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Bertolami wants to help you study (!) aka flooding market with fakes


Deinomenid

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Bertolami seems to be  flooding the  market with coins they claim help  us study but are really just  some  excellent fakes that will possibly (!) be resold as real soon enough. Why they feel the need to do this  I don't  know. Though a cynic might say quite a few of their not-for-study coins  should possibly be labelled as such too.

Coinage for you to study from across mainland Greece , Greek Italy and  Sicily.

A few examples attached in case it helps later to check against. Some are very good indeed.

 

 

 

 

dmmdhg.jpg

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nhtrsh.jpg

tjyjyt.jpg

nhmdnh.jpg

fndfn.jpg

dnnfgd.jpg

fndnfg.jpg

ngfddn.jpg

yyntn.jpg

htr.jpg

jrmthh.jpg

thrh.jpg

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52 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

Bertolami seems to be  flooding the  market with coins they claim help  us study but are really just  some  excellent fakes that will possibly (!) be resold as real soon enough. Why they feel the need to do this  I don't  know. Though a cynic might say quite a few of their not-for-study coins  should possibly be labelled as such too.

Coinage for you to study from across mainland Greece , Greek Italy and  Sicily.

A few examples attached in case it helps later to check against. Some are very good indeed.

 

 

 

 

dmmdhg.jpg

trhht.jpg

nhtrsh.jpg

tjyjyt.jpg

nhmdnh.jpg

fndfn.jpg

dnnfgd.jpg

fndnfg.jpg

ngfddn.jpg

yyntn.jpg

htr.jpg

jrmthh.jpg

thrh.jpg

Thats quite... eeeh... strange to do. Some of these could fool me easily, if offered as genuine! All professional dealers I think, should keep these off the market! 

Edited by Limes
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Roma and other auction houses also sell some regularly.

I have a few similar coins in my "black cabinet" and you can't really be fooled once you have the coins in hand unless you are a complete novice.

 

6 hours ago, Deinomenid said:

 Though a cynic might say quite a few of their not-for-study coins  should possibly be labelled as such too.

 

This is more problematic and here are some fakes they regularily sold as guenuine :

 

image.jpeg.d38dacd55cad5466bf424e256e38e0f4.jpeg

 

image.jpeg.3152a420232601c7c45037ea4b6182f9.jpeg

 

 

AESicilyAESyracuseagathoclesclones.JPG.9120ea7600053795ddbc928f2d2e74f7.JPG

 

Leontinoitetra12Bertolami3779FAKE.jpg.d88884b9138027e329651ab583bc7fc1.jpg

 

etc...

Edited by Brennos
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Is there any way a dealer could mark fake coins like these so it's clear their fake but so they don't hurt the aesthetic appeal? And also so that it cannot be removed or removing it is more hassle than it's worth. This seems to the the only solution if houses are moving towards the ethically dubious practice of openly selling reproductions. Maybe a certain bankers mark/test cut that is consistent across fakes?

The WRL is really ugly on the Westair ones. Perhaps something can be done with the edge or something?

Edited by Steppenfool
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1 hour ago, Steppenfool said:

Is there any way a dealer could mark fake coins like these so it's clear their fake but so they don't hurt the aesthetic appeal? And also so that it cannot be removed or removing it is more hassle than it's worth. This seems to the the only solution if houses are moving towards the ethically dubious practice of openly selling reproductions. Maybe a certain bankers mark/test cut that is consistent across fakes?

The WRL is really ugly on the Westair ones. Perhaps something can be done with the edge or something?

This is what ought to be done. I'm opposed to the idea of banning replicas outright - they are interesting and sometimes it's fun to be able to own a really good replica of a rare and valuable coin. But in all cases it should be marked somewhere - doesn't have to be obtrusive - that it's a replica.

The edge, I think, would be too easy to remove. How about just a small "COPY" or even just "C" or "R" for "replica", well-stamped on the surface where it least detracts from the overall aesthetic?

This is a nice little replica that I enjoy owning, which obviously would fool nobody. It's got a "COPY" stamp, cleverly placed on the obverse where it is less obvious. You could make the stamp a lot smaller than this, too.

eid_mar_landis.jpg.6f444acc3a1ff7cefc25e6d9dfc81b4a.jpg

 

 

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Yes, I saw these for sale as well. Lanz regularly sells fake coins as well, and has begun openly advertising them as such. 

It's always good to give people a heads up about sales of these replicas as you're right, after a few cycles into unscrupulous hands they will turn up in EBay or maybe even within reputable auction houses as authentic! Caveat emptor...

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8 hours ago, CPK said:

This is what ought to be done. I'm opposed to the idea of banning replicas outright - they are interesting and sometimes it's fun to be able to own a really good replica of a rare and valuable coin. But in all cases it should be marked somewhere - doesn't have to be obtrusive - that it's a replica.

