Desert patina or doctoring? Sent coins to NGC (NGC's stance on repatination)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Aurelianus, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. Aurelianus

    Aurelianus New Member

    The Problem
    Just sent two suspect (below) 'desert patina' Roman Empire bronzes to NGC in Sarasota. I know there are already quite a few CT threads about dealers adding desert patina, and from what I understand it can be difficult to tell real sand from fake. Is there a strategy for identifying repatination by texture etc with a loop?

    Since we ofc clean ancients, there seems to be a continued battle on where exactly to draw the line on what is ok... Some people even consider repatination acceptable:

    NGC's Seemingly Relaxed View on Repatination
    Grading can be a little cost prohibitive and most ancients aren't slabbed, so among the threads about desert/sand patina I haven't seen a lot of talk about NGC's stance on the issue. I trust that David Vagi and his team at NGC Ancients know their stuff.

    I sent the below two coins with standard service to get NGC's full view. This ensures I get that italicized comment in the bottom right corner of the slab label... It seems sandy coins either either get "Sand Patina" or "repatinated" as a comment. Either the patina is real or fake.

    Sand Patina Example:

    Repatinated Example:

    What is interesting is that NGC will still slab repatinated coins, thus taking the view that repatinating to accentuate devices is ok?
    If a coin was tooled or otherwise altered improperly, it would not be allowed in an NGC slab.

    This also creates a loophole, assuming repatination is bad: a repatinated coin could be sent in via NGC Ancients Economy service and be slabbed without any notes on repatination as comments are not included in economy service. The coin could thus be sold as a coin with genuine patina, when in fact it has been added:

    (Not sure whether this coin has real patina or repatination):

    Next Steps
    If either of the two I sent come back as repatinated I may send them into NCS or exploring water/acetone etc.

    Not going to disclose where I bought these to avoid the thread becoming a dealer roast. I didn't pay a premium for these coins -- just trying to learn more about what to look for. Thanks everyone!

    IMG_3077.JPG IMG_3076.JPG
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Pretty easy to tell they are most likely from VC dealer, Zurqieh. Both coins I think are a waste to send to NGC, whether the patina is re-added or legit.
    Ryro and ominus1 like this.
  4. Rich Beale

    Rich Beale Well-Known Member

    Neither of these coins looks repatinated. They both appear to have natural earthen adhesions.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Does the NGS use of 'Sand Patina' imply that their opinion is that sand was on the coin for centuries since recently sanded coins would have been termed 'Repatinated'? There are several ways to repatinate with sand including the famous Maybeline as exposed here by TIF. Some kinds wash off easier than others.
    Aurelianus likes this.
  6. Aurelianus

    Aurelianus New Member

    This a great question to consider. I wish they had descriptions on their website for different comments on the slabs... I guess I am assuming that if the coin's patina is centuries old it gets "sand patina" while patinas added by dealers get "repatinated"
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..i think the coins are legit..but i'm kinda like you, i'd rather have the real stuff on them rather than 'added later' for sales purposes...and i agree with Mat on sending them to NGC... i trust them wholeheartedly on their opinions, but these are low cost coins to begin with...
    DonnaML and Aurelianus like this.
  8. Aurelianus

    Aurelianus New Member

    Thanks for the look.

    Thanks for taking a look. Yeah, adding stuff later for sales purposes almost seems unethical. Definitely common bronzes, I am just interested to see how they grade.
    ominus1 likes this.
  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    SorenCoins and Aurelianus like this.
  10. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

    We don’t use the term “sand patina”.

    repatinated we do use if it’s obvious but not to egregious and doesn’t appear to be covering up repair or tooling.

    coins that are covered with “fake” sand and appear to possibly be tooled or the sand is covering possible corrosion or other problems get sent back as Altered Surfaces. This is a real problem with Jewish bronzes and city coins. Less so with late Roman.

    Barry Murphy.
  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..thanks Barry...but i see expos facto these coins have already been sent you ya....:)
    Aurelianus likes this.
  12. Aurelianus

    Aurelianus New Member

    Thanks for your time!
  13. SorenCoins

    SorenCoins Well-Known Member

    This thread seems very interesting and I am excited to see how they grade.
  14. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter
    Now I am confused. While we are at it, why is the grade repeated?
    NGC Grade
    Ch F Strike: 3/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 3/5 Surface: 3/5

    Is this a fake page and not showing a real NGC slab? Is it old and shows the possibility of separate grades for the two sides?
  15. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    One of the linked coins' descriptions literally reads "sand patina".
    OutsiderSubtype likes this.
  16. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

    That’s about 8-10 years old. We don’t use that term anymore and haven’t in about 6 years.

    Barry Murphy.
  17. rooman9

    rooman9 Lovin Shiny Things

    Just a bug with NGC lookup and ancients. They all look that way.
  18. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ...our @Barry Murphy is to ancients what E F Hutton was/is to stock investor here at CT...when he talks..we listen :)
    Kentucky and Aurelianus like this.
  19. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Ha! Small world! I used to own that Claudius in the first example, and was in fact the misguided person who had it entombed.


    It was pre-2013 that I submitted that one, as I recall. In fact, I think I sold the coin in '13 or '14. It was part of my old 12 Caesars set, which I did from 2011-2013.
  20. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I should add that I also used to be a big fan of sandy patina until my eyes were opened by the big exposé here. I still like it, but am more wary, particularly of the two dealers who were outed.
    Theodosius and Kentucky like this.
  21. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Khnum-Hotep

    I'm surprised that anyone would "add" a sandy patina. Seems like a way to ruin an authentic coin and at minimum is slightly unethical.
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