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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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Author Topic: Badly Tooled Coins Here  (Read 112604 times)
Enodia
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« Reply #225 on: August 23, 2011, 01:20:21 pm »

wow.
that should qualify as animal abuse. 
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Frans Diederik
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« Reply #226 on: August 23, 2011, 03:08:00 pm »

Probably belonged to a dentist who couldn't stand the gasping cavities... Grin


Frans

PS the fillings could be ancient, though.
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #227 on: August 23, 2011, 03:23:45 pm »

A very interesting example of attempted ancient repair, rather than tooling. The infill of the test cuts looks ancient, rather than modern, with no attempt to deceive by matching the metal, bronze (or is it iron?) infill in a silver coin! The effort involved in the repairs would have been appreciable to achieve a tight match to the varying shape of each cut. The repairs appears to be an effort to improve the cosmetics of the coin (in ancient times?).  The fact that one cut remains incompletely filled, or more likely has lost its part of its filling, suggests an ancient origin, rather than a modern attempt to deceive.

However, the question remains... why?  

I vaguely recall some numismatic research, which suggested that defaced coins were less acceptable in some regions and this may explain why, although I am not certain on this point.

Certainly the coin has a story to tell and that makes it all the more interesting. It'd be nice to examine it more closely and see what can be gleaned by way of form and process applied to make the repairs.
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Enodia
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« Reply #228 on: August 24, 2011, 01:34:26 am »

i'm always curious as to why these coins were so butchered.   Huh
i mean, what did the fifth test cut reveal that the other four hadn't already?
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #229 on: August 24, 2011, 01:48:24 am »

i'm always curious as to why these coins were so butchered.   Huh
i mean, what did the fifth test cut reveal that the other four hadn't already?

One theory is that these were not tests cuts at all, but rather administrative marks/controls made by different authorities in the Persian administration in the east, where many of the Athenian tets ended up circulating. The placement of each cut is specific to the administrative body concerned according to this theory.  Thus this coin circulated through several administrative controls in the East, if this theory is correct.  This theory makes sense to me, but is rejected by many others.
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Steve E
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« Reply #230 on: August 24, 2011, 02:05:36 am »

The placement of each cut is specific to the administrative body concerned according to this theory.

I imagine the administration who chose their mark to be between the eyes of the owl, had little trouble collecting taxes Grin

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« Reply #231 on: August 24, 2011, 03:14:24 am »

But why did these authorities mark the coins according to this theory?
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #232 on: August 24, 2011, 04:49:39 am »

But why did these authorities mark the coins according to this theory?

The answer to that lies in the Persian administrative system. Unfortunately the workings of the Persian administration are not documented in any depth. Any answer thus becomes even more speculative than the theory that the cuts reflect a form of administrative control. It probably serves well to remember that in many regions these cuts (and often heavily counter marked) coins are found the economy was far from fully monetized, so that the coins served little purpose other than for official transactions involving and between the economic and social elite and Persian administrative entities, with the coins acting as little more than silver bullion.  Such being the case the cuts could have served to track source and payment within the administration. In such capacity a specific cut could represent a warranty from a specific part of the administration as to the quality of the coin/silver with the implication that if something was found wanting, or there was a shortfall in payment, then blame/responsibility could be apportioned accordingly.

Van Alfen in his various papers on 'owls" has touched upon the subject of the role of such cuts and counter marks in the Persian realm. He has also suggested that in the early period of monetization of a region the cuts and counter marks may have served as "marks of ownership and guarantees of worth".

The interesting and relevant fact is that the cutting and extensive counter marking evident on owls that circulated in the Persian domain is not anywhere near as frequent, or extensive,  on later coinages (e.g. Alexanders) once this Persian domain fell under Greek influence and the control various Hellenistic Administrations following the conquests of Alexander.  This is suggestive of some sort of role for the cuts in the Persian administration of early monetized regions and a departure from this administrative practice under later Hellenistic control in what were eventually to become fully monetized economies.
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Ghengis Jon
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« Reply #233 on: August 24, 2011, 08:04:41 am »

That makes perfect sense in regards to countermarks.  But anyone with a flat piece of bronze and a rock could 'legitimize' coinage in their possesion.  Perhaps it worked in the opposite direction - cut coins were deemed of lesser purity?
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #234 on: August 24, 2011, 02:53:27 pm »

That makes perfect sense in regards to countermarks.  But anyone with a flat piece of bronze and a rock could 'legitimize' coinage in their possesion.  Perhaps it worked in the opposite direction - cut coins were deemed of lesser purity?

