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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Greek Coins (Moderators: Dino, Meepzorp)  |  Topic: Armenian Mt.Ararat Coin Vandalised/Scraped/Chiseled/Tooled 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Armenian Mt.Ararat Coin Vandalised/Scraped/Chiseled/Tooled  (Read 2552 times)
OldMoney
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« on: September 05, 2018, 05:26:50 am »

Vandalism!

About a year ago this coin was sold by a European dealer. It appears to have
been subsequently taken to the "Eastern Mediterranean" and vandalised.
There really is no better word for it.

Compare the relatively untouched, although worn, surfaces of the top, original
condition coin, to the now severely scratched, scraped, and tooled surfaces
(chiseled?) that have been newly applied to - or inflicted upon - the lower piece.

What is wrong with these people!

- Walter
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2018, 07:44:45 am »

Amen.  May the vandals have the same inflicted upon them.
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 12:25:35 am »

I'm not sure that the coin has been tooled. I think that they could only have added that kind of yellowish sand (fake "desert patina" ?) to enhance the reliefs.  
It's often hard to compare photos (different light, angle etc...)
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2018, 05:22:24 pm »

I'm not sure that the coin has been tooled. I think that they could only have added that kind of yellowish sand (fake "desert patina" ?) to enhance the reliefs.  
It's often hard to compare photos (different light, angle etc...)

Looks possible - just something to fill in certain bits and make some apparent shadowy contrast.  If it's the typical filler material which resembles modeling clay it will easily rinse off with a wet q-tip.  It does seem to be filling in around edges that seem visible on the first set of pictures but perhaps some areas now filled in were made 'deeper' or 'sharper' (edges) by mechanical means. 

PtolemAE
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2018, 06:17:07 am »

Model makers' flat hobby paint, available in a variety of sand and dirt colors, is also often used by fakers and it is not easily removed.

I think there has been some tooling around the base of the mountain and around the bust of the farther figure on the obverse.  Certainly the coin is now less honest than it was.
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 11:30:29 am »

I'm not sure that the coin has been tooled.

It is disappointing that you cannot see what should be patently obvious. May I
make the sincere suggestion that you take some extra time to educate yourself
further, and become even more familiarised with the subject matter that at
present. Allow me to elucidate further.

I showed the original image for comparison, and the surfaces on that image are
clearly a little rough, and the devices quite worn overall. Now compare that with
the gouged and chiseled areas on the adjacent image.

The mere addition of some yellow paint (or whatever it may be) does highlight or
enhance the outlines of the images, but it was previously severely damaged by
scraping around the edges and around the outlines of those images. There are
'striations' across the surfaces, and gouges into and around the main depictions,
on both sides.

I find it difficult to understand how something so obvious cannot be immediately
seen and recognised instantly by anyone and everyone. The fact that this is not
so, both scares me that collectors are not doing more to learn about such things
for themselves in order to prevent being deceived or 'ripped-off', and it allows
me to offer what I can here in order to change that (by showing such examples).

In the below images, you will see that I have place a number of arrows where
there are obvious signs of gouging and tooling. The problem I had was that there
was not enough space for all of the arrows I wanted to use, and so you may have
to fill in some of the gaps yourselves.

Anyone who still cannot see that which is patently obvious in these images, needs
to visit their local coin club, their friendly ancients dealer, attend a few coin shows,
and do more to learn as much as possible about these matters.

This is not one of the more (in)famous 19th century (etc.) professional works, this
is quite amateurish, poorly conceived and horribly executed. It is offensive to the
numismatist, the historian, and the artist in all of us. It is simply vandalism.

Please have another, very close look at the surfaces on both coins, and compare
again the original, with the latter. Details have not only been enhanced, but added
where there was little or nothing there before. Look at ALL of the coin. Good luck!

- Walter
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 07:09:52 pm »

I'm confused - which one is supposed to be the original coin?

