Authenticating coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by edteach, Jun 10, 2024.

  1. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    I am looking at a coin on eBay that is more than a Gordian the 3rd. Its not slabbed and the dealer is a gold and coin shop. I contacted them and asked if they have someone who authenticates coins of the ancient type he is selling. The reply was that they do not but they do offer a life time guarantee, and that they coin this belonged to was from a collectors estate that collecting ancients was his hobby for many years. The last bit is anecdotal and so not worth much. They have a high rating. 99.6 with 5k sales. Since we are talking about a 3 to 4 hundred dollar coin I can not imagine them wanting to risk neg feed back for that little money. But that aside they have no expertise so they could be fooled. What is the best way to authenticate a coin from the Roman era? Thanks
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Depending on the quality of the photos, you can post them here and one of us can help.
    Spark1951 likes this.
  4. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    Buying raw coins through Ebay is like running across a minefield. Not having developed expertise in analyzing coins for legitimacy, it's like running across the minefield while blindfolded in my case. I eliminate a lot of inevitable future pain by simply not doing it.

    You could spend decades analyzing coins, studying catalogues of known forgeries, interacting with experts, etc, etc. Or, you could use the WAY more convenient approach that I use........ Let NGC do it for you!
  5. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    I post every coin I buy here for review even if I buy it here.
  6. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Then post the one you are considering. After a while, you just develop an eye for spotting fakes. It isn't 100%, as some are very well done. But, the "eye" is usually right.
  7. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    What Gordian III short of a gold piece is a $300-400 coin? Dude, I have never paid more than $30 for silver or copper Gordian III and most of mine are VF or higher. Sounds massively overpriced.
    romismatist and Cherd like this.
  8. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I initially had the same reaction. But in re-reading, I realized that he said:

    "more than a Gordian the 3rd"

    Which I take to mean that he's looking at something less common than GIII.
    medoraman likes this.
  9. romismatist

    romismatist Well-Known Member

    That was my reaction as well. Gordian III coins in great condition should be relatively affordable (sub $50?). Most of mine were in the $30-40 range, but I did buy them before the recent price rise.
  10. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Oh, ok, makes more sense if read in a different context. I was worried someone was massively overpaying for G3!

    G3, due to great numbers of coins available and low price, would actually make a great specialty if one likes lots of different "standing goddess" types.
    Ryan McVay likes this.
  11. YOTHR

    YOTHR Member

    However, this cannot be generalised. There are some Gordian III types that are also worth 200-300 USD, and if you take the first Gordianus Caesar type (Gordian Caesar RIC 1) with the emblems, then you can't even get them for less than 1,000 USD.

    Experience! And as I have often mentioned to you, eBay is a very difficult minefield for a beginner. Sometimes it seems that there are more fakes on eBay than genuine coins.

    Many sales and good ratings are no guarantee that you are not dealing with a counterfeit seller. Likewise, an Ebay seller with only 10 positive ratings can be a serious seller - anything is possible.

    What you can do is look in the counterfeit database at NUMISWIKI and compare whether a coin on offer appears as a counterfeit type. Or whether the seller appears in the list of counterfeiters.

    The problem, however, is that you don't seem to be able to recognise forgeries. So you will probably have to take the risk of having the coin examined here after buying it.

    Question. If you don't want to have the coin looked at by the experts here before you buy it, then there are only two options left: a) trust the seller and/or b) trust your own expertise.

    How else are you going to have the coin certified? The coin is with the seller. You don't want to show it to others. How can the coin then be verified?

    Theoderic and sand like this.
  12. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    I think your post is a bit too broad. I can determine some forgeries. I have collected Third Reich and some Japanese WW2 militarily for many years. You want to talk about forgeries. Try to find a knights cross of the iron cross that is not a fake. Anything SS is so forged one has to go in thinking its a forgery and prove its real first. BTW, I collect American Civil war, WW1 and 2 items including USSR items. I don't want anyone to think I have some love of any of these vanquished regimes. Its pure history for me. I can tell if coin looks like its cast. For me these are the easiest to tell. Pock marks, seams and the lack of detail. Even some of the coins that are strikes are many times too sharp. After that it gets a bit harder.

    I have yet to learn the depth of some fakes. I assume and I believe I am correct the more expensive the coin the higher the quality of the fake will be. That is how it works in my other collections. My first confederate notes were fakes. This was before the internet. I ended up calling Grover Criswell who at that time was the most knowledgeable. Somehow I found his phone number and called him in Salt Springs Fla. He could tell by my description the notes were fake. I ended up meeting him at his home and buying some notes that I still have from him.

