Implicitly the favorite color of the owner of Athena is orange. He must scour the Earth in search of bronze coins that have just the right orangey glow to satiate his desire to see more of his favorite hue. Somehow he manages to find boatloads of coins for his stock that fit the bill. The amazing thing is that a number of these coins are from regions where there weren’t even any deserts! I can only imagine that he must go through tens of thousands of AE’s for every one he decides to pick up. It must have just that right shade of orange, whether it’s Umayyad, Roman Imperial, Roman Provincial, Judaean, Greek of any city-state, Byzantine, Arab-Byzantine, etc. His patience and dedication are obviously richly rewarded – he has found thousands of coins (I’ve been watching his stock for years) that have that identical orangey desert patina. Just amazing! Well done, Athena! No less impressive is the acquisition work of the owner of Zurqieh, who I have also been watching very, very carefully for years. Now this fellow is not so much into the saturated orangey stuff. No, he seems to lean more toward the lighter yellow-orange hues. He too, no doubt, combs the world in search of coins that exhibit his favorite sandy colors. Like his Athena counterpart he amazes me in that he manages to find coins, across all ancient cultures, that have similar patinas. He even sells the only yellow Elymaean AE’s I’ve ever seen. Remarkable! Even his Ptolemaic bronzes are yellow! Great work, Zurqieh! Good eye! You, sir, are a true connoisseur of yellow! Now, I must admit that the “old me” used to be of a more suspicious nature. I even stupidly suspected something was amiss here, that there was no way that one store’s inventory could have the same sand patinas over thousands and thousands of coins, year after year, unless there was manipulation going on. But that was the old me. What prompted my attitude adjustment? Well, one day I read the VCoins Code of Ethics which, as we know, outlines the ethical behavior subscribed to by all VCoins dealers. It explains that dealers “will not intentionally misrepresent items (they) sell” and that they “operate in a fair and honorable manner.” Well, this certainly put my mind at ease. I realized upon reading these words that my suspicions were for naught. As adherents to the Code, these dealers implicitly have an abiding respect for ancient coins. They understand that the application of a fake patina is (1) a deceptive practice, (2) runs contrary to the VCoins Code of Ethics, and (3) is fundamentally disrespectful to the coins themselves – not to mention their creators – AND to potential buyers. What we clearly have here are not unethical, deceptive practices. No, no. What we are looking at are some really, really impressive acquisition skills. Thumbs up, Athena and Zurqieh! You guys rock! Here’s a small sampling below. So, which is your preference? The orange or the yellow?