In the theory, the key is that these cuts served no purpose and held no significance for the populace at large, that existed in an essentially barter based economy. The cuts served a purpose for the Persian administration, which was far from being just an 'anybody'.  Think in terms of what are essentially bullion (weight based) settlements/transactions and payments between administrative entities and elites and you get a better picture of the possible accounting and administrative purpose these cuts might have served. The economy of the Persian east, removed from the Mediterranean coastal regions was essentially a non-monetized economy at the times these coins found their way into Persian treasury.  As monetization progressed cuts were probably replaced by counter marks which held significance for the broader populace and this occurred for the very reason you articulate, but this is a later development in the economic administration that accompanied more widespread usage of coinage.

The alternative is to think that the ancients were a bunch of clowns who didn't believe the evidence of their eyes when confronted with existing test cut(s) and then proceeded to further bash and slice a coin on each transaction.  Possible, but unlikely and if so it begs the question raised by Enodia to which the answer is thus stupidity.  I give the ancients more credit than the explanation of stupidity. An administrative purpose is far more probable in my opinion, even if we cannot be entirely specif as to what that purpose was, because of our ignorance of the matter.
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Steve E
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« Reply #235 on: August 24, 2011, 04:48:04 pm »

Lloyd,
Thats the best explanation of test cuts I've ever heard!
Thank You!

~Steve
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #236 on: August 24, 2011, 05:54:06 pm »

Steve - thanks.

I forgot to mention another supporting fact for the administrative theory.  The cuts are not random.  Recognizable and consistent patters are evident e.g. between the eyes, across the owl's throat, etc. If the cuts were purely for testing the nature of the core of the coin, then a systematic pattern would not be observed. Rather greater randomness would prevail.  Another supporting fact is that the cuts were done in a way that essentially negated damage to the rest of the coin.  The example posted demonstrates this amply.  No deformation on the side opposite the cut.  If the aim were to simply test for the presence of a  silver core, then such care in testing/cutting would be unlikely.

The cuts on the posted coin, like those on so many others, have been carefully and systematically placed in a manner to minimize damage to the coin beyond the cut. This is more than testing for the presence of a silver core and speaks of an administrative function.
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Reid Goldsborough
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« Reply #237 on: August 24, 2011, 06:23:32 pm »

I'm going to have to disagree with this. The test cuts on Owls are random. Yes, many are on the reverse, and many of these split the owl's head or body, but I believe this is only because this is the thickest part of the coin, and the reverse is the concave side, both conditions leading to fewer cracked coins when hit with a hammer and chisel. But some Owls are test cut on the obverse, and some on the edge. The cuts were all crude, and some did in fact crack the coin or flatten the coin's other side. Further, countermarking as a technology existed in the East for 150 years, more or less, before mass Owls, the most frequently test cut, were initiated.

I believe multiple test cuts refers neither to a weirdly crude accounting system or to stupidity on the part of ancient peoples but to the high occurrence of counterfeiting in ancient times, which reached the point where some counterfeits were made of plated base metal with a test cut engraved in the die as a further attempt to fool. Just as merchants in the Far East during the 18th and 19th centuries chop-marked U.S. Trade dollars, Spanish-American Pillar dollars, and other silver trade coins multiple times to test their authenticity, not trusting these coins (sometimes as well to indicate who it was who did the authentication), I believe merchants in the Near East in ancient times test cut Owls for the same purpose, only more crudely since this was a much earlier time.
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #238 on: August 24, 2011, 06:59:48 pm »

As I said earlier, not every one agrees with the administration theory (actually its better referred to as a hypothesis).  

