Am I an idiot, or nuts, or is this a language issue?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Jan 27, 2022.


Would you still want the solidus despite the misrepresentation or misunderstanding?

  1. 1. It's a perfectly good coin and I would want it even without the provenance.

    19 vote(s)
  2. 2. I would feel deceived about the provenance and would want a refund.

    20 vote(s)
  3. 3. I would still want the coin, but would want a partial refund.

    9 vote(s)
  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I'm embarrassed to admit that in the middle of the night last night -- always a bad time to make impulse purchases -- I bought a solidus of Constans from the Siscia Mint (RIC VIII 115) on MA-Shops, relying on a (French-language) statement of the seller that I interpreted, based partly on the Google Chrome translation -- perhaps wrongly? -- as representing that the coin had a provenance dating to an NAC auction in 2013. God forbid that I should look at the NAC coin and compare it to this one before making the purchase, but I didn't. Today, I did, and also found a later sale of the NAC coin by Leu in 2020. Comparing the photos, I don't see how the coin I just bought could be the same one sold by NAC in 2013 and by Leu in 2020.

    So this is the email I just sent to the seller, with a copy to MA-Shops Customer Service, asking for a refund. Do you think I have a case?

    Dear Sir:

    I just purchased this solidus from you last night. In making the purchase, I relied on the statement in your description that "LE MEME EXEMPLAIRE CHEZ NAC VENTE 75 DU 18 NOV 2013 LOT 328 A FAIT 4500 FS HORS FRAIS" -- in English, that "THE SAME EXEMPLARY AT NAC SALE 75 DU 18 NOV 2013 LOT 328 WAS 4500 CHF EXCLUDING EXPENSES." To me, the only reasonable interpretation of this statement is that the coin I purchased was the same coin -- the same specimen -- as the one sold by NAC in 2013 (which, according to ACSearch, was sold again by Leu in 2020). The fact that you point out the edge nick at 7:00 on the reverse ("PETIT CHOC A 7H"), just as NAC pointed out an edge nick at 7:00 on the reverse of the example it sold in 2013 (stating "An absolutely unobtrusive edge nick at seven o'clock on reverse"), confirms to me that you were stating that this was the same coin.

    However, comparing your photo to the NAC and Leu examples, it does not seem possible to me that this is the same coin.

    Thus, here is your photo, at

    Constans solidus Alan Cheilan 2021 photo.jpg

    Here is the photo from the NAC sale, Auction 75, 18.11.2013, Lot 328:

    Constans solidus NAC 2013 photo.jpg

    And here is the photo from the Leu sale, Auction 7, 24.10.2020, Lot 1747, citing the NAC sale in the coin's provenance:

    Constans solidus Leu 2020 photo.jpg

    From comparing your photo to the other two, I do not see how your coin could possibly be the same example as the coin sold by Leu and NAC in 2020 and 2013, respectively.

    Among the obvious differences:

    The obverse of your coin shows a flaw or indentation in the rim at about 11:00, which is not present in the Leu and NAC photos.

    There is a space between the top of Constans's head and the rim on the obverse of your coin that is not present in the other two photos, both of which show the top of Constans's head touching the rim.

    The design of the drapery at the bottom of the obverse is different in your photo and the other two photos.

    There are four dots on the bottom left of the drapery on your coin, whereas the other two photos show only three dots in the same location.

    The ties at the back of Constans's hair point down in your photo, whereas they curve upwards in the other two photos.

    On the reverse, there appears to be a horizontal scratch at the top of your coin, running through the legend from approximately 11:00 to 1:00. No such scratch is present in the other two photos.

    The shape and design of the wreath held by the two Victories on the reverse of your coin is not the same as in the other two photos. The same is true of the two ribbons(?) at the bottom of the wreath.

    And so on.

    In fact, the only specific thing your coin appears to share with the other coin, apart from being the same type from the same mint, is the dent at 7:00 on the reverse.

    Perhaps I should not have taken your word for it that your coin is "LE MEME EXEMPLAIRE" as the NAC/Leu coin. But I assumed that your statement was accurate.

    Because I relied on your statement of provenance in purchasing the coin, I believe that I am entitled to a refund. Whether or not you intended to represent that yours was the same coin as the NAC/Leu coin, I believe that was the only reasonable interpretation. Otherwise, why mention the edge dent at 7:00 on the reverse? Why else mention that particular example, out of the 30+ examples of this type, from this mint, listed on ACSearch?

    I have copied MA-Shops customer service on this email, in case they may be of assistance. But I suggest that you give me a refund -- before you send the coin! -- and that when you re-list the coin you delete your statement of provenance.

    Many thanks.

    Am I nuts? Could the coin I bought possibly be the same coin as the NAC/Leu coin? And does "LE MEME EXEMPLAIRE" mean something different from what I took it to mean? In any event, I do feel like an idiot. I hope I get a refund, because the provenance was the key to my purchase. And I think I've learned a lesson for the future: don't make expensive impulse purchases at 3 am!
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  3. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    There are a few sellers on MA-Shops who do this, referencing an entirely different coin as a price indicator but not a pedigree. They're usually far superior coins and deliberately misleading. It's frustrating to see and I don't blame you for misinterpreting it late at night!

    I would try to get a refund if you don't want the coin. Some of it could be a language barrier but most of the listings appear predatory to me.
  4. David@PCC


    They are not the same. Note the T in TRIVMPHALEM sits high on your coin and touches the rim. Is the Leu provenance a big decision in purchasing the coin?
    +VGO.DVCKS, Paddy54 and DonnaML like this.
  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    At this point, I'm feeling so sour about it that I don't want the coin. It's a perfectly nice coin, but the price is a bit steep, I think, without the provenance. Was I wrong to think that ""LE MEME EXEMPLAIRE" means "the same example"? One would think that there must be a different word in French that the seller could have used to convey that it was merely "the same type" rather than "the same coin."

