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Roma Numismatics Closing


NewStyleKing

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Roma Numismatics is closing on May 24th 2024.

There will no UK based quality ancient coin dealers left after that date in the UK.

I guess it has all got to do with that provenance nonsense over the gold Eid Mar stuff they hawked in the USA.  Silly on two levels for me, silly cos I don't give a stuff for provenance of coins, and silly never do silly stuff with antiquities in the USA unless you are the Getty!  

I loved Roma and bought and sold coins through them and without them I wouldn't have my example of Thompson #5, the only one in private hands!

My guess is that ALL auction houses sell fresh coins to the market and I, like others, can spot the contents of hoards being offered for sale and split up across many dealers!

Where would my collection of NewStyles be without  NumismatikLanz, and now Roma? There in the UK will be essentially only CNG.

So anybody out there? There is a UK sized gap  in the market!

The curse of provenance strikes at the really interested in coins, not the show offs and investors for who often possession is the only interest.

 

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Posted (edited)

Without Lanz my collection would be nothing!  I miss him and his many hoards. I just wish the lure of the USA wasn't that strong, and yet CNG survive and make a good living.

I am a bit of a buccaneer and am amoral in my coin collecting!     Like many, many others. 

Edited by NewStyleKing
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Posted (edited)

For what it's worth, a number of Roma employees and contractors have moved to the the UK-based "The Coin Cabinet", who have a new ancients dept. apparently staffed entirely by ex. Roma staff.

Of course whether any of same type of material, whether consignments or from Roma suppliers, will end up at TCC remains to be seen. I'd assume not for suppliers.

 

Edited by Heliodromus
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2 hours ago, NewStyleKing said:

There will no UK based quality ancient coin dealers left after that date in the UK.

What's your criterion for quality?  I like Baldwin's.  Their upcoming auction includes a fourrée EID MAR denarius with a 1979 pedigree.

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2 hours ago, NewStyleKing said:

I guess it has all got to do with that provenance nonsense over the gold Eid Mar stuff they hawked in the USA.  Silly on two levels for me, silly cos I don't give a stuff for provenance of coins, and silly never do silly stuff with antiquities in the USA unless you are the Getty!  

"Provenance nonsense" aka criminal conspiracy and fraud. But hey, as long as he's ripping other people off, what should I care? As long as he hooks me up with those precious New Styles...

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But buying most coins appears to me to be party to a criminal conspiracy. Those Tigranes ll seem to be very recently found and no published provenance of any I've seen! Many have been sold and some are still selling and yet I have failed to hear the cuffs clinking!!  Those tens of thousand old style tetradrachms made a big hole somewhere probably I believe in Turkey, which does not sell its patrimony! I see coins particularly of celtic types of Phillip ll that have sold recently which obviously have been ripped from a Balkan soil recently, first meris tetradrachms for sale also provenance free!

So having a provenance " NewStyleKing" collection makes everything OK! Like the BM who doesn't collect coins anymore but no doubts consults auction details for research purposes .

My criterion for quality is not the appearance of the grading but the appearance of rare coins, sort after types. Say the fairly recent appearances of the tetradrachms of Abydos, Alexander Troas and Tenedos etc, coins of the Great transformation, the Stephanophores , the civic types.

Hands up, who has NOT bought a coin that had no provenance .......! C'mon where have all those coins plundered from Balkan museums after the fall of the Iron curtain, gone. Balkan Celts knows that the curators actively discouraged enquiries of their wares!  It's not just the British Museum that has its wares mined by the curatorial staff and sold on ebay!Such luminaries as Paunov and Prokopov have had enquiries ignored! 

Where does all that electrum coinage come from , new types all the time 

And how much provenance are fake ...from the collection of a master and pupil, from the collection of a man in love with art, from the collection of so and so, all collected before 1970...... who says so! Let's be honest is Greece really the home of that gold Eid Mar? How do they know? They don't know where it was minted -Patria? and or buried.  It's all hearsay with evidence from someone also untrusty!

At least I'm not a fake.

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1 hour ago, Ed Snible said:

What's your criterion for quality?  I like Baldwin's.  Their upcoming auction includes a fourrée EID MAR denarius with a 1979 pedigree.

