think you have to go back two years or more before you find the Buy or Bids that used to see huge numbers sold in the first few hours. Every time you would refresh the page, another couple of coins would be sold. It was a mad rush to go through the catalogue before all the good coins were sold, only hindered by their slow servers (which have gotten better) and buggy website (which is about the same). My run of not buying anything from a Buy or Bid after is nearly up to 3 years now, and that was after I bought five or six coins in them between 2020-2021.
  7. It's always a possibility but I think its likelihood depends on the type of coinage - do you have 31 examples of the same Alexander III tetradrachm by any chance? The frequency of dies, die pairings, types, examples, availability in public collections, and prior research affect how likely it is for someone to amass such a collection so what makes sense in one field of ancient numismatics may not in another. If it were a die study, we likely would've seen that die study published before they sold the coins and we'd expect to see provenances. Perhaps they did it for personal reasons (or didn't finish it), you never know, as I haven't come across such a study myself and I've also yet to see a recent (i.e. not Newell etc) die study of Alexander III tetradrachms that came from the author's large personal collection. All the ones that come to mind rely on a mix of public collections, hoards, and auction results. Additionally, this "collection" doesn't represent every type from Aspendos, Phaselis, and Perge and I bet it doesn't represent every die of the types it does have either. So it would seem to me odd to have four of one type, including of the same die, but none of others. It just doesn't strike me as a personal collection at all, unless it came from someone who bought it as a hoard themselves.
  8. I think they relied on both the historical context and the skeletal remains for parts of this. They don't have enough to make conclusive determinations as they do for some of their claims IMO. Their paper is laid out as "we determined this from the skeleton and found that it supports these individuals based on the history" but that doesn't mean their research occurred in that fashion. Almost certainly it didn't - they were aware of the historical context when assessing the characteristics of the remains. As I've mentioned I've largely forgotten what I studied but I can try and provide some more context around what the study says: "[Individual 2] Sex determination was based on facial remains. The supraorbital region of the frontal bone is smooth with no signs of any supraorbital ridge, and the orbital edge is thin, indicating that it likely belonged to a female individual" The supraorbital region is a useful indicator but it's one of about five indicators used from the skull, others being the eye sockets, the chin, the jaw, and the mastoid process. Here they only have two characteristics to evaluate and (again IIRC), the mastoid is the preferred trait from the skull for sex determination. "[Individual 1] The eruption of M3 is about twelve years later than that of M1 so that the male is expected to be a middle age adult. These observations are consistent with a Philip II and Cleopatra identification of Tomb I" Touching on age briefly, I think their logic here sounds reasonable but I don't think there's enough evidence to say it's definitively a mid-40s individual (Philip II) vs a 39 year old individual (Philip III). It probably leans towards slightly older, and their other paper said the age estimate is wide but centres on ~45yo but it's difficult to age a skeleton with high precision at this point in its life (i.e. well past the onset of adulthood). I think it's consistent with being either Philip II or III, probably more likely II but to say "the Philip II/Tomb I hypothesis is confirmed" is a stretch. Their older paper goes into a lot more detail on the sexing and ageing and I think the sexing for Individual 1 seems fairly robust, less so for Individual 2. As mentioned the ageing for Individual 1 is helpful but not conclusive and they hand-wave away it being Philip III or Amyntas III. They say Amyntas was in "advanced age" but some estimates I've found suggest he may have only been around 50 when he died. The authors cite their 2008 paper in regards to the "advanced age" claim but it also goes uncited in that paper, they just say Amyntas was too old to be the Individual in Tomb 1. So what I mean by them relying on the historical context when making determinations about age and sex is that I think they're possibly letting the history bias their interpretations of the skeletal remains. I'm not saying it necessarily a conscious bias, it could be subconscious, but when it comes to assessing these various traits and signs from skeletal remains, you have to be as objective as possible to not see what you want to see. It's tough to do properly because anyone who knows anything about the tomb is going to come in with some ideas about who is thought to have been in each tomb. Would they have made the same conclusions if we had no idea who the occupants were? We'll never know. But it is entirely possible that the individuals in Tomb 1 aren't even the ones who were originally interred in it. In the best case scenario where these determinations are done blind of any additional context and with complete remains, they're still far from perfect and can be subject to significant observer error. I'm sure you also picked up on the academic "fighting" between the authors and those of another paper. The authors don't try and hide their animosity, there's a lot of snark from both sides. That's never good and it also left me with the impression that there's a possibility they're letting the historical context and their previous research guide their interpretations beyond what can be supported by the physical evidence. But just to be clear, I'm not making any accusations or statements of fact. I just think it's a very touchy subject, ripe for bias to creep into interpretations, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone rebuts with an equally convincing sounding argument in another paper.
  9. I think there's likely some truth to that and in my experience consignment terms from other auction houses ask similar questions of the consignor. That being said, I don't think it covers Leu all that well legally. They do have some responsibility to do due diligence and if they're receiving a consignment of 30 coins of a similar type, condition, and appearance, I don't think they would get away with arguing that (a) they didn't suspect the coins may be from a hoard, and (b) that more probable than not the hoard was discovered post-2005. Even worse than the Aspendos staters in this upcoming sale are the Alexander the Great tetradrachms. I think I counted nearly 40 examples representing 10 types from the range Price 2990 to 2999 (i.e. closely related types from the same mint). Even without including the context of the other ~150 ATG tetradrachms, this kind of sample doesn't strike you as your typical collector's consignment, even if that collector happened to not only focus on ATG tetradrachms but ones of that specific mint and period. Who needs four examples per type? Many of them probably of the same die pairings too.