Ross G.
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2018, 07:48:37 pm »

Evidently the yellow coin is the later version.
And yes, when you blow the images up the tooling by punches is obvious - particularly to enhance the dotted border on the left of the reverse, and along the outlines of the mountains.

Ross G.
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 12:06:21 am »

Ok , but it remains a very light tooling...

What i call an horror and an outrageous tooling, smoothing and repatinating is that :
 
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 06:19:49 am »

It was a nice coin originally--and now, faked!  Terrible.
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2018, 09:41:18 am »

I'm not sure that the coin has been tooled.

It is disappointing that you cannot see what should be patently obvious. May I
make the sincere suggestion that you take some extra time to educate yourself
further, and become even more familiarised with the subject matter that at
present. Allow me to elucidate further.

I showed the original image for comparison, and the surfaces on that image are
clearly a little rough, and the devices quite worn overall. Now compare that with
the gouged and chiseled areas on the adjacent image.

The mere addition of some yellow paint (or whatever it may be) does highlight or
enhance the outlines of the images, but it was previously severely damaged by
scraping around the edges and around the outlines of those images. There are
'striations' across the surfaces, and gouges into and around the main depictions,
on both sides.

I find it difficult to understand how something so obvious cannot be immediately
seen and recognised instantly by anyone and everyone. The fact that this is not
so, both scares me that collectors are not doing more to learn about such things
for themselves in order to prevent being deceived or 'ripped-off', and it allows
me to offer what I can here in order to change that (by showing such examples).

In the below images, you will see that I have place a number of arrows where
there are obvious signs of gouging and tooling. The problem I had was that there
was not enough space for all of the arrows I wanted to use, and so you may have
to fill in some of the gaps yourselves.

Anyone who still cannot see that which is patently obvious in these images, needs
to visit their local coin club, their friendly ancients dealer, attend a few coin shows,
and do more to learn as much as possible about these matters.

This is not one of the more (in)famous 19th century (etc.) professional works, this
is quite amateurish, poorly conceived and horribly executed. It is offensive to the
numismatist, the historian, and the artist in all of us. It is simply vandalism.

Please have another, very close look at the surfaces on both coins, and compare
again the original, with the latter. Details have not only been enhanced, but added
where there was little or nothing there before. Look at ALL of the coin. Good luck!

- Walter

I am also not sure this coin has been tooled.  They've clearly added some sandy looking material for contrast.  Those pictures were taken at different times, different angles, different exposures.

I'm not saying it hasn't been tooled, I'm saying that those who are saying it has clearly been tooled are going too far in my opinion.  Even the

We know they've added the fake patina.  That's all that's clear to me.  The "scraping" could be brush strokes for the fake patina

We could tell more if we could see the coin in hand.  Sometimes we read too much into photos.
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2018, 10:28:33 am »

I cannot agree!

Quote
The "scraping" could be brush strokes for the fake patina.

Not a chance, and it may be absurd to suggest so! You have to properly examine
the surfaces of the coin as shown in the images. You can see the high points and the
low points, and the significant changes between the two images.

Quote
We could tell more if we could see the coin in hand.  Sometimes we read too much into photos.

Yes, we could tell more with the coin in hand. However, to deny that which is patently
obvious is almost beyond my understanding, and greatly disappointing. You have to
educate yourself on all facets of coin manufacture, wear, patination, and, among many
other things, what is original and what is not. I recommend everyone does this.

One does not "read too much" into photos, one examines that which is presented and
makes clear and obvious determinations appropriately. There may be things about which
we can speculate, but here there is really no doubt if one is being honest. There should
be no need to make feeble excuses for such things, these actions need to be called out
for what they are - vandalism.

There are scratches and scrapes, as well as divots and damage. There are areas that
have been removed and filled with yellow 'paint'. You can see, clearly, flat areas that
now have a chasm carved into them. I supplied larger images with multiple arrows so
that these things could be examined and viewed clearly. Anyone who cannot see this
needs to be educated further on the subject of ancient coins. The evidence is clear.

Thanks for the support Mac.

