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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Authentication, Fakes and Frauds (Moderators: maridvnvm, Ilya Prokopov)  |  Topic: Tooled? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Tooled?  (Read 2411 times)
freddy
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« on: May 06, 2012, 06:03:52 am »

Tooled or not?
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012, 12:34:05 pm »

It looks wrong to me.  Can't say if it's tooled or an outright fake.
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 12:49:39 pm »

Considering the estimate,45.000 Swiss francs,  the Auction house,  and not having the coin in hand, not tooled.
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 01:41:31 pm »

Don´t use the evil word.

Let´s say "only a little bit shape enhanced".

A killed coin.

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 02:12:29 pm »

Compare the fields with the surface outside the beaded rim. It's well done, but it's clearly been worked over, and it doesn't look right to me. I don't care who's selling it, I wouldn't want it.
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 03:59:01 am »

tooled and fake patina!
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labienus
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2012, 04:16:20 am »

Interesting "body-building" type of belly. If this is untouched, well ......
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 07:07:55 am »

Indeed tooled or an out right modern die. The green lacquer is pretty though.
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2012, 03:34:42 pm »

Tooled or not?
No, not tooled, surfaces are original, struck from new dies. The patina has been smoothed though, which may give this a bit artificial rendering.
And no, the dies are not modern. Here is a die match to the obv.: http://www.acsearch.info/record.html?id=550818
And finally, I agree with the wise mention of Benito about the seller: this top-selling auctioneer of ancients has the reputation of selecting the finest coins; I don't recall having ever seen a tooled bronze there (patina is another story).

Jérôme
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2012, 03:54:25 pm »

This seller is very reputable, probably the most reputable for ancient coins in the world. But to claim he has never offered tooled coins is wrong - there have been heavily tooled coins in recent sales too, as with many auction houses.

Back to the coin as this board should be about the coins, not about the sellers: I have not seen the Capta mentioned above in hand yet but parts of it look suspicious to me as well. Of course I may be wrong and it may look fine in hand, I hope to see it in hand soon.

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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2012, 04:51:48 pm »

This seller is very reputable, probably the most reputable for ancient coins in the world. But to claim he has never offered tooled coins is wrong - there have been heavily tooled coins in recent sales too, as with many auction houses.
Well, I've browsed through the recent sold sestertii and could find only smoothed coins, not tooled (in the sense of recreating vanished details from scraping material, either patina or metal from the surface). I'd be quite surprised if this auction house has recently sold unadvertized tooled bronzes: offering high value coins imply a strong discrimination in selecting the pieces, in order to keep the best reputation. The purpose is not to discuss the seller, but knowing the seller adds to the confidence.

J.
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2012, 05:00:09 pm »

Colin Kraay knew just one specimen from this die combination and this rev. die, a very fine piece seen in trade at Seaby in 1949, the rev. illustrated on pl. XXXIX of his unpublished Oxford dissertation, P257, of which I have a photocopy.

The auction coin in question gives the impression of being tooled, and comparison with Kraay's photo confirms this impression. A lot of detail on the rev. appears to have been strengthened and sometimes slightly altered.

In Kraay's picture, for example, the tree truck is less articulated than on the auction coin; there are two bunches of dates at the top of the trunk, apparently changed into additional branches with fronds by the tooler of the auction coin; and there is no trace of the emperor's cloak continuing between his legs, or of the fold of cloth covering Judaea's upper r. arm and continuing to her back.

On the obverse I suspect similar strengthening and minor alteration of the emperor's hair both above and below the wreath, though the coin Kraay photographed for this obv. die was not sharp enough to prove it.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 05:31:55 pm »

Colin Kraay knew just one specimen from this die combination and this rev. die, a very fine piece seen in trade at Seaby in 1949, the rev. illustrated on pl. XXXIX of his unpublished Oxford dissertation, P257, of which I have a photocopy.

The coin in question gives the impression of being tooled, and comparison with Kraay's photo confirms this impression. A lot of detail on the rev. appears to have been strengthened and sometimes slightly altered.

In Kraay's picture, for example, the tree truck is less articulated than on the auction coin; there are two bunches of dates at the top of the trunk, apparently changed into additional branches with fronds by the tooler of the auction coin; and there is no trace of the emperor's cloak continuing between his legs, or of the fold of cloth covering Judaea's upper r. arm and continuing to her back.