    And yes, provenance is very important to me in buying ancient gold, what with all the fakes and repaired coins out there.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  6. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I agree, by the way, that the seller was being deliberately misleading even apart from using the "same example" language. Otherwise, why mention only the dent at 7:00 on the reverse (like the NAC coin), but not mention the similar dent at 11:00 on the obverse, which is not present on the NAC/Leu coin?
    Gallienus and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  7. scarborough

    scarborough Well-Known Member

    Agree that the coin offered is not the same as in Leu and NAC photos. Since the provenance is not as described, I think you have strong case that the coin was misrepresented, whether knowingly or not. Good luck.
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  8. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Most definitely NOT the same. The purchased coin is not as detailed as the NAC example.
    LE MEME EXEMPLAIRE comes up as "The same copy/same one". As a linguist, I would take that to mean that the one being sold is the exact same as whatever the example (NAC in this case) is. I wonder though, if there isn't a nuance where it means something along the lines of "like this one" or something and using the NAC/Leu example as @AncientJoe said, a price guide/indicator.

    It is a beautiful coin but I 100% understand wanting to get your money back if it isn't what you thought it was.
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  9. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter Dealer

    It's intentionally confusing language in my opinion. Wouldn't "The same type" translate as le même genre or type de pièce?
  10. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    It is definitely not the same coin, that's obvious. But the one you bought is better : on the NAC/Leu specimen there is a big shock deeply damaging the paludamentum folds on the obverse. Not on your specimen.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  11. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    It is indeed misleading. French is vague enough to induce à misunderstanding where "le même" should be "this one" but is actually "the same", i.e. another of the same type.
    Next time look for "cet exemplaire"

  12. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    The coins are obviously different.

    The MA Shops coin is a nice one, the tiny nick on the reverse notwithstanding. Setting aside the linguistic issue, and the fact that the coin is not the same one as depicted by NAC and Leu, would you still buy this coin if there was no connection suggested to these sales? The MA Shops coin has obvious merits, but if provenance is very important to you, then you should get a refund, since même does mean "same", which leaves no room for ambiguity.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  13. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    This is not an auction, you could just say you changed your mind and do not want to purchase the coin without having to write an essay about it :) what are the terms of the seller? This is not even a return because they still have the coin...

    Edit: don't they need an export license for this ? So no way they will rush to ship it pretending not reading your email. If they do, they will be in trouble
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
    Voldemort, Limes and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  14. Ryro

    Ryro Trying to remove supporter status Supporter

    I recall @Ed Snible mentioning a similar situation at those New York auctions a couple weeks back. It could like his, just be a case of them copying and pasting the coins description. Not that it makes it better, cause now you have to doubt anything in their inventory listing a provenance. Just trying to assume positive intent.
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Would the seller offer the coin to you at a lower price becuase of the error? It might be worth a try.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Ryro like this.
  16. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    "Le même exemplaire" is ambiguous. If they meant the very coin they are selling, they should have written "cet exemplaire" (this coin). In French "même" before the substantive means "similar".
    The sentence "Le même solidus a été vendu 5000 €" means "A similar solidus was sold for € 5000" (meaning same reference, same grade). But MA Shops shouldn't have used the term "exemplaire", which made the wording ambiguous.
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  17. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I never ever buy from Ma-Shops. Something about it always bothered me, mainly the higher prices but also some of the listings seem shady. I know everyone poops on Ebay but I will take them over MS any day or night.
    Gallienus and Ancient Aussie like this.
  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    @GinoLR, perhaps you're right, although I don't really see what you mean about the NAC/Leu specimen. Which part of the folds -- on the right?

    In any event, the MA-Shops example has its own issues, like the ding on the obverse at 11:00 and the scratch through the top of the legend on the reverse.

    Plus, I do feel that I was deliberately misled, for the reasons stated above. @GinoLR and @Cucumbor, isn't there a less ambiguous word in French that would have more specifically conveyed the concept that this was the same "type" rather than the same specimen?

    @robinjojo, the very reason I picked this coin as opposed to the many other solidi for sale was the provenance. Maybe I would eventually get over the bitterness about having been deceived, but it would take some time. Even if the dealer came back and offered me a partial refund, it would have to be pretty major for me to change my mind!

    @pprp, it doesn't matter that it was a retail sale rather than an auction. Once you commit to buy at MA-Shops or VCoins -- and especially once you've paid -- you're not entitled to simply "change your mind" and get your money back, without a good reason such as the coin being fake or a material misrepresentation in the description of the coin. Or its provenance. So yes, writing an "essay" was in fact necessary. Remember, I was making my case not only to the dealer but to MA-Shops itself.
    buckeye73, +VGO.DVCKS and Ryro like this.
  19. Egry

    Egry Supporter! Supporter

    This is very sneaky, an honourable seller would refund you the money, however based on how he advertised the coin he does not seem that honourable.

    I wish you the best of luck @DonnaML and hope you either get a refund or get the coin and realize it is still worthy.
    +VGO.DVCKS, Spaniard and DonnaML like this.
  20. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Well, when push comes to shove, you can go to your credit card company and open a case. I think the misrepresentation documentation is strong and you should get a refund.
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I paid by American Express via Paypal rather than directly from my bank via Paypal, because of the better exchange rate. But you're right that if the dealer refuses a refund and MA-Shops doesn't lend any assistance, I could go to Amex.
    Lueds, Broucheion and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
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