"Felder leicht geglättet" (Fields lightly smoothed) or genuine RIC 1624?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Caveat emptor!

    I looked at this listing on V-Coins and thought to myself, "What a weird variety, where Ceres doesn't hold a short, transverse torch!" The torch is a key feature of this issue. I have written about this recently.

    You'll note the listing reports the fields have been "lightly smoothed" ("Felder leicht geglättet"). "Lightly" smoothed the torch right out of the goddess' arms, that is!!

    Moreover, the bust has almost certainly been tooled to accentuate the pearls in the hair, the chignon of the hair, and probably the folds of the drapery on the bust and on Ceres' drapery as well. This coin is a con-job.


    This example from the British Museum demonstrates what the coin is supposed to look like:

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  3. Kevin Mader

    Kevin Mader Fellow Coin Enthusiast

    Interesting! Glad to know that CT has a strong group of ancient enthusiasts. The top coin does look fake but I am surprised at the detail and sharpness of the British specimen.
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    The dealer in question joined VCoins fairly recently; I remember noticing the name. I know it sounds horribly prejudiced, but "Balkan" in a coin dealer's name doesn't inspire much confidence in me, even though the owner (Yatsov Petko) is located in Schleswig, Germany. He had a Titus elephant coin a while back that I almost bought, but I hesitated. I'm glad I waited and bought the one I recently showed here instead.
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  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    @Roman Collector, did you notice that the description of the coin says "Banti 19 (dies Exemplar)" -- meaning, I believe, that this is the same coin as Banti 19. Does anyone have a copy of the relevant volume of Banti, to confirm whether in fact this is the coin illustrated there and, if so, whether it looks the same now as it did then?
    Roman Collector likes this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting example of tooling. I find these posts instructive, although sometimes I feel the more tooling I see the more confused I get in regards to tooling vs. cleaning/conservation.

    For instance, below is a recent purchase - a budget sestertius of Antoninus Pius. Is it wrong of me to want more tooling? I mean on Pius's face - which is suffering from blobby patina. Was there more of this reddish stuff on the coin originally? Could this be improved? Would it be cleaning to remove the reddish blob on the face? Or would it be tooling?

    FYI - I have absolutely no plans to mess with it - these are rhetorical questions only.

    Antoninus Pius - Sest. Salus std. Feb 2021 (0A).jpg
  7. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your post. I guess it is not easy to buy good quality Sestertius due to the possibility of tooling. It seems safer just to stick with reputable dealers. On the other hand, I wonder if other bronzes, such as AE As or Dupondius, are frequently being tooled.
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  8. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Usually, tooling means deliberately changing the devices or inscription, or adding fake details to replace ones that were worn away. Just removing encrustations would not be considered tooling.
    DonnaML likes this.
  9. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    Are you sure it isn’t just a different variety without the torch?
  10. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    It looks the same as it did when it was sold in 1914. See below.

    At first -- before @shanxi posted the other examples while I was preparing this post -- I thought the coin to be unique. There were no other examples to be found at acsearchinfo when I searched for "Faustina 1624," but only this same exact coin from a Kunker sale last year. There are no examples illustrated at OCRE or at Wildwinds.

    There is a great deal of confusion in the literature about this coin. The first mention of it is Cohen 40, and he describes it as "Ceres seated left on cista, holding two corn ears and lifting her robe with the left hand" (my translation). He cites the collection of M. Colin, not any of the museum collections to which he had access.

    Capture 2.JPG

    The next appearance of the coin is in the Charles Dupriez, Brussels (Auction 115bis), 20.4.1914, pl. 6, 391. Paul Dinsdale provides the photograph of the coin at the Dupriez auction.

    Faustina Jr CERES S C sestertius without torch Dupriez.JPG

    This is clearly the exact same coin as in the OP. Its provenance is unknown, but it may well have been the example owned by M. Colin, as cited by Cohen, but this is merely conjecture.

    It makes its next appearance in RIC as 1624, but Mattingly and Seydenham cite Cohen and no other examples.

    Capture 1.JPG

    It subsequently appears as a footnote to BMC 895 on p. 529.

    You'll note that Mattingly errs in his description of the reverse. Although he cites Cohen 40, he writes that Ceres "holds torch in r. hand."

    The next appearance is in MIR, where it causes a bunch of confusion. In Szaivert's concordance, he lists MIR 4 as corresponding to RIC 1624.


    And, indeed, MIR 4 is the only possibility it could be because it was only issued as a sestertius (denomination 6).


    But Szaivert errs when he says it has reverse type Ceres 3, which clearly describes a torch: "sitting left on cista with short torch and grain ears" (my translation."


    Szaivert cites the Dupriez auction as his source (see "4-6a").


    More follows ...
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  12. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The coin appeared last year in a Kunker sale.

    So, UP UNTIL @shanxi posted the other two examples, I was going to say that it appeared to be known from only a single specimen and it was my opinion that the torch had been removed inadvertently through aggressive smoothing.

    However, it appears to be a reverse die match to the two specimens cited by shanxi.

    The OP as photographed by Kunker last year (the highest quality photo available):

    Faustina Jr CERES S C sestertius without torch Kunker.jpg

    The Jose Herrero specimen:


    The Soler y Llach specimen is a DOUBLE die match to the OP (Kunker) specimen.


    Therefore, my initial hypothesis -- that the coin was merely an example of RIC 1620 that had been tooled and smoothed such that the torch had been removed -- is incorrect. The OP coin may have been smoothed, but not tooled! It is a rare coin indeed!
    Factor, shanxi, Broucheion and 8 others like this.
  13. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    I believe you have justified purchasing it for your collection, lol!
  14. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Unsold last October at 300€, now on Vcoins for 450€...hurry up RC, it should reach the 600-700€ zone before next summer...
  15. Alegandron

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

    Awesome! Nice pickup! And cool research post from @shanxi !

    I was gonna say a Hobo Sestertius from the 20th Century.

    Now, I revise my thoughts to it being a Hobo Sestertius from the Die Maker!

    Well done @Roman Collector ... nice.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  16. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Here's RIC 1620 (with torch)...

    Faustina II - Sestertius Ceres seated Mar 2020 (1).jpg
    Faustina II Æ Sestertius
    (161- 176 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right / CER[ES] S-C, Ceres seated left on cista, holding two corn-ears and (short) lighted torch.
    RIC 1620; Cohen 36.
    (24.87 grams / 30 x 27 mm)
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  17. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    Athens New Style Tetradrachm c158/7 BC
    Obs : Athena Parthenos in tri-form helmet wearing aegis
    15 55g 32.5mm Thompson issue 7
    Thompson catalogue : Obs 27 : Rev NEW (no rudder)
    Rev : ΑΘΕ ethnic
    Owl standing on overturned panathenaic amphora
    2 magistrates monograms : NAUKRATES ARI....
    EXE graffito below left centre olive wreath
    All within surrounding olive wreath

    Smoothed I believe, maybe smoothed so much that they smoothed away the Rudder symbol which is normally below the left field Monogram as the example in Thompson for the same obverse.


    For the aficionado's of NewStyles amongst you, the obverse is the best portrayal of Athena since issue #1 and it is the last time an aegis appears.
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