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"Sight Unseen" - A cautionary tale with a silver lining


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From time to time, I like to scour the random "large lots" of various auction houses, looking for that diamond in the rough that can find a home in my permanent collection, or at least something I can flip for hopefully enough scratch to buy one of my bigger targets.

A couple months ago I spotted this lot, and put in a calculated bid at no more than $2 per coin - what I assumed was a safe bid.


The lot finally arrived and to my horror, it was almost all coins like this -


A dozen really, really bad tourist fakes (the description did mention reproductions, but I assumed "a few" not 10% of the lot) and the rest of the coins were genuine but zapped to within an inch of their life!



I put the whole lot away and decided a couple days ago to dig it back out, go through it, lick my wounds and cut my losses on the sale. There was fortunately a silver lining, as the lot coughed up a rather nice Marcus Aurelius as Caesar denarius with a more mature bust - a type I had actually been looking for.


And the irony - a personal white whale that I had just caved and spent nearly $200 on at the last Leu sale. These were initially attributed to Commodus, but recent scholarship has confirmed that these coins were struck for Lucius Verus as a young lad during the reign of Antoninus Pius - a curious thing indeed because Verus never held the title of Caesar - only Marcus Aurelius did!

This one RPC IV.2 10785, Ares standing rightLuciusVerusCaesarAEMarsstanding.jpg.cdbd7e902496fc705d73e03a7bff7081.jpg

Quite a rare coin apparently, only one other in RPC


Hideous, and like the others completely stripped of its patina, but I'll still be keeping it!

I am still certain that I will not come out ahead on this lot at all, but at least I'm not coming up completely empty handed!

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