Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ancient Coins: Photographing In The Shadows


Recently I have purchased several coins that were not as they appeared when I bought them. I am aware of some of the things being done to enhance the appearance of a coin and will address a few.

Most of the “bad” deals I have encountered came from Ebay. One silver coin I received looked great on Ebay but when I had the coin in hand there was an obvious flaw in the coin and the “hole” had been filled with a light gray metal that appears to be JB Weld. I received this coin from one of the Big Name dealers. I have written them and will be interested in seeing what they have to say.

One obvious ploy is use of a photo editing program to enhance the appearance of a coin. After receiving one coin I was able to go back to my Ebay records, view the image, and match it against what I had in hand. It is very obvious there had been touch ups. I call the next the “camera shake.” I found a silver denarius on Ebay I really liked with the exception of the photograph. The reverse photograph of the coin was great but the obverse had that blurred and “shaky” look.

I decided to fore go my reluctance to bid, and I won the coin. I soon found why the obverse was shaky once I received the coin. The shaky photo covered flaws on the obverse. I call the following “Photographing in the Shadows.” I was visiting a site and saw a coin with which I was somewhat enchanted. The coin images were great with the exception of one thing. The bottom edge of the coin was in heavy shadow.

I was a bit suspicious, wrote the dealer and was told by him I was looking at a VF coin in great condition. With a suspicious mind, I decided to save the photograph to my computer. I received the coin and sure enough, I found a pea-sized gap where the coin was in deep shadow. This cover-up was done really well too!

The following happened last week. Boy I got a bargain on Ebay of an AR Alex III! Or so I thought. Once the auction closed and I received my notice I took a closer look at the coin. I was surprised I had won an AR Alexander The Great for 30 bucks! Boy, great looking coin with no flaws whatsoever! Was I lucky? Wait, for the first time I noticed that in a very light gray font underneath the bold header the word ”Copy.” I had bought reproduction! Nah! That sounds too kind. I had bought a forgery!

I can’t be too hard on the seller in this situation but it does serve to remind me that we must be on our toes as we make our purchases. Since the last mistake I made, I look everything over very carefully and make sure I read all copy! However, I am sure I will be bitten again by some unscrupulous dealer eager to make a buck. I wish it was not this way but I guess we have all types attracted to the hobby we love so much.

I imagine many of you have stories of bad deals I would never dream of. If so, please share them with us on our coin sites or post directly to me. I will be happy to listen. I think the unloading helps a lot.. God Bless.. Jerry.. PS: Be sure and bookmark my blog..

1 comment:

Malik Imran Awan said...

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