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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Dr. Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: 2 coins of Cabinet W seized in New York by District Attorney 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: 2 coins of Cabinet W seized in New York by District Attorney  (Read 40932 times)
4to2CentBCphilia
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« Reply #75 on: February 10, 2012, 07:44:17 pm »

Thought I would stick this here since it seems tangentially associated


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/arts/design/robert-hecht-antiquities-dealer-dies-at-92.html?_r=1&hpw

BR

Mark
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« Reply #76 on: March 21, 2012, 06:02:13 am »

Looks like today is a big day for Dr. Weiss:

The criminal court set bail at $200,000, and Weiss is expected to appear in court March 21 for possible grand jury action, Tran wrote in an email to The Herald. (The Brown Daily Herald, 2/17, Med School prof arrested for coin theft).

Let's hope it is just one big misunderstanding.

Nick

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« Reply #77 on: March 23, 2012, 02:39:30 pm »

Dr. Weiss case continued until July 3.

The Barrington hand surgeon who faces a charge of allegedly trying to sell a looted ancient coin appeared in Manhattan criminal court on Wednesday, March 21, according to the Chasing Aphrodite blog.

Stay tuned.

Smiley
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« Reply #78 on: July 04, 2012, 03:35:50 am »

Judgement Day:

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP910efeb3395c4e069f8387715326edd6.html
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« Reply #79 on: July 04, 2012, 04:42:21 am »


And what a judgement, particularly that the coins are adjudged fake.

I wonder who was the " expert" who called them fakes and their grounds for doing so.

I wonder that if you got 10 experts and double blind tested them with the coins in question and known real coins of similar ( if possible), type and see what the outcome would be.

The value of single coin finds must be minimal as compared to hoard finds so I guess the actual archaeological value is similar.

And finally, and similarly, the expert numismatical witness might be needed again if the recently discovered Athenian Dekadrachms are called into official doubt. Some were sold and some were withdrawn from sale.

Just the odd thought or two.

Cic
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« Reply #80 on: July 04, 2012, 06:07:47 am »

More on this saga here:

http://chasingaphrodite.com/
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« Reply #81 on: July 04, 2012, 06:36:21 am »

Wow, what a punishment he has received.  70 hours community service doing what he does for a job anyway.  $1,000 fine for each of the three coins, and having to write an article for a publication.  (OK, he has lost 23 other coins, but no mention of type or value).

(Please correct me if any of the following numbers are incorrect, I don't have time to double check right now!)

So, he expected, and nearly did, sell one of the coins for $1.3M, which he hoped would net him approx $1/3M.  For getting caught and admitting it, he gets a $3k fine and a slap on the wrist???  I'll bet scammers, illegal importers and other fraudsters are quaking in their boots.  Jeese, with punishments like that I'd consider trying my luck at smuggling as well.  It seems that the risk/reward balance would be in my favour!!!

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« Reply #82 on: July 04, 2012, 06:43:59 am »

I'm looking forward to reading this:

The court also required Weiss, the former treasurer of the American Numismatic Society, to write a detailed article in the society’s magazine detailing the widespread practice of dealing in coins with unclear ownership histories. It will describe the corresponding threat to the archaeological record and propose solutions for reforming the coin trade. In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said, “Thanks to today’s disposition, the article to be written by the defendant for a coin trade magazine will raise needed awareness about unprovenanced coins, and will promote responsible collecting among numismatists.”

Wow, what a punishment he has received.  70 hours community service doing what he does for a job anyway.  $1,000 fine for each of the three coins, and having to write an article for a publication.  (OK, he has lost 23 other coins, but no mention of type or value).

Don't forget he is also out of pocket perhaps a million dollars for what he paid for the fakes (I've no difficulty believing they are fakes bearing in mind the deceptive quality of the athens dekadrachm withdrawn from sale last year). But I do agree that the $3000 and 70 hours is neither here nor there. Bear in mind that the most significant aspect of the plea bargain was retention of his medical licence, which might have been at risk were he convicted of serious felony involving a long sentence (even if suspended). From this perspective, what he did not lose is perhaps most important of all.

