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Sharing My First Ever Auction Win + a Question About Provenance


jfp7375
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Hello Everyone -

Today I received something very special in the mail. This coin came from Artemide 59e - this is my first ever auction win, my first ever Roman Republican coin, and my best/most expensive coin thus far. Needless to say, I am really happy with the purchase.  So: first I selfishly just wanted to show the coin off because I'm so excited about it 😁

L. Manlius Sulla Denarius.png

L. Manlius Torquatus, AR Denarius 82 BC

Obv: L. MANLI PRO. Q.; helmeted head of Roma right

Rev: L. SVLLA I[M or MP]; Sulla in quadriga right, being crowned by angel-form-Victory flying above 

3.83g 16.50mm 

Crawford 367//5; B 4 or 5

 

Second, I wanted to ask "Where do I start if I want to try to dig up provenance on this coin?".  I know people dig through old auction catalogues and try to match photos, but where do you even begin? Is it possible to do this using online resources like ACsearch and CoinArchives.com, or do you need access to physical auction catalogues? Finding old provenance on any of my coins is a really exciting prospect, and as I begin to acquire more higher end pieces such as this one, I think there's a better shot of digging up such records.

Thanks!

 

Edited by jfp7375
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ACsearch and CoinArchives.com are a good start, but you must realize that the more common a coin type is, the more difficult it becomes. For a relatively common coin you have to look at hundreds of photos.  The best way to do this is to pick out a characteristic detail and focus your search on that detail.
At acsearch there is also an automatic search, but it's not free. 

 

After this you can go for digitized catalogs. Check out the page from our member @rNumis 

Edited by shanxi
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At first when I saw your coin, based on its gold color, I thought it was this aureus:

image.png.7be95952009f24f07aa40eaade6520e5.png

That would have been quite an achievement for your first auction win!  I'm assuming your denarius probably appears a little more silver in hand!

My personal experience in finding provenances is that once you've researched the online resources of previous auctions (e.g., ACSEARCH), your next step will be accessing online archives of old catalogs that have black & white plates, with pictures of those plates.  This can be very time-consuming so be prepared for the amount of effort it will require.

 

Edited by idesofmarch01
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50 minutes ago, idesofmarch01 said:

At first when I saw your coin, based on its gold color, I thought it was this aureus:

image.png.7be95952009f24f07aa40eaade6520e5.png

That would have been quite an achievement for your first auction win!  I'm assuming your denarius probably appears a little more silver in hand!

My personal experience in finding provenances is that once you've researched the online resources of previous auctions (e.g., ACSEARCH), your next step will be accessing online archives of old catalogs that have black & white plates, with pictures of those plates.  This can be very time-consuming so be prepared for the amount of effort it will require.

 

Haha I wish!! I just took the pic in really warm lighting which resulted in a really nice pic as far as accurately showing the detail and surfaces of the coin, but did make it look gold…

it’s a bright lustrous silver in hand. Here are the seller’s pics which are too zoomed and have too much direct light, but do show the color better:

image.png.697889fadb91f5b1d4f793563b206440.png

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When I'm searching for provenance, here are the sources that I use, with the most often used, first. I haven't had time, to do a lot of provenance searches. Mostly, I just search, to find other examples of coins, to try to verify the authenticity of coins, before I buy or bid on the coins. However, sometimes, I'll stumble on a provenance, by accident, which is exciting. And, I sometimes search for provenance, if a coin is very expensive. Someday, if I ever have the time, I may do more extensive provenance searches.

1. ACsearch : You may have to register with an email address (I don't remember), but it's free, unless you want to view the hammer prices : https://www.acsearch.info/ 

2. CNG Research : https://cngcoins.com/Coins_sold.aspx 

3. Coin Archives : https://www.coinarchives.com/a/ 

 

Edited by sand
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Artemide in particular offers a high percentage of new finds, so your chances of finding an earlier provenance are substantially reduced. It's still worth making the effort so you become familiar with how to do it, but don't be discouraged if you aren't successful.

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22 minutes ago, Phil Davis said:

Artemide in particular offers a high percentage of new finds, so your chances of finding an earlier provenance are substantially reduced. It's still worth making the effort so you become familiar with how to do it, but don't be discouraged if you aren't successful.

Thanks Phil this is great info to have. 
 

sort of a newbie question, but does the lack of significant toning on this coin hint that it might be a newer find?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, jfp7375 said:

Thanks Phil this is great info to have. 
 

sort of a newbie question, but does the lack of significant toning on this coin hint that it might be a newer find?

It hints it certainly, although a dismaying number of beautifully toned coins from genuinely old collections (say, 75-150 years old) have had the toning removed somewhere along the way. Bear in mind too that coins tone at dramatically different rates, even under identical conditions. Presumably this is a function of the exact metal composition of a given piece. I have coins I acquired thirty or more years ago that were bright when I got them and are just barely starting to tone now.

