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Author Topic: Athens tetradrachm  (Read 810 times)

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Offline Marc B3

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Athens tetradrachm
« on: August 08, 2021, 10:32:59 am »
Hi all.  I'm relatively new to collecting and would like to get your advice on this coin from my collection.  The reason I am asking is because of two things.  One is the pitting (I'm probably not using the correct term) around the face.  Also, the coin is very clean and shiny but there is some dirt encrusted on the reverse.  It just makes me wonder so I though I would put it out there for some feedback.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


Offline Kevin D

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2021, 01:22:28 pm »
It is sometimes difficult to identify a forgery without having the coin in hand, but in the photos of your coin I don't see anything that leads me to doubt its authenticity. The "pitting" on the obverse that you cite is what I would call flan flaws, which are a property of the blank before it was struck by the hammer and dies to form a coin. In this case, the flaws might have been enlarged and made more evident by the force of the striking. Below is a link to a genuine coin with similar flan flaws.

https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=300300#


Offline Ron C2

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2021, 02:00:22 pm »
I don't collect this type and can't speak to normal traits, but there are two pearls below the lower lip on the obverse when blown up. I would suggest they merit scrutiny.
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Offline Marc B3

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2021, 03:30:15 pm »
Thank you both for the reply.  Ron, I see what you mean.  Is that another pearl between the chin and neck?  Is casting alone the only reason for something like this?


Offline Ron C2

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2021, 04:12:11 pm »
There are people.in the board here more skilled than me at detecting a fake from a photo, but pearls are often the sign either of a cast coin, or a coin struck from a cast die.
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Offline Marc B3

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2021, 06:57:26 pm »
Thank you again.  I'm happy to get some feedback so quickly.  I'm a bit anxious about this now, but will wait to see if anyone else has any thoughts.

It is also very clean except for the dirt encrusted on the reverse.  I suppose that sort of thing can be faked as well.

Offline Pharsalos

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2021, 07:33:02 pm »
I am no expert either, but it looks like a lovely coin and perfectly genuine to me. If it were cast, I would expect to see evidence of a seam (or attempted removal of a seam) along the edge. Both the style and flan look fine to me.

Offline Altamura

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2021, 06:51:07 am »
I also think that this coin is genuine. It seems to be part of the huge number sold these days:
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?term=athens+athena+owl+tetradrachm+-amphora+-amphore&category=1&lot=&thesaurus=1&images=1&en=1&de=1&fr=1&it=1&es=1&ot=1&currency=usd&order=1

The pitting and shiny appearance probably come from corrosion and heavy chemical cleaning.

Regards

Altamura

Offline Marc B3

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2021, 07:13:29 am »
Thank you for your reply.  I do feel some better about it.  What are your thoughts on the pearls that Ron mentioned?

I'm looking a cast examples from the site.  The raised areas under the chin worry me a bit.  Sorry for all the questions.  I'm really new at this and am trying to understand the best I can.

Offline Kevin D

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2021, 12:33:57 pm »
Marc B3,

The pearls that Ron mentioned, when seen on a fake cast coin or coin struck from a fake cast die, are raised perfectly (or nearly so) round impressions caused by casting bubble pits. If there is a tiny pit in the mold or die, there will be a tiny raised 'pearl' on the coin when the metal fills the pit in the mold or die. Pearls are always a cause for concern. But sometimes pearls can occur on genuine ancient coins, when the die becomes pitted from rust or wear. On your coin, there are some pearls seen in and around the lips and between the jaw/chin and neck on the obverse. But also in these areas, there are signs of die degradation: small raised clumps extending into the field above and below the lower lip, and above and below the pearls seen in the crook of the neck. So in the case of your coin, because I don't see anything else that looks 'wrong' to me about the coin, I attribute these few pearls to die degradation. If I saw more pearls, and something else that bothered me about the coin, like incorrect style, I would be suspicious. It's a judgment call, and I could be wrong, and sometimes I am.

In addition to looking for an edge seam, as previously mentioned, if I had your coin in hand, I would inspect with magnification the striking edge split that goes into Athena's forehead. These kinds of striking edge splits often don't look right on cast fake coins. If the split on your coin has good depth and rough interior surfaces, it could be a sign of genuineness. I would also check with magnification the right incuse square 'wall', next to the letters on the reverse. There are tiny striking lines on this surface made by the die. These can also be duplicated in a cast coin, and they can also be 'dulled' from being exposed to the elements over the centuries, but if they look so sharp that they seem unlikely to be cast, it might also be a sign of genuineness. However, these diagnostics will not work for detecting a cast die.

Did you buy your coin from a reputable and experienced seller?

I checked the following links for fakes that look like they were struck or cast from the dies that struck your coin, and I didn't see any (which is good). You can have a look to see fakes that have been identified. You will see casting pearls on some of these examples.