Oh dear, 1979, what about UNESCO 1970? That's the date from which nothing should be collected after except from official sources. Ironic for a fake coin! Would Greece claim a counterfeit as its own?

Baldwin's dont have such a wide ranging selection of Greeks. 

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Posted (edited)

@NewStyleKing, please go read the other thread. You will find cogent responses to all of your arguments. And there are, in fact, honest auction houses that don't engage in criminal fraud. "Everyone does it" is not only not an excuse, but untrue. And you don't have to be so snide to someone who was actually trying to be helpful to you.

I can't speak knowledgeably to ancient Greek coins. But there are certainly other auction houses in the UK that offer "quality" Roman and other ancient coins. In addition to Baldwin's, mentioned by @Ed Snible, Noonans Mayfair (formerly Dix, Noonan Webb) comes to mind. I've bought as many ancient coins from their auctions as from Roma's. Also Naville Numismatics (particularly known for Roman Alexandrian coins for whatever reason), although admittedly they function as the somewhat less expensive UK partner of NAC in Zurich.

Edited by DonnaML
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Posted (edited)

We have been down this road a few times 🤣

To be fair, there is a kernel of truth to what NewStyleKing says. His angst and cynicism is founded in collecting Greek coins. The reason it appears every auctioneer is a criminal and every coin has a fake or pointless provenance is because that is much more likely with Greek coins. The Greek government's attitude to exporting coins causes frustration for buyers (who can't get newly-found or rare coins) and some sellers resort to turning a blind eye or outright criminality. If you only collect Greek, you can get a jaundiced impression.

I collect British coins and can buy from high quality UK auctioneers like Noonans, Spink and Chris Rudd, as well as many similar dealers. I hardly ever have to import a coin (CNG being the main overseas auctioneer I use, for 10% of my coins by value, and they do the importing). Much of what Noonan's sells now has a PAS-recorded findspot and it is harder to buy a coin from Chris Rudd without a findspot than with one, let alone a provenance. Since huge numbers of Roman coins are found in Britain (or northern Europe, which also has reasonable export laws) there's no problem collecting Roman coins with verifiable provenance, particularly in the late empire. No-one fakes it because real provenances are so easy.

It's ironic that I don't even need that abundant provenance, because the coins are British, they're found in Britain, I'm in Britain and the British government doesn't want them.

Edited by John Conduitt
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2 hours ago, NewStyleKing said:

But buying most coins appears to me to be party to a criminal conspiracy. Those Tigranes ll seem to be very recently found and no published provenance of any I've seen! Many have been sold and some are still selling and yet I have failed to hear the cuffs clinking!!  Those tens of thousand old style tetradrachms made a big hole somewhere probably I believe in Turkey, which does not sell its patrimony! I see coins particularly of celtic types of Phillip ll that have sold recently which obviously have been ripped from a Balkan soil recently, first meris tetradrachms for sale also provenance free!

So having a provenance " NewStyleKing" collection makes everything OK! Like the BM who doesn't collect coins anymore but no doubts consults auction details for research purposes .

My criterion for quality is not the appearance of the grading but the appearance of rare coins, sort after types. Say the fairly recent appearances of the tetradrachms of Abydos, Alexander Troas and Tenedos etc, coins of the Great transformation, the Stephanophores , the civic types.

Hands up, who has NOT bought a coin that had no provenance .......! C'mon where have all those coins plundered from Balkan museums after the fall of the Iron curtain, gone. Balkan Celts knows that the curators actively discouraged enquiries of their wares!  It's not just the British Museum that has its wares mined by the curatorial staff and sold on ebay!Such luminaries as Paunov and Prokopov have had enquiries ignored! 

Where does all that electrum coinage come from , new types all the time 

And how much provenance are fake ...from the collection of a master and pupil, from the collection of a man in love with art, from the collection of so and so, all collected before 1970...... who says so! Let's be honest is Greece really the home of that gold Eid Mar? How do they know? They don't know where it was minted -Patria? and or buried.  It's all hearsay with evidence from someone also untrusty!

At least I'm not a fake.

