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Memory Hole. Why do withdrawn coins typically have their images removed from their auction sites?


Deinomenid

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Mot auction houses  I follow, from the most exalted to the lowliest, remove either the image or the image and description of withdrawn coins.  My (possibly incorrect) assumption  is the coins are mostly withdrawn because they are fake and if so it's really frustrating as it makes it so much easier for the coins to pop up for sale elsewhere, plus it removes a way to educate oneself on what to look for etc. Sometimes it seems as if fairly large parts of the professional selling community are actively acting against the full and free sharing of  information on forgeries. One obvious example  is how despite their (IAPN) professed interest in removing forgeries, they keep the lists hidden and - from what little  I have seen -  numbers of  coins on their special lists don't make it to forgerynetwork etc.

"The Bulletin of Counterfeits and the online IBSCC-Archive are restricted to members only"

I'm sure there must be a good, fair reason for this apparently Orwellian behaviour,  but I'm struggling to see what  it is.

Also are there any workarounds to the Memory Hole? Wayback engine-type crawls  over recent now deleted posts?

This sort of thing, with fingers not particularly pointed at the companies on the screenshot. It's almost ubiquitous -

Screenshot2024-04-21at15-25-36biddr-themodernauctionplatformfornumismaticitems.png.b39f06dc151eb8d9e771a5c056002905.png

 

 

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Posted · Supporter
23 minutes ago, Phil Anthos said:

Perhaps they don't want to cast doubt on similar but legitimate coins.

~ Peter 

If the use of the words, to "CAST" doubt, is intended, great pun. And if not, still worth a mention

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Kudos to auction houses that actually remove the images of fake coins. At least they are acting in good faith in response to knowledgeable viewers. Some auction houses ignore input and those are what I think we should be more concerned about.

But an open repository of rejected coins would definitely take it one level up...

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53 minutes ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

Maybe someone who has more spare time than me could verify which auction houses like to remove their images…

30 seconds on coinarchive has Leu, Roma, Oslo Mynt, Nomos, Solidus, Tauler, Davissons, Baldwins, but there are more. Some are  not consistent either. Several times at "tippy-top"  houses  I've seen it too, and then could not trace it later. I assume similar to @John Conduitt's comment,  sometimes they  are memory hole'd into  nonexistence.

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I remember when my father, back in the 1970s, wanted to buy some modern forgeries of ancient coins. He was interested, and he wanted to get an idea of whether he could tell they were fake. (There was no Internet of course)

He went to multiple coin shops, and every dealer he spoke to told him that they never got forgeries. He thought this very unlikely to be true, and concluded that

1) they thought it would be bad for business to even admit that it happens,

or

2) they were worried about liability for accusing their source and not being able to prove their allegations.

Perhaps 50 years later, some of the reasons may be the same.

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12 hours ago, Deinomenid said:

 One obvious example  is how despite their (IAPN) professed interest in removing forgeries, they keep the lists hidden and - from what little  I have seen -  numbers of  coins on their special lists don't make it to forgerynetwork etc.

"The Bulletin of Counterfeits and the online IBSCC-Archive are restricted to members only"

I'm sure there must be a good, fair reason for this apparently Orwellian behaviour,  but I'm struggling to see what  it is.

 

They want to prevent the forgers from using sensitive information in the Bulletin to their advantage. Unfortunately, the same information that helps dealers and collectors identify forgeries can also help forgers better evade detection.

Edited by DLTcoins
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I noticed this behavior more than once on various websites and I think that there are 2 main causes 

a.) they noticed/they were informed the coin is a forgery. 

b.) there was a logistical issue and the coin is simply no longer available. The consignor changed his/her mind, the coin was already sold through different channels, whatever. 

On point b.) I agree with deleting the image and the description because this can create confusion. There was a situation discussed right here, where a member noticed the same coin offered by two auction houses. It was clearly the same coin, with the same flaws. This was a mixup as apparently the consignor decided to use a house then another one. One might have concluded that 2 "identical" coins are offered - this would have meant one thing - forgery. It was not the case. 

But for point a.), I actually disagree. In my opinion, images should remain there as people could see and learn. So no kudos from my side. And when an identical forgery is offerred, at least some collectors can check. So yes, withdraw the coin (mandatory) but leave it there with a relevant comment added. It is not a shame to admit. It actually helps. 

Sure, this will not mean the forgery business will stop, but hiding examples means a bigger chance to appear unnoticed in the future. 

I have two examples I consider negative and simply made me avoid thouse houses for good. 

1. I noticed an auction (and I was a regular customer for that house). And noticed a new category - reproductions for study. A few dozens of coins but very deceiving. Worn, stripped patina, corroded. No indication that they are reproductions. A very experienced collector would have noticed them, but not an average one or a beginner. What was even worse - most of the coins were cheap and common and an original one would have been 20 euros. 

The "coins" were removed - including images and descriptions. That's wrong in my opinion. I am sure most of those objects are now in collections and the new owners consider them genuine.

2. I was browsing another auction, from a different house and noticed an interesting sestertius. I tried to attribute it (the attribution was not provided in full details). Did not find a match so initially I was very interested - a 1st century sestertius not in RIC? There was only a denarius with this design. 

Then I found it listed in the forgeries section in FAC as a modern trinket. I notified the house. They replied after a few days "thank you, we will remove it, the auction was listed in a hurry". But they did not change/remove anything. The "coin" was auctioned and sold for 75 euros. Was that a buyer who still believes today that he found a major rarity? Was that a house employee bidding on behalf of the house to avoid a forgery to be sold to a customer? No idea, but still wrong. 

 

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4 hours ago, DLTcoins said:

They want to prevent the forgers from using sensitive information in the Bulletin to their advantage. Unfortunately, the same information that helps dealers and collectors identify forgeries can also help forgers better evade detection.

This  is a slight possibility, as the bulletin is available to buy (lots of them were recently at auction for example)- it is  just expensive. I see their action (lack) as more of a closed shop guild. As with their ~lily-livered response to  the Beale situation.

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