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Any experience with Ex-Numis ?


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I do not want to post the website, but for those aware of Ex-Numis, have you had any success?

They give you a free search to match a die I suppose to a past auction of your coin based on photos, so that you can get a provenance history.

I wondering if the system has been successful for anyone or if its reliable.


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Hello Aether

1. I asked this question a couple of years ago, in another forum. It sparked a lively correspondence. You might wish to take a look at

Ex-Numis Success Rate Question: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/ex-numis-success-rate-question.385097/

2. To summarize, while my success rate was under 5% they advised their success rate is in the 15% range; I don't know if it has changed since then.

Take care.


Edited by David Soknacki
made a couple of mistakes in original
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My only experience with Ex-Numis is indirect: the dealer from whom I purchased my Vespasian aureus in Dec. 2021  [RIC II-1 Vespasian 775 (2007 ed.), rev. Victory standing on a cista mystica] -- a specimen sold at a Triskeles auction in 2017 without any provenance -- used Ex-Numis, which discovered a provenance to the Ars Classica XVIII auction, Lot 144 [ill. Pl. 6], held in Lucerne on 10 Oct. 1938. See my previous post at https://www.numisforums.com/topic/10-post-it-and-pick-it/page/101/#comment-27468 for all the details, with photos. However, the 1938 catalog itself (available online, plus I purchased an original copy) did not disclose the identity of the collection being sold; I don't know if Ex-Numis or my dealer did the minimal further research necessary to learn that it was the ancient Roman Collection of Louis, Vicomte de Sartiges (1859-1924). With that information, and with the help of several fellow-collectors, most notably @voulgaroktonou through his association with the John Miller Burnam Classics Library at the U. of Cincinnati, I was able to discover a published provenance back to 1910, and the book “Collection du vicomte de Sartiges. Séries grecque et romaine, en 1910, ainsi que les acquisitions depuis cette date”
(Paris, D.A. Longuet; Plates I-XLIII published 1910; undated supplement contains five additional plates), Pl. XXVI, No. 105 [this coin, acquired before 1910]. So Ex-Numis's research was very productive, but it didn't take things quite as far back as was theoretically possible. Not that I'm complaining; I certainly would never have found even the 1938 provenance on my own. 

The coin:


The 1938 catalog, Lot 144:


The 1910 published collection of the Vicomte de Sartiges, Pl. XXVI, No. 105:



(See link posted above, and my original Coin Talk thread about the coin at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/donnas-first-aureus-with-published-provenance-to-1938-and-also-to-1910.391624/#post-8153812 , for more details and catalog/book photos.)

It's unlikely that I'll ever be able to take the provenance back further than 1910, and I'd probably be wasting my time and money if I retained Ex-Numis to try to do so given the small chance that any previous auction of the coin would have been accompanied by an illustration. I had a theory that since Jacob Hirsch was involved in the 1938 auction of the de Sartiges Roman Collection, and since from what I've read it appears that de Sartiges himself bought many of his coins from Hirsch, perhaps I could find the coin in one of the many pre-1910 Hirsch catalogs available online at the U. of Heidelberg (via rNumis) and the Newman Numismatic Portal. I looked through all 13 available Hirsch auction catalogs that included Roman coins from 1901 (the year of Hirsch's auction no. 1) up to 1910, and found three listings for this type of Vespasian aureus. Two of the three (Jacob Hirsch Auction 18, 27.05.1907, Lot 671, and Auction 26, 23.05.1910, Lot 688*), were illustrated in the Plates and turned out to be the same specimen -- but clearly not mine. (I believe the same specimen was sold again in the Adolph Cahn Auction 65, 15.10.1929, Lot 468, found on acsearch.) The third (Jacob Hirsch Auction 5, 20.05.1901, Lot 890, p. 29) was, unfortunately, not illustrated in any of the Plates -- of which there were only seven for 1,162 lots! (By 1910, the Hirsch catalogs were considerably more comprehensively illustrated.)

So even if Hirsch Auction 5, Lot 890 was, in fact, my coin -- which it easily could have been -- I'll never know it without magically finding 120-year old documents recording Hirsch's sales or de Sartige's purchases of specific lots. And I am not willing to spend the time going through every other pre-1910 illustrated catalog of Roman coin sales by other dealers in the hope of finding my coin elsewhere. Perhaps in my lifetime, there will be some overall index created of ancient coin types listed in old catalogs, but I am not holding my breath!

*The plates are missing from the U. of Heidelberg's copy of the catalog for Hirsch Auction 26 at rNumis, but can be found in the Newman Numismatic Portal copy, which I believe comes from the ANS. A good reminder that if a given online copy of an old auction catalog is incomplete, it's worth checking to see if there are any different copies also available online.


Edited by DonnaML
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