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Reason to buy a slabbed ancient


maridvnvm
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I don't generally buy slabbed ancients, even though I do appear to have acquired a few over the years. I work on the rule that was put forward many years ago - "buy the coin, not the slab" on the few occasions that I have bought a slabbed ancient. This is a case where I broke that rule and bought for the slab and not necessarily for the coin inside even though the price was right for the coin desite the slab.

Galerius - Follis

Obv:– GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES, Laureate head right
Rev:– GENIO POPVL-I ROMANI, Genius standing left holding patera
Minted in Antioch (_ | G // ANT Dot). A.D. 304-305
Reference:– RIC VI Antioch 59b

Slabbed by ANACS and mis-attributed to Maximinus II - ANACS 6091129

RI_148ad_img.JPG

Anyone else have some slab errors....??

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This coin is IMO a barbaric Solidus modeled on one of emperor Phocas (602-610 AD.)  Mass is 4.52 grams.  This came from a Stack’s mail bid sale 15 April 98, lot#19 where it was described as from an “irregular mint.”  Earlier this coin was part of NFA Auction XVIII part II lot #739,  associated with the Guy Lacam collection.    Purchased for MTH. Appears similar to some pseudo-imperial solidi of the Avars, though there are usually even more bizarre than this.  Some claim the Avars struck no coins, but bizarre unofficial Heraclius solidi are known.   

12/2020:   I submitted this to ANACS and received it back from them.  They graded it AU50 and believe it is a Constantinople mint product.  On the basis of style, the eccentric diadem larger than the emperor’s head, the retrograde R in PERP on the obverse, and the misspelled VCTORIA on the reverse, and the A’s on the REV lacking crossbars, I believe they are incorrect.  Although misspellings on dies from the capitol mint are not unknown (see the Solidus of Justinian I #26 in this collection which reads DNISUTINIANUS) poorly spelled and lettered inscriptions on dies for the gold coinage are rare in my experience, at least through the end of the reign of Constans II in 668.  Major mistakes on both the obverse and the reverse die seem unlikely to have come from the capitol mint.  Combined with the weird style, I suspect the cataloguer of the Stack’s sale in 1998 was correct.  

Sorry no photo of the slab.  If anyone wishes to speculate as to the origin of this coin, please feel free. 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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This past February I bought from eBay an ANACS slabbed "Vespasian As" that was wrong on two counts - the denomination is a dupondius and the emperor shown is Titus.  Oops! 😲

Normally I don't buy slabs because I like thumbing the actual coins, and also because I can't afford slabbed coins in general.   Since it was $30 (and free shipping!) I thought it was worth it, despite the low grade (ANACS says Good 6 - I dispute this - I think it is at least a Good 6.2! 😉):

804342836_TitusslaberrorFeb2022(1).jpg.2ef49a127297e5b1c52ba52189e4ed93.jpg

Here is a close-up with my enhancements showing the T and the rays:

287447707_TitusslaberrorFeb2022(3).jpg.5398cf47d62633aec3cb26075cc23741.jpg

Titus Æ Dupondius (c. 79 or 80-81 A.D.) Rome Mint   IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P CO[S VIII], radiate head right / [CERES AVGVST] S C, Ceres standing left, holding corn-ears and torch RIC 67 or 189 (see notes). (Slabbed ? grams / 26 mm) eBay Feb. 2022    $30.00 BIN FS

Attribution Note:  ANACS slab No. 7206889 erroneously described as Vespasian as.  Obverse legend obscure at end, the two possibilities for this type are: 

RIC 67:  COS VII (79 A.D.)

RIC 189:  COS VIII

 

 

Edited by Marsyas Mike
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19 minutes ago, Steppenfool said:

That is really quite a bad error. I figured it would be the classic Maximianus/Galerius mix up, but these guys (Maximinus and Galerius Maximianus) have different names.

They obviously need to read @Valentinian's page on distinguishing Maximianus/Galerius/Maximinus II 🤣

How this sort of mistake happens could be quite important. Is it just an admin error and they put the wrong label on it? Or did the experts (presumably more than one) looking at the coin think this was the correct attribution? The reason it might be important is that people believe a coin in a slab is less likely to be a fake. An expert has looked at it and so it's probably genuine.