  10. Thanks for sharing! This is/was right up my alley as back in university my honours thesis was on using statistical methods to determine sex from incomplete skeletal remains, though I've since forgotten most of what I had learnt. After a quick skim through the paper, I would say that the historical context for these tombs is doing a lot of heavy lifting in verifying the age and sex of the remains. Even with complete skeletons it can be difficult to say with a good degree of certainty whether a given person is male or female and in this case we're dealing with some scattered fragmentary remains or partially cremated remains. The leg wound for the skeleton in Tomb I definitely seems significant though, as it aligns so well with historical sources. That's not to say we shouldn't use the historical context to help form conclusions, only that we should be a bit wary about relying on them too heavily and be clear in the inherent problems of doing so. It seems that in the past this has happened with these tombs (e.g. the supposed eye wound in the cranial bones of Tomb II). It's also easy to get caught in a tautological trap where you say the bones are believed to belong to individual X because the historical sources support it and the historical sources are accurate and reliable because the bones of individual X support them. So rather than the evidence from the tombs providing strong support for the historical narratives or vice versa, I think the reliability of both exist instead on a bit of a shaky middle ground. Though out of the two, I think it's clear the historical sources are doing more to influence the analysis of the tomb than vice versa, which leaves open the possibility that if the historical material is inaccurate then the conclusions about the tomb could change significantly too. Throw in the issues with the confusion over which material belonged to which tomb (as well as some missing material) and I get the feeling this is far from the last we'll hear of studies on the identities of the remains in these tombs. On another note, I wonder if any of the teeth are in sufficient condition to derive age estimates from. Teeth sort of have growth lines like rings in a tree and you can count them to help determine how long the tooth had been growing and estimate age at death. I know traditionally that it has required some destructive testing (taking histological slices) but back when I was still at uni work was being done to correlate that with perikymata, which are the surface representations of these growth lines, so an age determination could be made non-destructively. Either way, will dig into some more later. Super exciting to see more and more research being done on these tombs and the conclusions as presented in the paper sound pretty reasonable so far.
  11. I've got some examples to follow-up my earlier post that talked about the second reflector to get some light hitting the coin from the opposite site. These aren't the fairest comparisons as the old photos may have been lit with additional lights and not only using my previous pseudo-axial ringlight and the coins have noticeably toned since then. Aspendos staters are also relatively flatly struck so aren't the best for showcasing depth but these are a coin I typically struggled with for this reason and I think the new photos make some definitive improvements. The only thing I might change is making the newer photos a touch brighter but otherwise I'm quite pleased with them. Old photos = top / black background New photos = bottom / transparent background Photos of the new device with the second reflector on the other side.
  12. I definitely notice the axial and pseudo-axial method makes it harder to get naturally-lit edges in my photos as well. Bit of a pain because it can be tricky to light them without them standing out too much. By the way, why do you have to cut out the edges from background if your photos will always be on a black background? I used to darken the blacks around the edges when I was saving them to black backgrounds but I just relied on Lightroom's auto-mask on the brush to do that.
  13. Interesting to hear! Great that the eBay glass worked out for you too. It's certainly the best I've yet found. Let me know if you come up with anything for the background separation issue. I went down a complicated rabbit hole by using an LED light from under the coin to provide separation. It ends up being similar to the axial light problem but in reverse: you need the light rays from the background to be perpendicular to the coin or else the light will bleed into the coin's edges and blend it with the background slightly. My current solution works great except for a minor focus stacking related side-effect but if you find an alternative solution I'd love to know as it may nullify that issue. I guess an obvious solution is just distance between the coin and a static background that you light separately. That would avoid reflections onto the coin edge if the distance is sufficient. Unfortunately in my case I don't have enough room for that separation.
  14. Just a minor update this time. So with the angles involved it's difficult to balance getting enough light on the coin at a high enough angle that it will reflect back into the lens after bouncing off the coin. Higher angles tend to mean less of the light can be reflected onto the coin because the geometry simply doesn't allow it but if you use lower angles, you get more light bouncing off of the coin but lose the axial effect and most of this light is going to bounce away from, not back to, the lens making it wasted light. In one of the diagrams above I mentioned that I designed a "blocker" to prevent some of the reflected light from exiting the device because it will never reach a coin of the diameters I commonly photograph. In the screenshot below, only the light that is allowed to reflect onto the coin is shown and is depicted by the yellow highlighted areas. Behind that space you can see an empty rectangle of sorts, this light would reflect off of the first surface and then hit that triangle shaped blocker between it and the coin. So you can see I am wasting a fair amount of light but it's not that I necessarily need it either. It would be useful, though, if it can be used to light the coin from the other side and at a similar angle. I worked out that this should be possible with the right angles and came up with this: So the original reflection surface now has a secondary angle at the back, which previously just reflected light to nowhere. It now reflects the light horizontally (shown in green) across the device to a third reflector, which reflects it towards the coin at an 80 degree angle - same as the light reflected on the other side. I'm hoping this will give me a more even axial effect across the coin instead of the majority of that effect being seen on one side of the coin. I've also mounted magnets in the reflectors so that they can be removed and swapped out, in case I don't want this secondary reflection. One issue I had when initially testing this was that the white plastic reflectors really do not reflect a lot of light. The two reflections required for this secondary reflection (green) meant almost no light actually reached the coin from this side, only from the original side. I then tried covering all the white reflectors in aluminium tape, which has a mirror-like finish, but that reflected too much light! My flash was too powerful at its lowest setting when using the aluminium tape reflectors. So instead I used the aluminium tape on just the initial reflection surface of the secondary reflection to get enough light across to the reflector on the other side but I left that reflection surface and the original reflection surface as just the white plastic as that seems sufficient for now.
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