Ancient Coin Collecting Blooper Reel

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Numisnewbiest, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Numisnewbiest

    Numisnewbiest Well-Known Member

    Being new to ancient coins, and new to this site, I've done a lot of looking at what you all share here, and I am so impressed with the collections I've seen, big and small. Those of you that have been doing this long enough to amass a real collection are a lucky bunch, and these coins - wow, I've seen some real stunners! I love ancient history anyway, but I really admire the work that goes into collecting ancient coins and appreciate how everyone shares their knowledge here.

    It reminded me of something I had long forgotten: many years ago, I got a very brief taste of ancient coin collecting, and I couldn't be more embarrassed about it. Why? Because I did the Beginner Blooper routine from start to finish. At the time, I really wanted to collect the first twelve emperors, and what did I do? Yup, I went straight to ebay and got them in short order, and thought I really accomplished something...hahaha! What I collected was surely twelve really bad fakes, and once the giddiness subsided and reality sunk in, I got rid of them and tucked my tail between my legs and forgot about the experience. How embarrassing.

    Which leads me to the point of this thread - what is something you did "way back when" that would probably be featured in an ancient coin collection blooper reel?
    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 9 others like this.
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  3. benhur767

    benhur767 Sapere aude

    I bought two obvious fakes from two reputable sellers, one of which I acquired from a major auction house, which had its provenance from a major collection. The other is from a dealer who regularly rails against eBay as a source of obvious fakes. Oh, the irony. I remember having twinges of doubt about both, but disregarding these doubts because the sellers are reputable. Also, the coin with the provenance came from the collection of a biblical archaeologist!

    Anyway, I showed both coins on Cointalk or FORVM (I forgot which), where they were immediately outed as fakes. Only then did it occur to me that they were obvious fakes, mostly due to questions of style and patina. Copies of the same fakes were plastered all over the Fake Coin Report. Luckily I was able to get refunds from both sellers without too much trouble.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 4 others like this.
  4. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    I once bought a lot of coins from 'nikafinds' of Cyprus on ebay because it had a Republican denarius. I won it at a price too good to be true, and of course the denarius wasn't just a fake, it was a published fake. Fortunately, he refunded my money with no fuss.

    When I started trying to buy ancient coins from auction house lots to flip to fund my hobby, I bought an enormous lot from Leu Numismatik that looked like it was all third century antoninianii in XF and bright, good silver. Probably would have been $60-100 per coin, and I was thrilled to win them for like $50 per coin. Turns out, 2/3 of the coins were struck with extremely worn dies on one side, and the auction house carefully arranged them to hide this fact. "Sold as-is; no returns" so I had to bite the bullet and take the loss on that one.
    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 3 others like this.
  5. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Professional Teenager

    I bought an ancient coin, a common roman coin for $5, I think I threw it away accidentally with some opened 2x2s. Wherever that coin is, it is a mystery to me
  6. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Also, did you pay with paypal? Even if you miss your window with ebay, you can open a paypal claim that the items are fake. The seller either has to take them back for a full refund, prove that they are genuine, or default in which case you get your money back. I think you have a 180 day window to open such a case.
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Redditor Lucis Aeternae

    So far so good. I study every coin carefully before I bid or hit the buy button. I've purchased 2 coins on ebay so far.
    Alegandron likes this.
  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I started Roman Imperials in 2007 and went with VCoins dealers from the start. Though new to ancients, I had 30 years as a collector of US and World coins by that time. I suspect that foundation spared me from any major mistakes.

    However, I will share with you an anecdote of my new collector days. When I was a kid in 1977, with only a few months collecting, I looked in the Red Book of US Coins and noticed that the 1877 Indian Head cent (key date) was far more valuable than the rest.