The edge, I think, would be too easy to remove. How about just a small "COPY" or even just "C" or "R" for "replica", well-stamped on the surface where it least detracts from the overall aesthetic?

This is a nice little replica that I enjoy owning, which obviously would fool nobody. It's got a "COPY" stamp, cleverly placed on the obverse where it is less obvious. You could make the stamp a lot smaller than this, too.

eid_mar_landis.jpg.6f444acc3a1ff7cefc25e6d9dfc81b4a.jpg

 

 

Not to dunk on your coin, but to me, that COPY is really quite distracting and takes away from the aesthetic appeal. Especially because it seems to follow the legend. Maybe if they struck the "COPY" in lettering that matched the coins lettering style it would look less jarring. I like the idea of just a C, they can put it in the fields where the officina of certain LRBs.

Not my coin:

Galerius, Roman Imperial Coins reference at WildWinds.com

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15 hours ago, CPK said:

The edge, I think, would be too easy to remove

Yep - I've seen leading auction houses sell British Museum Robert Ready 19th century electrotypes with his initials  on the edge filed off.

All for a $200 coin. So ~$50 to the auction house.

 

 

 

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I am not thrilled.

Because I can well imagine that these forgeries could also be deliberately bought and then sold again to other gullible collectors (with somewhat less knowledge).

Private opinion. But at least this time they are selling the fakes as marked. I have had very bad experiences with this house. Not only that obvious (and reported!) fakes are sold here again and again. I have also bought a fake Republican at auction here myself. After I had complained about the coin and sent it in, they admitted that it really was a fake. But they told me to contact the seller who had submitted the coin for auction. That's one way of doing it.

And - as I wrote above - this action does not further increase the auction house's favour with me. On the contrary.

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I won't rehash my sad and frustrating tale of having to harass Bertolami for 10 months in 2022 in order to get my ~$3000 of auction lots actually delivered, as that has been described in detail in this forum. The coins were, eventually, delivered although it was, by far, the single most frustrating transaction that I have had in almost 40 years of collecting.

However, I have not mentioned that one of those coins was a cast fake.

Bertolami e113 (13 Mar 2022) Lot 788. 2.81g.

image.jpeg.57b23fd5e01a972cf92bc82a00c84bd4.jpeg

I discovered this by using the image search on ACSearch, which came up with the following matches. You will note that the weights are quite different.

 

CNG e236 (7 July 2010), Lot 534. 3.46g.

image.jpeg.c15c59b6b8275afc66fb5ef46156862e.jpeg

Roma eSale 7 (26 Apr 2014), Lot 1312. 3.47g.

image.jpeg.59ce5b2b157e40e101f994544088cb44.jpeg

Now this coin is in good company, so I don't necessarily condemn Bertolami for selling it. I have kicked myself enough for bidding on it in the first place since the surfaces look suspect, the weight is low and it's a coin that should be struck in a more yellow gold. I should know better.

However, when I sent these pics to Bertolami and asked if this was not a cast fake based on the photo comparison, they blew me off with a reference to a totally unrelated issue and assured me that their experts considered the coin to be authentic. After 10 months of calling and emailing their office every three weeks just to get my auction lots, I was much too exhausted to press the matter further and it resides in my "black cabinet".

I am sure that there are many other auction firms that have deplorable customer service, but in my book these guys take the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Steppenfool said:

Not to dunk on your coin, but to me, that COPY is really quite distracting and takes away from the aesthetic appeal. Especially because it seems to follow the legend. Maybe if they struck the "COPY" in lettering that matched the coins lettering style it would look less jarring. I like the idea of just a C, they can put it in the fields where the officina of certain LRBs.

Not my coin:

 

In the United States, the Hobby Protection Act is very specific about the placement of the word COPY, size of letters, font, etc.

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-16/chapter-I/subchapter-C/part-304

 

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3 minutes ago, DLTcoins said:

In the United States, the Hobby Protection Act is very specific about the placement of the word COPY, size of letters, font, etc.

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-16/chapter-I/subchapter-C/part-304

 

How interesting. I didn't know that. If I read the link correctly, then, if a fake ancient coin, is not marked prominently with the word "COPY" in all capital letters on the obverse or reverse of the coin, then the fake ancient coin cannot legally be imported into the US, and it cannot legally be manufactured in the US.

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42 minutes ago, sand said:

How interesting. I didn't know that. If I read the link correctly, then, if a fake ancient coin, is not marked prominently with the word "COPY" in all capital letters on the obverse or reverse of the coin, then the fake ancient coin cannot legally be imported into the US, and it cannot legally be manufactured in the US.

