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Author Topic: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!  (Read 727 times)

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Offline Erika B

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Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« on: January 24, 2021, 06:16:11 pm »
First post here.....  I'm a newbie in the world of ancient coins and looking for opinions on whether to view the seller of my first lot of uncleaned Roman coins with suspicion. 

Some background on my story.... I thought it sounded interesting and surprisingly affordable to buy a piece of history, so I bought some coins for the first time ever from a seller who seemed to have a good web presence.  Before I found this website. 10 from Balkans and 10 from France.  When they came I was underwhelmed at how they appeared at first glance but decided to give it a chance.   I have come to learn that this is not a casual hobby.  In two days I've gone from toothpicks and DW to a binocular scope and needles, etc...

My first coin came out to be of Gratian in bronze. I was able to find out all the pertinent info. Great...  Its becoming more fun now that I can actually solve a puzzle and learn things.

It was hard to decide which coin to try next as they all look like crap... half missing or nearly smooth or completely encrusted.  I choose a completely encrusted as I figure it could hide a whole coin.  So I'm picking away for hours.  Letters on the obverse are clearly visible.  Figured it would be an easy ID but they don't make sense.  I enlisted my daughter to give it an attempt at reading the letters.  Still looks likes gibberish.    ....IOS....HVBOREXAA.  No dbase returned any hits.
Spent hours today on the reverse and was ready to give up when right across the middle like a banner I see ....TZER.  I'm thinking this is not any Latin I'm aware of..  Keep going and eventually see KREUTZER.   My second ancient Roman coin turned out to be a 1792 1/4 Kreutzer from Austria.

So what the heck?  How did I get this in my lot and why would something so "young" be totally encrusted?  I'm starting to be suspicious and wonder if I was sold a load of junk.  That somebody might be taking his junk coins and purposely encrusting them to give some idiot like me the thrill of cleaning culls.  Anyway you look at it, there is no explanation for me getting a Kreutzer in what should have been ancient Romans.  Did a Roman soldier time travel 1400 years into the future and then go back before burying his stash?

To boot, the Kreutzer was a pain in the neck.  Since I switched to the scope, its opened up a whole new world and awareness (of detail...and damage!).   I have been comparing crusts to understand what they are made of and how to get them off.  For the Kreutzer, I could see large black crystals on the surface making me wonder if there are tricks for rapidly encrusting coins.  It just wouldn't budge easily.... but what smells fishy is that it had a crust similar to some of my others still left.

I want to approach the seller but don't want to accuse him of ripping me off necessarily.  At the same time isn't this bad for a seller?  That means his supplier isn't trustworthy or he cant keep his inventory straight. 

Anyone else have a take on this situation?

THanks!

Offline Justin W

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 06:27:26 pm »
Hello, welcome to the world of ancient coins. Uncleaned coins are a great way to get into Ancient coins. I assure you it is normal to find more recent coins in uncleaned lots. For instance, from one seller I buy from I get a lot of hungarian coins from 1500 and onwards. So it is not abnormal to find coins like that in uncleaned lots. Depending on where the lot is from it can have way more coins then just Roman. A couple months ago I bought a lot from the Middle East and it had Seleucid, Byzantine, Roman, and Judean coins. After a while it is an awesome surprise to find coins that aren’t Roman in uncleaned lots. Also if coins are encrusted a seller cannot see what or where they are from. So I would definitely not accuse the seller of anything and a lot of uncleaned coins may turn out as blank coins that just how it goes.



Best regards,
Justin

Offline Ken W2

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2021, 11:34:24 pm »
Welcome Erika. I suppose I’ve progressed to journeyman on uncleaneds but still no expert. Justin is spot on. I have pulled kreutzers,
Yugoslavians, Byzantines, provincials, barbarous imitations, a few rough silvers and billon coins from uncleaned “Roman bronze” lots. That’s part of the deal and part of the fun to me. Kinda like metal detecting for civil war artifacts— you never know what you might pull from the ground.
Ken

Offline djmacdo

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2021, 08:02:59 am »
While working in the back yard I have encountered copper coins only about thirty years old that were so covered with hard dirt and real patina that on first glance you would have thought they were centuries old.

Offline Erika B

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2021, 10:29:25 am »
Thanks for the replies.  It sounds like finding unrelated coins in a lot is not uncommon.  On the other hand I kind of view it as watering down the inventory to stretch it out and make more money (kind of like a drug dealer when you think about it).  If they cut the lots with even 5% completely unrelated worthless coins they can sell one more lot for every twenty. 

There is no way a Kreutzer was in the ground alongside the Romans.  At some point a modern day human made the decision to mix it in hoping the buyer wouldn't notice.  Just kinda bothers me.

