Fake or Genuine Sestertii?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Paul Elliott, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. Paul Elliott

    Paul Elliott New Member

    Have had these four a good few years, bought from somebody who inherited his father's coin collection. I've always thought of them as fakes but think it's about time to check as a couple look to be possibilities. The Faustina weighs 27.3g, Agrippina 18.6g, and the two Galbas 24.4g and 21.3g. Thanks in advance. CAM16447.jpg CAM16455.jpg CAM16450.jpg CAM16452.jpg
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Someone flagged this post, suggesting we move it to the Ancients forum. I do think it would get more responses there, but since it’s not inappropriate here in the WIW forum, I’ll leave that up to the author’s choice. @Paul Elliott - if you’d like us to do that (move it to Ancients), you may re-flag it yourself, using the “report” link, and request that.

    Edit: done.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2021
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  4. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member

    I have a high level of confidence that #2(Agrippina) is a cast copy. As such, guilt by association puts the rest as highly suspect.

    #4’s(Galba) fabric looks fairly ‘mushy’ too.

    #1(Faustina) and #3(Galba) are a little more convincing, I’m getting a ‘Paduan’ vibe from those two, although the sloppiness of the legend on the reverse of #1 makes me take pause.

    DISCLAIMER: I’m not an expert by any means, but I’ve looked at enough genuine coins, that my Spidey-sense tingles when something looks ‘off’.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I'm no expert either but I doubt you are wrong. When Spidey speaks, we should listen.
  6. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Faustina I - There is a die impression most of the way around, too close to the beading for it to be from a genuine Roman die. Fake.

    Agrippina - Bad cast copy

    1st Galba - Style looks off, too weak and IMO the patina is too even

    2nd Galba - Too mushy. Also a cast copy.

    If genuine, these coins would be worth between about $500 - 2,000+ each
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  7. otlichnik

    otlichnik Well-Known Member

    I agree with Herodotus, though Paduan would be lucky as true Paduan fakes still have a value. I suspect a Paduan-style modern fake but that is just my guess.

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  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I am very skeptical of the Faustina, which would catalog as RIC 1114; BMCRE 1505; Cohen 55; Strack 1258; Sear 4612. It's one of the great rarities of Faustina I. If genuine, it would easily bring four figures at auction, maybe five. It wouldn't be found unattributed in some guy's father's collection. The circumstances are so fishy as to discount the story without much additional thought. But in the interest of fairness, let's examine it more.

    Although well-attested in the literature, with examples in the British Museum, BnF, and the national museums in Rome and Naples -- cited by Mattingly (BMCRE and RIC), Cohen (BnF), and Strack -- none have sold at auction in recent years (an acsearchinfo search for "Faustina 1114" comes up with nothing). No examples are to be found at Wildwinds or The Coin Project.

    I am able to find only two other examples online -- the ANS specimen and the British Museum specimen, shown below.

    British Museum:

    The ANS:

    The OP coin again:

    Look at the flan shape of the OP coin and its relationship to the devices. now look at the ANS coin. EITHER THE OP COIN IS A CAST FAKE OF THE ANS SPECIMEN OR THEY ARE BOTH CAST FAKES. I wonder if the BM specimen was the exemplar for these fakes of if it's fake as well.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
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  9. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member

    I enjoy good detective work.

    Here is an example ‘Sold as a Paduan Medallion’ from a recent Roma auction:

    E-Sale 67, 06-02-2020, Lot 1323

    Diva Faustina I Æ Cast Paduan Medallion.

    Diva Faustina I Æ Cast Paduan Medallion. Unknown maker, circa 1600-1900. DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right / AETERNITAS, Faustina seated left atop garlanded cart drawn by two lions; SC in exergue. 25.78g, 35mm, 6h.

    Hammered For: £85

  10. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    The third Galba seems to be a die-match with this one sold in 2017 as genuine...

    The OP coin

    Sincona AG
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  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    There is some disagreement on the proper use of 'Paduan'. The term is properly used to a group of Renaissance medals and especially those linked to Giovanni da Cavino and the town of Padua. There is a catalog of these by Lawrence. Almost all we see are casts made from the originals or from earlier casts (after-casts) which vary in quality from works of art on their own to rubbish. In addition to the types that are in the book, we see other idealized copies of Roman originals made for collectors long ago when it was considered good to have a new, updated and improved item rather than a blank place in the collection. These, too, vary from better than most originals to rubbish. Below is a 'Paduan' after-cast of Lawrence 69 (Septimius Severus)

    and a not-in-catalog copy for the person who could not have an ancient Pertinax Consecratio sestertius. I consider it better to reserve the term Paduan for types in Lawrence. Both sell in the market as better than 'fakes' but nowhere near the level of an original Cavino era Paduan.
  12. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    I've lightened the two Galba's up a bit to better appreciate the style and fabric:
    galba 1 2021 - 1.jpg galba 2 2021 - 1.jpg
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  13. Paul Elliott

    Paul Elliott New Member

    Thanks for the replies. In fairness to the original collector I bought the entire collection including some very nice early Greek and other Roman, found two obvious fakes among them including one with a well-known London dealer ticket! Most of the Greek and Roman had dealers tickets with descriptions (Spink and Coincraft) but I discounted the four sestertii because of the Agrippina one and as said "guilt by association" and no tickets. One thing I did not mention earlier is the coin edges. I could not find evidence of casting marks round the edges on any of them.
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