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A new low - half the coins in my weekly Numisbid auction feed alert are fakes sorry reproductions. CNG, Roma, Naville.


Deinomenid
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I do  understand how Robert Ready of  British  Museum fame is apparently collectible  (auction  houses keep telling me this  though I've not met anyone who focuses their collections on this,  just saying....) but this week these 3 reputable  houses are all selling coins that will quite likely be flipped as real, as the great bazaar of Ebay so often shows. I just don't  know why they bother. A few  dozen $ in commission, as these rarely sell for very much as reproductions.

It's often really hard for a nonexpert to tell what's what, especially as  Ready signed the edge and many don't ask for that image when  buying.

In the case of the Kimon dec (there's always one of these!) the Robert Ready initials are described as "traces of R R on edge" aka someone tried to remove them. Hmm,  I wonder why.

If they are going to sell their souls, surely there are better or more profitable ways of doing it. It just seems so unnecessary and cynical.

So in case this just seems  like a whine, which it isn't as  I am fairly good at detecting fakes (which probably means only  half  my collection is fake!) I'd propose they do something about  it. Take the coins in and just sit on them, black cabinet them, HJ Berk-style. They are rounding errors in terms an annual profit and loss, they could win some  kudos, and probably help underpin confidence in the broader market. Or heck if I am wrong and they desperately need to sell acknowledged fakes to turn an overall profit, offer to round  up invoices to the nearest dollar so cover the (low) cost of this if they want me and others to pay for their integrity. 

 

Heck, the Roma fakes even seem to be copies of a famous copy. "Struck copy after Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772-1830) by an unknown maker"...

 

Maybe I should just start collecting these  instead and burn them on my funeral pyre when the time comes.

eg

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6254&lot=1511

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6247&lot=911

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6236&lot=679

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6246&lot=1814

 

Would  it be cynical of me to say that all these coins are - if sold as original - very expensive. Ready and  his sons made many copies of "lesser" coins too but oddly these rarely come  up.

 

 

 

 

 

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Quote

Struck copy after Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772-1830) by an unknown maker

 

Quote

REPRODUCTIONS, SICILY. Syracuse. Dionysios I.

 

Quote

Tetradrachm electrotype for Robert Ready (1859-1931)

 

Quote

British Museum Electrotypes, three (3) electrotypes, produced by the Robert Ready of the British Museum (all with the edge letters RR)

 

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you - then please excuse me.

But I see nothing objectionable here - especially with the Roma links. Roma clearly describes the coins on offer as "modern" restrikes. I can hardly see any possibility of someone unwittingly falling for "forgeries" here. So Roma certainly cannot be accused of this here. The coins are clearly and unambiguously declared.


I also think - one must PLEASE make a clear distinction between two things here!

1. persons and sellers who deliberately produce forgeries - solely with the intention that these forgeries are as indistinguishable as possible from the antique original with the purpose of selling a cheap modern forgery as expensively as possible to the unsuspecting customer.

2. sellers, dealers and auction houses who sell beautiful reproductions of ancient coins - clearly marking them as reproductions - for the purpose of enabling collectors to buy a design of a coin that would normally be unaffordable for them. 

It must also be said - that 100, 200 and more years ago it was very chic to have copies of valuable rare coins made and to collect them!


By the way, I have a very well-made marble bust of NERO on my desk. But of course it is not an original. It would cost me the price of a house - if it were real. Is the maker of such a copy (or the seller of such a bust) now a fraud? I knew it was a modern marble copy of the Nero bust - because I can't buy an original. Is it reprehensible to have a copy on the table? Is it reprehensible to sell or buy a copy of a valuable coin? 

The only thing that matters is that you make it clear that this is a copy. Then everything is good. And I don't see why a dealer or an auction house should then make themselves look bad.

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40 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

So in case this just seems  like a whine, which it isn't as  I am fairly good at detecting fakes (which probably means only  half  my collection is fake!) I'd propose they do something about  it. Take the coins in and just sit on them, black cabinet them, HJ Berk-style.

I would be certain that these auction houses are not falling for electrotypes as genuine. Rather, collectors who can’t afford a $500,000 coin engage in the buying and selling of quality and somewhat convincing replicas.

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48 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

I do  understand how Robert Ready of  British  Museum fame is apparently collectible  (auction  houses keep telling me this  though I've not met anyone who focuses their collections on this,  just saying....) but this week these 3 reputable  houses are all selling coins that will quite likely be flipped as real, as the great bazaar of Ebay so often shows. I just don't  know why they bother. A few  dozen $ in commission, as these rarely sell for very much as reproductions.