What bothers me more is that the crust on the Kreutzer looks and acted very similar to the crust on a few of the other coins I have.  They seem to have a shiny hard coating that yields grey waxy acting stuff when scratched.  Mixed in are these distinct black single crystals.  Almost acts like concrete together.  I have an old scope so I don't have a way of mounting a camera or I'd take a pic.

So I have a hard time figuring out how the same crust could be on an ancient as well as something only 239 years old.  If one knows a bit about chemistry it wouldn't be too hard to start a business taking already cleaned worthless coins and adding a crust to resell to the less knowledgeable.  Out of the 20 I purchased maybe one is in reasonable shape.  The majority, I'm not sure I'll even bother to clean.  If the form isn't there (like its way too thin or missing a big chunk of the round) there is no hope.

I'd like to buy more uncleaned coins but will have to be very careful next time.  Would prefer to buy knowing the coins came from a specific known hoard.

Offline Lech Stępniewski

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2021, 11:10:06 am »
There is no way a Kreutzer was in the ground alongside the Romans

Why not? If the place has been inhabited for centuries, for example in the Balkans, and now someone is searching it with a detector he can find a Kreutzer, then five meters away Roman follis, then modern coin from 50 years ago etc. And put them together into bag. It is not impossible.
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Offline Ken W2

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2021, 01:03:11 pm »
Absolutely those coins could be in the ground together. I’ve pulled hundreds of Minie balls from the ground sharing space with beer tabs, bottle tops, fence wire etc. On a crude level that’s just archeology. My guess is your dealer didn’t know that kreutzer was in there.

Hang in there on the cleaning. You will wax and wane between excitement and frustration.  I’ve been running an unscientific study on my cleaning for several months. I clean in groups of 20. Roughly about 7-8 of 20 will turn out decent to nice and be fully attributable.  Another third will be discarded, maybe to be experimented on later. The other third are candidates for harsher cleaning, ie chemical stripping or electrolysis. That third group also gets a second look before stripping and a few will undergo further cleaning, and may be attributable, but of rough appearance.
Ken

Offline Justin W

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2021, 02:45:33 pm »
I also wanna point a few more things out. Every coin is worth cleaning even if the coin is thin or missing part of. Many of the coins after being cleaned can still be identified and can be in good shape. Also, if the kreutzer was covered fully the seller would have no idea it was not a Roman. It is not rare for a “modern”  coin to have been in the ground near Roman coins. Many Roman coins metal detected from the Balkans are from places where many other coins have been used since. Also, cleaning coins is a slow process, it’s best to work on them one day put them back in dw then work on them in a couple days. They have been in the ground for up to 2000 years, so
they do not clean up in a day or a week and sometimes months. If you are new I would really advise buying low quality coins which can be usually found for cheap. Those are great for practice and they will show you how coins that look hopeless can clean up very well with time. Also don’t try to find uncleaned coins from “hoards”. Most uncleaned coins are found individually then shipped together to a seller, hoards used to come to the uncleaned market in the best years of uncleaned but I’ve never seen an actual hoard since I’ve started.


Also I think this topic should be moved to the uncleaned coin section.



Offline Virgil H

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2021, 08:24:12 pm »
Some great answers here. I am relatively new at cleaning coins, but have learned that unless the coin is basically already pretty clean, you can't do it in a couple of days. I have some that have been in regular changes of distilled water for at least four months. One of those I was able to attribute after about three weeks. The rest, I pull out from time to time and brush and examine, then put them back in. Some will be throw aways, some will be keepers. I think it is the nature of the beast. They are uncleaned, after all. Many collectors recommend never buying coins this way, others like myself enjoy the challenge while knowing that I will never find a real rarity in all likelihood and that not all will ever amount to much. Partly it depends on how much you spend I suppose, my real money goes into known quality coins. The uncleaned stuff is for fun and education.

Cheers,
Virgil

Offline Erika B

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2021, 10:22:30 am »
Why not? If the place has been inhabited for centuries, for example in the Balkans, and now someone is searching it with a detector he can find a Kreutzer, then five meters away Roman follis, then modern coin from 50 years ago etc. And put them together into bag. It is not impossible.

When you describe it that way, it does make sense.  I suppose I had this image in my mind of a soldier with a leather bag of coins burying it in the ground.... resulting in someone finding hundreds of coins at once all together.  I wasn't picturing a coin here.... another coin meters away.  I appreciate the different perspective.    I am not a detectorist so I don't know how they are actually found but I won't fault the seller.  I'm not sure how to find the best source of uncleaned coins but will have to shop around again.  Someone suggested to move this thread to cleaning.... I am very interested in learning more about cleaning but the primary purpose of this post was to ask for advice if I was getting gypped.   

