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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Authentication, Fakes and Frauds (Moderators: maridvnvm, Ilya Prokopov)  |  Topic: Fouree vs Suberatus 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Fouree vs Suberatus  (Read 4191 times)
Andrew McCabe
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« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2010, 04:35:14 pm »

Quote from: commodus on November 28, 2010, 03:57:32 pm
I am curious now. As a historian who has authored a number of academic papers in my field, though none in the area of ancient numismatics (I have authored several academic papers on modern numismatic subjects), would I, for purposes of this argument, be considered an amateur or an academic? It is a vague line, no? I would hardly consider myself an amateur numismatist, but I am not a "professional" one, either. A professional would, to be bluntly honest, be a dealer who makes his living specifically in the field of numismatics. As a historian, I try to apply the same standards and criteria to my study of ancient coins that I do to other areas of historical scholarship. Indeed, I collect ancient coins because of their history. Again, however, I have not published on the subject. In my opinion, both as a member of the academic community and as a collector, it is not whether one holds a particular degree or what one has published that makes one an expert, but rather the extent of one's experience, knowledge, and expertise in a particular field. Therein lies the difference between an educated opinion and a baseless whim, not in what one has or hasn't published or what degrees one does or doesn't hold.

If you write and publish (even on a website) in a manner citing sources, laying out the evidence, testing contrary positions, reflecting the views of past experts, you are in my mind an academic (though that's a personal view). It doesn't matter the venue, subject or personal qualifications of the writer, so long as you are following "scientific method": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

So you are certainly an academic in my mind, as are very many on this board.

If one airs opinions without citing robust evidence and past established opinions - or without testing contrary possibilities with open eyes - in the course of casual chatting online, that that's fine to the extent that it is enjoyable, and the chatting can help tease out the truth from others. But it doesn't amount to serious research.

Does the difference matter? (and also in answer to Mark Wilson's earlier comment). Yes I think it does. It's fun to chat and debate and air opinions. After all this Forum is supposed to be for enjoyment. But it's best not to confuse chatting and casual debate - even to the extent of light provocation and adopting enjoyable positions for devil's advocate sake or in order to provoke a fun-filled chat - with serious research.

In much of what I write personally - even on my website - I am just a casual chatter. The article I wrote recently on art, architecture and coins of Campania http://andrewmccabe.ancients.info/Italy.html#Campania was very much an amateur chat, which I did completely for fun and involving research that didn't get beyond the front page of Google search results. I approached the plated coins issue from a more scientific angle...

We live in a dumbed-down world, where tweeted off-the-cuff opinions get more attention than the serious written word. Twitter, facebook and our older chat forums are great socialising tools that add colour but shouldn't replace real work. That's my opinion anyway. I'm a bit old-fashioned that way. Sometimes I wish I lived in Victorian times; the Victorians placed value on serious stuff.
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« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2010, 05:09:47 pm »

Quote from: commodus on November 28, 2010, 03:57:32 pm
It is not whether one holds a particular degree or what one has published that makes one an expert, but rather the extent of one's experience, knowledge, and expertise in a particular field. Therein lies the difference between an educated opinion and a baseless whim, not in what one has or hasn't published or what degrees one does or doesn't hold.

For the sake of debate, and without intending any disrespect for your expertise, I'd contend that just as one's formal credentials (academic degree, etc.) are secondary, so is what you pointed out, your experience, knowledge, and expertise in the particular field. This is not to say that none of this is important, including having a degree, which is one way of establishing credibility.

What I would say is paramount, more important than any of this, is the rigor with which you approach whatever subject you're writing about. Have you examined the most important work and the conclusions of others, to see what evidence they used as a basis for their conclusions? Have you yourself looked at all the most relevant evidence you could find, and if possible have you uncovered any new evidence that others may not have? Have you based your conclusions on logic and the appropriate degree of skepticism, or have you jumped to conclusions based on unsupported or dubious extrapolations?

All this has practical considerations. There are numismatic books out there, recent books, written by dealers with impeccable experience and impressive reputations that are rife with errors because the author didn't do his homework, didn't look at the work of others and analyze the evidence they analyzed, instead proposing bold new knowledge when in reality such knowledge had been refuted long before.
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« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2010, 08:08:47 pm »

 
Perhaps it would be a useful start to create a sticky thread where people with interesting fourees could post photographs.