    So I have a level of being able to spot fakes but I will need to learn more. As far as eBay goes I only buy or have only bought low level coins that look good to me. So Gordian the 3rd Antoninianus is a good example and I look for the distortions in the strike such as the flowing of the metal when struck, this will to me indicate it was stuck. Also the cracking of the metal where the stress of the strike was too much. It does not make it real but it does indicate it was stuck. Then there are the contemporary fakes which from what I have gleaned from here is a base metal with a type of precious metal plate. Even if I think a coin is real I will post it here to get the collectors who have been in this for a long time, to get their opinions.

    Personally I do like slabbed coins, from reputable dealers. This gives me two levels of getting an original coin. By posting it here I can get even more.
  13. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Please be aware NGC does not guarantee authenticity of ancients. They are good experts there, but not better than a number of auction firms I could name. I treat first tier auction firm's tickets as highly as a NGC opinion. None are foolproof, but are equally valid.
  14. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    IMO a good auction house and NGC will filter out the obvious fakes. If ancient coins collecting is anything like my other collecting, the fakers improve over time. What was once an easy job to tell the difference gets harder as the years go by and the fakers get better.
  15. YOTHR

    YOTHR Member

    Forgeries of "modern" coins are not the same as forgeries from ancient coins.

    Apart from the obvious technical details (pressing, transfer, casting...), the majority of forgeries of antique coins today are so well made that in the case of a large proportion of forgeries today one often has to go beyond the style.

    And differences in the style of genuine and fake antique coins only come about through experience with antique coins and lots and lots of experience.

    I don't have enough of that. That's why I have my experts to whom I show coins. I wouldn't trust myself to call coins 100% genuine.

    But this is not meant to be an attack on you! As I wrote - I prefer to ask my own experts for advice, I don't rely on my ‘skills’.

    Sorry, no! As medoraman absolutely correct write - slabbed ancient coins are not a guaranty of authenticity! NGC dont guaranty the authenticity - you can read that in their terms.

    Of course, if NGC is immediately aware that it is a fake, NGC will refuse to process it. But NGC does not explicitly check antique coins for forgery and there is no guarantee from NGC.

    Low level? :) ... You write at starting:

    My opinion, 3-400 USD was a high price for learning... :)

    As I said, it's not just the metal or the embossing - it's often the style. And the best way to learn is to show the coin to the experts (here). However, I would show the coin before you buy it - because not every seller is willing to take a coin back. And since it takes years to recognise truly antique coins as forgeries, you may have to spend years learning the hard way. That would be too expensive for me.

    But of course this is your way and if you want to do it this way, it's your right :)
    Theoderic likes this.
  16. YOTHR

    YOTHR Member

    I could show you more than one page of examples of slabbed coins that are forgeries and yet were slabbed. Please do not rely on this (for ancient coins).


    But we are moving away from your actual initial question in this thread! You asked how you can certify such potential coins. Not at all.

    The Ebay seller has the coin.
    You don't want to show the coin before you buy it.
    So there are only two things left: a) you trust the seller and/or b) you trust your own judgement.

    As long as nobody knows the details and pictures of the coin and as long as the coin is with the seller - nobody else can help. No other places, no other experts (here).
    Theoderic likes this.
  17. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I would disagree in that generalizations are always subject to exceptions, but for the vast majority of cases it is true. I would argue 99% of GIII in the marketplace are not worth $300+, and to me that is an important enough fake to safely make such a generalization.

    Just semantics sir, and point taken there are exceptions to the rule of this emperor.
    YOTHR likes this.
  18. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    On eBay I only have bought one higher priced coin. An Athenian Owl. It was from a dealer who has over 65k sales and 99.99% positive reviews. it was slabbed, and I posted it here for review. So I feel it is a good coin. But usually I only buy low value coins from eBay. That way if there is a fake its not something that cost a lot and low value coins are not often faked. That is not to say they are never faked, but from my experience the lower the value of a thing, the lower quality of the fakes. More money means more time and effort can be invested.
  19. YOTHR

    YOTHR Member

    It would be nice if the user here would show us the 3-400 USD Gordianus III coin :) ...

    Then we could not only advise the user in terms of genuine / fake (and he could learn) - then we could also tell the user whether he might be paying too much for this Gordianus type (and he could learn even more about which types are available at which normal price).

    But if the user doesn't want to show us the coin, then of course we have to accept that.
    Theoderic and sand like this.
  20. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I used to buy on Ebay but I am just tired. Too many massively overpriced coins, too many blatant fakes, too much shenanigans. I have a few old sellers I might peruse once in a while but life is too short to wade through dreck when there are so many good auction houses with good coins available. I always have way less money than desire for coins, so why waste my time on Ebay when I can peruse good sites?

    Plus, I find myself losing my eye for fakes when I look at Ebay too long. Look at too many fakes and it becomes harder to quickly identify fakes.
    Ryan McVay and YOTHR like this.
  21. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    Here is one on eBay that looks like an obvious cast fake for sale right now. The black in the back ground looks like an attempt at fake ageing. Nothing about this coin looks right to me.

    1-1.jpg 2.jpg
    Bing likes this.
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