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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Fake Coin Reports, Notorious Fake Sellers, and Discussions (Moderators: maridvnvm, Ilya Prokopov)  |  Topic: Badly Tooled Coins Here 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #400 on: August 24, 2012, 12:35:40 am »

Not a coin but a jaw dropping restoration attempt...

Could have been worse......
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« Reply #401 on: August 24, 2012, 06:02:59 pm »

Not a coin but a jaw dropping restoration attempt...

Could have been worse......

I was wondering when the memes of this "Beast Jesus" would start showing up. Hilarious!
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« Reply #402 on: September 05, 2012, 05:52:53 am »

Nero Claudius Drusus Sestertius (36mm, 29.64 g).   Described as "tooled and heavily smoothed." 
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« Reply #403 on: September 05, 2012, 05:56:33 am »

Agrippina Senior Sestertius (36mm, 26.65 g). Described as "smoothing and light tooling, areas of fill."
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« Reply #404 on: September 05, 2012, 06:05:30 am »

I generally collect Greek coins, so I don't have much experience in sestertii, however, it appears that he tooling and smoothing on the above two coins does not appear to chilled the bidding much.

I know we don't talk prices here, but by what percentage do you think the price of a coin that has been lightly tooled, smoothed and filled, like the Agrippina above generally be affected by such treatment?  This one appears to be well done.  Would it sell for more than a cleaned but untouched coin that is worn and pitted?

And if so, is that what's leading to so many coins being tooled, smoothed and/or filled?

It also appears that smoothing is generally accepted now as part of the "restoration/conservation process"  Yes?  No?

Is tooling getting to the point where it is acceptable?

What about filling, like the second coin?  It seems to me that taking a pitted coin and filling it with whaterever people fill these with, goes above and beyond what should be acceptable?

How easy is it to detect filling if it's not disclosed?

The current auction house is disclosing, but I always wonder whether the person who sells the coin next will disclose.
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« Reply #405 on: September 05, 2012, 10:44:43 am »

I generally collect Greek coins, so I don't have much experience in sestertii, however, it appears that he tooling and smoothing on the above two coins does not appear to chilled the bidding much.

I know we don't talk prices here, but by what percentage do you think the price of a coin that has been lightly tooled, smoothed and filled, like the Agrippina above generally be affected by such treatment?  This one appears to be well done.  Would it sell for more than a cleaned but untouched coin that is worn and pitted?

And if so, is that what's leading to so many coins being tooled, smoothed and/or filled?

It also appears that smoothing is generally accepted now as part of the "restoration/conservation process"  Yes?  No?

Is tooling getting to the point where it is acceptable?

What about filling, like the second coin?  It seems to me that taking a pitted coin and filling it with whaterever people fill these with, goes above and beyond what should be acceptable?

How easy is it to detect filling if it's not disclosed?

The current auction house is disclosing, but I always wonder whether the person who sells the coin next will disclose.

Complex questions.

Tooling, by which I mean non-accidental metal removal, reduces the inherent value of a coin. It becomes a less valuable historical document. This is axiomatic. It may not reduce its market price, in fact it may increase it due to competition between naive collectors. However, sometime in the future when the purchaser of a tooled coin sells, the price may well revert to normal, i.e. a lower price than would be fetched by a well-cleaned but not tooled example. (And this is the comparison that should be made - against another expertly cleaned example, not against an uncleaned coin)

If smoothing deliberately removes metal, it is tooling. The same applies. Sometime down the road, a serious collector or student will place a lower commercial / historical value on a coin that has had metal removed.

I can assure you, from speaking to other serious collectors and numismatists, that if there is a shadow of uncertainty over a coin, as regards tooling or smoothing, then they hold back on their bids. There was a classic example in a recent high-end sale involving two rare sestertii. That which had obviously untouched surfaces fetched a much higher premium over estimate than the coin over which there had been some debate. I handled both coins, neither looked to be tooled though one was more evidently cleaned to the limit and perhaps rubbed a little vigorously in the process, but no evidence of any attempt to alter or improve the coin. However, although not my area, I concluded that the uncertainty alone on the 'smoother' coin would cause me to hold back on bidding, and correspondingly that I would place a high (commercial as well as academic) value on the clearly untouched - save for cleaning - surfaces on the other coin.

Expert cleaning and restoration, that is sensitive to potential risks of a coin appearing tooled or smoothed, increases the value of a coin and also its price. It's value as an historical document is increased because the document has not been damaged, but has been conserved in a much clearer condition.

If what is removed by smoothing is just a combination of non-patina deposits and some patina, and there was no deliberate attempt to remove metal, and the end results is, cosmetically, a coin which could have arrived in this condition by wholly natural means, then it counts as cleaning. However real experts will know whether the coin has passed the "wholly natural means" tipping point, and once you go too far you can't reverse.

