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Author Topic: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900  (Read 693 times)

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Offline romeman

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Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« on: June 24, 2021, 01:47:41 pm »
It is common today to re-patinate ancient coins, using a variety of methods. Some are reversible, some not. They all have the same goal: to enhance the esthetic appeal of the coin by evening out unwanted colour differences and often also to give a smoother surface. Sometimes substances are applied to enhance the relief and mimic natural patination.

Every dealer and collector will have a personal view on this, ranging from full acceptance to full rejection. That is the way it should be. But when an artificial patina is applied specifically to hide poor preservation, we – imho - approach the area of criminal behavior.

Imagine that a poorly preserved coin is sold for USD 1,500. The buyer then applies a thick artificial patina to hide the corroded surface and made to mimic sandy patina (aka Syrian patina). Imagine that the artificial patina is made of sandy patina scraped off from genuine coins and then made into a glue which is painted on the corroded coin. Imagine that the price is now raised from USD 1,500 to USD 5,900.

Do collectors still want the coin with the fake patina if they know what the coin really looks like?

The coin posted here is now for sale. The upper photos are from the Heritage auction 21-22 Jan this year. The lower photos show the same coin as it is being offered now by a well-known seller. The seller does state “earthen patina applied”, which is true. The quality is given as “Choice VF” which is in any case very subjective.

My paper on the SPES PVBLIC coins was published early this year*, before this particular example surfaced, so it is not in the catalogue. I would have added a paragraph on it, warning potential buyers from acquiring it.

These are just my views, other may think differently.

* a 20-page extract (of 160 pages) is available on academia.edu:

https://independent.academia.edu/LarsRamskold

Offline Ron C2

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2021, 04:25:22 pm »
A few observations on my part:

1) I like the original look more, but that is subjective.  It probably looked fine in hand.
2) The applied fake sand patina does make the coin easier to photograph and read.  Some may like that. Deset patinas ARE popular.
3) The seller fully disclosed that the desert patina is recently applied.  I wholeheartedly disagree that anything fraudulent or criminal is going on here.  It's disclosed.  I would not buy a re-patinated desert patina coin unless I REALLY needed to fill a hole, and even then, I would strip it back off after purchase.  Others may feel differently. 
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Offline romeman

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2021, 05:19:27 pm »
I agree, as long as re-patination and tooling are disclosed by the seller, he cannot be accused of any fraud.

I have posted this coin in several discussion fora, in order to make it widely known. I  am now curious to see if it will sell. I would not buy it, but there may well be someone who does.

Ancient coins are authentic objects from the past. We should be careful with how we treat them so that they are saved for posterity. This coin has been mistreated. In the re-patination process, the exposed surface of the actual metal has been smoothed. It is a kind of tooling. It was then colored black to mimic the metal color of coins with a desert patina. Nothing we see of the surface of this piece is authentic, not the sandy patina, nor the exposed metal.

For collectors, this may not be a problem at all, but for me as a researcher, altered pieces obstruct and confuse research.

/Lars

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2021, 05:41:06 pm »
I don't think the "enhanced" patina is terrible or criminal, but I don't think it should increase the value. It does not look natural.
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Offline Ron C2

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2021, 06:13:03 pm »
I agree, as long as re-patination and tooling are disclosed by the seller, he cannot be accused of any fraud.

I have posted this coin in several discussion fora, in order to make it widely known. I  am now curious to see if it will sell. I would not buy it, but there may well be someone who does.

Ancient coins are authentic objects from the past. We should be careful with how we treat them so that they are saved for posterity. This coin has been mistreated. In the re-patination process, the exposed surface of the actual metal has been smoothed. It is a kind of tooling. It was then colored black to mimic the metal color of coins with a desert patina. Nothing we see of the surface of this piece is authentic, not the sandy patina, nor the exposed metal.

For collectors, this may not be a problem at all, but for me as a researcher, altered pieces obstruct and confuse research.

/Lars

Are you confident the coin was stripped, smoothed, blackened and then sand-patina'ed?  I'm not sure that is the case from the photos, the difference in exposed bronze tone could well just be how the photograph was lit.
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Offline romeman

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2021, 06:37:16 pm »
Are you confident the coin was stripped, smoothed, blackened and then sand-patina'ed?  I'm not sure that is the case from the photos, the difference in exposed bronze tone could well just be how the photograph was lit.

The coin was stripped already before it was sold by Heritage.

The rough, sandpaper-like surface of the original is replaced by a smooth surface. I call that smoothing no matter if it is intentional or not (it could be a by-product of further cleaning with a brass brush, for example).