On the obverse I suspect similar strengthening and minor alteration of the emperor's hair both above and below the wreath, though the coin Kraay photographed for this obv. die was not sharp enough to prove it.

That seems to be fairly damning evidence.

So.................seems like the desciption should be changed or the coin withdrawn............

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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 05:44:17 pm »

Colin Kraay knew just one specimen from this die combination and this rev. die, a very fine piece seen in trade at Seaby in 1949, the rev. illustrated on pl. XXXIX of his unpublished Oxford dissertation, P257, of which I have a photocopy.

The auction coin in question gives the impression of being tooled, and comparison with Kraay's photo confirms this impression. A lot of detail on the rev. appears to have been strengthened and sometimes slightly altered.

In Kraay's picture, for example, the tree truck is less articulated than on the auction coin; there are two bunches of dates at the top of the trunk, apparently changed into additional branches with fronds by the tooler of the auction coin; and there is no trace of the emperor's cloak continuing between his legs, or of the fold of cloth covering Judaea's upper r. arm and continuing to her back.

On the obverse I suspect similar strengthening and minor alteration of the emperor's hair both above and below the wreath, though the coin Kraay photographed for this obv. die was not sharp enough to prove it.

Curtis, when I look at this almost die-match of the rev. (see also below): http://www.acsearch.info/record.html?id=25055
I'm not completely convinced: details seem to match closely. Some details can appear on that coin because of an earlier state of the die, the strike here seems very fresh anyway.

Jérôme

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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 05:50:21 pm »

there is something about this coin that does not look right to me - when Curtis noted " a lot of the detail on the reverse has been strengthened and sometimes altered" and then notes where,  he put into words a feeling I had that the coin looks disproportionate in its style - on the reverse my eyes are too quickly drawn to the tree or the physique of the emperor. the gestalt is wrong  Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2012, 05:56:35 pm »

Yes, the global appearance is artificial indeed, and for me that's due to the patina having been worked on, but I see it as 'smoothing' only. Well, unless I'm proven wrong!
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2012, 06:39:13 pm »

That's a finer specimen from the rev. die than Kraay's, and a much better picture than my photocopy of Kraay's photo of his plaster cast!

It contradicts my supposition of re-engraving of the two bunches of dates - not much was done to them - and shows that the drapery over Judaea's right shoulder is indeed original, though it seems slighltly re-formed on the auction coin.

However, note on the auction coin the line of drapery behind Judaea's back, joining her veil and the fold extending from below her buttocks to her lap: no trace of it in your new picture, or in Kraay's. Of course that immediately adjoins the trunk of the palm tree, which seems to have been entirely remade on the auction coin!

Look how Judaea's face has been altered and sharpened on the auction coin! The same sharpening has apparently affected the emperor's facial features on the reverse, and I suspect also his hair above the wreath on the obverse.

On the auction coin an extra fold seems to have been added ro the emperor's cloak just below his r. upper arm, and another fold added to the bit of drapery that emerges from behind his parazonium.

In any case, the new photo of the coin from the same rev. die is most useful, for it shows what an untooled extremely fine IVDAEA CAPTA sestertius should look like, in contrast to the overzealous cleaning and sharpening of the auction coin, with some details altered or added and the tree trunk quite remade!
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2012, 07:04:32 pm »

The "SC" on the reverses are significantly different. And the "bark" treatment is irregular on the acsearch example, but highly (rigidly) regular on the coin in question, as Curtis observes.
They are either not of the same die, or the coin has been tooled. No other explanation can account for the differences.
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2012, 01:55:25 am »

Well, I've browsed through the recent sold sestertii and could find only smoothed coins, not tooled (in the sense of recreating vanished details from scraping material, either patina or metal from the surface). I'd be quite surprised if this auction house has recently sold unadvertized tooled bronzes

But your initial claim was that the seller never offered tooled bronzes in general, not that he never offered undisclosed tooled bronzes. Not that it matters so much, I have seen both, yet I still think he is, of course, extremely reputable.

As for the Capta, the die match nicely illustrates the differences on the reverse. Most of the emperor's clothing seems to have been remade, too.