The dog barks but the caravan goes on

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2 hours ago, DonnaML said:

particularly known for Roman Alexandrian coins for whatever reason

Probably because they've been dispersing the coins from Dattari-Savio for a decade now

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9 minutes ago, Hesiod said:

Probably because they've been dispersing the coins from Dattari-Savio for a decade now

Yes, I've noticed that they do offer a lot of coins which they label as "ex Dattari Collection." But not all of their Roman Alexandrians are so labeled.

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Yes, this discussion is a road well traveled, but I think this is so because of the complexities, and some times contractions inherent in the ancient coin market.  The vitality of this market is dependent on the continuous flow of fresh coins to feed in some cases and seemingly insatiable demand, such as the flood of classical owls.  So, the conveyor belts flow into the auction houses and individual sellers, an eco system that has been around for decades.  Hoard coins come and go on a virtually continuous basis.  Overlaying this activity are governmental agreements and MOUs that are designed to stem the flow of certain coins and artifacts out of the host countries.  The result is almost a cat and mouse scenario, particularly for high profile coins and artifacts.   

As for provenance, I don't put much weight on it.  Some seem to be generic in nature "From the collection of a country gentleman...", a provenance that is as useful as the listing of ingredients on a bottle of water.  And the vast majority of ancient coins, based on my experience have no provenance whatsoever.  And so it goes, and will continue far beyond the horizon as far as collecting goes.  Enough said on my part.  That's my two cents worth, or five cents due to inflation.

My new style owls came from various sources.  Here's one from Roma, one of the more commonly available middle period owls.

Athens, new style tetradrachm, 159/8 BC.  From Roma E-Sale 108, lot 256.

Attica, Athens AR New Style Tetradrachm. Circa 159/8 BC. Lysan-, Glaukos and Mened-, magistrates. Helmeted head of Athena Parthenos to right, wearing triple-crested Attic helmet adorned with Pegasos / Owl standing to right, head facing, on amphora; A-ӨE above ΛY-ΣAN, ΓΛAY-KOΣ, MENEΔ across fields, cicada in left field, amphora inscribed E, ME (contractor's initials) below; all within wreath. Thompson 431i; HGC 4, 1602. 16.69g, 30mm, 12h.

D-CameraAthensnewstyletetradrachm159-8BCThompson431i16.69gramsRoma1082564-22-23.jpg.c9387f85aa35ff16b2e7b3861a0e49ee.jpg

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7 hours ago, Heliodromus said:

"The Coin Cabinet"

I just looked them up and they have an excellent new (?) angle in provenance reporting.

They are selling someone's mostly very recent collection as the "Euclidean Collection".  And naming as provenance the err "Euclidean Collection"! I despair.

https://auctions.thecoincabinet.com/lots/view/4-DJRDD8/lucania-velia-ar-didrachm

Just one of many examples,  many of which are also recycled Den of Antiquity coins, if indeed recycled. It does seem a shame that given the towering academic work of British researchers  since the 1860s in in the field, some extraordinary collections etc etc that there isn't a similarly ranked UK numismatic auction house, with all due  respect to Spink, Baldwins, Noonans etc.

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3 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

I just looked them up and they have an excellent new (?) angle in provenance reporting.

They are selling someone's mostly very recent collection as the "Euclidean Collection".  And naming as provenance the err "Euclidean Collection"! I despair.

https://auctions.thecoincabinet.com/lots/view/4-DJRDD8/lucania-velia-ar-didrachm

Just one of many examples,  many of which are also recycled Den of Antiquity coins, if indeed recycled. It does seem a shame that given the towering academic work of British researchers  since the 1860s in in the field, some extraordinary collections etc etc that there isn't a similarly ranked UK numismatic auction house, with all due  respect to Spink, Baldwins, Noonans etc.

Similarly ranked to who and in what?

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4 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Similarly ranked to who and in what?

Yes, I'm curious as to who ranks above them. (Although at this point I don't think Spink is among the leading firms even in the UK when it comes to ancient, as opposed to British, coins. It's not 1924 anymore.). CNG aside, must we tug our forelocks to the famous German and  Swiss houses as being the "best," out of a somewhat antique feeling of general respect for German-language academic scholarship, dating back to the 19th century?