Dan


Great idea!
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« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2010, 11:47:41 pm »

Reid, I'm unclear if you're using a general "you" or if your "you" refers to me in particular. If the latter, the answer depends upon the topic being discussed. As with everyone here, an opinion I may express on some topics will be a great deal more knowledgeable than it might be on another.
I'll freely admit I have no expertise when it comes to fourrées, for example. Not so with many other subjects, however, such as modern fakes, or the relationships of Roman coins to Roman history.
I think this is the case with most of us: we have our areas of particular focus and experience, but that doesn't mean we hold no opinions about other subjects into which we have delved less deeply.
This forum is about the free exchange of ideas, much as in the classroom or lecture group, the difference being that there is no leader: everyone who wishes to has a place at the table and, though some will necessarily be better informed on this or that topic than someone else, and vice-versa, there isn't a place for academic snobbery in the discussion. We are all here for the same reason: a passion for ancient coins and, within the scope of freely discussing that passion, we learn from each other and teach each other and, hopefully, all benefit from the discourse.
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« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2010, 07:23:00 am »

Quote from: commodus on November 28, 2010, 03:57:32 pm
I am curious now. As a historian who has authored a number of academic papers in my field, though none in the area of ancient numismatics (I have authored several academic papers on modern numismatic subjects), would I, for purposes of this argument, be considered an amateur or an academic? It is a vague line, no? I would hardly consider myself an amateur numismatist, but I am not a "professional" one, either. A professional would, to be bluntly honest, be a dealer who makes his living specifically in the field of numismatics. As a historian, I try to apply the same standards and criteria to my study of ancient coins that I do to other areas of historical scholarship. Indeed, I collect ancient coins because of their history. Again, however, I have not published on the subject. In my opinion, both as a member of the academic community and as a collector, it is not whether one holds a particular degree or what one has published that makes one an expert, but rather the extent of one's experience, knowledge, and expertise in a particular field. Therein lies the difference between an educated opinion and a baseless whim, not in what one has or hasn't published or what degrees one does or doesn't hold.

I would agree with that. I have a doctorate from Oxford, I'm a professor, and I have published on ancient numismatics, but I have seen absolutely "professional" work from supposed "amateurs" who hold no degrees and have published nothing in an academic journal (say Journal of Roman Studies or Numismatic Chronicle). What makes the differences is (1) experience, (2) access to sources, both the coins (in hand or in photos) and the extant literature, (3) a concern for honesty and the truth, above your own ego or pride,  which forces you to follow the evidence wherever it takes you regardless of the whether it confirms your own (public or private) hypotheses or not, and (4) an ability to organize and write well, so that others can understand and learn from your research. I think that's it, but if I've forgotten something someone will add it.

Richard
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« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2010, 07:38:23 am »

Quote from: commodus on November 28, 2010, 11:47:41 pm
This forum is about the free exchange of ideas, much as in the classroom or lecture group, the difference being that there is no leader: everyone who wishes to has a place at the table and, though some will necessarily be better informed on this or that topic than someone else, and vice-versa, there isn't a place for academic snobbery in the discussion.

I agree with this completely! This wasn't what I was referring to, however. I was commenting on what I regard as, for lack of a better term, a hierarchy of confidence in the correctness of information, though I was really just touching on this.

Of course, people who post here, as you point out, are mostly engaged in informal discussion. No need to reference every statement of fact with a footnote. <g>

But with information in general, the criteria people cited -- academic credentials and experience/expertise -- are important, more or less, depending in large part, getting back to your point, on the outlet where the information is published. But most important, I'd say, no matter where published, is the rigor and thoroughness with which you do your research.

All this is relative, more or less. A non-academic expert who knows more about a certain topic than anyone in the world wouldn't be able to be published in some journals. A Ph.D. without any experience in a certain topic who did encyclopedic research might miss important issues or nuances because of his inexperience in that subject, despite his academic credentials and hard work.

But online, in these discussions, people should feel free to share information and opinions, I agree. It's always helpful, though, when people qualify what they say (as you did!) by pointing to whatever background, experience, and so on that they have on what they're commenting on.

At the opposite extreme, you have "Internet expertiseism," nonexperts who pose as experts online, a common enough phenomenon. It's clear what the psychology and dynamics are behind this. Joe addresses this here, regarding authentication, in the Fake Ancient Coin Reports and Discussion board with his directive, "IF YOU DON'T KNOW ENOUGH TO GIVE ADVICE - DON'T." This is blunt language, but I think it speaks to what we've all seen plenty of times, a useful counterbalance.
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« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2010, 10:49:37 am »

It's partly knowledge of the evidence, and partly the ability to go with it, in the face of the established hypothesis if necessary. Piltdown man was a classic; the 'fossil' confirmed the established hypothesis, that the big brain came first, and other human characteristics afterwards. When the first Australopithecus fossils came along in the 1920's, it made it a lot easier to ignore the awkward contrary, but genuine, evidence and stay in the box. Academics are just as frail as anyone else!
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« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2010, 02:22:53 pm »

I have seen absolutely "professional" work from supposed "amateurs" who hold no degrees and have published nothing in an academic journal (say Journal of Roman Studies or Numismatic Chronicle). What makes the differences is (1) experience, (2) access to sources, both the coins (in hand or in photos) and the extant literature, (3) a concern for honesty and the truth, above your own ego or pride,  which forces you to follow the evidence wherever it takes you regardless of the whether it confirms your own (public or private) hypotheses or not, and (4) an ability to organize and write well, so that others can understand and learn from your research.

