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Another recent pick-up - 400-350 B.C. THRACE, Apollonia Pontika


Topcat7

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I recently picked up this silver obol from THRACE, Apollonia Pontika (400-350 B.C.) 1.23gm., AR9 mm.

Obv: Gargonian facing,

Rev: Anchor with crayfish and 'A' in R. and L. fields, and ΚΩΜΥ to the left.

Ref: SNG BM Black Sea 173

 

(5) 400-350 B.C. THRACE, Apollonia Pontika SNG BM Black Sea 173 (O).jpg

(5) 400-350 B.C. THRACE, Apollonia Pontika SNG BM Black Sea 173 (R).jpg

Edited by Topcat7
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Nice to see what appears to be a genuine one, thanks for showing it. @Ed Snible has a wonderful page on the vast number of fakes attributed to the Black Sea Hoard,

http://www.snible.org/coins/black_sea_hoard.html 

It makes very interesting reading.

and quite a number were removed from the Wildwinds page because of previous attributions which were identified later as fakes. https://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/thrace/apollonia_pontika/i.html

Mine is a drachm

THRACEGorgon.jpg.bf1f4437e8d48a9950e44ab0b28352fa.jpg

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1 hour ago, expat said:

Nice to see what appears to be a genuine one, thanks for showing it. @Ed Snible has a wonderful page on the vast number of fakes attributed to the Black Sea Hoard,

http://www.snible.org/coins/black_sea_hoard.html 

It makes very interesting reading.

and quite a number were removed from the Wildwinds page because of previous attributions which were identified later as fakes. https://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/thrace/apollonia_pontika/i.html

Mine is a drachm

THRACEGorgon.jpg.bf1f4437e8d48a9950e44ab0b28352fa.jpg

There's also separate batch (dubbed "New York hoard") of equally dangerous fake drachms.
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=new york hoard

As to the Black Sea hoard, I somewhat like the story of them being conceived because the finder of the initial (genuine) hoard was duped by coin dealers. Talk about a revenge.

Edited by Troyden
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7 minutes ago, Troyden said:

There's also separate batch (dubbed "New York hoard") of equally dangerous fake drachms.
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=new york hoard

As to the Black Sea hoard, I somewhat like the story of them being conceived because the finder of the initial (genuine) hoard was duped by coin dealers. Talk about a revenge.

Yes, drachms also. Quite the rabbit warren until you can acquire one with confidence. The original story of the finder being conned was what prompted my interest in getting one. But one gorgon is enough as they are not in my main collecting interests.

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1 minute ago, Troyden said:

I have both drachm and diobol. By a weird twist I acquired them before I learnt about the proliferation of fakes. I spent a good deal of time analyzing them afterwards but I couldn't find any die match with known fakes.

 

ZomboDroid_06082023114924.jpg

ZomboDroid_06082023114953.jpg

Two nice examples, well done.

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  • Benefactor

I must admit I wasn't even aware of the massive number of fakes of this issue. AFAIK mine is a genuine copy.

331A9843-Edit.jpg.72c31d092732cd111d29a26c738fa4d6.jpg

THRACE, Apollonia Pontika
Mid 4th century BCE
AR Diobol 1.2 gm, 10mm, 12h
Obv: Facing gorgoneion.
Rev: Upright anchor; A to left, crayfish to right.
Topalov, Apollonia p. 386, 3; SNG BM Black Sea 167

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Hello again. I'm writing asking for a second opinion.

I've been contacted by one of members of this forum that my drachm might be counterfeit and possibly part of the "New York hoard". Said member (whom I won't name unless they wish to reveal themselves but to whom I am very thankful for bringing this up regardless of outcome), pointed out similarities to some fake specimens listed by Reid Goldsborough(web archive link to the original site).

I am posting again the photo of my drachm. The member pointed out obverse similarities to specimens 19, 28, 37, and 43 and reverse similarities to specimens 6 and 30.

