Jump to content

Internal debates on buying a coin


kirispupis
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Benefactor

Thought I'd post an internal debate I'm having about a purchase, since only on this board will anyone understand. 🙂

Note that my current conclusion is to not buy the coin.

The coin is on my Pri 1 list, which now consists mainly of very difficult to find coins. Of the 15 remaining there, one I've now lost three times due to comical reasons at auction and one is relatively common, but too pricy for me to spring at now. The rest I don't see accessible copies at auction (a few came up way above my price limit). So, I take strong notice when one comes up within my budget.

Of the people those 15 coins represent, this is easily the most important one remaining. He played a major role in the history I most focus on, but coins attributed to him are scarce.

The attribution itself is shaky. It rests on a well-respected scholar saying "well...it could be from him" and, since then, everyone's agreed that it would be an odd attribution, but there's not enough data to either prove or disprove it.

This is the second time I've had an opportunity at this coin. The first was an extremely poor example from an auction that tends to bid things up too high. I ultimately didn't bid because it was literally the worst example I'd seen online. Typical with that auction, it sold for more than what it was worth.

This particular example is quite poor, but not nearly so disastrous as the previous one. The price is lower than that paid at the other auction, but is still too high IMHO for the condition. This is very much a specialists' coin and, though it doesn't come up too often, it tends to be ignored.

I do not like the seller currently listing it. While others here have vouched for them, I still don't trust them and have never purchased a coin from them.

This is an unpublished variant of the coin. Looking through all known examples, I haven't found another one. I've read some papers that may explain the difference for this variation, but lately I've become more suspicious of unpublished variants because they often turn up fake, so I give them more scrutiny. The condition of the coin gives me no confidence. It's probably real, but there are aspects that make me pause. The size and weight, though, are fine.

For me, what clearly put me in the camp to not buy was the fact that it's clearly tooled. AFAICT someone tooled a smiley face. I do have a few coins that were tooled, but none this egregious.

Given the above, what would you do? My current thinking is to just be patient for a better copy. I've also spent a bit lately on coins for other collections I'm building (I haven't been able to pick up any of my remaining P1's this year), so that would be nice for my budget too.

  • Like 6
  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, robinjojo said:

Do you have any photos?  I'd like to see the coin in question.

Sounds like they don't want to say what it is for a few reasons, which can be reasonable, but does make it harder to judge. 

What's "Pri 1 list"? Priority one?

If I see a coin that's of a type I really want, but not the greatest specimen, I ask two questions: 

1. Is this one expensive enough to matter? (If it's cheap, I may take it knowing it'll be a duplicate when I get another in a couple years.)

2. When will i find another one? If it might be 5 or 10 years, better get it now. If there will be another one in a few months or a year, it's not that urgent. 

Honestly, though, doesn't sound like OP really likes this example...

  • Like 4
  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This reminds me of a joke. It's about a seller not a presumptive buyer =))

A guy goes to the market trying to sell his horse.

A potential client comes and asks - is the horse young? "No, to hell with it, it's old". OK.. does the horse behave? "Nah, it's aggressive, to hell with it". OK.... does it work hard at least? "Nah, to hell with it, it's very lazy".

The client, totally confused, then asks: But why did you come with the horse at the market?

"TO PUBLIC SHAME IT, TO HELL WITH IT".

@kirispupis I always read your posts with great pleasure and interest. You are a specialized and exigent collector and your goals are very clear. I saw your (great!) coins in various threads and without having a clue about the coin you mentioned, I'm sure that it's not a $20 coin and not one that will appear too soon.

I am not that specialized and not that exigent with my coins (I have some common sense limits, but I am not bothered for a common coin in Fine if the price is attractive).

Sometimes I have an internal discussion with myself that is quite similar to what you describe. I see a coin in a future auction. The logic is always this - "Ah, I want this type but it has various issues" => "it has issues, but who knows when it will appear again and when it does, it will be a high 3 figures or 4 figures price" => "but it's ugly. nah" => (day of the auction) let me try to grab it if the price remains very decent.

A coin I have in mind

image.png.fdca12ecaf083762e4cd4214fd3cbf5c.png

Did I want a Julia Titi? yep. Do I like the coin? I admit it's not my favorite. Is there any chance to get a nice, let's say, low end VF, for 200-250 EUR? Not likely. Was this good for 120 EUR + taxes? Probably.

For me your entire post means that you are somewhat decided to skip the coin, but you need either validation of this opinion (I am not saying it in a bad way!) or somebody to say NO NO NO, GET IT, GET IT NOW!!!!!

