Featured David R. Sear, class act (and no, the R in his name isn't for Ryro)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, May 26, 2021.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    I've been putting off this write up for a bit due to my upcoming move (lived in Utah most of my life and I'm not planning on suffering my boy-Os the same).
    My apolo-gies for the delay;)
    I've had a couple coins nagging at me to be certified due to lack of provenance and unique style for a while now.
    And I've always heard there is none better than David R Sear.
    But I've never had anything that nagged enough for me to put my money where my mouth is and send them off to him.
    The trigger: However, in the last Auctiones GmbH (a trusted and upstanding auction house) I purchased some spendy but flawed coins.
    Bruttium, Kaulonia. Circa 525-500 BC. AR Nomos (31 mm, 6.63 g).
    Obv. Apollo advancing right, holding branch aloft in right hand, left arm extended, upon which a small daimon, holding branch in each hand, runs right; KAVΛ to left; to right, stag standing right, head reverted.
    Rev. Incuse of obverse, but daimon in outline and no ethnic.
    Noe, Caulonia Group A, 1 (same dies).
    Rare. Cracked in three parts, otherwise, very fine/fine
    Purchased from Auctiones gmbh March 2021

    (Look at that portrait!:artist:)
    L. Hostilius Saserna. Fourré Denarius (18-19 mm, 2.86 g), Rome, 48 BC.
    Obv. Bearded male head to right, his hair straggling out behind him; cloak around neck and Gallic shield behind.
    Rev. L HOSTILIVS / SASERN, Nude Gallic warrior, holding shield with his left hand and hurling spear with his right, standing left in a galloping biga being driven to right by a seated charioteer holding a whip.
    Cf. Craw. 448/2; Syd. 952.
    Fourré. Very fine.

    "The head on this famous and desirable coin has long been identified as that of Vercingetorix. This can not be proven but the head does have remarkably individualistic and naturalistic features, and it must surely represent an actual Gaulish captive seen by the die engraver."

    I wasn't concerned much, as it was coming from a reliable firm and everything looked legit...
    Then horror of horrors, I found not only an exact die match, but a match to my coin in every way, except it wasn't a fouree like mine:

    The crux: What, why and how in the world could/would/should a counterfeiter make a fouree, especially when they are making solid coins as well?!?!
    I thought I'd gotten a good deal on the type due to the coin being an ancient fourrée, not a modern fake! Adding insult to injury, it was the same Auction house that sold the other "copy", or so I presumed!
    The relief: I reached out to the auction house and they were very reassuring, stating, "The coin you mention is not a second version of your coin, it is the very same coin. The coin has been consigned to us for our eAuction 67, and we described it as being of "crystallized silver" due to the low weight. We only found out after the auction that in fact the coin is a fourré, and when we washed it with acetone (which is the safest way to not do any damage to a coin) the "silvering" which in fact was colored pencil a pre-owner had applied to cover the copper core vanished. So your coin is perfectly as described - a contemporary fourré. A massive silver denarius with the portrait of Vercingetorix in this condition would have well fetched CHF 1500 and more."
    It now makes sense!... but still this @Bing DeNiro quote keeps popping in my head:

    So, I catch myself on Mr. Sear's sight and found $55 dollars per coin to authenticate my coins (w/ specifics on the coins background) via the foremost in ancient numistics in the WORLD very affordable. And sent them in toot sweet!
    And vindication:
    Though, the site warns, up to eight weeks of sheer anxiety, I recieved mine back in under 4!

    Wahoo! They're authentic and I learned much!

    Here are the other coins and docs O authenticity:
    1st a coin I had long sought and coveted, plus got a screaming deal on... but with a very unique style that left me curious:
    Seleukos I Nikator,
    312-281 BC. Drachm (Silver, 16.5 mm, 4.25 g, 12 h), probably Seleukeia on the Tigris, after circa 305/4 BC . Bust of Alexander the Great to right, as Dionysos, wearing helmet covered with a panther skin and adorned with a bull's horn and ear, and with a panther's skin tied around his shoulders. Rev. ΒΑΣIΛΕΩΣ [ΣΕ]ΛΕΥΚΟΥ Nike standing to right, placing wreath on trophy; between Nike and trophy, monogram. HGC 9, 35. SC 197. Toned. Very fine. Ex: Nomos Obols


    And lastly, listed at often high starting prices (what isn't nowadays?), buying from BAC, again, I got a great deal from a reputable, established auction house but wondered, what did others see that made them pass? Or, did I really just pick up something others missed?!