Paul Barford makes a good case that the fake coins seized by the DA should be retained for future investigations rather than destroyed, as the court has ordered. Given the facts of this case, numerous private collectors and museums that did business with Weiss must be wondering how many other ancient coins that passed through his hands could also be forgeries.

This must be the first time in my life that I wholeheartedly agree with Barford, and also with the follow-up comment, but only in a general sense that doesn't relate to Weiss: any very-high-end fresh-looking unprovenanced Greek silver must always be thoughtfully considered before purchase (not a new thing of course). I'm so glad I collect a coin series (RR bronzes) that is so disregarded you could hardly give them away. In fact, RR bronzes are almost by definition, not money. They are, today, not a way to store wealth, not a means of exchange, and not a measure of value. Grin
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« Reply #83 on: July 04, 2012, 07:04:23 am »

I certainly would like more and  detailed information on why and on what basis the coins were declared forgeries, and by how many experts. Were scientific tests with electronic microscope or other technique carried out ?
I know that this type of very valuable coins are rarely seen and logically rarely forged. When forged, one or two specimens. But I am beginning to worry more and more about middle( and generally well known) priced coins. 
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Maffeo
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« Reply #84 on: July 04, 2012, 07:08:22 am »

Bardford's latest post makes the point that now all Cabinet W Sale coins must inevitably come under suspicion. Perhaps all ought to be examined using the same technique?

http://paul-barford.blogspot.com.au/
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« Reply #85 on: July 04, 2012, 07:21:53 am »

Don't forget he is also out of pocket perhaps a million dollars for what he paid for the fakes (I've no difficulty believing they are fakes bearing in mind the deceptive quality of the athens dekadrachm withdrawn from sale last year).

Maybe, maybe not.  I think that if I were him, once I had been caught my first call would be to my seller stating something along the lines of "Now, if you want your name kept out of this whole mess, this is what is going to happen".  Follow that up with a "You sold me fakes!?!  Now I expect to see a refund within the next 24 hours or both the FBI and Interpol will have your name, address and phone number.  Just remember, I have kept you out of the picture so far!"

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« Reply #86 on: July 04, 2012, 07:25:22 am »

I think that if I were him, once I had been caught my first call would be to my seller stating something along the lines of "Now, if you want your name kept out of this whole mess, this is what is going to happen".  Follow that up with a "You sold me fakes!?!  Now I expect to see a refund within the next 24 hours or both the FBI and Interpol will have your name, address and phone number.  Just remember, I have kept you out of the picture so far!"

No chance whatsoever. Remember the seller was masquerading as an illegal excavator (that was Weiss' story after all) and doubtless required payment in cash, and left no forwarding address. I'm about 99% confident of this. Someone - either Weiss or a dealer - has been stung for a million dollars by someone with mud on their hands, pretending to be a Sicilian farmer.

Furthermore the plea-bargain aspect will certainly include handing over ALL relevant information. ALL. If money were to be recovered (which it won't) it will be included in the confiscation order that was part of the judgment.
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4to2CentBCphilia
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« Reply #87 on: July 04, 2012, 07:36:54 am »

I think that if I were him, once I had been caught my first call would be to my seller stating something along the lines of "Now, if you want your name kept out of this whole mess, this is what is going to happen".  Follow that up with a "You sold me fakes!?!  Now I expect to see a refund within the next 24 hours or both the FBI and Interpol will have your name, address and phone number.  Just remember, I have kept you out of the picture so far!"

No chance whatsoever. Remember the seller was masquerading as an illegal excavator (that was Weiss' story after all) and doubtless required payment in cash, and left no forwarding address. I'm about 99% confident of this. Someone - either Weiss or a dealer - has been stung for a million dollars by someone with mud on their hands, pretending to be a Sicilian farmer.

Furthermore the plea-bargain aspect will certainly include handing over ALL relevant information. ALL. If money were to be recovered (which it won't) it will be included in the confiscation order that was part of the judgment.

Agreed. Hard to go to the Mafia and ask for your money back.