The regulations (and the statute itself, linked from the regulations) also state that the statute's prohibitions apply to anyone who sells such a coin in commerce without the proper markings.  So it's not only illegal for foreign dealers like Bertolami to send such unmarked coins into the USA (and for the buyer as well, as the "importer," should the buyer have the necessary knowledge of falsity), but also for US dealers who sometimes offer unmarked "reproductions" to sell them within the USA. I wonder if the law has actually ever been enforced. No specific penalties are prescribed, but the statute does give any interested party a private right of action to sue anyone who violates the law for injunctive relief and damages, plus attorneys' fees. 

Edited by DonnaML
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I can't find any UK legislation that specifically makes it illegal to make a copy of a demonetised coin or tells you to mark it as such. The Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 just confuses me even more. You're not allowed to make copies of current circulation British coins without consent (but you can gain consent), or to make or use a counterfeit of a 'protected coin'. A 'protected coin' is any coin: (a) customarily used as money in any country or (b) specified in an Order made by the Treasury.

The coins that have been specified in an Order by the Treasury are:
- Sovereign
- Half-Sovereign
- Euro
- Krugerrand
- Fractions of a krugerrand
- Maria Theresa thaler bearing the date 1780.

Now that is a very specific list. I'm off to make my third-sovereigns and Maria Theresa thalers bearing the date 1781.

Edited by John Conduitt
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Selling these fakes as study material is really awful. It potentially hurts collectors and certainly hurts Bertolami's reputation. 

Indeed, I have little confidence that coins like this one below are genuine, i.e. in this case an ancient imitation:

NumisBids: Bertolami Fine Art E-Auction 259, Lot 783 : Barbarous Radiates, late 3rd century-5th century. Æ (21mm, 4.75g,...

Edited by Tejas
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15 hours ago, DonnaML said:

The regulations (and the statute itself, linked from the regulations) also state that the statute's prohibitions apply to anyone who sells such a coin in commerce without the proper markings.  So it's not only illegal for foreign dealers like Bertolami to send such unmarked coins into the USA (and for the buyer as well, as the "importer," should the buyer have the necessary knowledge of falsity), but also for US dealers who sometimes offer unmarked "reproductions" to sell them within the USA. I wonder if the law has actually ever been enforced. No specific penalties are prescribed, but the statute does give any interested party a private right of action to sue anyone who violates the law for injunctive relief and damages, plus attorneys' fees. 

Is it unlawful for a collector to have such unmarked copies/fakes in one's collection in the US? If so, does that mean keeping a Black Cabinet of probable fakes is unlawful?

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38 minutes ago, kevikens said:

Is it unlawful for a collector to have such unmarked copies/fakes in one's collection in the US? If so, does that mean keeping a Black Cabinet of probable fakes is unlawful?

I don't think so. As long as you don't sell them!

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Honestly, Bertolami already had such a low reputation in my opinion that this does little to tarnish it.

Personally, they're on my "black list" of dealers and I don't buy anything from them, though I do have one coin where they're listed in the provenance (that I was unaware of when I purchased the coin).

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It seems that I've purchased one coin from Bertolami:

Roman Republic, L. Marcius Philippus, AR Denarius, 56 BCE, Rome Mint. Obv. Diademed head of Ancus Marcius [fourth King of Rome] right, lituus behind, ANCVS below / Rev. The Aqua Marcia aqueduct, represented as an arcade of five arches surmounted by an equestrian statue right [portraying Quintus Marcius Rex, builder of that aqueduct], with horse rearing; flower below horse; PHILIPPVS on left, AQVAMAR [MAR in monogram] within the arches. Crawford 425/1, RSC I Marcia 28, Sydenham 919, Sear RCV I 382 (ill.), Harlan, Michael, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins 63 BCE - 49 BCE (2d ed. 2015) (“RRM II”), Ch. 15 at pp. 122-128. 18 mm., 3.92 mm., 7 h. Purchased from Bertolami Fine Arts Ltd ., 22 Nov. 2020.

image.png.6186d4bb4119fd9d8cb614664320d0dc.png

Not in great condition, but I don't see anything wrong with it. (The dark patch on the upper right of the reverse is actually just a shadow from a raised rim.)

Similarly, I don't see anything wrong with my two inexpensive "ex Bertolami" coins bought from other dealers:

image.jpeg.fceb7d8cb83cce612621cb21e0cb4f8e.jpeg

image.jpeg.91df73f75531d629bbbe07e5afb12d5c.jpeg

However, based on this thread, I don't think I'll be buying from Bertolami again.

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@Deinomenid Official Restrikes of the 1780 Maria Theresa thaler are arguably the most important silver bullion trade coins of the 19th and 20th centuries. They have been in production since 1780 at a number of mints around the world including the Royal Mint at London. In addition to their popularity with silver stackers, the Maria Theresas circulated in commerce in under-monetized regions of Africa and Asia through the mid-20th century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Theresa_thaler

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