    AE (2.54 g), approx. 200-67 BC BC: head of the bearded Zeus to the right. Back: Labyrinth between ΚΝΩΣΙ / ΩΝ. Svoronos, Crete 116.2.00, Lindgren. Nice. Ex BAC Numismatics 2/9/20201
    "Knossos, the famous city of the mythical King Minos, is closely linked to the mythical tales of Daidalos and Ikaros, Theseus and Ariadne, Minos and Pasiphai, and of course, the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. According to legend, Daidalos built the labyrinth at the request of King Minos, who wanted a secure place to confine the son of his wife, Pasiphai. The son - the Minotaur - was the unnatural result of the union of Pasiphai with a sacrificial bull, and was monstrously half-human and half-bull. Daidalos cleverly built the labyrinth so that the Minotaur could never escape (and according to Ovid, in doing so almost lost himself within its walls). Each year seven youths and seven maidens were brought from Athens, at the time subject to Knossos, to be sacrificed to feed the Minotaur. One year, wishing to free Athens from this ghastly tribute, Theseus, son of King Aigeus of Athens, connived with his father to join the next shipment of youths so that he could slay the Minotaur and free his fellow victims. With the help of King Minos' daughter, Ariadne, he smuggled into the labyrinth a sword and some string to help him navigate his way out again. He slew the beast, but on his return voyage to Athens he neglected to raise a white sail, the signal by which his father the king would know of his success. King Aigeus, in despair at seeing a black sail on the returning ship, hurled himself into the sea, which now was henceforth called the Aegean."

    Aaaaand the result... drumroll please...

    To be continued as weirdly in this day and age I am limited to ten images:wacky:
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Oh man, those are great coins and now have some pretty cool docs to go with them :)
    I'm looking forward to seeing what your Crete, Knossos coin is. I grew up in a small town named Crete (after another small town named Crete named after the Island) and I had the chance to visit Crete while heading out for a deployment in 2013. I've been wanting a coin from there ever since the ancient bug caught me.
  4. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter



    So all turned out good and I recieved the relief that only years of experience telling a "young" collector can provide.
    A+ Excellent experience.
    And to answer an unanswered question from @dougsmit on whether it is just Mr. Sear doing the authentication or if he has a team, as this was a concern of mine as well. By all communications I received from him I believe he is still at it.
    Though, I will point out the signature on the certificates appears to be virtual, it is no reason to make me think the coins did not pass through his hands and recieve his confidence.
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ...very kool Ryro....David R or Barry Murphy's company are solid!...kool coins and a 'o-wow' on the labyrinth! :)
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Fantastic!! Now you have ...

  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Hey, he's only 79; it's not like he's old or anything! According to his bio, he first went to work for Seaby as an apprentice when he was only 16.

    I have one coin that came with one of his certificates:

    Roman Republic, L. Thorius Balbus, AR Denarius, 105 BCE. Obv. Head of Juno Sospita R., “ISMR” [Iunonis Sospitae Magnae Reginae*] / Rev. Bull Charging Right, A above, “L. THORIUS BALBUS.” RSC I Thoria 1, Crawford 316/1, Sear RCV I 192, BMCRR Rome 1615. 20.11 mm., 3.85 g. David R. Sear Certificate of Authenticity, 11/16/2012, No. 690CY/RR/CO/C.

    Thorius Balbus (bull) (2).jpg

    *See, e..g., https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hoppe...ic+letter=B:entry+group=2:entry=balbus-bio-11 (William Smith. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, entry for Balbus: "The annexed coin of L. Thorius Balbus contains on the obverse the head of Juno Sospita, whose worship was of great antiquity at Lanuvium, with the letters I. S. M. R. (that is, Junonis Sospitae magnae reginae)." See also the dictionary of Latin inscriptions at https://www.trismegistos.org/abb/abbreflist.php?combin_id=66298 (same meaning given).

    Thorius Balbus cert. of authenticity.jpg

    I guess the fact that he lives in California now makes it a lot easier for those of us who live in the USA to use his services than it would be if he still lived in the UK.
    galba68, buckeye73, Chris B and 13 others like this.
  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I really like the strong details on that Kaulonia. It's broken, but certainly deserving of both the good home and Sear cert it now has. It makes me think of me a broken+repaired piece I have that's one of my favorites in my collection.

    Thessaly Pherai - Hemiobol Dog.jpg
    THESSALY, Pherai
    AR Hemiobol. 0.27g, 8.3mm. THESSALY, Pherai, circa 360s-350s BC. BCD Thessaly II 694; HGC 4, 563; Imhoof-Blumer 1908, p. 93, 277, pl. VI, 38; cf. Nomos 4, 1306 corr. O: Head of Ennodia right: R: Φ - E, hunting dog sitting right.
    Ex BCD Collection, his tag noting "Pr. fr. Ked. Apr. 89 (thr. T/ne) ex Thess., 35000 drs."

    Will also share my Kaulonia stater. I'd love to have one with the incuse reverse like yours someday.

