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Opinions on a Theophilus Follis...


ewomack
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Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb to me. There are a couple places on the reverse that are interesting that I'd like someone more knowledgeable to chime in with:

There are a few places where the letters seem to cut into the beading around the border. Namely the "O" on the first line, the "V" on the 3rd line and the "N" on the 4th line.
Was that done by the engraver? Or is that a possible indication of tooling? I don't know. 

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7 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I may be wrong, but looks like the 'uncertain Greek mint.'

 

The 'uncertain Provincial mint' has a very distinctive look, as shown below. But my opinion on the OP coin is that it was tooled a bit...

normal_Sear-1667(2).jpg

 

image.png.f02dc39991ee970a6e96950f0ee51d12.png

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IMHO, the OP coin has been zealously cleaned. The area from 7 to 8 o'clock on the obverse shows the purple aspect of corrosion affecting the coin below the surface layer and this might be a problem area in the future, even if the other spots are neutralized. The fact that the patina and some corrosion has been removed means that the person who cleaned the coin had to make decisions about where to stop, which some people might consider as tooled. The fine line between "zealously cleaned" and "tooled" is not always clear.

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Thank you everyone for the great feedback! The consensus overall seems to be not tooled (depending on the fuzzy zone between "tooled" and "cleaned"), but definitely cleaned. Someone mentioned the 7 - 8 o'clock area of the obverse and that area doesn't make me happy, either. I'm guessing it's very hard to tell at this point whether it contains corrosion that will rear its ugly head in the future or not?

I may just bring it home and put it under a scope and post pictures here to: 1. determine that no tooling actually exists (I'm guessing that tooling is obvious under magnification, probably by telltale little chipping marks); 2. learn more about how to assess and analyze Byzantine coins. The potential corrosion does give me pause, though, but so far only one person has mentioned it as a potential issue (not to dismiss that post at all, I'm really glad that thought was posted, I'm just collecting a consensus).

The dealer offers 2 weeks "for any reason" returns and a guarantee of authenticity (i.e., ability to return at any time with documented questions of authenticity).

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If that green spot on the obverse is hard, then it is inert and just one of those very common hard green deposits that one encounters on ancient bronze coins.  That spot is very small - I've seen much larger ones that resemble mini mountain ranges across coin surfaces.  However, if it is powdery, which I think it is not, then there's active BD.

That's a nice coin overall.

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Minted at Constantinople during the reign of Theophilus between 2 October 829 - 20 January 842. Obv. 0EOFIL‘bASIL’.: Three quarter length figure facing, wearing Loros and crown surmounted by tufa; he holds labarum in r. hand and gl. cr. in l. Rev. +0EO/FILEAVC/OVSTE SV/nICAS.: in four lines

Should I try to clean this coin, what would you all do to this coin?

81 THEOPHILUS OBV.jpg

81 THEOPHILUS REV.jpg

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53 minutes ago, Jims,Coins said:

Minted at Constantinople during the reign of Theophilus between 2 October 829 - 20 January 842. Obv. 0EOFIL‘bASIL’.: Three quarter length figure facing, wearing Loros and crown surmounted by tufa; he holds labarum in r. hand and gl. cr. in l. Rev. +0EO/FILEAVC/OVSTE SV/nICAS.: in four lines

Should I try to clean this coin, what would you all do to this coin?

81 THEOPHILUS OBV.jpg

81 THEOPHILUS REV.jpg

@Jims,Coins That's a nice example. I like the wear, and I like the green patina. If it were my coin, I would leave it alone. I would not clean it. I would put it in my Byzantine coin tray.

Edited by sand
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2 hours ago, Jims,Coins said:

Should I try to clean this coin, what would you all do to this coin?

There is nothing to clean. That green is patina, not dirt or unsightly encrustation. Any chemical strong enough to remove the green would remove a lot of the metal with it and you then have a coin with a terrible surface. Leave it as it is! 

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On 8/23/2022 at 8:27 PM, ewomack said:

I both like and feel a little unsure about this Theophilus follis. Does it look tooled at all to anyone?

That coin has had the surface stripped down almost to bare metal. Other than that is is very nice. The remaining detail is excellent, but the surface is porous from the chemical cleaning. I'd say it is not tooled. Maybe the top of that "O" in the first line has been touched, but that is insignificant and certainly far less distracting than the horizontal scratches often seen between the lines when someone "cleaned" a similar coin with a sharp metal tool. 

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5 hours ago, Jims,Coins said:

Minted at Constantinople during the reign of Theophilus between 2 October 829 - 20 January 842. Obv. 0EOFIL‘bASIL’.: Three quarter length figure facing, wearing Loros and crown surmounted by tufa; he holds labarum in r. hand and gl. cr. in l. Rev. +0EO/FILEAVC/OVSTE SV/nICAS.: in four lines

Should I try to clean this coin, what would you all do to this coin?

81 THEOPHILUS OBV.jpg

81 THEOPHILUS REV.jpg

That is, IMO, lovely green patina. Some examples show even more emerald green because of certain chemical compounds in the earth. Leave it as is. 

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8 hours ago, Valentinian said:

That coin has had the surface stripped down almost to bare metal. Other than that is is very nice. The remaining detail is excellent, but the surface is porous from the chemical cleaning. I'd say it is not tooled. Maybe the top of that "O" in the first line has been touched, but that is insignificant and certainly far less distracting than the horizontal scratches often seen between the lines when someone "cleaned" a similar coin with a sharp metal tool. 

Thank you for your comments. I'm guessing - assuming that I keep the coin after receiving it - that I'll have to use caution so the coin doesn't get exposed to possible corrosion since it lost its protective patina? I really do like the details on the coin, but I'm not thrilled about the patina removal. I need to study a good book on the lifecycle of copper metal and corrosion (I also have early US coppers, so I apparently have some strange affinity for copper).

This forum, as always, has been very helpful for me with answering questions that I don't yet know how to answer. This thread has definitely provided another learning experience. When the coin arrives, I'll probably start a new thread and post some detailed pictures of the surface to help determine what I do next.

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One thing you can do is to quarantine the coin from any other bronze pieces you may have with some corrosion or bronze disease, that way the condition won't spread to your new coin. I had a follis of Galerius with bronze disease which actually got worse over a couple of decades and infected an AE of Constantius II.

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