It's often really hard for a nonexpert to tell what's what, especially as  Ready signed the edge and many don't ask for that image when  buying.

In the case of the Kimon dec (there's always one of these!) the Robert Ready initials are described as "traces of R R on edge" aka someone tried to remove them. Hmm,  I wonder why.

If they are going to sell their souls, surely there are better or more profitable ways of doing it. It just seems so unnecessary and cynical.

So in case this just seems  like a whine, which it isn't as  I am fairly good at detecting fakes (which probably means only  half  my collection is fake!) I'd propose they do something about  it. Take the coins in and just sit on them, black cabinet them, HJ Berk-style. They are rounding errors in terms an annual profit and loss, they could win some  kudos, and probably help underpin confidence in the broader market. Or heck if I am wrong and they desperately need to sell acknowledged fakes to turn an overall profit, offer to round  up invoices to the nearest dollar so cover the (low) cost of this if they want me and others to pay for their integrity. 

 

Heck, the Roma fakes even seem to be copies of a famous copy. "Struck copy after Carl Wilhelm Becker (1772-1830) by an unknown maker"...

 

Maybe I should just start collecting these  instead and burn them on my funeral pyre when the time comes.

eg

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6254&lot=1511

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6247&lot=911

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6236&lot=679

https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=6246&lot=1814

 

Would  it be cynical of me to say that all these coins are - if sold as original - very expensive. Ready and  his sons made many copies of "lesser" coins too but oddly these rarely come  up.

 

 

 

 

 

https://cngcoins.com/Lot.aspx?LOT_ID=53548&BACK_URL=%2fLots.aspx%3fIS_ADVANCED%3d1%26ITEM_IS_SOLD%3d1%26ITEM_DESC%3delectrotype%26SEARCH_IN_CONTAINER_TYPE_ID_1%3d1%26SEARCH_IN_CONTAINER_TYPE_ID_2%3d1%26SEARCH_IN_CONTAINER_TYPE_ID_3%3d1%26SEARCH_IN_CONTAINER_TYPE_ID_4%3d1%26TABS_TYPE%3d3%26CONTAINER_NAME%3d%26CONTAINER_TYPE_ID%3d3%26VIEW_TYPE%3d0%26MAX_COUNT%3d10000%26PAGE%3d1

This is an electrotype of a medallion whose whereabouts are no longer known; should we go on and melt it down because new collectors might not read the description of the coin they're bidding on? I think not, there's a lot of value in electrotypes providing a means for collectors to buy coins they could never afford, in grades that perhaps only can be found in a museum if anywhere.

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I would prefer, that fakes not be sold, even if they are advertised as fakes. Even the "high brow" fakes, which some persons seem to believe are important, such as Becker etc. The reason, is that some persons may buy the fakes, and then try to sell the fakes, with the fakes advertised as genuine. For me, there are enough fakes floating around, without someone selling even more fakes. For me, the possiblity of someone re-selling the fakes and advertising them as genuine, outweighs the appeal of someone being able to collect and study fakes, and the appeal of being able to own a fake of a coin that he/she could not otherwise afford. If I want to look at an unaffordable coin, there are many high resolution photos of genuine coins on the internet, that I can look at. This is just my personal preference.

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There is a problem in trying to draw the line. As with @Prieure de Sion’s bust of Nero. I collect contemporary counterfeits. They are fakes. Some are now indistinguishable from the official issues. Tokens too, which copy older coins. Some even use the official coin dies. Russian restrikes from the mint (Novodels) can sell for more than the originals. It makes sense to want to reduce the number of fakes, but deciding what is acceptable is a minefield.

If an electrotype is sold by one of these auction houses, as opposed to eBay, the auction with its photos remains forevermore online. If the coin is rare, a quick search on Google would bring the exact same coin up. You would then see it is not genuine.

Edited by John Conduitt
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21 minutes ago, velarfricative said:

Quote from the above advertisement : "The original was part of the collection of the Cabinet des Médailles of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France until it was stolen in 1831 and never recovered. Prior to the theft, a sulfur cast of the medal was made and deposited in the British Museum; all examples derive from this cast."

If an original authentic coin no longer exists, then I would be in favor of a rare exception. Allow 1 fake, and only 1 fake, to be made from the cast or mold. The 1 fake would reside in a museum. And take lots of high resolution photographs, of the cast or mold, and take lots of high resolution photographs of the 1 fake.

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15 minutes ago, sand said:

I would prefer, that fakes not be sold, even if they are advertised as fakes.

Sorry 😉 but I think you are confusing something...

There is a difference between a forgery and a restrike. 

Forgery = someone deliberately forges a work of art, a coin, a banknote etc. with the ulterior motive of selling this object as a genuine copy for the price of a genuine copy.

