Fake or real?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by romismatist, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. romismatist

    romismatist Well-Known Member

    Hello Everyone,

    The numismatist Hubert Lanz (and others on EBay) been posting a series of these legionary denarii of Marc Antony for some time now, but I think they're a little too perfect. If you look at the metal, it doesn't have roughness or crystallization, and looks a little too even. So I've been asking myself this question for a while now... real or fake?


    Am I missing something? Or has a hoard of these been found somewhere? Interested in everyone's thoughts on this...
    aleppo likes this.
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    If Lanz is offering them then they are immediately, at the very least, suspect.
    However, I can't wait for the pros to chime in.
    @Bing was MA in a former life and has seen more of his coins than MA probably did in his own lifetime!
    dougsmit, Orielensis, DonnaML and 2 others like this.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Perhaps suspect, but looking at the coin in the link, I see nothing glaring to make me question this particular coin. The seller does not give any of the coins particulars, i.e. weight, dimension, which is important. The price seems pretty good, but then again Legio VII is relatively common. In the Delos hoard of 1905, there were 27 Legio VII specimens making it one of the more common. Having said all this, I would make an offer and see where it leads.

    Here is one of mine:
    Marcus Antonius Leg VII.jpg
  5. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    The OP is a modern fake, from modern dies. Don't ask me to list what's wrong with it - because that is NOT something to do on an open forum. I don't want to inform the villains about what we notice and how to better avoid detection.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  6. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you? Supporter

    Carausius is 100% correct on everything he said.
  7. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you? Supporter

    Lest ye have any questions about Lanz's offerings, look at this additional Antony abomination also on his eBay site.


    As authentic as a Jackalope:

  8. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Lanz has sold probably 20+ of these fakes over the last several months
    Curtisimo, +VGO.DVCKS, Orfew and 2 others like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    From the example @romismatist gave the initial ebay link to, my very amateur eyes didn't catch anything wrong with the surfaces per se --just maybe some sloppy dealer retoning. It was the engraving, especially on the reverse, that made me start to sit up. I was struck by the amount of detail given to the galley, and the emphasis on how the letters terminate, top to bottom, in dots. --Sort of Marcusian shorthand for the serifs you get in monumental sculpture, and imperial issues throughout the ensuing Julio-Claudian period. But on both counts, it looks as if someone was overcompensating for earlier, more obvious fakes. ...Sort of Becker Redux, in an ironic, retrograde kind of way. (--To whoever thought of this first, Exactly: the main way to spot Beckers is that, stylistically, they're Too Good.)
    On that flimsy basis, I could cheerfully second @Carausius' and @Carthago's observations, especially with the further example.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Does he save his fakes for ebay or does he put them in his other auctions too?
    ByzantiumBabe and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  11. Alegandron

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

    I saw the “Made in Thailand” on it.
  12. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    I'm really glad, now, that all I ever bought from him was one lower-end medieval, a decade and change ago. ...Used to be that, within a certain range of price and even relative esotericism, fakes were the last of your worries.
    DonnaML likes this.
  13. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    His last auction was 2.5 years ago and judging from his website most probably he cooperates with roma numismatics. I also assume that the coins auctioned as being from the "collection of an antiquarian, Bavaria c. 1960s-90s," are his own coins.
    DonnaML likes this.
  14. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Alegandron likes this.
  15. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Not an expert at all, but I also have noticed a recent abundance of Mark Antony legionary denarii on eBay with that same flat, pressed look (rather than struck). I don't like them one bit.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but the only hoard these came from is a 55 gallon steel drum found in a Bulgarian warehouse! (Or Thailand, or New Jersey).
    +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  16. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Since late 2000s, Lanz eBay has mass marketed ancient coins with I understand staff who do the actual procurement and selling and having in my view, only a light oversight by Dr.Lanz. Lanz eBay sales have had many tooled coins but most were at least genuine. However I have seen quite a few coins offered that I believed to fakes (just my opinion - each piece has to be evaluated on its merits), often quite plausible, and perhaps sold in error, but still... The printed sales have had few fakes but still a high proportion of tooled coins. A mutual friend mentioned this trend to Dr.Lanz about a decade ago and his response on the tooled coins was "at least they are real and if people like them...". Lanz is no longer a member of the International Association of Professional Numismatist (but other respected dealers are also not members). With its large eBay operations it is not much like the company set up by Gitta Kastner and continued by Lanz through the 1990s with famed sales such as the Benz collection. I have bought good genuine coins from Lanz over the years. But I have the expertise to know whats good and to recognise odd styles and coins that have been messed with. Its eBay. Caveat Emptor.
  17. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    9 out of 57 NewStyles were purchased through Lanz in the good ol' days , last one purchased 2013, most from fresh linked hoards that seem to have long disappeared now. And many of the early issues too. I guess I was lucky! Recently fresh NewStyles are rarely offered and then at ridiculous prices. Most of my recent purchases are from deceased collectors collections.
    NewStyles are not commonly imitated and when they are are obvious.
  18. romismatist

    romismatist Well-Known Member

    Thanks to everyone for your responses. I echo previous comments in that I have bought many other coins from Lanz over the years that have been genuine, but this issue in particular got my Spidey senses tingling. For me, it serves as a reminder that as @Andrew McCabe said, "caveat emptor" - it's Ebay. Never let your guard down... if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
    Zebucatt likes this.
  19. Silverlock

    Silverlock Well-Known Member

    This coin has sharply struck XF features, yet the individual who prepped it thought leaving a layer of black “patina” (which would safely dissolve in a solvent) was the best way to present it? Not a chance. The black crud is a crude attempt to cover flaws that would expose deception.

    One lesson we can safely share from this and the OP example is an inappropriate amount of prepping is a red flag. It’s useful to remember every ancient coin is prepped. Fake patinas, adhesions, and perfectly uniform coloration (say when a group of coins offered have uniform sandy coloration, for example) are used to hide tooling, modern methods, lack of or inappropriate flow lines, machined cracks, casting bubbles, and other evidence of deception. The deception isn’t limited to fakes, as these same methods are also used on genuine coins to conceal corrosion, physical damage, and active bronze disease. I made an prior post about a Ptolemaic bronze with the latter.

    I hasten to say not every inappropriately cleaned coin is a problem coin. But it is a red flag worthy of additional scrutiny.

    I’m happy to share this because there is nothing the deceiver can do about it.
  20. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    There is another matter here that troubles me as much as the seller offering fakes. That is the continued acceptance of such businessmen in the hobby. When a seller is known to participate in something of which you do not approve (fakes, tooled, stolen, polished, repatinated, anything) and you still insist on sending him money, you deserve what you get. By funding someone, you enable him to continue operating however he chooses. Suggestion: Pick an honest and knowledgeable dealer or, perhaps, a set of a thousand such professionals and send those kids to college rather than helping the heirs to the dirty throne. A good name in this business should be a thing to be treasured and protected. If your collection is made up of coins from questionable sources, even if the coins seem fine, is this a provenance you will want to advertise in the future?
    romismatist, Ryro and philologus_1 like this.
  21. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    But fakes are collected themselves! Becker forgeries are one example, Slavey another. The artwork forgeries of Tom Keating and John Myatt are collected. This is of course,provenance gone mad.Crime stories are popular and always have been and always will be so relics of the notorious have a cachet, a link to a crime and a person whilst ancient coins are by an anonymous slave not the persons name emblazoned on the coin, unless the die artist has sneaked himself unobtrusively in like Botticelli as an "anonymous" figure in a scene.
    Anyway you get my point.
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