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Would you buy a 400 euros FAKE Solidus ?


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I was watching this afternoon an auction ending on ebay; a solidus of Theodosius II from Constantinople, advertised as a MODERN FORGERY. The coin is a dangerous counterfeit, offered by a well known dealer from Germany. The « hammer price » was 402 euros. I calculated that with the weight of 4.41g, the value of the gold would be around 200 euros. But a genuine coin like this (in similar condition) rarely goes under 1000 euros…

So my two questions are:1) Why someone would buy such a coin ?  2) Would you buy a forgery like this one ?

AC0B086E-8C52-4254-9907-10001DEECF4C.jpeg.44adbdc12c465596d40067decc17f3ef.jpeg


 

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2 hours ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

:1) Why someone would buy such a coin ?  2) Would you buy a forgery like this one ?

1) for me the answer is simple. Most likely - to add it in the circuit, without any mention of the true nature of the coin. There is always the possibility of a buyer who didn't pay attention to the description. But I doubt it!

2) No. My rule is simple. If I can't afford a coin, this is it. If I want to study it, there are unlimited possibilities without buying a forgery.

There is a major possibility that I will never afford a decadrachm. Any decadrachm, even the most decrepit one. But if I want to read about it or check good pictures, to see its features, I need to perform 2-3 mouse clicks. I will never buy a fake one.

I strongly disapprove these objects. And I started to avoid houses that have a section of "fakes for study". A "fake for study" needs to be properly marked with an incuse writing or something similar.

I am not an expert when it comes to late gold coins (or any gold coins). I cannot say if this is is an accurate copy or not. But anyway, it's irrelevant - whoever fabricated it had the purpose to deceive. Declared or not.

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I have a few coins for which I paid more than $400, but that is definitely nearing my budget limit. Also, Late Empire coins are not my main interest. So no, I most certainly would not pay for that one.

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That is terrifying! Maybe I am not familiar enough with the exact coin, but if someone hadn't told me it was fake I wouldn't be the wiser. These are the coins that keep me up at night.  I mean how on Earth would you be able to see that and know it was a fake?

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The fact that declared fakes and forgeries continue to circulate as such disturbs me. There are enough undeclared fakes being purchased every day on EBay by people with more money than common sense (or those that are simply too rushed or lazy to properly do their homework) that have me shaking my head. The fact that you can no longer warn these people or get fake sellers off EBay is troubling. EBay continues to be a real minefield for the beginner, but there are still often genuine bargains to be had for more experienced collectors, which keeps me coming back. However, I will admit that the increasing deceptiveness of fakes, especially those offered by this German dealer, have me increasingly scrutinizing the coins I buy on EBay. As a result, I'm increasingly drawn to reputable auction houses I am familiar with and have bought from despite their higher prices and buyers' fees. 

As with every hobby, the prevalence and deceptiveness of fakes continues to be a known risk. Some, like the Vitellius above, are easy to spot as fake from the mushy details and dubious style. Others, like the solidus, are more dangerous in my opinion (this is not my collecting area, but I admit that I would likely be fooled by it). We all need to continue to stay vigilant and remind each other of these risks, which is why I find threads like these so helpful. It is often easy to get drawn into an "incredible deal" in a moment of weakness, but we also need to remember that if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Avoid greed or opportunity as a driving force in making your purchases, and stick to the areas you know well, or are researching thoroughly. Check the Forum Fakes site, do your homework beforehand, don't jump to conclusions and remain cautious.

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In a word: no. I would not buy a known forgery for that amount of money. I would instead put that sum towards a beautiful genuine example. Or even a really nice follis or silver piece. Really, anything else.

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I wouldn't buy any coin, which I knew was fake, whether the coin was advertised as fake, or advertised as real. I wouldn't want, to reward the seller, for selling a fake coin.

Like @ambr0zie I avoid sellers and auction houses, who sell fakes, which are advertised as fakes.

Edited by sand
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15 minutes ago, CPK said:

While we're on this topic it brings up an interesting question: Do you see a difference between a "replica" versus a "fake", and is there a place for the former?

That's an interesting question. I guess, if a coin is designed to look different than an authentic coin, a "fantasy" coin, something for children to play with, then perhaps I don't mind. For example, fake gold pirate coins, or fake silver pirate coins, for children to play with, I don't mind that. But, any fake coin, that looks authentic enough to fool people, I prefer that such things don't exist, even in museums.

Edited by sand
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In a sense Lanz is doing us a favour by showing us all kinds of fakes. This solidus is really terrifying. I would not have been able to call it out and I do own a number of solidi of that period. The best thing that could happen now that someone makes a record of this coin. 

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Most of the fakes sold by that dealer are rather obvious but this one is a level above. Although it would raise doubts in the mind of an advanced collector, specifically the rather faint details on the face on obverse, too superficial for such a quality strike and preservation. And a beginner collector would have no business buying ancient gold on ebay in the first place.

The fakes I am more concerned about are the "Carolingian" types that seem to have overrun international ebay and I expect they will also make their way to biddr soon.

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UPDATE: I contacted a specialist of this type and ask his opinion about the OP coin:

 «  I see nothing wrong with it and I easily found another example from the same two dies in a much better state and it looks fine as well (Roma Numismatics Ltd, E-Sale 62, 17 October 2019). So €402 is a very good price. If they think it’s fake, I don’t know why they’d sell it in this way. It’s guaranteed to be bought by someone who’ll sell it as authentic. They’re just helping crooks. »

Here is the Roma coin sold for €950 in 2019:

9F47C995-92C0-4D94-8B0A-97E1D95821EB.jpeg.f8f54870bf98b31adf28167dc934bf30.jpeg

My questions: What did the seller see with the coin in hands ? Could LANZ be wrong about it ? But if he was right, what about the other specimens stuck with the same dies offered in auctions in the past ?

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...
22 hours ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

Weirdly, THE EXACT SAME COIN is still for sale…by LANZ again….??????

1426DE38-8967-48D2-ACA1-CAD101058D9C.jpeg.0218f4b8bb7468f26ba1a7e0eab6e98a.jpeg

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Yes this is exactly the same. Not even a different photo. Presumably, if the last one did actually sell (so not unpaid or bought by himself), then this is not the coin you would receive. It might not even be a forgery in the photo.

Edited by John Conduitt
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22 hours ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

Weirdly, THE EXACT SAME COIN is still for sale…by LANZ again….??????

You wonder really? Lanz isn't Lanz as for 20-30 years. Now he sells so many forgerys - sometimes with "its a modern forgery" - sometimes he didn't write in the description. I remember Lanz as a serious reputable numismatic house - but thats gone. Its a shame to see what way this company is gone...

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If the OP coin is false, it is a deceptive fake indeed.  Here is another example of a real one, from a different but highly similar die, purchased from Victor England in 1990, and in my collection since.  The style is perfect on the OP coin, even to the detail of the bird head on the prow below the feet of Constantinopolis.  Perhaps it is a product of a pressed die from an original coin, and the coin is an obvious cast when examined in hand.  image.jpeg.1748fe0d1ca6a34aab6a1bf8a67aa664.jpegimage.jpeg.f004d180334d9e5a07852e4f0452e490.jpeg

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