Imitation = is clearly produced and sold as a modern new imitation and serves the purpose that people who cannot afford the original can still bring it home.

 

19 minutes ago, sand said:

For me, there are enough fakes floating around, without someone selling even more fakes. For me, the possiblity of someone re-selling the fakes and advertising them as genuine, outweighs the appeal of someone being able to collect and study fakes, and the appeal of being able to own a fake of a coin that he/she could not otherwise afford. If I want to look at an unaffordable coin, there are many high resolution photos of genuine coins on the internet, that I can look at. This is just my personal preference.

What then do we do with the well-made marble busts of ancient heads? What do we do with the well-made marble statues that are copies of ancient statues? What do we do with the reprints of Hundertwasser, Monet and van Gogh? In your opinion, all that has no value and should disappear? I don't know... 😉 

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59 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

Sorry 😉 but I think you are confusing something...

There is a difference between a forgery and a restrike. 

Forgery = someone deliberately forges a work of art, a coin, a banknote etc. with the ulterior motive of selling this object as a genuine copy for the price of a genuine copy.

Imitation = is clearly produced and sold as a modern new imitation and serves the purpose that people who cannot afford the original can still bring it home.

 

What then do we do with the well-made marble busts of ancient heads? What do we do with the well-made marble statues that are copies of ancient statues? What do we do with the reprints of Hundertwasser, Monet and van Gogh? In your opinion, all that has no value and should disappear? I don't know... 😉 

If a coin is obviously not authentic, such as those plastic gold colored pirate coins that they sell with Halloween costumes or for children to play with, then I don't mind that.

Your analogy between ancient coins and ancient statues is interesting. I don't collect authentic ancient statues. Therefore, my knowledge of ancient statues is limited.

I have a plastic/resin statue, which is a bust of Artemis (I think). I like the statue, because it is a nice decoration, in my living room. Almost no one would think that the statue is authentic, because it looks like it's made of plastic/resin.

One difference, between statues and coins, is that statues can be used as decoration, and coins cannot (for the most part). The decoration aspect, is one merit of fake statues, which fake coins don't have, for me.

Do some persons sell fake ancient statues, advertising them as genuine? I don't know. I'm guessing yes. Just like other fake ancient artifacts, such as Egyptian ushabtis etc.

I guess I don't mind, if fake ancient statues are created, if the original is a famous and important statue, such as the statue of the wolf with suckling Romulus and Remus. Or various famous statues of Greek and Roman rulers and gods. Everyone knows where the originals of the famous statues are, and they are almost all in museums (as far as I know). No one would try to sell a fake of such a famous statue advertising the fake statue as genuine.

Oh well. All of this, is just my personal preference. I'm not saying, that I'm right or wrong. It's just what I prefer.

Are some of my statements self-contradictory? Maybe.

Have I thought everything through? Probably not.

Will my opinions change in the future? Maybe.

Am I certain about anything? No.

I'm just trying to give a flavor, of what my personal preferences are. Maybe, if I thought about it some more, my preferences would change.

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My concern is that these replicas  - and I completely understand they are declared as such by the auction houses - are likely to be then flipped as real. I see it often! So many of them are high end replicas too and this I think encourages this type of flipping.
 

It distorts the market, calls into question the integrity of the market and allows the unscrupulous purchaser of these auction items to profit from the ignorance of an inexperienced purchaser. Caveat emptor perhaps but if this is just a rounding error for the auction houses surely it’s worth them reconsidering.
 

Many people do not know how to check them against say coinarchives and in at least one example I mention above the RR initials are “somehow” hardly legible. I wonder why…..

The sellers  must know there’s a real risk of the products being abused. I think therefore that they are complicit in the problem.


Put most simply, would I or would most members here  offer for sale such a product that has so many strings attached? So many potential problems?  Hopefully not, unless your whole livelihood depended on it, which is almost definitely not the case in these examples.

Seriously, offering replicas  of replicas, or offering coins with identifying marks to show it is a replica strangely mostly removed? That’s just not right to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree with the others in not seeing an issue here.

All of the listings are explicit about the coins being replicas of replicas. Are you worried that they're fakes of collectible fakes, or that they're fakes of real coins?

In the latter case, I can only say that a fool and his money are quickly parted. I'm no expert in spotting fakes and even I can tell that they're not genuine. Electrotypes have a certain obvious look to them and the third coin isn't even the right weight. Anyone who's spending good money should know that.

In terms of being spoofs of spoofs, I still don't see an issue with that. I would again expect those who collect famous fakes to be able to tell the difference, as each of these auction houses did when listing them. What's more, we don't know exactly when these fakes were made. From the listing, it sounds like some may be >100 years old themselves, and they therefore qualify as antiques.