To each his own.
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Reid Goldsborough
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« Reply #239 on: August 24, 2011, 09:21:08 pm »

Congenial disagreement is nice.  Smiley Nice change too.
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #240 on: August 25, 2011, 03:17:40 pm »

If you're right, the frequency of test cuts should vary with geographical location, and they should be commonest within the Persian territories of the time. Is there any evidence to suggest that this is the case?
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Robert Brenchley

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« Reply #241 on: August 25, 2011, 03:33:57 pm »

I'd have to spend time I don't have to track down the reference or references, but I recall reading that Owls found outside of Greece, in the East, in lands at the time that were part of the Achaemenid Persian empire, are found much more often test cut than those found in Greece. But only a tiny fraction of Owls hoards like other hoards are documented, so the evidence I suspect is fairly sparse.
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« Reply #242 on: August 26, 2011, 03:31:29 pm »

I've certainly heard that they're more likely to be cut outside Greece, but I can't remember any more than that.
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Robert Brenchley

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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #243 on: August 27, 2011, 05:45:00 pm »

I'd have to spend time I don't have to track down the reference or references, but I recall reading that Owls found outside of Greece, in the East, in lands at the time that were part of the Achaemenid Persian empire, are found much more often test cut than those found in Greece. But only a tiny fraction of Owls hoards like other hoards are documented, so the evidence I suspect is fairly sparse.

True that in Egyptian and Eastern eastern finds frequency of cut and multiply cut owls is much higher than in Greece and surrounds to the extent that some finds consist of a majority of cut and/or punch marked owls e.g. The1989 Syria Hoard.  For some papers which touch on the subject and contain further references, refer to Peter van Alfen's two articles in AJN 14 (2002):

The owls from the 1989 Syria Hoard with a review of Macedonian coinage in Egypt.
Two unpublished hoards and other owls from Egypt


The last documents the interesting Endicott's Hoard which consist exclusively of multiply punch marked owls which may been seen as a logical progression from the multiply cutting administrative approach. The practice of marking coins (of which multiple systematic cuts are but one means) evolved with time and shows a significant geographical and temporal distribution that hints at different practices in different regions at different times.  One rule or theory of marking is not applicable throughout the Mediterraneanand adjacent Persian lands and/or throughout time. To quote van Alfen: Over the course of time, from the sixth century BC on, the use and function of countermarks presumably underwent gradual development.: "it is the common view that the early countermarks were private marks of ownership or guarantees of worth, but that during the hellenistic period countermarking became a monopoly of civic or royal authority. (Howego 1985, Le Rider 1975). Marking coins with countermarks, cuts, and graffiti was enormously widespread practice in the Levant and Egypt during the Persian Period (sixth to fourth centuries BC; Elayi and Lemaire 1988), arguably more so than in the Aegean......

From another time and place, but another example of what is usually interpreted to be a test cut but is in fact an official act of "damnatio memoriae".... one of the first in the ancient Greek world? http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=52033.0

Anyway interesting as this is it is a long way off topic for this thread...tooling. Perhaps the subject of coin marking should be broken out into a separate discussion thread as there is a lot that can be said and many examples shown, which raise multiple questions as well as given multiple insights into the practice of cutting and marking in general.
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Ghengis Jon
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« Reply #244 on: August 29, 2011, 05:39:48 am »

I love this Syracuse issue and the coin reminds me that I need to acquire one for my zoo...but unfortunately not this one. 

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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #245 on: August 29, 2011, 07:35:13 pm »

Don't you just love the finely tooled detail of the mane on the lion skin headdress of Herakles.....

Accompanied by this wonderful eye popping description... VF with nice toning. Some hatching on the obverse which could be an inscription. A scarce and desirable lifetime issue from the popular Egyptian mint.
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Ghengis Jon
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« Reply #246 on: September 06, 2011, 07:18:30 am »

Tooled and smoothed.
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rover1.3
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« Reply #247 on: September 06, 2011, 07:40:51 am »

Tryphon, "the Tooled".
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« Reply #248 on: September 06, 2011, 08:26:29 am »

Don't you just love the finely tooled detail of the mane on the lion skin headdress of Herakles.....

Accompanied by this wonderful eye popping description... VF with nice toning. Some hatching on the obverse which could be an inscription. A scarce and desirable lifetime issue from the popular Egyptian mint.

Looks like someone missed their mark trying to tool the chin too!
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #249 on: September 06, 2011, 03:38:47 pm »

Don't you just love the finely tooled detail of the mane on the lion skin headdress of Herakles.....

Accompanied by this wonderful eye popping description... VF with nice toning. Some hatching on the obverse which could be an inscription. A scarce and desirable lifetime issue from the popular Egyptian mint.

Looks like someone missed their mark trying to tool the chin too!

  Grin The more i look at this coin the more convinced I become that it is not simply tooled, but more likely a TOOLED CAST FAKE!  The best of all deceptive worlds  evil
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