But if the grader can make remedial mistakes like this, there's no question they can slab fakes. People believe a slabbed coin has been checked by an expert, so are going to err on the side of it being genuine, unlike anything on eBay when it's assumed to be fake unless proven otherwise. Worse, it's in a slab and you can't see the edges or check the weight. You can't even see the coin properly. It's harder to tell if it's fake, or to argue that it's fake.

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The following two coins are examples of where I bought the coin and not the slab. For both these coins I can only assume that the coins have gone through the bargain basement service al the slab house as they have only got the bare minimum of information on there for detail. Roman Empire, Constantius II, AD 337-361, BI Centenionalis. The seller knew they were fallen horseman types but that was where the description ended. In this case the coins are from Amiens and quite tricky to get in the series.

Obv:– D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, Pearl diademed, draped & cuirassed bust right
Rev:– FEL TEMP REPARATIO, Helmeted soldier left, shield on left arm, spearing falling horseman; shield at ground to right. Horseman turns to face the soldier, and reaches his left arm up towards him. He is bare headed
Minted in Amiens (//AMB). 353 AD.
Reference:- RIC VIII Amiens 46

RI_170gw_img.JPG

Obv:– D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, Pearl diademed, draped & cuirassed bust right, A behind bust
Rev:– FEL TEMP REPARATIO, Helmeted soldier left, shield on left arm, spearing falling horseman; shield at ground to right. Horseman turns to face the soldier, and reaches his left arm up towards him. He is bare headed
Minted in Amiens (//AMB). 353 AD.
Reference:- RIC VIII Amiens 48

RI_170gv_img.JPG

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Thank you for your interesting post, @maridvnvm   !

I bought many slabs back in 2016 when I first started out collecting ancient coins but I rarely buy them now. I like to purchase only from a select group of recommended and trusted dealers. Your post is a great cautionary alert that teaches me to be more careful when trusting the information on the occasional slabbed coins that I purchase. 

Edited by LONGINUS
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5 hours ago, maridvnvm said:

I don't generally buy slabbed ancients, even though I do appear to have acquired a few over the years. I work on the rule that was put forward many years ago - "buy the coin, not the slab" on the few occasions that I have bought a slabbed ancient. This is a case where I broke that rule and bought for the slab and not necessarily for the coin inside even though the price was right for the coin desite the slab.

Galerius - Follis

Obv:– GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES, Laureate head right
Rev:– GENIO POPVL-I ROMANI, Genius standing left holding patera
Minted in Antioch (_ | G // ANT Dot). A.D. 304-305
Reference:– RIC VI Antioch 59b

Slabbed by ANACS and mis-attributed to Maximinus II - ANACS 6091129

RI_148ad_img.JPG

Anyone else have some slab errors....??

I have bought slabbed errors from PCGS, NGC, ICG 😖! The bottom line is "buy the coin & not the slab", regardless if the coin is slabbed or not. On two occasions in the 1990s I bought expensive U.S. modern commemorative coins that were graded as PR70 by PCGS. After examining the coins with a 7 power loupe I could see the coins were flawed & were not PR70. I called PCGS & explained the predicament & they asked me to ship the coins to them for review which I did. They called me back & agreed the coins were over-graded & offered to ship the coins back to me & pay me the difference in value between a PR69 PR70, or they would keep the coins & send me a check for the full market value of the coins if they were PR70. I chose the later 😏.

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36 minutes ago, Al Kowsky said:

I have bought slabbed errors from PCGS, NGC, ICG 😖! The bottom line is "buy the coin & not the slab", regardless if the coin is slabbed or not. On two occasions in the 1990s I bought expensive U.S. modern commemorative coins that were graded as PR70 by PCGS. After examining the coins with a 7 power loupe I could see the coins were flawed & were not PR70. I called PCGS & explained the predicament & they asked me to ship the coins to them for review which I did. They called me back & agreed the coins were over-graded & offered to ship the coins back to me & pay me the difference in value between a PR69 PR70, or they would keep the coins & send me a check for the full market value of the coins if they were PR70. I chose the later 😏.