Mark
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« Reply #88 on: July 04, 2012, 07:48:00 am »

I certainly would like more and  detailed information on why and on what basis the coins were declared forgeries, and by how many experts. Were scientific tests with electronic microscope or other technique carried out ?
I know that this type of very valuable coins are rarely seen and logically rarely forged. When forged, one or two specimens. But I am beginning to worry more and more about middle( and generally well known) priced coins.  

I understand that one process used in recent times was hubbing a real coin, hand-finishing the dies, and striking on a flan made by melting worn/common coins of the same place and time. As with the method employed by Crawford to show that plated coins are mostly ancient forgeries (they adopted more or less the same technique), the modern versions can be discovered by extremely diligent examination of the "coin" and determining whether it could have been struck by the same dies as struck other known specimens. Hubbing is much less easy in practice than it sounds because every ancient coin misses some details present in the original dies, because of its strength or off-ness of strike and/or progressive die-wear and/or die-slippage during strike. So, careful examination (to the level justified in a million dollar coin) can detect logical inconsistencies between two coins otherwise apparently from the same dies, and if other die matches are known it becomes less and less easy to ensure that the fake dies are consistent with them all. It is exceptionally difficult to reverse a one-way process and create from it the die (including appropriate degrees of die-wear) used for striking a coin.

This is actually good for us. High end fakes can inevitably be unmasked if enough effort is applied.
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« Reply #89 on: July 04, 2012, 08:06:10 am »

It is exceptionally difficult to reverse a one-way process and create from it the die (including appropriate degrees of die-wear) used for striking a coin.

This is actually good for us. High end fakes can inevitably be unmasked if enough effort is applied.

To help those who don't fully understand this point, I show below three examples of this "logical inconsistency" problem from my plated coins webpage:  http://andrewmccabe.ancients.info/Plated.html


 
The above two coins cannot, logically, have been struck from the same reverse dies because of the border-dot mismatch between 7pm and 9pm, yet the dies are otherwise identical. Hence the lower coin is a fake produced by hubbing an example of the upper coin. It is logically impossible for them to have been struck from the same dies.



The above two coins cannot, logically, have been struck from the same obverse dies, because the lower coin has a die-break at the bottom of the left-lowest hair lock that is not present on the upper coin, and the upper coin has die-breaks, for example at the front of the neck truncation, not present on the lower coin. It is logically impossible for them to have been struck from the same dies.



The above picture shows a die (top) and a coin (bottom) but the coin cannot have been struck from the die, despite them appearing identical, because the die lacks details of the fringe-hair that are present on the coin (i.e. the die was made by hubbing a worn coin). Again, logically impossible for the coin to have been struck from this die.

Although all these examples relate to plated ancient forgeries, the technique in proving logical-impossibilities is in principle the same when determining whether any two coins are struck from the same dies. The more examples are known from these dies, the more difficult it becomes to make a die that side-steps all possible logical impossibilities.
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« Reply #90 on: July 04, 2012, 09:25:19 am »

I think that if I were him, once I had been caught my first call would be to my seller stating something along the lines of "Now, if you want your name kept out of this whole mess, this is what is going to happen".  Follow that up with a "You sold me fakes!?!  Now I expect to see a refund within the next 24 hours or both the FBI and Interpol will have your name, address and phone number.  Just remember, I have kept you out of the picture so far!"

No chance whatsoever. Remember the seller was masquerading as an illegal excavator (that was Weiss' story after all) and doubtless required payment in cash, and left no forwarding address. I'm about 99% confident of this. Someone - either Weiss or a dealer - has been stung for a million dollars by someone with mud on their hands, pretending to be a Sicilian farmer.

Furthermore the plea-bargain aspect will certainly include handing over ALL relevant information. ALL. If money were to be recovered (which it won't) it will be included in the confiscation order that was part of the judgment.

Agreed. Hard to go to the Mafia and ask for your money back.

