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A Vespasian fourrée?


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I don't know what to make of my latest coin but would love to get some opinions from you much more established collectors and numismatists. It is a Vespasian Denarius that I purchased on VCOINS, but once I had it in hand something about it felt "off", yet there are things about it that seem quite genuine to me in regards to its age. I can't make heads or tails of it. 🙂 , but I'm leaning toward having acquired a contemporary fourrée by mistake. It was not labeled as such by the seller, but when I compare it to the rest of my collection it stands out as different. I am not naming or identifying the seller in this thread.

In the seller photos the dark spots looked like uneven toning or some of that darker spots you see on some coins, but once I had it in hand I could see that there is a section of this coin where it has a look of an outer layer missing or chipped off. Maybe indicative of fourrée, but I have seen of Warren Esty's resources that this appearance can also happen naturally to a standard Roman coin depending on how corrosion and cleaning played out. 

I have only been collecting for a year, so my experience is quite limited. I have a few dozen coins, and of these a dozen are Denarii. What stood out to me as soon as I had this coin in hand was that it felt slick and quite smooth. Another odd thing about it is that it does not feel as cold to the touch as my other Denarii. The sheen on the silver is quite shiny as well, but perhaps some of this is from toning? I have two Republican Denarii, but all the rest are Nerva-Antonine or later so I don't have Denarii of the Julio-Claudians or Flavians to compare this coin against. 

I'm clearly not an expert, but here is what I find convincing and unconvincing about this coin from what I can gauge with my limitations.


  • The flan is uneven with the coin thicker on one side than the other, it also has an appearance on the edges that looks authentic and aged
  • I believe I see some very faint flow lines on the obverse around Vespasian's head.
  • The yellow-ish toning appears authentic to me


Things that give me pause: 

  • Coin texture / feel is very different from my other denarii, smooth and slick to the touch - as is the sheen to the silver
  • Coin is noticeably not as cold to the touch when first picked up
  • Section of the coin has the appearance of foil plating that chipped off? 

Here is the Description from seller: 

Obv.: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M Laureate head right
Rev.: AVGVR TRI POT Emblems of the pontificate simpulum, aspergilium, capis, and lituus
RIC 43
Material: silver
Weight:: 3.13gr
Diameter: 16.5-17.5mm

Posting pictures (I did the best with what I have but recognize these aren't great photos, I tried several lighting conditions and angles with and without magnification) - here is a link to a video of the coin that I made to best show its angles: 

Any comments or observations would be greatly appreciated as I try to work out what I have here, A genuine Imperial Issue? A contemporary Fouree? Or something else entirely? 










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Thanks for the reply and a tip off to learning about horn silver. I couldn't find an answer so far, but would horn silver be contained to the darker areas / spots of the coin? Or is it like a patina where the whole coin has an outer layer coating of it and then there are some spots (the darker ones) where more is present. 

I am wondering if that would account for the coin having a notably different surface feeling in the hand than my other denarii.  

Edited by Corbita
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3 hours ago, ominus1 said:

Edit....i ain't sure so silence is golden..^^

I got used to it a long time ago with any Flavians I post here. 😄

Edit ... the coin was harshly cleaned and has a few black deposits that couldn't be removed. What more could be added?

Edited by David Atherton
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