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Faustina the Elder sestertius with a left-facing bust at Numismatik Naumann has been tooled


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I saw this sestertius for sale in the current Numismatik Naumann auction and immediately recognized the style of the hair and veil was off. It has been tooled and not even very skillfully.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGSCcandelabrumsestertiusveiledstephanedleftfacingNaumann.jpg.ac3657f03918d306ff154d59c9bd8c85.jpg

It is an obverse die match to Roma Numismatics, Auction 19, lot 846, 26 March 2020.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGSCcandelabrumsestertiusveiledstephanedleftfacingRoma.jpg.2cfc6433a9e00a0ec60fe06122f94542.jpg

Mine is a double die match to the Roma specimen and an obverse die match to the tooled example from Naumann. It's in lower grade but still demonstrates differences from the tooled Naumann example.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGSCcandelabrumsestertiusveiledstephanedleftfacing.jpg.c6d7d6d3f066a3c592d997c5a5152e9e.jpg

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35 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

I saw this sestertius for sale in the current Numismatik Naumann auction and immediately recognized the style of the hair and veil was off. It has been tooled and not even very skillfully.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGSCcandelabrumsestertiusveiledstephanedleftfacingNaumann.jpg.ac3657f03918d306ff154d59c9bd8c85.jpg

It is an obverse die match to Roma Numismatics, Auction 19, lot 846, 26 March 2020.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGSCcandelabrumsestertiusveiledstephanedleftfacingRoma.jpg.2cfc6433a9e00a0ec60fe06122f94542.jpg

Mine is a double die match to the Roma specimen and an obverse die match to the tooled example from Naumann. It's in lower grade but still demonstrates differences from the tooled Naumann example.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGSCcandelabrumsestertiusveiledstephanedleftfacing.jpg.c6d7d6d3f066a3c592d997c5a5152e9e.jpg

Will you be contacting Naumann if you haven't already? Perhaps they'll cure the problem by add something to the description like "minor traces of processing," as H.D. Rauch did with the Philip of Macedon tets!

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19 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Will you be contacting Naumann if you haven't already? Perhaps they'll cure the problem by add something to the description like "minor traces of processing," as H.D. Rauch did with the Philip of Macedon tets!

I have contacted them about this, yes. I'll keep everyone posted. 

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1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

Will you be contacting Naumann if you haven't already? Perhaps they'll cure the problem by add something to the description like "minor traces of processing," as H.D. Rauch did with the Philip of Macedon tets!

 Or possibly "enhanced", which I seem to see more often. To me the word enhanced implies a better state of condition than the previous one. Caveat emptor "word games".

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6 hours ago, Octavius said:

 Or possibly "enhanced", which I seem to see more often. To me the word enhanced implies a better state of condition than the previous one. Caveat emptor "word games".

Yes like 'Collector's Copy' and 'Electrotype' mean fake.

Edited by John Conduitt
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8 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Will you be contacting Naumann if you haven't already? Perhaps they'll cure the problem by add something to the description like "minor traces of processing," as H.D. Rauch did with the Philip of Macedon tets!

To be fair, I think HD Rauch have been short-changed by Google Translate. I don't speak German, but 'Bearbeitungsspuren', which Google translated in the sentence as 'traces of processing' (without 'minor'), is translated separately as 'Machining marks'. In other online dictionaries, it's given as 'Tool marks'.

If I ask it for the German for 'tooled', Google Translate gives me 'bestückt'. But when I ask it to translate 'bestückt' into English, it tells me it means 'stocked'. It seems to mean quite a lot of things, in fact, which in many cases would give a completely different meaning.

Chat GPT, by the way, translates 'tooled coin' as 'Werkmünze', which Google says is 'work coin'. (Actually, it means machine-made coin). But elsewhere, the word 'Werk' is given as 'masterpiece' while 'münze' means coin. So you could get 'tooled' to be translated as 'masterpiece' and get very much the wrong impression.