The dark colour is real, not caused by lighting. I have seen several of these coins produced by the same seller (if you go to his site you will see large numbers). I don’t know how it was produced, there are many ways to produce a black metal surface.

Sand-patinated: well, the seller himself says so.  I know collectors who visited him and watched him producing this “sand-patina” already some 20 years ago. It is not exactly a secret. I am only one in a long line of people expressing our dislike of this mistreatment of ancient coins.

/Lars

Offline Jay GT4

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2021, 08:13:30 pm »
I recently watched this video on youtube by David Hendin
https://youtu.be/ft4t7xROLUw

He recounts all the old dealers in Jerusalem.  He said every dealer in the old city "patinates" their coins.  He even tells you how they do it.

It's a great video just to hear him talk about the old days.

Offline Meepzorp

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2021, 05:06:40 am »
Hi folks,

I agree with previous posters here that nothing criminal or fraudulent occurred in this situation. The dealer did disclose that a desert patina was applied in modern times.

Meepzorp

Offline Lech Stępniewski

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2021, 07:19:11 am »
This is an immortal problem of renovation and conservation. The same with old paintings, sculptures, furniture... Should old things look old with all the burden of their age visible or rather "fresh", more like they were when produced. Or at least a little bit improved: with new patina, new varnish etc.

Typical example

Painting from 17th century


And after desaturation with old varnish removal and new varnish applied

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Offline Kevin D

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2021, 12:20:29 pm »
The desirability of the coin in question here perhaps depends on personal taste. Myself, I don't like it. I can't be sure of what was done to the coin during its 'make over' (and what effect might the 'patina-deposits' adhesive have on the coin's surface over time), so I wouldn't buy a coin like this, even at the previous price of $1,500.

The current seller is disclosing the modern patina (deposits to me), but somewhere down the line, in future sales of the coin, this information might not be disclosed (or even remembered so it can be passed on).

Most ancient coins I buy have been cleaned, I know this. I have also bought coins that I thought had been 'selectively toned' in order to enhance their appearance. Toned with the toning on the high points lightened to bring out detail, etc. But when I buy these coins, I feel that I can 'see' the original surface under the toning.


Offline romeman

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2021, 01:42:38 pm »
The seller has now been persuaded to withdraw the coin from his store at VCoins. It is no longer available.

Case closed. (for now)

Offline Lech Stępniewski

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2021, 03:02:43 pm »
I'm curious what he'll do now. Clean the coin from the false patina? Make new false patina? Clean the coin to bare metal to show that he has nothing to hide? Hide the coin? SPES PVBLIC is too famous and too rare to go anywhere unnoticed.
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Offline romeman

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2021, 03:17:44 pm »
He has been through this before. He will probably wait for a while and then re-list it. Usually I don't bother with these ubiquitous manipulated coins, but as I mentioned somewhere, i take the SPES PVBLIC coins seriously and he will face a reaction from me again.

Offline otlichnik

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2021, 06:05:59 pm »
The first question in situations like this should always be whether the activity in question crosses the threshold into fraudFraud is generally a fairly universal legal concept.  Any form of misrepresentation that results in a benefit - financial or otherwise.

It appears at first glance that the threshold was not reached here as the vendor inserted that little bit of text "earthen patina applied".  Had that not been there you would have a textbook case of fraud, especially given the price increase.

But there is certainly fraud going on - at least in the scenario with the values Lars outlines.  I am not entirely sure whether it does or doesn't reach the legal threshold of fraud, but it is certainly close.  My concern in the price increase.  The "vendor" is in effect saying that glueing on some dirt represents $4400 of value.  I think we would all agree that is total nonsense. 

Does that sort of increase constitute fraud or just sucker marketing??

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Offline Lech Stępniewski

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2021, 07:07:15 pm »
The "vendor" is in effect saying that glueing on some dirt represents $4400 of value.  I think we would all agree that is total nonsense. 

Yes, it is a total nonsense, but nonsense prices are not unusual on collectors markets. Probably everyone here could give many examples of coins priced ridiculously high or - which is more strange - sold for ridiculously high price.

"Sucker marketing" is in this case more accurate expression then "fraud". Pity that it concerns such important coin as SPES PVBLIC which should be treated with maximum care.
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Glued fake "patina" raises price from $1,500 to $5,900
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2021, 03:00:48 pm »
I agree with you 100%. Both about "sucker marketing", which I hate, and which is absolutely the right name to call it; and about the view that a monument as this coin should in NO way be altered.
I am happy to own a Probus / Calliope antoninianus which is in low grade but absolutely dans son jus, and the very last thing I would do would be to somehow try and make it "more beautiful". The coin in its natural state, unappealing to the beginner, can be studied; the coin with glued-on sand can't.

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