Lars
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2012, 03:57:45 am »

In any case, the new photo of the coin from the same rev. die is most useful, for it shows what an untooled extremely fine IVDAEA CAPTA sestertius should look like, in contrast to the overzealous cleaning and sharpening of the auction coin, with some details altered or added and the tree trunk quite remade!
Curtis, I initially thought it was the same die, but actually, though the styles are extremely close, it is not! For instance, look at the alignment of the C of SC with regards to the trunk, or small details like the position of the emperor's left arm. That's why I'm talking about an 'almost die-match'. So the questions you initially raised are still valid, and my purpose was to make an analogy between the 2 dies to justify the details you didn't see on the Kraay's ex.

The main difference in style between these 2 rev. dies is the shape of the trunk, which can nevertheless been met on other dies like this one: http://www.acsearch.info/record.html?id=24130

But I agree this coin is kind of overcleaned, giving this artificial and polished aspect that everyone has noted!

But your initial claim was that the seller never offered tooled bronzes in general, not that he never offered undisclosed tooled bronzes.
Yes Lars, I wrote too fast: I had only in mind the fact that I didn't see any tooled bronzes that were not described as such indeed. But surely over the past 15 years and hundreds of 'untooled' bronzes sold, some ex may have passed through: it must be an extremely small minority.

Jérôme
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« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2012, 08:10:42 am »

Jérôme,

The rev. die you have shown is definitely the same as Kraay's P257 (the Seaby coin), and I believe that the auction coin in question must also be from that same rev. die.

In my experience, different Roman dies of this era always differ from one another in numerous details of the type and in the location of the letters of the legend relative to each other and to the type.

It simply does not happen that two dies are identical in most details, but then different in a few which proves that they are different dies. Those few differences will almost certainly merely be due to modern tooling, especially in a case like this one where the coin showing the differences has obviously been intensively worked over.

I admit that the complete remaking of the palm trunk and the slight shift of the position of the C of S C are hard to explain, but these differences cannot convince me that the dies are in fact different, given the identity of virtually all other details.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2012, 05:47:32 pm »

I admit that the complete remaking of the palm trunk and the slight shift of the position of the C of S C are hard to explain, but these differences cannot convince me that the dies are in fact different, given the identity of virtually all other details.
Curtis,

There are some other differences, which make a tooling job as originator of these differences, not very probable:
- position of last letter 'A' of CAPTA with regards to the arm of Judaea
- spacing between trunk and emperor, quite smaller on the auction coin (e.g. compare helmet, left knee, drapery over left arm and their relative distance to trunk)
- spacing between SC and 'floor' (or exergue) line
- shape of letter 'E' of IVDAEA (especially the center line)

I cannot imagine a tooler reconstructing completely the reverse, to explain all those differences. So I see an identity of style, but not of die. But surely the same hand who designed both dies.

Jérôme
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2012, 06:03:26 pm »

I have to see both side by side to follow. Hope this helps.
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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2012, 06:58:52 pm »

Jérôme,

But the apparent widening of the palm tree's trunk by adding a third row of submarine-sandwich protuberances on the left, as was apparently done, would of course reduce the space between the emperor and the tree!

Since Judaea's head has also apparently been re-engraved, I am not impressed by the slight shift in her position relative to the last A of CAPTA in the legend.

The slight horizontal shift of the C of S C is already an admitted problem. Adding a possible further slight inconsistency on the vertical axis (increased distance from the exergue line)  doesn't really add to your case.

So I remain convinced: it's the same die reworked by a modern restorer.

Not only are your postulated two rev. dies very similar in many details, but they were both also combined with the same obverse die: for Kraay's Seaby coin showed the rev. die of your acsearch coin also coupled with the obv. die of the reworked coin soon to be sold (Kraay's A52). This increases the likelihood that the rev. of the reworked coin actually began as the same rev. die, Kraay's P257, for that is certainly an authentic die combination, attested by another coin. Of course you can say that your hypothetical two rev. dies were obviously engraved sequentially by the same engraver, so might easily both have been employed with the same obverse die!

You can also conclusively refute my thesis by finding another, untooled, coin struck from the same slightly different rev. die as the coin soon to be auctioned! But I remain confident that such a coin will never turn up, because the supposed "variant" rev. die is merely a modern tooler's enhancement of Kraay's P257.
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2012, 08:11:14 pm »

A very unscientific method, but it helps me to compare points. There are some differences but the vast majority of the points correspond on both coins.
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