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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: What Do You Do About Misattributed Coins? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: What Do You Do About Misattributed Coins?  (Read 273 times)
Virgil H
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« on: January 11, 2021, 01:55:23 pm »

I have been teaching myself how to identify and attribute coins. As part of that, I decided to look up my attributed coins as well that I have purchased. What do people do when they find a coin that was not identified properly? I am working on my second coin and seem to be two out of two on wrongly identified coins.

1. Coin was very close with attribution, but wrong. With this one, I am inclined to not worry about it and change the Flip information to be accurate. I am not experienced enough to know if the values between what I bought and what the coin actually is are significant. I need to do these comparisons.

2. This one I am still working on, but it looks like it is a contemporary imitation. I know people collect these, but this is one I am inclined to return because I would rather have an officially minted coin. Again, there is probably a value difference between these, as well. This coin was at the upper range of my fairly small per coin budget.

I am curious how people handle these issues. Thanks.
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2021, 02:16:07 pm »

Change it if I'm sure. If I'm not, post it on the ID board here and see what people think.
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Virgil H
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2021, 02:31:30 pm »

Change it if I'm sure. If I'm not, post it on the ID board here and see what people think.

Thank you. Both these coins have had input from the Forum. The second one I still want to examine more, but I think the experts are right. I took it to the board because the coin was so confusing to me. At first I thought the city was wrong, but it turns out to be more than that. My question here is do you just accept it or return the coins, etc? Especially the second one where I got a coin that was not what it was represented as. I fully understand that good faith mistakes are made, the first one is an example of that, I believe. I posted this question in this subforum as more a general question as to how these matters are normally handled.

EDITED to add: One thing I have realized is I need to look up coins before I buy them.

Thanks,
Virgil
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Altamura
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2021, 02:51:35 pm »

... One thing I have realized is I need to look up coins before I buy them. ...
Exactly.

I don't buy what I read, I buy what I see and what I know  Smiley.

(And by the way: Among my most interesting coins are many which have been attributed incorrectly or not at all  Wink.)

Regards

Altamura

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Virgil H
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2021, 03:12:09 pm »



I don't buy what I read, I buy what I see and what I know  Smiley.


I love that. Words to live by.
Virgil
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otlichnik
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2021, 03:51:53 pm »

If the coin was misattributed by a dealer you should have grounds to return it.

Personally, I would base that decision on two things - is there a significant difference in the value and am I still interested in the item?

There is obviously no need to change it if you are fine with the true identification.

Like Altamura I have kept many misattributed items and are happy with them.

SC

PS  Personally I love contemporary imitations - but not everyone does.



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SC
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Virgil H
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 04:37:49 pm »

The more I think about it the more inclined I am to keep it. I wouldn't have bought it if it was labelled as a contemporary imitation, but thinking about it makes it very intriguing. The other coin I am keeping, the difference didn't matter and I learned a lot in the identification process.
Virgil
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JBF
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 05:06:41 pm »

If the misattribution is to your advantage, keep it, if it is to the dealer's advantage you might return it, if it is to the dealer's advantage, one might wonder if it was intentional, a cheaper coin passed off as something more expensive.  But these things are not necessarily clear, especially for more general dealers, they're not always (usually) have the reference books picturing every variety.  What if you look up a coin in David Sear's Greek Coins and their Values, and it is facing the other way, or has a different secondary symbol?  Is that a misattribution or is it just the dealer using what he has to give some kind of reference?
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Virgil H
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2021, 08:26:54 pm »

If the misattribution is to your advantage, keep it, if it is to the dealer's advantage you might return it, if it is to the dealer's advantage, one might wonder if it was intentional, a cheaper coin passed off as something more expensive.  But these things are not necessarily clear, especially for more general dealers, they're not always (usually) have the reference books picturing every variety.  What if you look up a coin in David Sear's Greek Coins and their Values, and it is facing the other way, or has a different secondary symbol?  Is that a misattribution or is it just the dealer using what he has to give some kind of reference?
.