- Walter
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2018, 01:12:12 am »

I agree with Walter and Mac,

This coin has been tooled and repatinated with paint, the enhancements are blatently obvious regardless of photographic angles or exposure. The lower eyelids have a more defined curvage and the hair manipulated into thinner strands. These are the areas i immediately noticed when looking at both sets of images.

Edit: I am reffering to the Brennos coin.
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2018, 08:37:56 am »

 Roll Eyes current bid is already 70% more than the estimate, Walter why didn't you notify the auction house, and in any case the owner is also a member of this board and I can assure you he has been very sensible and sensitive to such issues in the past, unlike some german dealers...
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2018, 04:35:13 pm »

I agree with Walter and Mac,

This coin has been tooled and repatinated with paint, the enhancements are blatently obvious regardless of photographic angles or exposure. The lower eyelids have a more defined curvage and the hair manipulated into thinner strands. These are the areas i immediately noticed when studying both sets of images.

This refers to the Brennos coin, not the Mt Ararat coin which is the subject of this thread.

Ross G.
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2018, 05:26:58 pm »

Thank you for your sage advice paparoupa, leave it with me.

- Walter
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2018, 07:41:49 am »

I cannot agree!

Quote
The "scraping" could be brush strokes for the fake patina.

Not a chance, and it may be absurd to suggest so! You have to properly examine
the surfaces of the coin as shown in the images. You can see the high points and the
low points, and the significant changes between the two images.

Quote
We could tell more if we could see the coin in hand.  Sometimes we read too much into photos.

Yes, we could tell more with the coin in hand. However, to deny that which is patently
obvious is almost beyond my understanding, and greatly disappointing. You have to
educate yourself on all facets of coin manufacture, wear, patination, and, among many
other things, what is original and what is not. I recommend everyone does this.

One does not "read too much" into photos, one examines that which is presented and
makes clear and obvious determinations appropriately. There may be things about which
we can speculate, but here there is really no doubt if one is being honest. There should
be no need to make feeble excuses for such things, these actions need to be called out
for what they are - vandalism.

There are scratches and scrapes, as well as divots and damage. There are areas that
have been removed and filled with yellow 'paint'. You can see, clearly, flat areas that
now have a chasm carved into them. I supplied larger images with multiple arrows so
that these things could be examined and viewed clearly. Anyone who cannot see this
needs to be educated further on the subject of ancient coins. The evidence is clear.

Thanks for the support Mac.

- Walter

Suffice it so say that we disagree.  I believe that it's important to see the coin in hand rather than relying on a low resolution poorly lit photo that may not show all the details.  You do not.  So be it. 

To call it "clear and obvious" however (and so be at least slightly insulting about it as well) goes too far. 
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2018, 08:42:18 am »

An illustration for you.

Tools:

One 1999 US nickel.
One 1979 US quarter
One iphone 7 phone camera.
One cup of CocaCola.
One Sharpie marker.
One eyeglass cleaning cloth.

All photos taken with same camera.
Different lighting.
Same resolution.

Soaked coins in coke to brighten them up a bit.  Colored the reverse with a sharpie and retook the photos.

The second photo of the quarter is with the sharpie colored surface but you can't really even tell that it is black due to lighting. 

In the same photo it certainly looks like there's more detail in the wings than the first.  The body looks like it has much greater relief as well.

Look at the third photo of the quarter.  The eagle is standing on a rocket.  The third photo is the only one where you can really see the lines running along the length of the rocket.  They are invisible in the first photo.  I didn't tool them in.  Same coin.  Different photo. 

Let's go to the nickels.  Second nickel looks like it has scratches.  It's just the cloth wiping away sharpie. 

In short, all these coins "show" the indicia that Walter is willing to use to condemn the originally posted coin.  Yet, there is no tooling.  Jut a sharpie and different lighting.

I'm not saying you cannot ever tell if a coin is tooled by a photo.  I think we all agree the Brennos coin is tooled.