It's always a difficult decision. When I buy a coin my checklist is

1. I like the coin

2. I need it in my collection because it is a piece from the puzzle I try to complete

3. price is good for it

4. it will not be a financial KO for me (there are lots of coins going for good prices, but I can't afford even in good prices for them so this is not the same as point 3)

From what I understand, the coin in discussion only covers 2. and perhaps 3. You are not crazy about it and your finances appear not to be in the best shape.

I would skip it (probably).

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
Posted (edited)

Many a debate that I've had with myself with the outcome almost inevitably resulting stalemate. Trying to balance what we know with our desires is no easy task.  Gratification versus rational responsibility is a struggle that we have at so many levels.  I think, fundamentally, you may not be happy with the coin, given the reservations stated.  Of course you should be able to return the coin if not satisfied, but going through the emotional twists and turns can be a trial of sorts.  In the end it's your call and I hope that whatever it is you are happy, or at least reasonably so. Perhaps that's the most we can hope for these days.

1743189870_NewYorkercartoonconflictsanity8-18-22.jpg.da3fbf6e6ad3484359bb8a9864baf9c7.jpg  

 

Edited by robinjojo
  • Like 4
  • Smile 2
  • Laugh 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
2 hours ago, robinjojo said:

Do you have any photos?  I'd like to see the coin in question.

I apologize for being vague and not posting a photo, but in my experience this coin doesn’t receive much attention when it arises. Since that’s so infrequent, I want to ensure it remains that way for the next time it inevitably appears on the market.

  • Like 4
  • Yes 1
  • Cool Think 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
1 hour ago, robinjojo said:

Many a debate that I've had with myself with the outcome almost inevitably resulting stalemate. Trying to balance what we know with our desires is no easy task.  Gratification versus rational responsibility is a struggle that we have at so many levels.  I think, fundamentally, you may not be happy with the coin, given the reservations stated.  Of course you should be able to return the coin if not satisfied, but going through the emotional twists and turns can be a trial of sorts.  In the end it's your call and I hope that whatever it is you are happy, or at least reasonably so. Perhaps that's the most we can hope for these days.

1743189870_NewYorkercartoonconflictsanity8-18-22.jpg.da3fbf6e6ad3484359bb8a9864baf9c7.jpg  

 

Thanks @robinjojo. I’ve decided to stick with my earlier decision and not move forward, but I did purchase another Pri 1 coin that I’ve tried and failed to procure for the last year. I would post a photo of that one, but after the comical missed on it, I want it in my hands first… 🙂 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tooled? Leave it be! You'll never enjoy it.

Another advice based on my personal experience. Given your extended and inconclusive weighing of pros and cons of the coin: coins I bought out of so called 'rational' considerations (as opposed to: 'Yes I want it, I need it! ) never gave me great joy in my collection. If it doesn't sing, leave it, rare or not.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
  • Smile 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@kirispupis, like the others on this forum, I've enjoyed reading your posts and like you (and probably pretty much everyone else on this forum), I often go through the exact same trials and tribulations when buying coins. Reading through your particular post, there are more than enough reasons to pass on this one. My thoughts:

  • You didn't mention how often this coin comes up at auction, only the number of times you've had a shot at acquiring one. If it shows up at least once every few years, and you're not an octogenarian, then I would say you've got time to wait it out (apologies to all octogenarians out there)
  • It sounds like both times the coin you've chased hasn't been in great condition, but you've mentioned that this is being offered by a seller you don't exactly trust, and also seems to have been egregiously tooled.

For me, that would be enough red flags to pass this time around. Imagine if, after all this, you actually buy the coin, then a better one comes along that you can afford, and you nab it. You could always sell the first one, but if it's a specialist coin and in poor condition, the risk is high that you'd pretty much lose whatever you paid for it. Best to save your pennies for a future example.

Instead, I would take the attitude of "bullet dodged" and pass rather than face the inevitable buyer's remorse even if another coin doesn't immediately present itself. I've increasingly realized that shooting for the best specimen I can afford will make it more attractive to future buyers should I decide to sell but also gives me more pleasure from an aesthetic perspective (which always adds to the ever-present historical perspective). The acquisitions I've most regretted over the years have always been coins I've either overpaid for when the "had to have it" emotions prevailed, or ones I've bought as very poor quality specimens when I convinced myself that I simply needed the type. Remember, you don't need the type, and you have an incredible, awesome collection as it stands. You can wait for the next one to come around. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every ancient coin is a compromise and so the question that is always asked is.... Do the problems overwhelm what is good about the coin. At the January 2019 NYINC on the last day I was offered this coin at a steep discount. I guess the dealer didn't want to take it back with him across the pond. 

Pescennius Niger Ar Denarius Antioch 193-195 AD Obv Head right laureate. Rv Fortuna Redux standing left holding cornucopia and rudder.  RIC 76 var 3.70 grms 18 mm

pesniger3.jpg.b2d4d6eca7260fd9fb5ca5f649ff705b.jpg

So what is wrong with this coin?