Goodness! Modern collecting sounds so stressful. I'm elated if my Romans have readable legends and some detail!

Edited by Steppenfool
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10 hours ago, Hrefn said:

This coin is IMO a barbaric Solidus modeled on one of emperor Phocas (602-610 AD.)  Mass is 4.52 grams.  This came from a Stack’s mail bid sale 15 April 98, lot#19 where it was described as from an “irregular mint.”  Earlier this coin was part of NFA Auction XVIII part II lot #739,  associated with the Guy Lacam collection.    Purchased for MTH. Appears similar to some pseudo-imperial solidi of the Avars, though there are usually even more bizarre than this.  Some claim the Avars struck no coins, but bizarre unofficial Heraclius solidi are known.   

12/2020:   I submitted this to ANACS and received it back from them.  They graded it AU50 and believe it is a Constantinople mint product.  On the basis of style, the eccentric diadem larger than the emperor’s head, the retrograde R in PERP on the obverse, and the misspelled VCTORIA on the reverse, and the A’s on the REV lacking crossbars, I believe they are incorrect.  Although misspellings on dies from the capitol mint are not unknown (see the Solidus of Justinian I #26 in this collection which reads DNISUTINIANUS) poorly spelled and lettered inscriptions on dies for the gold coinage are rare in my experience, at least through the end of the reign of Constans II in 668.  Major mistakes on both the obverse and the reverse die seem unlikely to have come from the capitol mint.  Combined with the weird style, I suspect the cataloguer of the Stack’s sale in 1998 was correct.  

Sorry no photo of the slab.  If anyone wishes to speculate as to the origin of this coin, please feel free. 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

Looks like a modern forgery to me.

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54 minutes ago, AussieCollector said:

Looks like a modern forgery to me.

There are false solidi of Focas out there.  Here is an example from Forgery Network.  I have seen these in hand, and they appear in commerce from time to time.  I notice one up for auction right now.  It is also underweight.  Any solidus of Focas on which the angel holds a beaded cross like this is at least suspect.  I have been told they were made in Beirut in the 60’s.    

image.jpeg.2c2d28d8bc02fa20956b6cb9317e87be.jpeg

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Victor_Clark said:

I've kept this one in a slab because it is unofficial, though NGC did not notice that. For unofficial coins, that put it on the label.

 

1318818527_ConIITrierunofficial.jpg.9fc78aa084105c58bec1e5f23be03611.jpg

 

683980730_ConIIslab.png.3f2c2d3d441a518248a6866e326f67c0.png

 

 

and this coin from CNG from the Epfig hoard has the reverse first.

 

lf.jpg.6b668ee3a4dbeb45eeac50d378fa56b3.jpg

I'm sure the 2nd coin you posted isn't a mistake by NGC, their graders know the difference between obverse & reverse 🤣. They will slab a coin with reverse side up if you ask them. I had them to do this with the coin pictured below because I found the reverse die work aesthetically more pleasing. 215136942_AulusGabiniusTet.jpg.d2f03a2108984fa06039f34db61d47b4.jpg

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11 hours ago, Steppenfool said:

Goodness! Modern collecting sounds so stressful. I'm elated if my Romans have readable legends and some detail!

It took me some time to realize how ridiculous grading modern coins has become especially when large amounts of money are at stake. Grading ancient coins isn't nearly as absurd as modern coins although the market for "star *" designated coins by NGC has tilted the market in an uncomfortable direction 😏.

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Don't get me wrong, if you want to slab your ancients or buy you ancients slabbed then I am absolutely fine with that.

What I am highlighting here is the fact that we need to be aware that we are buying the coin and that the slab is just a "comfort factor" to some buyers. Over reliance on the slabbing process can lead to pitfalls.

In each case above I was looking for particular coins. I wanted the Antioch follis and it was only after the coin arrived that I noticed the error on the slab. I have kept it in the slab as to me it is more interesting in the slab with the mistaken identification.