    I assumed this was because at the time it was the 100th anniversary of the coin being struck. I figured once the centenary was over and the year passed, the 1878 Indian cents would rise in value next.
    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 2 others like this.
  9. Ryro

    Ryro Change your thoughts. Change the world. Supporter

    Great thread idea @Numisnewbiest! That's a rough and costly mistake you made. And one that is similar to many of us. It's important for us to commiserate. Not only for laughs (and tears) but also so that hopefully others will learn from our missteps.
    I recently did a thread with some of my face palmiest moments:facepalm: sharing a number of fakes I bought before finding this place:
    Probably the coin that hurt the most to realize was faker than a Kardashian was the Sulla. Man, I was just starting out on Roman republicans, had just finished a thrilling book, "The Storm before the storm". And had to have a Sulla coin! So what did I do? I went straight to ebay and got this masterpiece of shiz:
    CollageMaker Plus_20181118114036507.png
    Ouch! Hurts just to look at.
    Anyway, as time went by I was able to get a different, budget, Sulla that is very real:
    CollageMaker Plus_201845214649865.png
    Yeeeeaaa! Happy endings:D:cool:
    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 7 others like this.
  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Great thread, Numisnewbiest - I admire your candor. Mostly I look for poorly-described and photographed coins on eBay and I get burnt from time to time. But I avoid 12 caesars, tribute pennies, and owls, since they are so often faked I figure I'll get nailed.

    But I get burnt. This isn't ancient, but I recently bought some world stuff from my trusted local dealer from his junk bins. He'd refund my money in a moment, but I am not sure I want to bother embarrassing him - I've known him for 30+ years and he is a straight-up dealer.

    I hope it is okay to post here, despite being off topic, but can any of you spot the fake in this lot?

    A Lot Nov 29 2018 (6a).jpg

    And just to keep it ancient, here are some ancients fakes I've accumulated off eBay:

    Fakes - 3 Roman AE 2017-2018 (0).jpg
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  11. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    I get the heebie jeebies from that George V rupee.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  12. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    It was the early 2000s. I had just learned about buying uncleaned bulk lot coins. (I have since grown more discriminating, and more concerned about ethical sources.) But in my neophyte greed I found a seller of the cheapest coins, which he noted up front were “AE4.” I bought them anyway, not really knowing how small an AE4 was and ended up with about 100 Roman coins so tiny that there was no way my unpracticed eye could identify them. I’d probably struggle now, even if it were a decent lot, and by AE4 standards, I believe it was.

    Fortunately (?) I found a pretty obvious Constantinople commemorative fake in the lot, and he had a guarantee. I simply asked to exchange the value of the lot for the same value in the larger AE3s. He graciously agreed, and I still have many collectible coins from that first lot. Those were the days when you could still find coins in VF+ shape in such lots. So a reasonably happy ending for a rookie mistake.
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  13. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Yes! Good eye, Finn235! Better than mine - and I was directly handling it. I'd never owned a George V rupee and never figured it'd be faked like this.

    I caught it because it weighs too much. Then the more I looked at it, well, it ain't a good 'un.
    Paul M. and Ryro like this.
  14. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Last year I bought this Hadrian Sestertius on eBay for $108, turned out to be a Lipanoff fake coin.
    It was tooled !! then aged, and applied with a fake patina.
    got my money back including shipping and the shipping costs back to the seller.

    second picture shows the coin as it started life:


    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 7 others like this.
  15. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Things I've done that might make the blooper reel

    -accidentally dropping a coin on a tiled floor and seeing it shatter.

    -cleaning coin with a wire brush

    -knowingly buying a fake...... for $10

    -knocking a coin of my desk while cleaning. I still haven't found it.

    -sent a coin to NGC
    Paul M., TypeCoin971793, TIF and 6 others like this.
  16. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My favorite fake story started long ago when a dealer at a show that I did not know at the time was showing me his low priced coins and said he'd give me a discount if I could ID this as. Hesitating less than a second I said, "Clodius Albinus" and paid the man $8. When I got it home and examined it in good light, I saw it was made of lead and painted copper color. The photo below was taken after I scraped a bit and enlarged the silvery lead color that I first saw. The next time I saw him at a show, I told him of the fake and he laughed, "It was worth what you paid for it!" I agree. I saved a lot of money after that not bidding in his auctions or buying the book he wrote. He no longer sells coins. I do not pretend the lack of my business had anything to do with that. In addition to this one, I have also developed an attitude about show dealers who act like they know everything there is to know. In my low price bracket, I can afford just buying from people I like.
    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 8 others like this.
  17. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Is it not Trajan rather than Hadrian ?
    Doesn't change the story though...