1. The reverse is badly off center

2. Up to that moment I had not really planned to purchase a denarius of Niger, so in that regard the       need to purchase this coin was low.

So what was good. 

1. Coin was in high grade. The portrait was good. The metal was good and the flan was reasonably       broad.

2. The coin was for a Niger reasonably priced. (I managed to negotiate them down further) 

3. It had an illustrious Pedigree. Coin is an Ex John W Garrett Collection 

 It should be obvious that for me the pluses out weighed the minuses. The debate for me was over very quickly. Not that the pluses were so overwhelming but still enough to make an offer to purchase. I cannot really say which of the three positives carried the most weight. All I can say to @kirispupisis good luck in solving your dilemma.  I will say that for me there is a lot of coins out there that I would really like to own,  that up to a short time ago I thought I might have a chance at. However unless the coin meets my minimum standard I would rather not own it. 

  • Like 5
  • Smile 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I'm unsure, I usually place bids that would be a bargain and let the "Goddess of Luck" decide. :classic_cool:

But I wouldn't be unsure about a tooled coin. Do not buy it.

 

 

 

Edited by shanxi
  • Like 1
  • Yes 1
  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Believe your instinct : if your first conclusion is to not buy the coin, then don't buy the coin.

As @DonnaML wrote, you would immediately regret it. You don't trust the seller, attribution is unsure, for me, that would be enough...but I'm not you and don't know how desperate you are about it !!

Q

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

  • Benefactor

Thank you everyone for the responses!

As I mentioned, I'm keeping to my guns and not purchasing the coin. If another one comes at auction, I win it, and this one is around, I'll post a photo. Keep in mind I've only been collecting ancients for two years, and this is the second time I've seen it. I have a feeling a better copy is due at one of the auctions I follow soon...

did pick up perhaps an even more major purchase. I won't post photos yet, since I've tried three times to procure this coin and I don't want to tempt the mail gremlins. The first time I just hesitated, bid too low, and lost. The second time, someone sniped it from my for 2 CHF due to an obscure auction rule. The third time the auctioneer posted the wrong time for when the item would go live, and even though I went online several hours earlier, it had already sold for less than I would have bid.

This is another Pri 1 coin, but is also a key piece in two other collections I'm building. I also purchased it for less than half my budget. I did so by going for a different type from this ruler. I was aware of three types, but there was one I kept bidding on. Ironically the one I bought is rarer than the one I bid on, but doesn't look as cool and so typically sells for less. However, the inscription was very good and, when I thought about it, from a historical point of view they're both the same.

Once I have it in my hands I'll write a dedicated post.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great thread, and @kirispupis, thanks for sharing your Great Internal Debate! 😉

I have a couple of questions that might help you think about this matter:

-having not purchased this coin before, were you sorry that you did not?  And if so, how regretful were you?

-do you think that if you purchase it, you will be sorry for having done so?

Aside from the answers to those questions, I agree with the general consensus: don't buy the coin. 

First, It's overpriced for what it is.  Worse, its attribution is uncertain--at best. I think those two are enough reasons to not pick it.  The fact that you've seen several instances of this type being sold in the last two years indicates that to me, it is a relatively common coin (even if it is technically "scarce").  You have (I hope!) decades of coin collecting ahead of you, and I believe it is likely that you will be able to find a better one at some point in the future.

But ultimately, it's your call.  I have a feeling that having decided not to buy this coin, you will be at peace with that decision.

 

  

Edited by NathanB
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
11 hours ago, NathanB said:

I have a couple of questions that might help you think about this matter:

-having not purchased this coin before, were you sorry that you did not?  And if so, how regretful were you?

-do you think that if you purchase it, you will be sorry for having done so?

These are good questions. To be honest, I was almost finished with my response, when I did another check on ACSearch and something caught my eye about the original attribution. Basically, I found a listing that detailed why this coin was originally attributed to this person. From my examination of all the online samples, I cannot agree with the scholar's logic. I'm not saying his attribution is wrong, but that an accurate understanding will require more thorough research on my part.

I'm going to look into the attribution further. Note that I have no issues with the seller's attribution. My question is whether the issue can even be attributed to this person. Depending on the results of my investigation, I may buy the coin or I may remove this person from my list, since this is the last coin I know of that may possibly be minted by him.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you made the right choice.  I myself bought a heavily tooled Aurelian Double Sestertius (the type with a radiate crown), many moons ago.  I wasn't unhappy with it at the time, but I haven't looked at it in years.  I don't regret that particular buy, as how many Aurelian Double Sestertii come along that I can afford?