In general terms, I as a new collector expects the dealer to get it right. If I were a dealer, my conscience would not allow me to attribute a coin that I wasn't 100% sure about. I also understand that mistakes are made. But not having enough references wouldn't be a valid reason for me. If you can't be sure, say so or don't sell it. Maybe that is a harsh position. But they got my money for that coin. And the one that seems to be the imitation was obvious to me, the new guy. I didn't know it was an imitation, but it was obvious from early on that the coin was misidentified. That is why I posted it in another post on the Forum. I was really confused. The responses to my post also told me I never would have figured this one out on my own. I am not even sure if there is a reference(s) for contemporary imitations. I have no idea if this is to my advantage or not. LOL. I guess what this has done is make me wary of buying coins. It won't stop me, of course, but I will be far more careful and not really trust dealers again. I am batting 2 for 2 so far for misidentified coins. Small sample, but not a good look.
Thanks for your comment.
Virgil
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Virgil H
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2021, 09:37:32 pm »

This topic got moved here. Not sure why, it was intended for the Beginner Forum and I think it belongs there. Sorry about that.
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Altamura
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2021, 09:01:26 am »

Each day you are exposed to a flood of information, and probably you don't believe everything someone is telling you. And if it has some importance for you, then you hopefully check it against reality. Over time you learn whom to beleive and whom not. That's how we usually survive in this complicated world.

Attributions of coins are simply part of that Undecided.

Regards

Altamura

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Meepzorp
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2021, 12:54:46 pm »

(And by the way: Among my most interesting coins are many which have been attributed incorrectly or not at all  Wink.)

Altamura

Hi folks,

The same is true for me.

Meepzorp
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Meepzorp
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2021, 12:57:45 pm »

If the misattribution is to your advantage, keep it, if it is to the dealer's advantage you might return it, if it is to the dealer's advantage, one might wonder if it was intentional, a cheaper coin passed off as something more expensive.  But these things are not necessarily clear, especially for more general dealers, they're not always (usually) have the reference books picturing every variety.  What if you look up a coin in David Sear's Greek Coins and their Values, and it is facing the other way, or has a different secondary symbol?  Is that a misattribution or is it just the dealer using what he has to give some kind of reference?

Hi folks,

I agree. I have been on both situations, and I have done exactly that.

Meepzorp
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Virgil H
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2021, 03:31:18 pm »

Thanks everyone for your comments. I am inclined to keep the coin due to the story it now has with me. This coin was at the upper end of my per coin budget and I thought it was what they said it was. I learned quite a lesson from just that. And the fact that it was minted in the same general area in the same general timeframe is a plus for sure. I know we don't discuss prices here, but I wonder if the price would have been different if it had been identified as a contemporary imitation. I have searched and come up with no coins with the reverse on this one (with its flaws). Just so you know, there is a thread about this particular coin in the Greek Coins section where I learned it was most likely an imitation.
Thanks again. I love this Forvm. In a troubled world this and my coins are a welcome refuge.
Virgil
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Callimachus
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2021, 09:07:01 pm »

I try to double-check the attributions of all coins I buy before I send money to anyone. I use my own numismatic library, which is not real big, but does contain books on the areas I am interested in. I generally stay away from online attributions because they are often incomplete and/or inaccurate (Wildwinds is getting better, though; thanks Dane.)

I've almost never had problems with the attributions with coins I've purchased from established dealers, though the quality of the attribution varies. Some do the bare minimum (name of ruler only) while others are very detailed in their attributions. I've also found that grading from dealers is generally pretty accurate. They are usually open to questions and explaining how they attributed a coin, and they usually offer a money back guarantee if you are not happy with the coin.

You don't say where you got your 2 coins. But if you got them off ebay, or similar sites, all bets are off. Sellers there regularly get Septimius Severus and Severus Alexander mixed up. Same with Constantius and Constantine. Same with Caracalla and Elagabalus. They don't know the difference between CAES and AVG. If such sellers can't even get the basics right, certainly everything else is suspect too. If their attributions are questioned, they often think you are trying to pull a fast one on them, and send you a rude reply.

