"Extremely rare" unpublished coin?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Paul M., Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    I've stumbled across a very interesting Roman imperial coin that the seller notes as unpublished and which I can't find a reference to, either. I'm not talking about some kind of variant of a published coin; this coin truly doesn't seem to exist in the literature.

    I like the coin overall, and I'm considering buying it, but I'm wary it may be fake. I don't have any specific reason to suspect it's fake as yet (the pics look good and I don't have it in hand), but I'm wondering if anyone else has had experience buying "unlisted" coins before, and how it turned out.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    If it's ebay, then be a bit warry. Many will say it's "rare" or "unique" just to find a sucker. But if it's from a established dealer then there is a good chance it could/is an unlisted type.

    I see unlisted added on Vcoins all the time, so it happens.
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  4. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    It's on Vcoins. I don't know much about the particular seller, but the coin has enough detail to plainly see the attribution is correct, and it differs significantly from similar coins in RIC.
  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Is it Roys coins? If so, many of my 3 figure coins have come from him. He tends to have a lot of unlisted stuff. He actually tends to focus on such types. He's always been great to deal with too.
  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    if the seller uses the term "extremely rare" it sounds like Romae Aeternae

    but unpublished coins are not rare if you don't check all the references. I currently have 45 "not in RIC" coins, but many, if not most are listed somewhere else.
  7. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    Nope, neither Roys nor Roma Aeternae. I know RIC isn't the last word anymore, especially some of the earlier volumes. But, I've looked at auctions and checked various online references and come up with nada. Any good sources you might suggest to look up a potentially rare second century denarius?
  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    If it's listed as not in RIC, you could crosscheck BMCRE, but I imagine a Vcoins dealer listing it as extremely rare and unlisted would already have done so.

    If it's a completely unknown type for the issue, it sounds interesting, and would be particularly so for a specialist of that ruler.

    Now, if it's something like this, an apparently unique and unpublished coin showing A-Pi wearing a grain-ear and poppy wreath, it's easier to see why it closed at $7k on a $500 estimate.
  9. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    It is, indeed, something along those lines, although not nearly as nice as the linked coin. I've checked RIC, BMC, acsearch, cng, and coinarchives and found absolutely zilch. I'm probably just going to buy it and show it off later. ;)
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  10. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Perhaps it is unlisted but I always wonder if the person writing the blurb has truly checked all references and how they quantify the label "extremely rare". At the moment there are 659 coins on for sale on Vcoins which are touted as "extremely rare".

    My impression is that it is not uncommon to see rare provincials. If it is an imperial, is it extremely rare because of some minor difference, important primarily to specialists?

    Regardless of whether various books say a coin is common or rare, for me the bottom line is whether there are any in the main online databases/sales records (sounds like you've already checked this). If there are few or none, it is "rare" at least from an availability standpoint.

    If you like having rarities, collect provincials :).
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  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    The validity of something being unlisted depends on what it is and how extensively it has been studied/published. For example consider coins covered by the pathetically out of date RIC volume V. Not being listed in RIC is no big thing. However, there is an update to half of RIC V online which is better to the point that having something not listed there does possibly mean that the item is new. Some great rarities like the AP with corn and poppies are minor enough differences that worn coins or those looked at quickly might cause the difference to be overlooked. There are specialists to whom such minor differences matter a lot. Two or more obviously saw that CNG listing and wanted it badly. Finally there is the matter of rarity meaning nothing unless there are people who want the thing. There are thousands of ancient coins that exist in quantity less than the popular EID MAR Brutus but so few people know or care that a sale of one meets with apathy. Since you are not revealing any details we can not give advice on the specific item but I would say that a rarity with high demand is unlikely to show up online on vCoins. If it were known in the trade as something being sought out by the big collectors who pay good money, it would have been sold to them or consigned to a sale where two or more of them could fight it out.
    Cool! How many of them are different? This statistic would be even more impressive if accompanied by a note like "of which 10% are owl tetradrachms" or whatever is the popular rarity of the moment.
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  12. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    That would be very time-consuming but I did do a basic breakdown of the first two pages of hits for "extremely rare" plus 22 coins which hit the phrase "excessively rare" (a rather funny phrase which seems to be popular with some European sellers).

    8 Celtic
    52 Greek
    55 Roman Imperial, skewed towards late Romans
    53 Roman Provincials
    2 Roman Republic/Imperatorial
    10 Byzantine and related
    19 "other" (Indian and assorted eastern coins)

    Some of the hits were books and other non-coin objects and so were not counted.
  13. Alegandron

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

    My wife is rare. Only have one of her.
  14. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    it was a surprise to me when i first go into ancients (and still kind of is really) just how common extremely rare coins are.
  15. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    We had sushi last night.
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  16. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    mmmm, sushi
  17. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Sorry for the double post of this coin, but I found it because of this discussion of rare. The coin has a symbol not listed in my Roman Republican coin books. That makes it a bit uncommon. The auction company did not mention "unlisted in Crawford", "rare", or any of the other rare buzzwords in the coin description.
    Q. Titius AE As Cr. 341.4d.jpg

    Q. Titius AE As, Rome, 90 BC.
    Obv - Laureate head of Janus
    Rev - Prow of galley right; Q TITI above, control symbol to right.
    Crawford 341/4d;
    Grueber Rome 2236
    Sydenham 694b.
    Sear 743
    RBW 1279
    9.26g, 26mm, 9h.
    In the absence of some other feature like historical significance, beauty, etc. rare is not a big value adder for an ancient coin. For what it is worth, I think this coin has poor art work. Have you seen an an Uglier Janus head?
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  18. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I come across 'unpublished' coins several times a year within my speciality. Some are minor variants like Doug's AP example, others are more substantial. It's not unusual at all. However, 'unpublished' is to be taken with a grain of salt with most sellers, unless they are well known for doing their homework. Most such coins I stumble across are not even recognised as 'unpublished' by the folks selling them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
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