That's the only tooled coin I have, that I know of.

If it doesn't mess up one of your buys, I'm curious to know what type the mystery tooled coin was?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

So, after considering @NathanB's questions, I decided to investigate the coin further. I spent a great deal of time and have come to the following conclusions.

The short answer is I purchased the coin. I can therefore reveal that the original attribution was a Philip III tetradrachm from the Ecbatana mint, currently attributed to Peithon. The following was my logic. Note that it's late, so I'll only provide a brief summary.

  • I no longer believe the coin is tooled. That was just my inexperience with the type, as I found other examples in similar condition.
  • The price is a bit higher than it should be. All recent auction examples sold for at least 50% more, but they were also in better condition.
  • This example doesn't have the delta control mark. From a paper by Aperghis, I learned that the Babylon and Susa tets typically had the issuer under the throne and the receiver next to it. When no receiver is mentioned, the coin was for general use. 
  • The real question I wanted to answer was, do I believe Price's attribution to Ecbatana. In that, I can say I do not. The following was my reasoning:
    • Ekbatana was a major store for Alexander's cash. It's inconceivable that such a major city would only mint a few coins. More likely, they just used the Persian darics directly (as Aperghis and others mention - even with the enormous number of tets minted, they were far insufficient for the needs)
    • Price had based this guess on the 'Zo' from the Ecbatana mint being similar to the 'Zod' monogram used by Seleukos much later. However, the absence of the 'd' from this issue shows it wasn't necessary. I believe the two are unrelated.
    • This issue shows up in hoards along with a few other Babylon and Susa tets, in similar numbers. Based on its form and those hoards, it would seem that they came from a similar area.
    • This particular coin has a graffito. I spent a lot of time looking through every graffito on an Alexander and Philip tet in AcSearch. I found two extremely close matches. Both came from the same type attributed to Babylon.
  • I wracked my brain thinking to whom I might be able to attribute this. My guess is that it came from Dokimos, who ruled Babylon briefly after deposing Archon. However, he fled soon after when news of Perdikkas' death reached him and Seleukos soon took over the satrapy. Perhaps the 'd' refers to his military needs, while my issue was intended for general use. That would explain the limited issue. I do feel a Babylon attribution is more likely, and it would make sense for Dokimos to replace Archon's financier, and for Seleukos to replace his.

In the end, I just spent too much time researching the coin, and felt I had to have it to justify the expense. 🙂 This is the only copy I located that was missing the 'd' and had a graffito (in fact the only one I found with a graffito). To me, that tells a story. I have another tet from Susa with a graffito of a Phoenician 'm', and I've long felt it traveled with Peithon (son of Agenor)'s troops to Gaza, where its owner died.

Perhaps this coin made a similar journey. The hoard mentioned above was found near Alexandria, and a graffito is considered a sign that the coin travelled in caravan.

I'll post more when I have the coin in hand, but I believe I'll be happy with the result. The thing is, I collect stories and not coins, and this one seems to have a very interesting one.

  • Like 3
  • Mind blown 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess that in your inner self you wanted to buy the coin and you were expecting some arguments from others NOT to. It appears the arguments were not strong enough 🙂

1 hour ago, kirispupis said:

The thing is, I collect stories and not coins, and this one seems to have a very interesting one.

For me, that's the most important part of collecting so if you feel that it has a great story - congratulations.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2022 at 2:02 AM, DANTE said:

Tooled? Leave it be! You'll never enjoy it.

Another advice based on my personal experience. Given your extended and inconclusive weighing of pros and cons of the coin: coins I bought out of so called 'rational' considerations (as opposed to: 'Yes I want it, I need it! ) never gave me great joy in my collection. If it doesn't sing, leave it, rare or not.

Agreed. As far as I am concerned, TOOLED = NO GO

🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a bit hard, as two rules of thumb are set against each other:

1. Don’t buy a coin you don’t actually like. 
2. Don’t wait too long when looking for difficult pieces. They will keep getting more expensive, and eventually move out of reach. 
 

I’m definitely leaning towards not buying here, though. It sounds like you don’t like the coin at all. Let’s say you buy it for a ridiculous amount of money, get it in hand and have to work with yourself to enjoy it, and then a sample that you really like and gladly would have paid double the price for, shows up? I think I’d hold. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, kirispupis said:

Just for a bit of sanity checking, does the below coin look tooled?

peithon.jpg.d0f9410111de20ff06ed3b3d7fd97710.jpg

I don't see any obvious tooling (other than then the graffito), but are your sure it's not a fourree? I see some flaking near Hercules's eye, if it simply were an unofficial coin, would it explain all your questions?!

Edited by JayAg47
  • Like 2
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.

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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...