If you are a new collector, you ought to buy from established dealers who specialize in ancient coins until you get a feel for the hobby and know more what you are doing. That may take several years . . . 

Take care.
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Virgil H
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2021, 09:32:46 pm »

Thank you for your comments. I have bought all my attributed coins from Forum store or the Members Auction. The two coins in question were from the auction and I assumed they were reputable sellers if they were on these auctions. And I think they probably are. I actually started this exercise so I could make my own flips that are as good as Joe's. One was very close, the contemporary imitation should have been obvious it was not the coin it was attributed as. I figured out that part pretty quickly. LOL. Then I had no clue because I couldn't find a match anywhere. I have bought uncleaned Roman coins on ebay, never anything expensive or any specific coin.
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Stkp
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2021, 06:09:55 am »

I've almost never had problems with the attributions with coins I've purchased from established dealers, though the quality of the attribution varies. Some do the bare minimum (name of ruler only) while others are very detailed in their attributions. ...

... But if you got them off ebay, or similar sites, all bets are off.

I have bough many coins on eBay from a very well-established dealer with international name recognition (but who I will not mention by name). While this dealer's high end offerings are, I'm sure, well researched and accurately attributed, many of the dealer's eBay offerings are just the opposite. I have repeatedly encountered coins whose attributions are so vague/general as to be non-attributions (i.e., denomination X from dynasty Y), and even then, the attributions have often been wrong (i.e, actually dynasty Z and not dynasty Y). I have also encountered coins with more specific attributions that are "off" quite a bit.

This can work to a buyer's advantage as it can depress the number of bidders for a given coin. Provided, of course that the buyer recognizes what the coin actually is, or simply finds the coin to be interesting and is willing to put in the effort to figure it out.

To be sure, there are times that I have gotten lazy and bought coins in too-heavy reliance on the dealer's attributions. One instance that comes to mind is a medieval coin that I did not examine closely until it was in hand (which was very inexpensive). It looked odd, and after a bit of research I concluded that the coin was a contemporary counterfeit. This was confirmed by a leading expert in the field. I brought this to the attention of the dealer, who of course offered me a refund. I declined and am very happy with my counterfeit.

Stkp
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JBF
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2021, 10:49:39 am »

I have an "unofficial imitation" (or contemporary counterfeit) of a Metapontine incuse stater.  Not as much as the real thing (which I also have in some numbers), but I have never seen one before, besides this one.  Most collectors would avoid it, but to me it is an addition to my rather specific collection.  If you have a regular issue from a regular mint or monarch, it is probably easy to find something comparable and therefore deduce a price.  If you have something odd or strange (but otherwise a perfectly good coin, not a problem coin), then just because it is unknown, in most collector's eyes it will be worth less, but for a specialist collector, it may be worth more, or if not worth more, at least more desirable.

There are more coins from antiquity than one would expect for which there is only one or two known.  By known I not only mean by scholars or museum collections, but by anybody.  On the other hand, you might have a coin specimen of which only one or two are known, and a huge hoard of them get discovered tomorrow, (pseudo-Rhodian).  In any case, it is not like modern coins, where we have mint numbers, and we are pretty sure that the overwhelming majority have not been lost or buried in a pot.  It could also be that your coin was found in a large hoard 100 years ago, and so while it is not rare, it is scarce with example not often appearing in the market or even in reference manuals.

Look for the answer for the attribution of these coins, but if you don't find it, don't be discouraged, you might have some that nobody else has.  Whoever else had them might have passed them on because they had the same problem.  I think any advanced collector who has gone through bargain bins, has a few coins that they don't know what to make of them.  They consider them interesting mysteries, and you might consider these part of yours.  But, it does sound like you know what the obverse means, which means you are not facing a complete question mark.
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Virgil H
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2021, 02:57:40 pm »

Thank you STKP and JBF. Very helpful comments. I ended up writing the seller to ask if he had any more info on the coin. Haven't had a reply yet. I am going to keep it because, as you say, it has become even more interesting to me having learned more about what it most likely is.
Virgil
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