    Bruttium Kaulonia New 2017.jpg BRUTTIUM, Kaulonia
    AR Stater. 7.97g, 21.8mm. BRUTTIUM, Kaulonia, circa 475-425 BC. SNG ANS 180; Noe, Caulonia 93; HN Italy 2046. O: KAVΛ, Apollo, naked, advancing right, holding a branch in uplifted right hand; small daimon running left on Apollo's outstretched left arm; stag standing right, head turned back. R: KAVΛ (retrograde), Stag standing right; laurel branch to right.
  9. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Fantastic results @Ryro. I would have had concerns about the "Vercingetorix" as well, especially after finding a match to your coin : weird...but well played Sir !

    Antonius Britannia and Ryro like this.
  10. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    He's almost perfectly twice my ageee.. experience!
    What a life he has led! Can you imagine starting your career in ancient Numismatics at the age of 16??
    Here's the man's story for those interested:

    COOL CERTIFICATE!!! Though, it's the same format he must update the bottom section each year, as yours says fifty four years experience and mine says 63. I wonder if he goes by a specific date that he was hired and changes it yearly on that day?
    And wonderous coin:artist:, as always. Great portrait of Juno.
    I never realized that the bull reverse was a pun in the moneyer's name, Taurus = Thorius, kinda like Musa and the muses.
    It really is worth paying the extra ten bucks to get his take and the history of the coin.
    Here's my bent but beautiful bull:
    I often wonder, how did this bend occur? An ancient bar fight over a girl? An ancient horse step on it??
  11. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    an older certificate from 1978--

  12. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter μεγάλος βασιλιάς

    Very cool @Ryro - now you will be able to sleep at night!
    Ryro likes this.
  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I always enjoy Roman Republican coins on which an image depicted is a deliberate pun on the moneyer's name. The other one I have is this denarius of C. Vibius C. f. C. n. Pansa Caetronianus, depicting Pan on the obverse:

    NEW Vibius Pansa Pan-Jupiter COMBINED.jpg
    galba68, Hrefn, jdmKY and 9 others like this.
  14. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Cool, @Ryro , and great peace of mind. I have several authenticities from Mr Sear, one of which came back as a fake. Thank goodness it was a low-value coin, so no worries and a humbling learning experience!

    Another experience: Several years ago, I challenged a Dealer from Germany that the coin I purchased from him was FAKE. He was angry that I would even QUESTION him. I stated that I would send it to David Sear for authenticity. I would pay for the service and freight. If it were AUTHENTIC, I pay the service. If it were FAKE, the Dealer reimburses me for the coin as well as the Service and Freight fees.

    Sear was gracious enough to enter the email conversation, and discussed the coin directly with the Dealer. It turned out to be FAKE, but the Dealer went berserk! LOL. He challenged Sears credibility, etc. etc. It was sad and a bit comical. I sent a private note to Sear, and apologized for the Dealer's behavior. I appreciated Sear actually take the extra steps of discussing the coin with the Dealer and its fault as a modern day forgery. Needless to say, the German Dealer is off my purchase resource list.

    He lost. And, to his credit, he DID reimburse the coin, fees, and freight.

    The @Ryro Certificate Concern: I am beginning to see a CONSPIRACY THEORY forming...

    Each and EVERY Certificate has a mysterious PIECE OF PAPER on them... all the same size and shape! EERIE and ODD. Is this due to ALIENS? Is it some VACCINE ERROR? I am confused and scared.


    Shocking... Mystifying... Terrifying... I think we need our favorite Troll to weigh in on this incredible coincidence.

    :D :D :D

    Here is a pretty picture:

    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  15. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    David Sear is the best authenticator in the business ;). You always get more than your money's worth when submitting coins to him. I sent him 4 Greek coins 16 years ago for authentication & was very impressed with the job he did :happy:. Below are 2 photos of one of those coins. Click the photos for a larger view.
    IMG_0893 (3).JPG IMG_0895 (2).JPG
  16. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    1978! Was not only before I was born, but also, back when he was still in England!:singing:
    It's like a Babe Ruth rookie card signed by the sultan himself!:bookworm::wideyed:
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    If you still have the coin I'd love to see it's reverse:shame:
    It's hard to find a Gallienus that's not from the zoo in my collection. Here's one:
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    You make me feel ancient! I was in law school in 1978.
    Ryro likes this.
  18. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    It's not much to look at--

  19. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter μεγάλος βασιλιάς

    I was eight years old in 1978.
    Ryro likes this.
  20. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Fun portrait. A rare type. A swing and a m.... man that's gotta hurt.

    Thanks for being willing to share. It helps me know what to look out for.
    What made you send that coin to him in the first place? How did the doubt creep in?
  21. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    This seems like a good place to post my own Kaulonia nomos, which was purchased last year from a friend and fellow collector.
    I have never shown this coin before...
    It’s broken just like @Ryro’s, only the pendant is holding it together

    88555A51-72A5-4B1C-BDE4-F258D63765D1.jpeg 234FC8A2-9B85-46E2-AE78-E656B6FF640A.jpeg
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