Numismatic and History Discussions > Books and References

20,000 sulfer casts

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esnible:
In the British Museum catalog of the 1990 show Fake? The Art of Deception, under the 'Forgeries of ancient coins by Becker and Caprara' entry, Martin Price wrote:

[Ancient coins'] collectability was confirmed and enhanced by the publication in 1806 of the first volume of T. E. Mionnet's Description de médailles antiques grecques et romains avec leur degré de rareté et leur estimation which, accompanied by 20,000 sulpher casts, provided the first reliable and comprehensive price guide to ancient coins.

What does Price mean by '20,000 sulpher casts?'

curtislclay:
      Mionnet made and sold sulphur casts of coins in the French collection.  His first publication was a list of the casts he had for sale!
      The BM and Berlin have large collections of Mionnet casts.  Their main importance is that they preserve record of some of the GOLD coins in the French collection that were stolen and melted down in 1831.  The casts of silver and bronze coins are useful for consultation, but if you want you can still go to Paris and examine the originals.  That is not the case with the gold coins; Mionnet's casts are the only surviving record of their dies and exact appearance.
       Some 20-25 years ago the original molds of Mionnet's casts turned up.  They were to be published by a team including Maria Radnoti-Alfoeldi.  I know nothing about how this project has progressed.

Robert_Brenchley:
You mean the casts were made in molten sulphur? It seems an extraordinary medium to use!

curtislclay:
    The casts are two-sided models of the coins, in various colors, red, green, yellow.  They are called sulphur casts, but I know nothing about the material they are made of or the process of manufacture.
     The casts I make are in plaster of Paris, and two for each coin, obverse and reverse!

Robert_Brenchley:
Apparently its a mixture of sulphur, lamp black and camphor.

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