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Seller's photos


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Here is the topic I want to discuss. Look at these two photos. The first is the seller's:



The second is mine, taken with a ten-year-old iPad and color-adjusted (mostly reduced the "saturation") to more-closely look like the coin:


Seller's may not have the time to make a good photo look better. It is especially hard, in my opinion, to make a coin image show any metallic glint it has. 

Now I think I have learned a bit about the photos of the Spanish auction firm Silicua. 

Do you know of sellers whose photos have characteristics worth knowing?

Edited by Valentinian
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Odysseus on MA-Shops typically takes photos that make the coin look brighter than it is, so if you buy from them there's a chance your coin will look darker.

I've had that same experience with Sebastian Sondermann on Vcoins. While I've bought a Vespiasian denarius that looked exactly like the picture, I also bought a Salonina antoninianus that was about 100 shades darker than the picture...

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I think there is definitely value in being aware of the photographic traits of each dealer and auction house to help make an informed decision about how the coin will look in-hand but I also think it's just as important to be able to recognise how a coin might look in different lighting conditions. I think that is perhaps even more useful because it's not as dependent on knowing who took the photo (and what their "style" is). You need to be able to look pass the effect the lighting and post-processing has had on the resultant image and understand how the surfaces might behave to different kinds of lighting.

The example below is one I took using nearly identical lighting setups yet the result is drastically different. Both photos were taken with a modified "ring light", the light source (a camera flash) was the same, the only difference was the size of the ring light body. The photo on the left is closer to how it appears in-hand but, if you only saw the image on the right, you can still get a pretty good idea about what the surfaces are like and the small hints of toning. I'd then know to expect the coin to look more like it does on the left when I get it in-hand because I know how that kind of surface will respond to light.

So I personally focus more on the physical attributes of the coin and its interaction with the lighting and pay less attention to the known photographic "style" of the dealer/auction house because it's a more definite way of knowing how the coin will look in-hand. It also helps if you can identify over-exposure vs. specular highlights and direct vs. diffused lighting, then you can differentiate between coins with regular surfaces, coins with "bright" surfaces from cleaning, and coins with good surfaces and luster.


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I’ve over paid for average coins because of exceptional photos and surely passed on wonderful coins due to poor photos. 
It’s so important that I can’t believe some dealers/ auctions houses get it so wrong

Edited by Nvb
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