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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: goldenancients)  |  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 60282 times)
Ghengis Jon
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« Reply #425 on: July 11, 2012, 05:59:02 am »

Andrew - How about this one?  The obverse looks fine to me, but look at the owl's beak (and maybe the eyes).  To me, they might have been worked over.  Can't be sure though.  I wouldn't/couldn't condemn the coin without looking at those features under magnification.  I like the coin, but it comes from my favorite Tool & Die shop.
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« Reply #426 on: July 11, 2012, 06:09:42 am »

Andrew - How about this one?  The obverse looks fine to me, but look at the owl's beak (and maybe the eyes).  To me, they might have been worked over.  Can't be sure though.  I wouldn't/couldn't condemn the coin without looking at those features under magnification.  I like the coin, but it comes from my favorite Tool & Die shop.

Looks not tooled to me. The surfaces are untouched, the lettering, and the transitions from surfaces to devices look ok. Were it tooled, one or all of these would not be ok. I can't comment on the design aspects, I don't know the type, so I don't know if you see alterations to device details that I would miss.
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Ghengis Jon
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« Reply #427 on: July 11, 2012, 07:07:39 am »

The cut seems a little deep on the beak (to me) and the eyes are not consistant with wear on other parts of the coin's relief.  Everything else looks fine.  I'd want to handle the coin first if I were intending to buy it.  Partly because of seller - if it were offered by our host here, I'd have no hestitation.
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« Reply #428 on: July 11, 2012, 08:45:10 am »

...if it were offered by our host here, I'd have no hestitation.

I appreciate the confidence.  However, if this coin is tooled (but I don't think it is), something that subtle could easily slip by me unnoticed.  Its always a good idea to take a good look at coins when you receive them because dealers are human. 
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Ghengis Jon
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« Reply #429 on: July 17, 2012, 08:47:35 am »

No comment needed.
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« Reply #430 on: July 17, 2012, 10:05:07 am »

Not tooled in my opinion, just struck from a worn die.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #431 on: August 11, 2012, 03:25:51 pm »

A Winter Olympics special: Victory on Skis:
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Ghengis Jon
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« Reply #432 on: August 22, 2012, 05:33:26 am »

This one is comical.
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« Reply #433 on: August 22, 2012, 06:30:18 am »

I see a doublestruck nose and flat-struck hair on this one, and deposits removed from the whole surface, but no tooling!

Can you show us another specimen of the same coin for comparison and point out where you see tooling?
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #434 on: August 22, 2012, 07:39:01 am »

I see a doublestruck nose and flat-struck hair on this one, and deposits removed from the whole surface, but no tooling!

I agree it looks like a flat strike hence there is detail at lower reliefs and flat areas at high relief. This coin is less worn than it looks at first glance.
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« Reply #435 on: August 22, 2012, 09:13:55 am »

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

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/elderly-woman-ruins-ecce-homo-painting-attempting-restore
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« Reply #436 on: August 22, 2012, 10:43:16 am »

She turned it into modern art!
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« Reply #437 on: August 22, 2012, 02:39:04 pm »

 Completely worked over, otherwise very fine.
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« Reply #438 on: August 22, 2012, 03:08:14 pm »

Nah, she's just brought out the family resemblance to the monkeys.
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« Reply #439 on: August 22, 2012, 06:57:30 pm »

This one is comical.

I see that the seller himself calls this coin "tooled" and sometimes does sell tooled bronzes, but I think he is wrong in this case, though the reverse does look a little scratched and scraped (but not tooled).
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #440 on: August 23, 2012, 10:14:40 am »

I agree with your observations on the reverse, which is why I did not post an image.  I took the seller to his word, given that he has bragged in correspondence with me on the 'skill' of his workshop.  Here's another example, but not from him.
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« Reply #441 on: August 23, 2012, 11:42:57 am »

I agree with your observations on the reverse, which is why I did not post an image.  

I recognise that you had a reason for not disclosing the reverse. Still, there is merit in the Forvm guidance, to always post both sides of a coin, and to disclose all information about the coin (but not about the seller) in advance (in this case, that the coin was actually described as tooled). It makes for more meaningful comments and reduces the work of those commenting!   Smiley

I see no tooling on either side.
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Lloyd Taylor
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« Reply #442 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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David Atherton
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« Reply #443 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 #444 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 #445 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 #446 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 #447 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 #448 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 #449 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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