Mark

And you think that my plan wasn't to get rid of the conniving, greedy physician why? Wink  Of course the chances of him approaching a criminal type, asking for a million bucks, and surviving would be next to nil.  But he strikes me as the sort of greedy person that would be so blinded by the thought of the money, he would put rationality to one side, and end up as landfill.
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TRPOT
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« Reply #91 on: July 04, 2012, 09:37:28 am »

Passing off fakes of such high value, highly scrutinized coins... very impressive. An Elmyr de Hory of the numismatic world, perhaps?  Grin
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« Reply #92 on: July 04, 2012, 09:51:46 am »

I certainly would like more and  detailed information on why and on what basis the coins were declared forgeries, and by how many experts. Were scientific tests with electronic microscope or other technique carried out ?
I know that this type of very valuable coins are rarely seen and logically rarely forged. When forged, one or two specimens. But I am beginning to worry more and more about middle( and generally well known) priced coins. 
FWIW, my source told me that, while the metal was correct, undoubtedly obtained from examples from the period, the "expert" claimed that the molecular/crystalline structure was not a match to other struck coinage of the period. Equipment to ascertain this is not available to common folks like us.
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« Reply #93 on: July 04, 2012, 09:59:50 am »

Hope that they are VERY confident in their authentification technique given the ruled fate of these alleged fakes. Kind of odd that all 3 coins submitted to this analysis (scanning electron microscope ?), the only 3 that were, were all condemned...
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« Reply #94 on: July 04, 2012, 10:03:40 am »

Hope that they are VERY confident in their authentification technique given the ruled fate of these alleged fakes. Kind of odd that all 3 coins submitted to this analysis (scanning electron microscope ?), the only 3 that were, were all condemned...

If they are to be destroyed it doesn't actually matter. It is, oddly, best for all concerned (including Dr.Weiss, and including for coin collectors) that they are considered to be fakes.
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« Reply #95 on: July 04, 2012, 10:07:44 am »

I certainly would like more and  detailed information on why and on what basis the coins were declared forgeries, and by how many experts. Were scientific tests with electronic microscope or other technique carried out ?
I know that this type of very valuable coins are rarely seen and logically rarely forged. When forged, one or two specimens. But I am beginning to worry more and more about middle( and generally well known) priced coins.  
FWIW, my source told me that, while the metal was correct, undoubtedly obtained from examples from the period, the "expert" claimed that the molecular/crystalline structure was not a match to other struck coinage of the period. Equipment to ascertain this is not available to common folks like us.
PeteB

That's  why I am worried.
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« Reply #96 on: July 04, 2012, 10:13:18 am »

.... the "expert" claimed that the molecular/crystalline structure was not a match to other struck coinage of the period. Equipment to ascertain this is not available to common folks like us.
PeteB

That's  why I am worried.

Again, why worry? If there are some superb new techniques to determine fakes, we should all be relieved, and look forward to its increasing use. If the coins were condemned on uncertain grounds, well they are to be destroyed anyway so the test is unrepeatable, and the condemnation is possibly the best thing that might have happened in the circumstances, as there is thus no evidence of recent looting.
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« Reply #97 on: July 04, 2012, 05:08:50 pm »

If Mr. Weiss was truly duped by the forgers his sentence appears appropriate, however if he were complacent in the fraud by selling the coins his sentence is not near harsh enough. And lets not forget that this incident has brought a disparaging light to ancient coin collecting.

Cameron
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« Reply #98 on: July 04, 2012, 05:26:41 pm »

The good side to all this is that it just might make high-end investors/collectors think twice before buying expensive (alleged) coins from shady sources.
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« Reply #99 on: July 05, 2012, 07:43:08 am »

If Mr. Weiss was truly duped by the forgers his sentence appears appropriate, however if he were complacent in the fraud by selling the coins his sentence is not near harsh enough. And lets not forget that this incident has brought a disparaging light to ancient coin collecting.

Cameron

Yes. And we don't know the answer. But, presumption of innocence requires that we accept the "was truly duped by the forgers" story. The judge/prosecutor accepted it, and he was more fully aware of the detailed evidence than we are, or ever could be, because we will never know what case the defense planned on presenting. So I think we should accept the sentence as appropriate, and move on.

The good side to all this is that it just might make high-end investors/collectors think twice before buying expensive (alleged) coins from shady sources.

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