So, hold off on the dental tools. Minor surface deposits or corrosion effects, perhaps slightly obscuring a few letters and/or making the field less uniform, can act as a form of guarantee of no-mechanical alteration, and hence increase the coins value (NB of course some crudely tooled coins are repatinated to try and create this effect but really fool no-one).

Filling: this is not removing anything from a coin, and if clearly marked and if 100% reversible, has no long term implication. It's a cosmetic matter, a commercial matter, and a matter of disclosure. It is a market matter. It has no relation to a coin's numismatic value. However if an expert thinks, from its surfaces, that a coin has been filled then he will of course wonder what is real and what is not real, and will hold off bidding, and may exclude the coin from studies.

Disclosure: if properly disclosed and accurate, then remarks on tooling, polishing, smoothing, filling etc. can only increase the respect a coin is held in by those with expertise, to the extent that it provides assurance that the coin has been closely looked at and that there are no other issues.

Market value of tooled, smoothed, polished, filled coins, when disclosed properly: who cares? It's not important in any real sense except to the purchaser, who has bought a coin recognising these defects. If two naive collectors choose to place a higher value on an altered coin than an unaltered coin, well, it happens, and one of them will win the coin but may be upset in future years when others don't value the alterations as much.

Market value of such alterations when not disclosed? If the alteration is evident, then it's just a matter of choosing whether to buy from such companies. It's a market issue (choose your marketplace well).

If there are borderline judgement between well-cleaned and smoothed, then the market will take care of it, as in the above cited two sestertii example. It's a market issue (how you value one coin)

Finally, remember that price often has no relation to value.
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #406 on: September 05, 2012, 09:54:38 pm »

Quaintly described as "Good Fine, details strengthened".  This leads me to ask as to when does "strengthening" become tooling?
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« Reply #407 on: September 06, 2012, 06:18:18 am »

Quaintly described as "Good Fine, details strengthened".  This leads me to ask as to when does "strengthening" become tooling?

There is nothing wrong with using the word strengthened rather than tooled. It is a term that is often used.

'Tooled' gives the method. 'Strengthened' gives the result. They are totally equivalent and can be read as such.

I guess my point is that a dealer who uses the word 'strengthened' has fully and correctly disclosed. Such dealers deserve praise for their disclosure.
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« Reply #408 on: September 06, 2012, 08:36:25 am »

I think there's a difference between strengthening and tooling. 'Strengthened' may be used if only the contours are sharpened but nothing really altered. It's not fundamentally different from tooling but there is a difference in intensity. Of course often it is used as a eupehmism to pretend total honesty while at the same time trying to limit the damage.
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« Reply #409 on: September 06, 2012, 08:47:21 am »

Andrew,

I agree with Andreas: the two words are not equivalent.

"Tooling" includes completely inventing and adding letters and details that were never there.

"Strengthening" means removing metal from around genuine details of the type, in order to make them sharper and clearer.

"Strengthening" restricts itself to genuine details of the type; "tooling" does not.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #410 on: September 06, 2012, 10:07:30 am »

Andrew,

I agree with Andreas: the two words are not equivalent.

"Tooling" includes completely inventing and adding letters and details that were never there.

"Strengthening" means removing metal from around genuine details of the type, in order to make them sharper and clearer.

"Strengthening" restricts itself to genuine details of the type; "tooling" does not.

Beg to disagree. In your second acception strengthening is the same as tooling. Question of semantics. The word tooling has become a bad word in numismatics.
Something like calling a prostitute an hetaera.
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« Reply #411 on: September 06, 2012, 11:20:47 am »

Andrew,

I agree with Andreas: the two words are not equivalent.

"Tooling" includes completely inventing and adding letters and details that were never there.

"Strengthening" means removing metal from around genuine details of the type, in order to make them sharper and clearer.

"Strengthening" restricts itself to genuine details of the type; "tooling" does not.

Beg to disagree. In your second acception strengthening is the same as tooling. Question of semantics. The word tooling has become a bad word in numismatics.
Something like calling a prostitute an hetaera.

It's all semantics. After all, hardly anyone would deliberately tool a coin so as NOT to look like its original type, and if they did do that, then it is not tooling but forgery. All ordinary tooling (leaving aside forgery) has as its aim making "genuine" aspects of the design appear clear and sharp. That they often fail, and as a result change the design, is almost always by accident. If deliberate, then it is sheer forgery.

But perhaps BECAUSE of this association with forgery, I think the better classes of tooling can be called "strengthening" without embarrassment.