Keep in mind that creating copies of coins is nearly as old as creating coins themselves. The majority of Celtic coins are copies. They even copied the mint marks and names in many cases. By the stated analogy, should they be trashed too?

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As far as I know the Celtic copies weren’t sold as a sideline by then extant auction houses.😜 They also tended to have the value ascribed to them by their makers as they were usually stylistic copies which had a useful face value and were not likely to flipped by E-Agora or whatever to the unsuspecting public. Or if they were debased over time that was generally known. Test cuts etc.

Anyway, each to his own!

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23 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

The majority of Celtic coins are copies. They even copied the mint marks and names in many cases. By the stated analogy, should they be trashed too?

I am not opposed to ancient/contemporary imitations, which were created in ancient times. I am also not opposed to ancient fourees. I am opposed to modern fakes of ancient coins, except for the exceptions that I mentioned above.

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It seems to me that selling a fake, replica, whatever you want to call it at a public auction well described as a fake is a great way to treat fakes. There will be high resolution photos of it and it will be part of the auction record, picked up by various auction archives, etc. Anyone doing basic due diligence on a purchase or research on a type via auction sales should be able to find that record. It also makes it easier to find known fakes of a type.

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5 minutes ago, red_spork said:

It seems to me that selling a fake, replica, whatever you want to call it at a public auction well described as a fake is a great way to treat fakes. There will be high resolution photos of it and it will be part of the auction record, picked up by various auction archives, etc. Anyone doing basic due diligence on a purchase or research on a type via auction sales should be able to find that record. It also makes it easier to find known fakes of a type.

I would prefer, that modern fakes of ancient coins, be documented on fake coin web sites. For example, the fake coin reports on Forum Ancient Coins.

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43 minutes ago, sand said:

I am not opposed to ancient/contemporary imitations, which were created in ancient times. I am also not opposed to ancient fourees. I am opposed to modern fakes of ancient coins, except for the exceptions that I mentioned above.

In general, I agree with you. I'm opposed to modern fakes of ancient coins, except when they're obviously made + sold as fakes. No one familiar with the originals would ever be duped by one of the examples above. These are more 'souvenirs' than copies.

Of course, copies created with the goal of actually duping collectors should be destroyed, and those who made them forced to eat beetles.

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What then to do with Cavino's so called Paduans?  Some try to pass them off as original ancients.  Does that mean they should be destroyed too?

I for one would love an original Cavino or even an early after cast.   I don't see anything wrong with what the auction houses are doing.

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Count me in among those who see no problem here. I think those old electrotypes are kind of cool - being exact copies of specific coins - and I wouldn't mind having some. Any reasonably competent collector should be able to immediately tell that it's not authentic - and that is assuming that the seller doesn't specify it's a copy, which in this particular case they are doing.

Electrotypes are great at making facsimile copies but it's not like they are undetectable - for one thing, there is an edge seam, and many have other distinguishing marks as well. Plus, do you really think that the kind of collector who can afford a Syracusan Decadrachm, for example, is going to be gulled by an electrotype? I think not. And in any case, as long as the sellers are up-front and honest about it, I don't see why they must be under the burden of responsibility for the possible dishonesty of others in the future.

The comparisons to other copies of ancient art are perfectly valid. We don't throw out other reproductions just because "well, someone might try to sell them as genuine". You could say that about pretty much any valuable collectible. As a matter of fact, most of the Greek-style statuary in museums today are just that - Roman "fakes" of original Greek works of art which have since been lost. I am glad the ancient art collectors in antiquity didn't throw out those fakes!

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FWIW, here's my "fake".

You may say it doesn't count, but I'm sure back in the day these fakes must have pissed at least one person off. 🙂 

331A8609-Edit.jpg.d60a6a9277e293b5ae9d2ba8b0be9af1.jpg

Philip II, imitation from Gauls
AR 13.16g 315-275 BCE
Laureate head of Zeus right
Youth on horseback holding a palm, Lambda & torch below the horse, ""E"" below the horse's foreleg
CCCBM 3

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While I don’t think there is an ethical problem with the sale of electrotypes and reproductions if sold as such I can certainly understand how the OP feels about them.  They are cool for a collector but scary in the wrong hands.

If I were a forger trying to make a high end fake, an electrotype is one of the first things I would buy. I am not naive enough to think that I am, or will ever be, experienced enough to spot all of the high end fakes. That is a scary thought made all the more scary by having fakes die matched to museum examples floating around. Luckily most such coins would be out of my typical price targets anyway.

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