But, when you are looking at the extremely minor differences that Walter highlights AND the coin has been slapped with paint, I don't think you can reach a definitive conclusion.  And to suggest that anyone who has a different opinion "needs to be educated" or that "the evidence is clear" or that the idea that "scratches" could be brush strokes is "absurd" just simply ignores the immense differences that can exist in two photos of the exact same coin.
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2018, 12:26:25 pm »

Forgive me, but I do find this a clear and obvious example of outrageous tooling.
You are welcome to disagree on our opinions, but the facts remain the same. In the
end, either it is tooled, or it is not. I hope I have presented the evidence as I see it,
the choice is to accept of reject it. If I have failed to present it sufficiently, then that is
something I will need to address.

As for your above "example", it may, of course, be better to start comparing like with
like, then maybe we can have a more candid and constructive conversation, with
appropriately similar examples. Your modern US coins are really not fair comparisons.

I can only offer to lead you to the well, whether you choose to drink is another matter.
My goal is to educate, and that offer stands for you, and anyone else willing to learn.

Since we now know where this latter image came from (I didn't initially, it was sent to
me by a colleague who knew of my interest in these particular coins
), I would like to
hear the thoughts of anyone who viewed the coin in hand prior to it being sold. My
opinion is firm, based on the evidence I presented, however additional evidence may
either change that, or confirm matters further. We'll see what transpires with time.

All the best,

- Walter
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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2018, 02:09:51 pm »

The point of my “example” is that two dimensional photographs depicting the same three dimensional object can make that object look very different based on lighting and the application of a “paint” on that object.

I don’t need to use an Ararat or even an ancient coin to do that. And you know that. Your suggestion that it is necessary to demonstrate the point is a red herring.

In addition, I am not the only one on this thread who expressed doubt as to what you believe is so “clear and obvious.” 

Perhaps when multiple people who have some experience in collecting ancient coins express doubt as to what you think see in a photo you should at least consider the other viewpoint.

At a minimum perhaps you should consider that even if true it is not “clear and obvious.”  I am starting to doubt that you want to actually discuss the topic seriously though. You just want to keep repeating your opinion using even more certain terms.
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« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2018, 05:21:34 am »

I still say that to me at least the coin has both received artificial patina and tooling or, if you prefer, scraping.  You may disagree, but for me a once-honest coin is no longer that.
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« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2018, 01:22:50 pm »

I still say that to me at least the coin has both received artificial patina and tooling or, if you prefer, scraping.  You may disagree, but for me a once-honest coin is no longer that.

I don't think anyone disagrees that a "desert patina" has been applied to the coin.

So in that sense, yes, the coin is less honest(?).

A few points to consider.

Coins with black patinas are difficult to photograph.  It is difficult to get the appropriate contrast. 

It is even more difficult to do so when the surface is rough, like the surface of the coin at issue. 

The fake "desert patina" could easily be revealing details that were not obvious in the earlier photo, that photo is not great quality anyway.

How much value do you think would be added to a coin this worn if someone successfully tooled three edge dots to to appear more prominent where over half of them are missing?
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« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2018, 03:19:53 pm »

Much more than three edge dots appear to me to have been strengthened. 
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« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2018, 04:43:37 pm »

It is easy to be confused by the false "desert patina". One has to look beyond
that, at what it is actually covering up, and what it is meant to be covering up.
The attached images show, quite clearly, just a few of the areas where there
were high points in the fields and on the various details, that are now flattened,
gouged, chiseled, etc., etc.
I am not sure how else to present things, but these are a few close-up images,
side-by-side, where you can compare one part of the un-enhanced coin with the
same part of the tooled coin.
What more can I do? Here is the evidence, the proof. Take it or leave it. Enjoy!
Thanks for your contributions Mac.
All the best,

- Walter
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« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2018, 04:55:09 am »

I cannot imagine any clearer proof than these excellent images!
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« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2018, 04:56:57 am »

I agree, these images do make the case.
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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2018, 08:28:51 am »

I cannot imagine any clearer proof than these excellent images!

djmacdo-

I can. 