By Andrea's definition the below (top) counts as tooled


244/3  #0864-47 C.ABVRI GEM_altered Hercules Prow Quadrans forgery of MA type

I regard it as a forgery plain and simple (the MA has been carved out; the original type was C.ABVRI GEM, an MA quadrans is a very rare type so this was an attempt to convert a common coin into a rare coin). So when someone, in a misguided attempt to make a coin better, carefully sharpens up some existing design details, without changing the design at all, perhaps we should call it strengthened. A slightly-improved coin does not deserve to be in the same bucket as a outright forgery.

But, once again, these are all semantics. The important thing is to understand what has happened to the coin and to be able to describe the sad event. Just having this discussion helps people to understand that there are a range of interventions all in the bucket called "tooling". Some worse than others.
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curtislclay
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« Reply #412 on: September 06, 2012, 11:44:18 am »

Andrew,

Yes, "all semantics", but isn't it still important to preserve clear distinctions in the meanings of words?

I continue to maintain that, for example, a coin with the emperor's hair and beard reengraved on the obverse, and the deity's clothing on the reverse, and letters of the legend tooled in that were originally entirely missing, is correctly described as "tooled", but not as either "strengthened" or "a forgery".
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #413 on: September 06, 2012, 11:53:36 am »

Andrew,

Yes, "all semantics", but isn't it still important to preserve clear distinctions in the meanings of words?

I continue to maintain that, for example, a coin with the emperor's hair and beard reengraved on the obverse, and the deity's clothing on the reverse, and letters of the legend tooled in that were originally entirely missing, is correctly described as "tooled", but not as either "strengthened" or "a forgery".

Curtis

I totally agree on the need  to have clear definitions, and if possible to distinguish between different words that apply to different levels of intervention.

Forgery. Tooled. Strengthened. Smoothed. Polished. Details improved. Details enhanced with a tool. Over-cleaned. Sharpened. Heavily cleaned. Whatever.

Who is to be the guardian of these definitions?

I equate tooled=strengthened and call any deliberate change to a design as forgery but my view on these words is as subjective as the next. Others distinguish between the words. Sometimes smoothed just means smoothed, and sometimes it means also with some tooling or strengthening (as you will) at the edges". Sometimes, regardless of definitions, a seller may use "smoothed" to mean heavily tooled and then wash his hands by claiming he pointed out the intervention. It's all so confusing.

Andrew
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« Reply #414 on: September 06, 2012, 12:17:03 pm »

I agree the words do matter but unfortunately I don't know whose dictionary to consult. Whatever about the words used, I attempted to describe the different degrees of intervention in a post yesterday:

http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=53363.msg514786#msg514786

and how these interventions affect

(a) value from the perspective of a well-informed expert
(b) academic numismatic value
(c) price

Please excuse me if you prefer to use different words than in my post. That's perfectly ok (until definitions are defined) so long as we understand the negative impact that interventions have on value. Given that neither academics nor expert collectors are the purchasers of most of these monstrosities the absurdly high "price" they sell for often has nothing to do with their value.
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« Reply #415 on: September 06, 2012, 01:58:18 pm »

I dislike to use of the word "strengthened" over tooled.  "Strengthened" seems to imply that tooling is a positive act.
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« Reply #416 on: September 06, 2012, 02:23:20 pm »

You're right, it's definitely a euphemism, chosen to make willful damage sound good!
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Curtis Clay
Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #417 on: September 06, 2012, 03:40:21 pm »

I think there's a difference between strengthening and tooling. 'Strengthened' may be used if only the contours are sharpened but nothing really altered. It's not fundamentally different from tooling but there is a difference in intensity. Of course often it is used as a eupehmism to pretend total honesty while at the same time trying to limit the damage.
I dislike to use of the word "strengthened" over tooled.  "Strengthened" seems to imply that tooling is a positive act.
You're right, it's definitely a euphemism, chosen to make willful damage sound good!

All - Thanks for the enlightening and vibrant discussion of the subject of  strengthening versus tooling.

Even for those who believe there is a difference between the two, it it simply a question of degree; strengthening being less obvious than tooling in so far as it conforms to the original iconography and epigraphy of the design.

To the coin in question, which initiated the discussion, the obverse is untouched as far as I can tell. The reverse has been "exposed to the bit". This is evident particularly in the elephants' legs, heads and trunk and the royal title and it is obvious to anyone experienced in the Seleukeia emissions but perhaps not those with little knowledge or experience of the type.  

The fact that the "strengthening" of the design is obvious (at least to the knowledgeable), means that it is sufficiently different to the original as to be discernible to the naked eye on an image and thus in my opinion lacks the integrity of the original iconography and epigraphy. To this extent it is tooling, even if one believes in the thesis that strengthening conforms to the original design whereas tooling departs from it, in which case this coin is tooled on the reverse.