    Andres2 likes this.
  18. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, Cucombor your right, its Trajan.

    lysimachos klein.jpg

    Bought this Lysimachos on eBay, TIF told me it was fake, the word COPY erased on the reverse. seller gave me back my money and told me to keep the coin. Its now in my black cabinet.

    Lysimachos fake #7576 Forgerynetwork.jpg
    Paul M., TIF, Silverlock and 4 others like this.
  19. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Firstly I am a newbie (under a year) so I am sure there are mistakes out there waiting for me still.
    But I am generally cautious and I don't spend a lot per coin .. so haven't been hit too hard yet.
    The one that really upset me (and this may seem minor/funny to many) was paying $40 at an auction for a coin (an auction on a well known ancient coin related website) - when I was really green and later figuring out that the owner was shill bidding it up.. and I fell for it. It was a Constantine worth maybe $15 - so no big loss - most would say shrug it off as a learning experience.. and they'd be right in most cases..

    But I could NOT look at that coin again!! - it bothered me to no end. Not the money - just that I had been taken so easily. It actually almost ruined the hobby for me (not totally - but kinda!). I didn't look at my coins as much - and when I did that one would pop up ... ugh!

    I had to find a solution in order to love my collection again - It had to go!! An uncle of mine visited from Vancouver for a day on his travels.. he showed some interest in the coins - so I sent him home with it (along with a few other LRBs and a book). Just tried to turn a bad experience into a good one. I feel much better now .. he was going to share them with his son ... so maybe something good will come of it.
    Oh well. I find that giving can heal many things... you feel better about yourself and can look to the future.

    What's the killer here lol... I gave him:

    Coinage in the Roman World
    Burnett, Andrew

    I was only on chapter 1 and loving it... figured I would just re-order it from Amazon. Been unavailable since.. If anyone has a copy let me know!
    Best of intentions!
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  20. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    This is a great thread idea!

    My worst beginner mistake was to assume that I wouldn't really need reference books but could rely on internet sources alone when it came to attributing and finding out more about my coins.

    Well, that was not the case. When I was checking, for example, my LRBs from my early collecting days against a copy of RIC (from an institutional library I fortunately have access to), I discovered an embarassing number of attribution mistakes that I had just copied from some online source.

    As a lesson from this, I began to consult at least the standard reference work before writing my tag for a coin that's new to my collection. Though there admittedly are many reliable online ressources, this still seems the best way to get numismatic information. Also, I enjoy collecting a lot more since I started to read up on my coins.
    Paul M., Silverlock, Clavdivs and 2 others like this.
  21. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Since I collect mostly lower-price coins, I haven't bought any fakes that I'm aware of, (although it's possible that I have a couple and just haven't discovered them yet).

    My greatest blooper was bringing a batch of coins outside to my front porch to photograph. I placed an XF Constantiniana Dafne on this stand that I made to hold both the coin and the camera. I tilted the stand back slightly to lower the angle of the sunlight when I saw the coin slide off the stand, hit the ground edge on and roll under my porch. I dug around and even crawled under the porch on my belly looking for it, but I never found it.

    My only consolation is that some day, maybe a hundred years from now, someone might find that coin, wonder what it is, and get turned on to collecting ancients!

    Here's a similar coin from my CtG collection that I was hoping to upgrade with the XF one:
    Constantine I ("the Great"), A.D. 307-377
    Constantinople mint, A.D. 328
    RIC 32
    Rev: CONSTANTINI-ANA DAFNE - Victory on cippus, holding palms; trophy in front; captive at feet
    CONS in exergue; B in left field
    20 mm, 3.1 g.
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