1.  The coin in-hand.
2.  High resolution images of the coin. 

To quote Walter in another thread in the Greek board, which you also followed:

Thanks shanxi,
Absolutely BRILLIANT!
This clearly removes all doubt. My colleague will be most impressed.
I can now stop overlaying images of all of the comparative material I have
downloaded lately (and delete it to make more disc space).
Goes to show how misleading a poor image can be. [/u]
All the best,

- Walter
(Emphasis added)

In that thread, Walter was convinced that what was shown in the photo could not possibly be a wreath.  A die match someone else posted showed that it was.  Incidentally, I thought the field symbol pretty clearly looked like a wreath in that thread.

The point remains, however, that images can be misleading.

And to reiterate my position, I'm not saying the coin hasn't been tooled.  I'm just saying that I don't think that we can reach that conclusion with absolute certainty when we have:

1.  poor quality images of the coin both "before" and "after"
2.  poor quality that is exacerbated by the fact that the coin is dark and therefor harder to photograph
3.  a fake desert patina has been placed on the coin to, at a minimum, show contrast.
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« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2018, 09:08:56 am »

It might be useful to write an article aimed at the archaeological community about the basic signs of tooling, for potential publication in KOINON.  I would imagine that more and more archaeologists are doing market research but few have a trained eye to determine these things.
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« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2018, 12:18:16 pm »

Dino, you misquote me out of context. The image I referred to was terrible, poorly lit,
and demonstrably insufficient for proper comparison. Simply look at the image shanxi
submitted for evidence of that, and of what a quality image may look like.

These images, however, and in spite of your protestations, are more than sufficient for
comparisons (certainly good enough for someone to spend a rather large amount of
money on the purchase of said item, and for others to have bid almost as much).

You are correct to claim that having the coin "in-hand" would be of benefit, but since
neither of us is in that position, then neither of us has an argument for or against in
that regard. We are left to utilise the evidence we have at hand: the images.

You claim, falsely, that I said it "could not possibly be a wreath" on that image. Whereas
what I actually stated was that I was initially not convinced that it was a wreath, and
that is a very much different statement to the one you falsely "quote". If you are going
to quote me, at least do it correctly. I also added that my doubts were due almost
entirely to the poor image itself, something one tends not to do with excellent images.
I also noticed, in spite of your confident after-the-fact statement, that you seem to have
chosen not to contribute your considered "wreath" opinion during the conversation.

"Images can be misleading", as you correctly state. But whilst these images are not
perfect (I don't know what you want in an image) I would submit that they are quite
sufficient for this particular level of visual comparison, one to the other, before and after.

It is apparent that you will not agree with most of what I have submitted, and so be it.
However, if I have helped someone else further in their education on what to look for in
a tooled coin, then I may have gone some way toward achieving something at least.

- Walter
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« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2018, 08:02:43 am »

Dino, you misquote me out of context. The image I referred to was terrible, poorly lit,
and demonstrably insufficient for proper comparison. Simply look at the image shanxi
submitted for evidence of that, and of what a quality image may look like.

Nope.  I quoted you for the proposition that images can be misleading and cited it as example where you were misled by a photo.  Nothing more.


I also noticed, in spite of your confident after-the-fact statement, that you seem to have
chosen not to contribute your considered "wreath" opinion during the conversation.

Didn't see the thread before.  Would have happily given my thoughts if I had.

"Images can be misleading", as you correctly state. But whilst these images are not
perfect (I don't know what you want in an image) I would submit that they are quite
sufficient for this particular level of visual comparison, one to the other, before and after.

Both images are fairly poor.  Your proposition is that the coin was tooled sometime before the first and second photo.  My position is that the photos are not high enough quallity to make that determination.  I see some of the same features you point out in the first photo.

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« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2018, 09:49:09 am »

I give up!
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« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2018, 02:33:16 pm »

Dino,

Be;lieve what you wish.  I would not buy the coin, would not have it in my collection.
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« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2018, 07:53:03 am »

That's not the issue.
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