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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Fake Coins and Notorious Fake Sellers (Moderators: maridvnvm, Ilya Prokopov)  |  Topic: Licinius Ostia-Arles transfer - what's the tell ? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Licinius Ostia-Arles transfer - what's the tell ?  (Read 257 times)
Congius
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« on: September 12, 2020, 09:17:53 pm »

This isn't a fake report - it's a question about why/how a coin was identified as fake

1st specimen (link below) is in Forvm fake reports identified as a modern fake by none other that out host, Joe!

2nd specimen is from the master's thesis of (CGB boss) Laurent Schmitt's son. I believe the coin was bought by Phillipe Ferrando. [Edit:] It is now in the Arles museum!

3rd specimen is currently for sale at CGB, for EUR 1700 !

4th specimen, sadly, was bought by me a long time ago. Luckily I only paid 25 pounds ("SPQR mint" ?!)

5th specimen is ex. Victor Failmezer (plate coin in his book if I recall).

All coins are obviously from same dies/moulds - including lump/flaw at back of Licinius' head.

Weights are all different: 1/2/3/5 are 3.4g, 2.9g, 2.72g, 2.7g. I've never weighed mine.

My question, primarily to Joe, but also to anyone else who can answer, is how one might identify this as fake without seeing the multiple specimens, or is that the only tell ? It seems to have deceived some people with considerable expertise (as well as myself  Smiley).

Ben

This is the link to the Forvm fake report for the first coin:

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/fakes/displayimage.php?pos=-17896
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Joe Sermarini
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2020, 07:11:58 am »

Please modify your first post to include a link to the fake coin report.
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2020, 07:33:39 am »

I've added the link, Joe.

I left the copy of the photo for ease of comparison with the others.

Ben
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 02:39:53 pm »

The report was filed in 2016. I no longer remember how it was identified. There may be a thread on this discussion board.
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2020, 02:50:53 pm »

So I guess that means that original coin, by itself, doesn't jump out at you as fake ?

What about now seeing all 4 together - especially with that lump at the back of Licinius's head ? Would you definitely condemn them ?

I'll check the board to see if there was any prior discussion when the report was filed.

Thanks,
Ben
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glebe
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2020, 04:12:48 pm »

This isn't a fake report - it's a question about why/how a coin was identified as fake


My question, primarily to Joe, but also to anyone else who can answer, is how one might identify this as fake without seeing the multiple specimens, or is that the only tell ? It seems to have deceived some people with considerable expertise (as well as myself  Smiley).

Ben

This is the link to the Forvm fake report for the first coin:

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/fakes/displayimage.php?pos=-17896


A good question.

I'd say the the 4th example is genuine - you can't fake a hard black patina like that. (So prove me wrong).

Ross G.
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2020, 05:04:07 pm »

It'd be nice if that was true, Ross, but the number of flaws in common with the second one is certainly major cause for concern. Is it possible that these are all die flaws rather than signs of copying ?

I'm adding one more specimen to my post above, having realized it's also from same dies/moulds. This one is ex. Victor Failmezger, since resold by a dealer.

These are the only specimens of the type (RIC 32) I have ever seen in over 15 years. RIC cites specimens in the BM (which doesn't appear to be online) and Copenhagen, neither of which I have seen.

The type is rare enough I suppose it's conceivable only a single die pair was used for Licinius, but then with 5/5 here from same dies, one might also expect a match to the ones cited by RIC... I wonder if that is the case ?

But those "die flaws" ... hmm ...

Ben
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2020, 10:13:33 pm »

The fake coin report coin may have been cast from a genuine coin. I believe it was actually sold as a replica. I agree that the 4th coin may be genuine. The other coins are suspicious. Not because of any of the flaws that are marked above. Not because of anything on the obverse, but rather because of the identical pitting on the reverse upper left. Identical raised bumps on coins can be the result of bumps or dings on a shared die. Dings are not rare. Identical pitting is more difficult to explain. 
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2020, 11:49:22 pm »

Interesting - thanks, Joe.

Ben
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2020, 05:53:49 pm »

The one in the fake reports also looks soapy with soft details, mores than any of the others.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2020, 06:15:18 am »

It was sold at auction together with other fakes as "Modern fake for study".
The auction house did not explain what is supposed to be wrong with each fake so it is not clear!
If this fake, was condemned for being a cast fake or transfer die fake and the imprints were taken from an authentic mother than of course authentic coins from this dies can exist.
But if the coin was condemned because it is a fake from modern hand cut die then of course all die matching coins must be modern fakes, too.

Maybe anyone wants to check if  die matches or die links exist to authentic coins in museums etc?

Licinius I (308-324). Fake Follis (20mm, 3.40g, 62h). Arelate, 313-5. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. R/ Female standing r. on prow, holding cornucopiae, received by turreted Arles holding sceptre; PARL. Cf. RIC VII 30. Modern fake for study

I removed the name of auction house from screenshot
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Congius
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2020, 07:26:49 am »

Thanks, Din.

I'm pretty sure the coins are copied from authentic dies, if not themselves authentic. The obverse style is impeccable for Arles at tihs date, and I see no reason to doubt the reverse either.

I have been looking for die matches - but none yet. I'm expecting that the reverse die might be shared on other types issued for Licinius about the same date (esp. Sol), but no match so far - some are very close though.

There seems to have been a fairly strict officina assignment in use at this time, with S all-but-reserved for Licinius. There are a variety of reverse legend breaks on this type. RIC only notes DE-NT-IA for Constantine, althought the ANS ("NYNS") coin they cite is actually DEN-TI-A, and I've also seen DE-NTI-A for Constantine.

The crowded DE-NTI-A break is not common, but RIC says both the BM (off. S) and Copenhagen (suposedly off. T) coins for Licinius have this break, same as all above, so the BM coin (not available online) maye be a die match. I will try to contact them to get a picture.

Other than Licinius, I've only seen the DE-NTI-A break on one RIC 30 for Constantine (unlisted for off. S), which is not a reverse match, and one off. T for Constantine with an unlisted LDC bust.

Incidentally, for the paired VTILITAS PVBLICA type (Moneta departng from Ostia, vs arriving at Arles on PROVIDENTIA), RIC gives officina T for RIC 51, citing Voetter, but 6/6 specimens I've seen are all officina P, so "T" seems questionable.

Ben
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Congius
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2020, 01:37:03 pm »

Now this is starting to get very interesting !

Picture below is of the BM specimen (provenance unknown), from Patrick Bruun's doctoral thesis "The Constantinian Coinage of Arelate". Picture kindly provided by Victor Clark.

Weight of this specimen is 2.84g.

A number of things stand out:

- it's from the same die pair
- it has same obverse raised die dings and scratches as above coins (assuming that's what they are)
- it also appears to have same reverse top left pitting behind Moneta's back !
- the obverse has significant concretions/deposits on the bust
- the reverse is significantly more worn/flattened than the best of the above coins

Per last two points, this can't have been used as a source for the above coins, if they are copies, unless the copied dies/moulds were significantly reworked to remove bust deposits and add reverse detail. I don't think the bust on #2 has been reworked though - looks ancient to me (maybe others disagree?).

The exergue of the BM coin appears almost (if not exactly) identical to the better preserved specimen #2 above, including what look like gouged indents (raised on die).

In also transpires (per Schmitt-Cadet's thesis) that coin # 2 is in the Arles museum now.

I've contacted the BM to see if I can get a better photo, and also Copenhagen asking for a photo of theirs.

Hmm ...

Ben

P.S. I keep reading my own title as "what the hell ?" ... maybe that would be more appropriate !
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