ZomboDroid_06082023114924.jpg

Being human, I still grasp onto hope it's a false positive. I see (though my senses might fail me) minuscule differences between my coin and the indicated fakes. For instance, on the obverse both two lowermost coils of the Gorgon's "hair" are split, while confirmed fakes have only one or none coils split. Plus, there are "beads" inside of coils on my specimen, while I don't see this feature on any of the fakes. Regarding the obverse, I put my hopes in observation that the center groove on the anchor does not go through the entire length and is of a different shape. Plus, the shape of the anchor's head (i.e. the lowermost part of the anchor on the coin) is different in my opinion.

The coin in question was purchased years ago on ma-shops from a reputable dealer. Weight: 3.48 g.

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This is why I don't like Apollonia Pontika. The large number of (well executed) forgeries made me skip these. I had (and still have) doubts about mine. 

Here is my coin compared to specimen 40 of the hoard

image.png.be15401612e1eb0300eb881cc4164750.png

Top - specimen 40, bottom, mine. 

This is not a die match - the pearls and the snakes are different. But the style of the artistry is similar. 
Is this coin genuine? No idea. Is yours? I am sure that if you find a collector who specializes in these he/she will be able to provide a verdict. 

Overall, Apolonia Pontika drachms with anchor/gorgon would be an excellent collecting area due to the large number of gorgon depictions. But about all the topics about these coins turned into this kind of problem - trying to determin if the coin is genuine or not.

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5 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

This is why I don't like Apollonia Pontika. The large number of (well executed) forgeries made me skip these. I had (and still have) doubts about mine. 

Here is my coin compared to specimen 40 of the hoard

image.png.be15401612e1eb0300eb881cc4164750.png

Top - specimen 40, bottom, mine. 

This is not a die match - the pearls and the snakes are different. But the style of the artistry is similar. 
Is this coin genuine? No idea. Is yours? I am sure that if you find a collector who specializes in these he/she will be able to provide a verdict. 

Overall, Apolonia Pontika drachms with anchor/gorgon would be an excellent collecting area due to the large number of gorgon depictions. But about all the topics about these coins turned into this kind of problem - trying to determin if the coin is genuine or not.

Like I already wrote, I bought them before I got to know the whole story. Moreover, I purchased them from reputed dealers.
At first glance my also aren't clear die matches. But the style of these fakes is uncanny. 

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Same here. I was not pointing my finger.

I saw Apollonia Pontika drachms in several auctions, when I was just starting to collect. I liked the design. Decided I want an example. Won this one as I felt it's a good deal and the gorgon was expressive. 

I still remember another one in the same auction that I lost. I liked that one even more especially because of the strange flan

image.png.d9e7e94e33e2d8c5ce130de01678a3e9.png

After winning my example (from the previous posts) I started reading about this type. Inevitably I found out about the forgeries. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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2 hours ago, Troyden said:

The member pointed out obverse similarities to

If the unnamed member has a name starting with Edsn and ending in ible I would go with that opinion over most others here. 

I spent ages pouring over a couple of these coins and just could not get comfortable. 

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2 hours ago, ambr0zie said:

Top - specimen 40, bottom, mine. 

I am not convinced that Reid's "specimen 40" is fake.  I have never found a die link to it from another fake.  The other fakes are die linked to each other.

40 was the only crystalized (reticulated corroded) example.  I have seen false crystallization, but I am not convinced that it has been applied to 40.

Reid and his helpers on CoinForgeryDiscussionList created a good initial catalog of the dies.  In two decades I have only been able to find 7 new linked anchor dies and 7 new gorgoneion dies to complement what what is on https://web.archive.org/web/20180423012536/http://medusacoins.reidgold.com/newyork.html .

I have a good feeling about your coin, @ambr0zie.

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Thank you for your opinion, @Ed Snible. I know you are a specialist in Apollonia Pontika issues. I appreciate it. 

I remember I discussed my coin with a specialist from a major European auction house as we had a common acquaintance. The gentleman also advised the same thing: that he is not convinced that specimen 40 is fake (and anyway my example is not a die match).  

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