Numismatic and History Discussions > Books and References

Another rant from Morten Eske Mortensen

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helvetica:
For some reason unknown to me I received last night an 8.2 Megabyte (!) email from Mr. Mortensen , the compiler of books of Roman (and other) Coin Sales prices, this time with the subject "WARNING Heritage mega-cheating and manipulating the bidders qva e.g. CoinArchives and Roberto Delzanno - meanwhile the law says cheating the bidders is illegal !"
The rant is this time aimed at Heritage, a reliable and long-established company, of whom Mr. Mortensen writes "Heritage keeps on cheating bidders (=loose money). AGAIN ! The false / fake / rarity statements qva Roberto Delzanno" simply because the company has not bought his book and has apparently not spent hours and hours ploughing through CoinArchivesPro and/or acsearch etc. counting the number of examples of various coins sold.
He also takes umbrage when a seller writes, for example, "Only 4 examples in CoinArchives" which is a legitimate claim, by commenting in his book (in this case): "In case the catalogue writer from CNG in stead of Coin Archives were looking into the "Database of Auction occurrences..." he would write "A great more number of sales listed in the "Database of .....".

According to Mr Mortensen, anyone - be they a buyer or a seller - are ignorant if they do not buy his books.

This is no way to advertise a book. Crikey, if I sent out 8 Mb spam emails to people claiming that sellers who describe Lydian coins as "unpublished" when they are actually listed in my GRPC work, are ignorant or fraudulent, I wouldn't be able to show my cyber-self in public.

Virgil H:
This is interesting and I have no idea who this guy is. But, he does make a point. I rarely will pay attention to claims that "only two sold in last decade" and the like because it just seems deceptive. Part of that is I base my purchases on what I can afford and what I like. I don't think I have ever afforded a coin listed like this. LOL. Plenty of coins are not sold at auction and even many that are are not in these databases. Plus, we have coins in collections at museums and with collectors. So, I suppose I just changed the topic here. Does the rarity based on these auction databases really have that much validity other than to justify a higher price? Because these are basically unscientifically developed samples being extrapolated to the entire population of a given coin.

Regards,
Virgil

helvetica:
Many sellers look in CoinArchivesPro (which has sales going back to the late 1990s) or acsearch. If a seller's shop is not a "member" of either of these, of course that seller's coin will not be in CoinArchivesPro or acsearch. This is why many sellers describe a coin as "none in CoinArchives", or even "not on wildwinds" (which I actually find to be very complimentary).
But my point is the way that Mortensen rants against big name sellers in an attempt to buy his book. And if it comes to that, I checked two of the entries on one of the dozens of pages he attached to his email in which he listed 6 sales of a coin of Hadrian. Well, doing an Agent Ransack search through my "Auction Catalogs" pdfs folder, I found 15 sales of that particular coin, so he's not as thorough as he could be for his books.
Our numismatic world is relatively small and slamming a respectable company with such libelous claims as "deliberately cheating", "manipulating" etc. is not the way to make friends.

Virgil H:
It is cool when I see Wildwinds mentioned because that is such an important resource. I understand what you are saying and I am not sure anyone really can know for sure except maybe on some very rare coins. I would say that less than 10% of my coins are specifically in one of the search databases for a number of reasons. I buy retail a lot and two of the auctions I have bought from are not part of the two main databases (one is the Members Auction here that I use extensively and the other is an old dealer who posts here every once in a while). Maybe I am wrong about these two, but I have never seen them mentioned. I have a few coins I can't even find on coinarchives or acsearch, I assume because they are too common and wouldn't bring a high enough price. Add to that that many of my coins are lower quality than what I see from the big auction houses, but I do use them and Wildwinds, etc., to identify my coins. I am just not sure about values sometimes, but I am not really using them for valuations, so it doesn't matter.

I totally agree that what you describe with Mortensen is super bad form on his part.

Virgil

PtolemAE:

--- Quote from: helvetica on October 17, 2021, 09:19:36 am ---For some reason unknown to me I received last night an 8.2 Megabyte (!) email from Mr. Mortensen , the compiler of books of Roman (and other) Coin Sales prices, this time with the subject "WARNING Heritage mega-cheating and manipulating the bidders qva e.g. CoinArchives and Roberto Delzanno - meanwhile the law says cheating the bidders is illegal !"
The rant is this time aimed at Heritage, a reliable and long-established company, of whom Mr. Mortensen writes "Heritage keeps on cheating bidders (=loose money). AGAIN ! The false / fake / rarity statements qva Roberto Delzanno" simply because the company has not bought his book and has apparently not spent hours and hours ploughing through CoinArchivesPro and/or acsearch etc. counting the number of examples of various coins sold.
...


--- End quote ---

The 'coin archives count' is popular with sellers and may or may not have anything to do with actual rarity. My databases of Ptolemaic bronze coin data frequently have many more examples than are cited by auction listings (and I do try to include auction specimens I can find) and the papers listing the counts can mostly be accessed free of charge if that information would help sellers or buyers.  I try to cast a much wider net (including reference books, museum collections, etc.) but am sure my lists are also incomplete. Unless a coin is known from only one or a handful of specimens it's hard to say just how many there are in all possible locations. When the 'coin archives count' is cited, I suspect it's accurate and simply the information most readily available to sellers about coins that are in the modern auction marketplace. We can hope that readers of those listings realize that's all the seller is saying. A coin with many specimens known but few recently sold at auction may well be hard to find for collectors so the 'c.a. count' can be useful in that respect. As long as it's clearly stated, not sure why it would raise any complaints. That said, it should be obvious that the 'c.a. count' conveys limited information about actual rarity.

PtolemAE

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