The result is that the distinction between strengthening and tooling, at lest in this example is erroneous.  If I/you can discern the difference between a a coin touched by the bit and one untouched then it is tooled not strengthened by the definition proposed by some in the discussion.  Theoretically under this definition, if it is not discernible then it is not tooled, but I find it impossible to accept that the application of any bit to a coin's surface would be indiscernible - simply apply the magnifying glass and all becomes clear, tool mark which are not part of the original design (or wear pattern). Therefore the distinction between strengthening and tooling is non-existent as scrutiny of the coins surface will expose the latter even if not obvious to the naked eye.

This places me in the camp of Aarmale and Curtis Clay on this matter.  Strengthening in this case has been used as a euphemism for tooling. I dare say this has been done so as to not put off the less than knowledgeable potential bidder in the auction, while affording a defense for the vendor should the matter of tooling arise post sale- it then being easier to argue that the matter was disclosed in the lot description, albeit euphemistically!

I think areich hit the nail on the head...
..... Of course often it is used as a eupehmism to pretend total honesty while at the same time trying to limit the damage.
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #418 on: September 06, 2012, 04:59:40 pm »

I totally agree on the need  to have clear definitions, and if possible to distinguish between different words that apply to different levels of intervention.

Forgery. Tooled. Strengthened. Smoothed. Polished. Details improved. Details enhanced with a tool. Over-cleaned. Sharpened. Heavily cleaned. Whatever.

Who is to be the guardian of these definitions?

I equate tooled=strengthened and call any deliberate change to a design as forgery but my view on these words is as subjective as the next. Others distinguish between the words. Sometimes smoothed just means smoothed, and sometimes it means also with some tooling or strengthening (as you will) at the edges". Sometimes, regardless of definitions, a seller may use "smoothed" to mean heavily tooled and then wash his hands by claiming he pointed out the intervention. It's all so confusing.

Unfortunately there appears to be no custodian of definitions/standards in the numismatic market, nor any authority charged with the responsibility to monitoring reasonable compliance with standards. The general consumer protection law in any jurisdiction is non-specific with respect to the trade in to coins and revolves around general concepts and definitions of fair trading and non-deceptive conduct and marketing.

Tooled, smoothed, polished and truly fake coins are a fact of life in the numismatic market.  Some might even argue that the frequency of occurrence of some of these is increasing and from my perspective such a case can be made for tooled coins. Various numismatic dealers association exist, usually with a voluntary code of conduct required of members. Therefore the case can be made that it is time for the various numismatic dealers associations to bang a few heads and develop some standard definitions of things like tooling and/or strengthening with acceptance of these definitions and standards built into the voluntary code of conduct.

We have generally accepted definitions of coin grade (all be they sometimes stretched beyond the bounds of credibility by some vendors) so why not tooling. I agree that tooling comes in varying degrees, from the light touch on detail to totally transforming metallic wastage.  So why not a grade system; lightly tooled - tooled - heavily tooled - tooled fantasy with appropriate descriptive qualifiers specific to the coin in question?  Remove the ambiguity of terms such as strengthening by defining such in the terminology and grading of tooling. Similarly for the various degrees of smoothing and even polishing, distinguishing one from another and defining the boundaries between smoothing and tooling.

At the present it seems to me that the numismatic market operates much as the used car market did thirty years ago.  Near new, one owner with repaired light panel damage went the description. A glance along the side of the vehicle showed ill fitting panels and waves of metal on every surface, the  odometer showed only 50k while the fabric of the seats and carpets were worn through and the log book shows it was serviced in twenty different locations - Caveat Emptor.  But this is no longer the case in most western jurisdictions where standards have been defined and embodied in consumer law.  Unfortunately, a voluntary code was insufficient for the used car dealers and the heavy hand of the law came to be applied.

Better, I suggest that the numismatic trade dealers associations moves in advance of the need for such!
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« Reply #419 on: September 16, 2012, 09:26:47 am »

This certified, slabbed Pompey, as VF-20, is also tooled. I can certify that. Anyone who tries to buy it deserves to be certified. Who are National Numismatic Certification anyways?

Great seller photo. But who needs a photo of the coin when you have a clearer photo of the NNC certification.
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« Reply #420 on: September 16, 2012, 10:09:25 am »

Who are National Numismatic Certification anyways?

Not a legitimate certification company. 
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« Reply #421 on: September 16, 2012, 10:11:52 am »

even the bar code looks phony
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« Reply #422 on: November 09, 2012, 03:13:35 am »

Not using the bad words.
Strenghtened/enhanced. Filled. Make-up ?
Yes imho.
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« Reply #423 on: November 09, 2012, 11:18:41 am »

BUMP
No other opinions ?
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« Reply #424 on: November 09, 2012, 12:14:02 pm »

Slight tooling possible on the r. arm and the skirt of the figure on rev., in my opinion.
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Curtis Clay
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