It's partly knowledge of the evidence, and partly the ability to go with it, in the face of the established hypothesis if necessary. Piltdown man was a classic; the 'fossil' confirmed the established hypothesis, that the big brain came first, and other human characteristics afterwards. When the first Australopithecus fossils came along in the 1920's, it made it a lot easier to ignore the awkward contrary, but genuine, evidence and stay in the box. Academics are just as frail as anyone else!

What I would say is paramount, more important than any of this, is the rigor with which you approach whatever subject you're writing about. Have you examined the most important work and the conclusions of others, to see what evidence they used as a basis for their conclusions? Have you yourself looked at all the most relevant evidence you could find, and if possible have you uncovered any new evidence that others may not have? Have you based your conclusions on logic and the appropriate degree of skepticism, or have you jumped to conclusions based on unsupported or dubious extrapolations?

Quote from: commodus on November 28, 2010, 11:47:41 pm
...As with everyone here, an opinion I may express on some topics will be a great deal more knowledgeable than it might be on another. .. We are all here for the same reason: a passion for ancient coins and, within the scope of freely discussing that passion, we learn from each other and teach each other and, hopefully, all benefit from the discourse.

....academic proof deals with the balance of probabilities.  We have to remember that whilst that can be the right approach, that doesn't always mean that the results are right. 

I'm in an odd position of agreeing with just about everything said by everyone in the current discussion (the branch it has taken). Despite the appearance of two sides of a debate, when I read it cold, everyone is saying just about the same thing but in slightly different words!
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« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2010, 03:06:23 pm »

I'm in an odd position of agreeing with just about everything said by everyone in the current discussion (the branch it has taken). Despite the appearance of two sides of a debate, when I read it cold, everyone is saying just about the same thing but in slightly different words![/b]

Kinda like the terms fouree and suberatus.
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« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2010, 10:24:16 pm »

I'm in an odd position of agreeing with just about everything said by everyone in the current discussion (the branch it has taken). Despite the appearance of two sides of a debate, when I read it cold, everyone is saying just about the same thing but in slightly different words![/b]

Kinda like the terms fouree and suberatus.

Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2010, 01:08:30 pm »

Let's stick to coins and not debate the difference between academics and amateurs, please.  It may be an interesting and relevant conversation for someplace else, but here we talk about coins.   

Because, ancient coins include the products of many cultures and many centuries, some "official" fourrees were likely struck (some plated Athenian owl tets, for example, are likely official).  However, almost all plated coins were undoubtedly unofficial forgeries.  I have heard that some Roman fourree seem to have been struck with official dies but I have not seen one and have strong doubts.  I suspect that any Roman fourree found to have been struck with official dies could only have been made by unknowingly overstriking a fourree
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« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2010, 12:46:32 pm »

I will return to terminology because, as someone noted - Doug probably - it is useful to be able to mean approximately the same thing when discussing matters. I draw my experience on "plated coins" from research I have been part of and idle observations I have made...Smiley
Both debased Roman denarii and tetradrakhms from Alexandria from the time of Otho that I have seen have a fairly thick silvery surface layer. The denarii have been produced by first removing the copper from the core region (heating?) and then striking the coin creating an impression of a full silver product. The Alexandrian coins have a much thicker silvery core and an apparently close to full copper inside and the process may have been slightly different, but they too are made with the same general idea.
Now, I also have several Civil War issues from the year 68 CE with a clearly visible silver foil somehow - hot striking? - united with the coppery main body of the coin.
Later Roman coins seem to exist that may have been placed in acid for a short while after striking, giving them the impression of being good silver - why, I do not know because they cannot have fooled anyone. Perhaps esthetic purposes?
I would like to know how to call these. They are not the same things in principle. Most forgeries belong to the secong category, but I have seen ones made like the first system.
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Authentication, Fakes and Frauds (Moderators: maridvnvm, Ilya Prokopov)  |  Topic: Fouree vs Suberatus « previous next »
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