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Ranking is perception to an extent, of value, breadth, rarity or consistency of offering. No-one mentioned  Morton and Eden, who had an exceptional sale  recently, truly special, but they rarely do it. Using this above house as an example, in the few  minutes since my last  post I've just gone through some of their Sicilian coins and am shocked at them. Some howlers. That don't even exist.  (Plus curiously, they offer no bid unsold Roma coins.) I genuinely feel terrible for  bidders.

 

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7 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

must we tug our forelocks to the famous German and  Swiss houses

You mustn't! I would not, as there is  no direct link that I am aware of. Parochially, I would far rather the strength and breadth of British research, knowledge and collecting be reflected in towering depth and breadth of offering, cataloging expertise etc in UK houses. This is all in reference (on a Greek forum) to the Greek parts of auctions and  Greek research, collections etc. I know little of the offerings in Roman, though am fully aware of some breathtaking offerings  in UK coinage by  domestic houses.

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The perception is based on what you collect. Obviously, if you collect British coins - ancient, medieval or modern - no-one comes close to the British auction houses in terms of quality of offering or attributions and descriptions. Given the subject of this thread, it might even be that these auction houses don't do much in Greek because of the difficulty getting clean ownership histories. They are also not going to have the supply from collectors that a country with closer historical contact with Greece might have, or one with more collectors like the US.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

You mustn't! I would not, as there is  no direct link that I am aware of. Parochially, I would far rather the strength and breadth of British research, knowledge and collecting be reflected in towering depth and breadth of offering, cataloging expertise etc in UK houses. This is all in reference (on a Greek forum) to the Greek parts of auctions and  Greek research, collections etc. I know little of the offerings in Roman, though am fully aware of some breathtaking offerings  in UK coinage by  domestic houses.

I remain in awe of the level of scholarship reflected in the British Museum's publication, from the 1880s-1930s, of the combined 35 or so volumes of BMCRR, BMCRE, and the BMC Greek (including Roman Provincial) series. It's inconceivable, unfortunately, that the British Museum could ever undertake the task of updating those volumes today. (In my opinion, trying to view items in the Museum's numismatic collection on its website is one of the more horrendously user-unfriendly experiences I've had.)

Edited by DonnaML
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10 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

The perception is based on what you collect

I am talking about Greek coins so yes, as I said above. In the past though there were some  huge sales by British houses of British collections of Greek coins, so fashions in collecting, disposable wealth when pips were being made to squeak etc  might have had a role. Glendinings famous sales etc.  Anyway...

 

1 minute ago, DonnaML said:

In my opinion, trying to view items in the Museum's numismatic collection on its website is one of the more horrendously user-unfriendly experiences I've had.

It's embarrassing, especially when  you have to start guessing what  obscure spelling of a mint's name they are using! Or toggling between imaged and no image for a given  selection, just to see how many are not digitized. I also just found out (no doubt I am the last to  know)  that there are so-called reserve collections at several of the major UK coin depositories (some call them museums), in the case  I learned of today of many tens of thousands of Roman coins (ha not talking Greek!) wholly without  notes, images, descriptions etc. 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

I am talking about Greek coins so yes, as I said above. In the past though there were some  huge sales by British houses of British collections of Greek coins, so fashions in collecting, disposable wealth when pips were being made to squeak etc  might have had a role. Glendinings famous sales etc.  Anyway...

 

It's embarrassing, especially when  you have to start guessing what  obscure spelling of a mint's name they are using! Or toggling between imaged and no image for a given  selection, just to see how many are not digitized. I also just found out (no doubt I am the last to  know)  that there are so-called reserve collections at several of the major UK coin depositories (some call them museums), in the case  I learned of today of many tens of thousands of Roman coins (ha not talking Greek!) wholly without  notes, images, descriptions etc. 

This is the case in museums around the world. I've been trying to find certain Roman coins in European museums, and some are now only mentioned because I enquired and asked for photos. The British Museum had all the 'big ticket' items digitised (and can be seen on Ocre). The Ashmolean is pretty poor even for those - RIC often lists it as the source of its listings but they hardly ever have an image or even mention the coin. The Fitzwilliam is better. Berlin isn't great. In France I think they're trying to put everything from every museum in the same database but that doesn't mean they are in it. Quite a few are in the BnF database but I can't even find coins I know are definitely in it (probably because it's designed for books).

Edited by John Conduitt
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