Forvm - Dr. Ilya Prokopov's Fake Ancient Coin Reports
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/fakes/thumbnails.php?album=10&page=16

Forgery Network
http://www.forgerynetwork.com/viewassets.aspx?mode=IrY~x~6CGiY1Q=&cl=&cln=&br=&pr=&prd=&key=9zF~x~Lbg~x~88BT6h2c~x~hrLgp~x~6Bv0YuZGv&ext=CbSSjWkLN03YeTuQXF4H4QH/Qglw7e7HP/aL3GaaCQipaQhi4iWDIWHE9YfedsH3Bhz3qs6cHUVcmiT780Lk9EOLumVXPWZq26k5XqOmFT3cdZc~x~wQZYyVJBTc3GH2CMSsAf2vYy3sF2SpMb5EMxrg==&srco=1&num=20&srchall=0

Modern Owl Forgeries
http://rg.ancients.info/owls/forgeries.html

Offline Marc B3

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2021, 02:22:05 pm »
Thank you so much for your post Kevin.  I'm learning a lot.  I don't want to break the rules so I won't name the dealer but it was off the Vcoins site.  I hope it's alright to give that information.  I apologize ahead of time if not.  The dealer said he had 20 years in the business but I did some research and found out that particular store has only been open for 8 months.  He does say that he guarantees authenticity for life.  I have not spoken with him yet about my concerns. 

So far what I'm hearing is that there is nothing overwhelming that leads to believe it is not authentic.  I would love to get it into the hands of an expert to be sure.  In the meantime I do appreciate all the help you all have given.  This is a great community!

Offline antoninus1

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2021, 03:54:19 pm »
When I saw the picture of the coin my first thought was: why is it posted in this forum section?
To me it simply looks struck and perfectly genuine :)

Offline Ron C2

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2021, 06:51:30 pm »
Thank you so much for your post Kevin.  I'm learning a lot.  I don't want to break the rules so I won't name the dealer but it was off the Vcoins site.  I hope it's alright to give that information.  I apologize ahead of time if not.  The dealer said he had 20 years in the business but I did some research and found out that particular store has only been open for 8 months.  He does say that he guarantees authenticity for life.  I have not spoken with him yet about my concerns. 

So far what I'm hearing is that there is nothing overwhelming that leads to believe it is not authentic.  I would love to get it into the hands of an expert to be sure.  In the meantime I do appreciate all the help you all have given.  This is a great community!

If you have lingering doubts, you could send it to an authentication service and be certain.  They will judge it far more accurately than anyone can on an internet forum with a few photos.  You like do know that Athenian old style tetradrachms are extensively faked, and the real coins are selling for far more money than their prevalence would suggest they should.  They are basically popular coins, despite not being rare.  I think if Sparta has struck tetradrachms with chevrons on them, they would also sell like hotcakes - lol.
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Offline antoninus1

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2021, 02:56:57 am »
...
It is also very clean except for the dirt encrusted on the reverse.  I suppose that sort of thing can be faked as well.

To me this rest of encrustation is a sign of authenticity. It is very difficult to fake this (and I have never seen it so far). I agree with altamura, this coin is part of the huge number of tetradrachms currently on the market.

Offline Virgil H

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2021, 08:11:58 pm »
They are basically popular coins, despite not being rare.  I think if Sparta has struck tetradrachms with chevrons on them, they would also sell like hotcakes - lol.

This is one of the things about these owl coins that has surprised me and made me not really care any longer if I ever get one. They are super common and every auction has multiples of them. Yet, they are far more expensive than their lack of scarcity would imply. I totally get the supply and demand thing and these coins are beautiful. Yet, I have decided I would rather have three or four (or many more) beautiful coins that would all be more rare than one of these for what it would cost for one owl.

Virgil

Offline Altamura

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2021, 01:33:21 am »
... I have decided I would rather have three or four (or many more) beautiful coins that would all be more rare than one of these for what it would cost for one owl. ...
This is everyone's personal decision. But it is really nice to have such an owl :).

Regards

Altamura

Offline Virgil H

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2021, 03:57:13 pm »
Altamura,

I totally agree. I hope to get one one day. I also want a Bactrian elephant coin (and the ones with portrait plus elephant helmet aren't too shabby, either). There are actually quite a few that I want an example of primarily because of the designs.

Regards,
Virgil

Offline Marc B3

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2021, 10:11:54 pm »
Hi all.  I appreciate all the good info everyone gave me here.  I decided to send my coin off to David Sear for his authentication.  He said exactly what Kevn D said about the pearls.  They're just signs of die wear and nothing at all to worry about. 

Thanks again for all the help here.  This seems to be a great community with a lot of knowledgeable people.

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Athens tetradrachm
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2021, 01:29:57 pm »
Glad to hear the coin is genuine. I would have been surprised to learn otherwise.

The "pearls" are a good example the unfortunate fact that there is almost no indicator of forgery that isn't also found on some genuine coins (or something very similar in appearance). Authentication is not easy.
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