Jump to content

Bought my first Roman Republican coin, but about that...


kirispupis

Recommended Posts

  • Benefactor

Recently, I had the joy of winning my first Roman Republican coin. It was the reverse that really caught me - which depicts either the Erician Venus Sanctuary on Mount Eryx in western Sicily, or a smaller version that existed in Rome.

I must admit I was not in a good state when I bid on this. I'd just won perhaps the biggest coin in my life for a fraction of what I thought and I decided to go for some others. This was at the top of the list.

However, I became deeply worried after looking at this more closely.

pubilius.jpg.fa71ea1a535421151b43519122d32a4f.jpg

The stats are 18mm 2.93g.

My big worry is I strongly feel this is a fouree.

I did have that worry when buying it because I noticed the defects on the obverse portrait, but after some research I figured it must be lamination peeling. The listing itself made no mention of being a fouree and this coin was included on the email the auction house sent out depicting the top coins at the auction, so I figured they must know.

However, I haven't found any genuine Considius Nonianus denarius with anywhere close to this weight, which I stupidly didn't notice when I bid. I also now think that the ding on the edge on the reverse pretty clearly shows it as a fouree.

What do you think? It's currently en route, so I'll be able to better tell soon.

If it is a fouree, what would you advise as my best option? On the one hand, I'm not super-happy that the auction house didn't disclose this fact (if it is a fouree). On the other, I was an idiot myself for not doing due diligence and looking at the weight and carefully at the image. These coins are outside of my expertise and I should have been far more careful.

If this is deemed a fouree once I have it in hand, do you think I'll have any luck asking the auction house to take it back due to the faulty description? Otherwise, my best bet is to sell it off, but realistically this is probably a $100 coin and I'll take a good hit.

In general, I'm super pissed at myself. I should have been more careful and I likely just wasted a good sum of money.

 

  • Like 7
  • Cool Think 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see why you wanted the coin -- very cool one with an interesting & attractive design! Even a plated specimen would be a good coin, but I definitely understand wanting the full-silver official coin, especially for your first RRC denarius.

I don't know if lamination is possible too, but the obverse immediately reminded me of @Ryro's Vercingetorix (?) type Hostilius Saserna fourree -- see the "before" photo in the previous post linked below, when it essentially had some silvery substances painted over the visible core. (Since first seeing that post, I've noticed others I thought had the same treatment.)

Yours seems possibly similar: 

 

Edited by Curtis JJ
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, the good news, Savoca is reputable and if it is a fourée I have no doubt they will refund you.

But why wait? Just email them and ask if they are certain that it isn't. 

It's got the weight, the deterioration, and the strange discoloration issues against it. Better safe than sorry.

All that said, I enjoy fourées very much. 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

I do agree that it's more likely a fourée than not. The weight is very low for a Roman Republican denarius. It could be delamination, though -- it's hard to tell whether the exposed spot at 5:00 on the reverse is bronze, or darker silver.  If it is a fourée, you are absolutely entitled to a refund, and I have no doubt that Savoca will give you one.

You can figure out the answer yourself if you want to wait until it arrives. Look up how to do a specific gravity test to detect silver content. Even I managed to do it once -- after watching a "how-to" video on YouTube -- to prove that a coin I purchased had a much lower silver content than it should have had. And I'm a notorious klutz.

Edited by DonnaML
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While not uncommon for some later Imperial Denarii to weigh in @ <3.00g, that is not the case with RR issues.

Short of major flan damage(chips etc.), that weight alone ought to be enough to safely presume it's a fouree.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a very odd looking coin for sure. I agree, it does look like a plated coin someone has applied some silver paint to to try to pass it as solid. The weight is basically impossibly low so I don't think there's any chance it's an official coin from the Rome mint of this period.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

Thank you everyone for the advice! It sounds like this is definitely a fouree, though I'll perform a specific gravity test to make sure. Savoca has already said I can send it back.

Dumb question: What's the best way to return a coin from the US to Germany? I've only returned one coin before and that was domestic - and because the seller enclosed the wrong coin. Assuming I ship USPS, which is the best service to use? Also, what do I label the coin as on the customs form. I assume Savoca shouldn't have to pay import fees since they originally had the coin.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

Just fyi, @kirispupis, I did a quick search in my personal catalog for the weights of my 90 Roman Republican denarii, and can tell you that only 14 of the 90 (about 15%) weigh less than 3.80 grams. Specifically, in descending order, those 14 weigh 3.78, 3.77, 3.76 (2), 3.75, 3.74, 3.72, 3.71, 3.68, 3.66, 3.60 (2), and, at the bottom, 3.32 and 3.08 grams -- both of those being from fairly late in the Imperatorial period, in 43 BCE (Crawford 486/1) and 45 BCE (Crawford 472/1), respectively. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...