Edited by Phil Davis
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As it happens, I have an example of the OP type that illustrates my point about coins sometimes toning quite slowly. This was bright when I bought it in 1993; only in the last few years has it started to tone, mostly around the devices. The fields are still pretty white.

1240675992_Phil(66).JPG.93948f7fd0a9995bdaf675589a2031a5.JPG

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1 hour ago, Phil Davis said:

As it happens, I have an example of the OP type that illustrates my point about coins sometimes toning quite slowly. This was bright when I bought it in 1993; only in the last few years has it started to tone, mostly around the devices. The fields are still pretty white.

1240675992_Phil(66).JPG.93948f7fd0a9995bdaf675589a2031a5.JPG

..that is a neat coin!...never seen one with that reverse before! 🙂

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1 hour ago, Phil Davis said:

As it happens, I have an example of the OP type that illustrates my point about coins sometimes toning quite slowly. This was bright when I bought it in 1993; only in the last few years has it started to tone, mostly around the devices. The fields are still pretty white.

1240675992_Phil(66).JPG.93948f7fd0a9995bdaf675589a2031a5.JPG

 

5 minutes ago, ominus1 said:

..that is a neat coin!...never seen one with that reverse before! 🙂

Yeah that’s a hell of an example Phil. Maybe the best I’ve seen. 
 

i was just reading on Andrew McCabe’s site about this alternate arrangement of the horses with the lead horse on the right/foreground, and how that might represent a different stage of the triumph. I think that theory may have been attributed to you, actually, Phil 

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5 minutes ago, jfp7375 said:

 

Yeah that’s a hell of an example Phil. Maybe the best I’ve seen. 
 

i was just reading on Andrew McCabe’s site about this alternate arrangement of the horses with the lead horse on the right/foreground, and how that might represent a different stage of the triumph. I think that theory may have been attributed to you, actually, Phil 

Yeah, afaik I'm the first person to notice that distinctly different reverse arrangement. It surely is the product of a different time frame, a different mint, or quite possibly both.

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1 hour ago, Restitutor said:

Sounds like there’s a business opportunity in here… ancestry.com but for coin provenance! 

There is a company that will help you find provenances for ancient coins.  Dr. Jonas Emmanuel Flueck created Ex-Numis, a computer system that uses digital image recognition to match coin images to an extensive database of sales catalogs.  I asked him to explain his work in 2020.

 

 

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Denarius of L. Manlius Torquatus 82 BC Obv helmeted head of Roma right.  Sulla driving a triumphal chariot drawn by four horses right being crowned by victory Crawford 367/5 RBW 1386 4.09 grms 18 mm Photo by W. Hansen367-b.jpg.5d049a06ccd049ad8bd2ec3d65305005.jpgAll the above electronic search sites such as AC or the CNG site are good, however they mostly cover coins found in auctions over the last 22 or so years, and are incomplete. The rNumis site hosted by our very own @rNumisas well as the Newman Numismatic portal do cover a lot of older cats with the Newman site covering a lot of older US cats. However there is no quick and dirty method of accessing the info on either site. You literally have to slog through each cat. Having said that rNumis does offer a  site within his site which allows the  exploration the coins of Greek  Italy and Sicily by mint. It is very useful. 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/25/2022 at 9:35 AM, Ed Snible said:

There is a company that will help you find provenances for ancient coins.  Dr. Jonas Emmanuel Flueck created Ex-Numis, a computer system that uses digital image recognition to match coin images to an extensive database of sales catalogs.  I asked him to explain his work in 2020.

 

 

...well thats purdy dang kool Ed...:)    ok..imma gonna ...oops ^^

 

 

Edited by ominus1
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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is my example. A great first auction win @jfp7375

 

image.jpeg.15be83ff02214c95b9fc0686affbec04.jpeg

SULLAVICTORY.JPG.ce50dcb85e04c67f159f23f946ee3370.JPG

Here is another Sulla that has some provenance.

SullaheadA.JPG.c0726e337dfabfe3c8886c431d1fb07b.JPG

SullaheadB.JPG.797b9cbdba3fe4ac5f591e717b83bd0d.JPG

L. Cornelius Sulla. Denarius mint moving with Sulla 84-83, AR 18.5mm., 3.77g. Diademed head of Venus r.; in Sydenham 761a. Crawford 359/2.

Nicely toned, Very Fine.

Ex Gorny & Mosch sale 176, 2009, 1864.  r.; in r. field, Cupid standing l., holding palm branch; below, L·SVLLA. Rev. IMPER Jug and lituus between two trophies; below, ITERV. Babelon Cornelia 30.  Ex.Navilles Auction 63

 

 

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