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Six Bids Thus Far on an Osroes I (Parthia) from Condemned Dies


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The  Osroes I drachm, a Sellwood 80.1, listed as #1 in the group shot below, is currently listed by a major European auction house. The coin is, without question, struck from the same obverse and reverse dies used for a coin condemned by Dr. Alan Walker in the IBSCC’s Bulletin on Counterfeits, Vol. 19, No. 2, 1994/5, where it was illustrated as figure 7. It’s a well-known fake in the world of Parthian coinage, but continues to sneak into major auctions every now and then.


I seriously hesitated to post this thread. However, it’s been about five days since I notified the auction house about the coin being a fake. They continue to list it, which is somewhat disheartening, and it has acquired a sixth bid within the past day. I’m not trying to be coy by not naming the firm – I’m just not comfortable “going there”. It will be easy enough for anyone who is interested to find it out. You’ve got the coin pictured below.


Ample evidence was provided with the notification to the auction house: photos of other condemned coins that were produced from those exact same dies, links to the BOC issue, and even a fairly detailed explanation of the diagnostic details that tie the auctioneer's coin to the one in the BOC: the very distinctive pattern of pellets in the hair buns, the tiny extension (overshooting) of the vertical line that traverses the bottom eyelid on the obverse (more on that below), lettering of the legend, etc.


For anyone reading this who may, someday, be on the lookout for an Sellwood 80.1 Osroes drachm: Watch out for that overshooting of the vertical line past the lower eyelid. Of course, you can study the concordance of all the other elements of the iconography to determine if a coin matches the fake dies, but it’s so much easier to simply check if that vertical line overshoots the lid. That extended line seems to only exist on the modern obverse die – and that die is always partnered with the modern reverse die seen below.




In the group shot below – all fake, from the same dies – are (1) the current coin at auction, (2) an example from Forum’s Fake Coin Reports, (3) the coin condemned in the Bulletin on Counterfeits, (4) a coin (lot 338) removed by CNG from CNG 117 in 2021 upon my notification (unlike the current auction house, CNG did the right thing upon discovering they had a fake listed – they pulled it immediately), and (5) a coin I used to own before discovering it was a fake. (This is why I am so familiar with these dies.) I had purchased that last coin from Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio in November 2012, only to realize it was a fake three years later, in 2015. Even though Stacks would have been within their rights to deny me a refund at that point, they investigated, agreed with my assessment, accepted the return of the coin, and fully refunded me. Totally professional handling of the situation – that really impressed me. I still hold out hope that the current auction house withdraws coin #1 below.


678417766_OsroesCoinComparison.jpg.776fe3640001f42b7be340f9ae2dbb41.jpgr 2012, only 


Edited by Kamnaskires
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I also noticed this fake S.80 when the sale went live, but with a few exceptions I no longer report fakes to sellers, too many of them knowingly leave fakes in their sales.
Below is a sixth example of the Walker 7 fake:


I have never seen the Walker 8 fake, from a second pair of dies,  in auctions, or they have escaped me.


Another fake S.80 circulates widely. It is easy to identify (collar with a single line and on the reverse the archer's seat is materialized).


Cast fakes are also often present (rather on FleeB), but they are so coarse that they are not dangerous.

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This will likely sound trite, if not naive, but it's truly scary that fakes have graduated to using the same techniques as the originals.  Any ballpark figure on how long that's been going on?

--Spontaneous edit:  Oops; Becker.  Not sure if Paduans count.

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