The Fallen horseman coins came up on my searches and the lack of detailed identification were of benefit to me as the seller undoutedly didn't know they were from Amiens and possibly didn't know that Amiens was a scarcer mint for these. This particular seller seems to have a model where they have bought a LOT of coins and must have come to a commercial agreement woth NGC to slab them in bulk. The vast majority of the coins are somly slabbed with a very high level description and not even a grade. These coins do seem to sell but people seem to be placing a lot of value in the slab rather than the coins as the seller achieves more for the coins than the majority would achieve if they were raw. I bought these coins for less than I thought they would be worth in the raw, the slabs are irrelevant to me in this case.

The example above of "NGC Certified" slabbed ancients without grades puzzles me as they are not certifying a grade the what is it that is certified?

I only have two other slabbed coins in my collection. Grade is of little importance to me, it is the fact that the coin is a variety that I want for a particular reason.

The following coins were bought because each coin fits into my collecting focus rather than for the slabs.

Septimius Severus denarius

Obv:– IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right
Rev:– BONAE SPET.., Spes standing holding flower and lifting skirt.
Minted in Emesa. A.D. 193
Reference(s) – Cohen -. RIC - (cf. 351A, ). BMCRE - (cf 334a). RSC -

RIC 351A is BONAE SPES cited from Numismatic Chronicle 1896, p. 203, Plate 13. RIC 351A coin comes from the Brickendonbury hoard from 1895 and can be seen t confirm the BONAE SPEI reading.
BMCRE 334a is also BONAE SPEI citing T.T. Caistor 1947.

A previously unknown minor variety. I paid less than a common variety of the type from the COS II issue would usually cost me.

749466776_RI064vfimg.JPG.273996c8962813bc5d6f6e7125ddd133.JPG

Septimius Severus denarius

Obv:– L SEPT SEV PE-RET AVG IMP II, Laureate head right
Rev:– FORT R-D-EVC, Fortuna seated left holding rudder and cornucopiae
Minted in Laodicea-ad-Mare. A.D. 194
Reference:– BMC W Page 108 * var. RIC 451 var. RSC 168 var. The type is known for PERT and noted for PERET (RIC citing RD for the PERET variety)

I bought this despite already having a PERET variety of the type but this example has a PE-RET legend break rather than the P-ERET break on the other example. For this detail alone I wanted the coin. No premium paid for the slab.

351615833_RI064raimg.JPG.87db0207de8d6bb6812468597857026d.JPG

 

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I usually don't buy slabbed coins, as people tend to pay more for the slabs and I want to touch my coins. Here was an absolute exception I made, because I know the seller from another forum and the price (1200,-) was really good for that shape. It was mounted, but that's no problem for me as they did not cut the edge. 

It will probably stay alone, without any slabbed friend.

Screenshot_2022-10-23-14-28-21-571_com.ngccoin.ngcmobile_3_copy_540x763.jpg

Picsart_22-10-23_20-40-17-564.jpg

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8 hours ago, Mucius Scaevola said:

I usually don't buy slabbed coins, as people tend to pay more for the slabs and I want to touch my coins. Here was an absolute exception I made, because I know the seller from another forum and the price (1200,-) was really good for that shape. It was mounted, but that's no problem for me as they did not cut the edge. 

It will probably stay alone, without any slabbed friend.

Screenshot_2022-10-23-14-28-21-571_com.ngccoin.ngcmobile_3_copy_540x763.jpg

Picsart_22-10-23_20-40-17-564.jpg

I would say the slab adds no value in this case so break it out.

 

I have a couple slabs I would like to get rid of, but one is a star and another is Ch MS, so I'm considering selling them to capture the premium that those distinctions bring and buying back similar quality coins unslabbed.

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I bought one slabbed coin this year : 

Funny enough, since I knew the owner of that coin (and others at the same auction) I offered them to buy it directly from them, which they declined. By that time the coin wasn't slabbed. I was ready to pay them a bit more than what they finally got from the auction house (which would have been less than what it set me back in the end of course). But now the coin is free again !

Q

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