Cleaning is another whole ball of wax and I will have to look and see if there is a section for this topic somewhere.   I have heard every conceivable piece of advice only to be completely contradicted by someone else.  Its maddening as I am now paralyzed with doubt about how to proceed without completely trashing my coins.  I will repost this in a cleaning folder if I can find it.

e.g.
"soak in DW for weeks" vs. "NEVER soak any coins in water"
"Andres pencils are great" vs "You can't use Andres pencils without damaging your coins"
"Use low grade olive oil" vs... "Youll never completely get the oil off your coin if you use it"
"Its quick and easy to make an electrolysis setup with a 9V battery" vs "Electrolysis is a horrible way to clean coins"
 
Lastly, tHis folder about FAKES is very disheartening to me.  I have thought about buying a nice coin on eBay only to pull that thought back.  I would never be able to tell a fake.  Some of the examples where people show an "embarrassingly obvious" fake look pretty good to  me!  There are easier ways to make money.... why bother with the risk for such low return....


Offline Justin W

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2021, 04:03:47 pm »
Erika, you make a lot of great points about the many conflicting points when it comes to coin cleaning. I’m sure if/when you post about it in the coin cleaning section people will give you their opinions on it as well. Ultimately, the thing I did was take in all the information I saw and made the decisions I thought were right based on the information. Never forget that you are the one who is cleaning the coins so it’s up to you to make the final decision. Don’t be afraid of messing up on a one, two, or even ten coins, because we have all started where you have and I haven’t never heard of someone who was amazing when they first started. Also if you would like to buy 100% genuine coin, just look at the forum shop!


Best Regards,

Justin

Uncleaned forum link: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?board=8.0

Offline otlichnik

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2021, 07:19:16 pm »
I moved this to the uncleaned as it belongs better here.

Interesting discussion.

Welcome Erika.

I too have found Kreutzers and modern coins in ancient lots.  It is important to understand that despite terms that some people may use 99.99% of such coins are individual finds.  True "hoards" of coins - lost and then found together - are a rarity and usually in better condition too given their storage (purse, jar, etc.).  Thus you can get coins of any age in an uncleaned lot. 

It is true that a more recent coin is less likely to be encrusted but there are always exceptions.  A few years back I found two copper "crusties" in my backyard - in Ottawa.  They were Canadian pennies from the 1980s.  In 30 years they had gained a thick coating of green that obscured any details until cleaned.....

The best thing you can do for cleaning advice is spend several hours reading the threads here.  You may find a bit of contradictory advice  - but a lot less here than in other sources.

You can always post images of individual coins for cleaning advice too!!

SC





SC
(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2021, 07:55:15 pm »
There are easier ways to make money.... why bother with the risk for such low return....

I am not sure what you meant, but if you are trying to make money by cleaning and then selling coins, forget it. Uncleaned coins are sold uncleaned because sellers can make more money selling them uncleaned. The total value of all the uncleaned coins is greater uncleaned than the seller thinks it will be after they are cleaned (including the cost of labor). You might get lucky and find something great, but probably not.
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Offline otlichnik

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2021, 05:50:41 pm »
I think she was concerned that someone was taking modern or early modern coins and finding ways to make them crusty and sell them as uncleaned Romans.  And yes, that wouldn't make much sense.  Such coins are almost certainly there accidentally.

SC
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Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2021, 07:32:12 pm »
Ah, OK.  Right, uncleaned coins can include almost any type even very modern. That is why I always included extra coins. I would occasionally get an email demanding a replacement coin for a non-Roman coin. I would reply that they should count the coins they received because they already had the replacement coin.
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Offline Erika B

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Re: Ancient Roman..... Kreutzer?!
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2021, 11:41:38 pm »
I am not sure what you meant, but if you are trying to make money by cleaning and then selling coins, forget it.

yeah... uh... no...  I wasn't thinking of selling my crappy beat up bronze coins. :)  I'll probably never get them truly clean and I see tons of them for sale everywhere.

Although the thought crossed my mind that some people might be encrusting modern coins, my comment about there being easier ways to make money was actually pertaining to the people who create forgeries or fake coins.  I can't believe people can make that much money selling a fake to make it worth the effort of doing such a thing!  Real ancient coins are surprisingly affordable.  There isn't room for a markup so the money per hour that a criminal earns ends up being pretty low.  I don't get it.  Plus at some point people catch on and the forger's reputation will eventually be trashed for good.

 

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