Edited by John Conduitt
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2 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

To be fair, I think HD Rauch have been short-changed by Google Translate. I don't speak German, but 'Bearbeitungsspuren', which Google translated in the sentence as 'traces of processing' (without 'minor'), is translated separately as 'Machining marks'. In other online dictionaries, it's given as 'Tool marks'.

Tooled - in relation of coins - you can say "bearbeitet" or also "Bearbeitungsspuren" - last one its like "you can see tooling in some areas of the coins"...

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5 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

To be fair, I think HD Rauch have been short-changed by Google Translate. I don't speak German, but 'Bearbeitungsspuren', which Google translated in the sentence as 'traces of processing' (without 'minor'), is translated separately as 'Machining marks'. In other online dictionaries, it's given as 'Tool marks'.

If I ask it for the German for 'tooled', Google Translate gives me 'bestückt'. But when I ask it to translate 'bestückt' into English, it tells me it means 'stocked'. It seems to mean quite a lot of things, in fact, which in many cases would give a completely different meaning.

Chat GPT, by the way, translates 'tooled coin' as 'Werkmünze', which Google says is 'work coin'. (Actually, it means machine-made coin). But elsewhere, the word 'Werk' is given as 'masterpiece' while 'münze' means coin. So you could get 'tooled' to be translated as 'masterpiece' and get very much the wrong impression.

You may well be correct. The problem is that the only truly adequate disclosure of what was done would be to link to the original photos of the coins in the Leu auction six months ago. And there's no way Rauch would ever do that, because if they did, it's unlikely that anyone would ever buy the coins, not at a minimum bid of $1,000 each. Rauch would probably rather just withdraw the coins than make that disclosure.

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This is the response from the firm:

Dr. Roman Collector:

i checked the coin with the microscope. I still tend to say that the coin is not tooled, but shows significant cleaning marks. The coin used as reference shows an alternating pattern of fine and strong hairlines. If a coin is used especially the fine lines will be lost and only the strong lines will be visible.  Also the patina of the coin is still intact, some encrustations visible inside the lines. The Type of Patina / Corrosion is quite thin, so there is not much room to cut details into the patina (Cuts in  Metal would surely be visible.
 
 
All the best
Marcus Naumann
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55 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

This is the response from the firm:

Dr. Roman Collector:

i checked the coin with the microscope. I still tend to say that the coin is not tooled, but shows significant cleaning marks. The coin used as reference shows an alternating pattern of fine and strong hairlines. If a coin is used especially the fine lines will be lost and only the strong lines will be visible.  Also the patina of the coin is still intact, some encrustations visible inside the lines. The Type of Patina / Corrosion is quite thin, so there is not much room to cut details into the patina (Cuts in  Metal would surely be visible.
 
 
All the best
Marcus Naumann

I must say I am quite shocked. I can hardly weigh in as an expert, but the the "strong lines" in the example for sale don't look like they'd arise from natural wear at all. They also don't seem to match the "strong lines" in the unaltered example. It seems to me that the tooler has cut where the raised points on the veil should be, rather than where there should be depth.

Below is (crudely) how I imagine the "strong lines" would actually appear on an unaltered specimen. The tooler seems to get it right at the bottom of the veil but then starts engraving where there should be a raised area instead?

 

image.png.cdd98e97decedd2161fe298a3ed2a3b8.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

What a great catch RC! I have always been intrigued why it seems so difficult to find reliable places that sell non-tampered sestertii and call out tooled ones. I have a number of houses where I’ll buy from them for denarii, but I can’t bring myself to trust them correctly identifying whether a sestertii has been tooled. If it looks too good to be true, and the price is on the lower end, generally end up steering clear. Maybe some houses just don’t think it’s an important thing to call out? Or perhaps it’s more difficult to identify and not every house thinks it’s worth the investment? Someone smarter than me I’m sure has the answer 😆

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