From A to Z, and Orange to Yellow

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Bob L., Feb 9, 2017.

  1. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

    I am so in awe of the discriminating eye – the collecting prowess – the remarkable acquisition skills – displayed by the owners of Athena Numismatics and Zurqieh that I felt a shout-out was in order. These fellows are amazing and deserve praise. I just don’t know how they do it.

    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?

    A and Z post.jpg
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Are you sure you're not a politician? I mean, well, that's some fine double speak you did there. Or, maybe I'm being suspicious......
  4. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!




  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Bought silvers from Athena with no issues, never bought Zurqieh. But...yeah, I see what's going on there.:shifty:
  6. Alegandron

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

    I am a fan of fire colors. The yellow and orange are great! I think I will search the world for RED patina and start MY site! :)
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  7. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    What's even more amazing is how a coin sold at auction can, before very long acquire this patina just by being in the presence of Athena Numismatic's wonderful selection:

    Of course, he pulled this coin when called out on it - but many of its like-colored brethren(that makes me sound racist) still are for sale.
  8. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King

    I have long suspected that something was not quite right with Zurqieh, I haven't really known what except that I have wondered why so many of his coins looked alike.

    I believe he was briefly banned from vcoins in c. 2012.

    Thanks to @Bob L. For taking the time and having the courage to post this. I hope that vcoins will act on this information.
  9. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Personally, I like yellow coins...
    theophilus H J Berk.jpg
  10. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great post :)

    I bought a coin from both lol. Both before I knew. :/
    cplradar and gregarious like this.
  11. gregarious

    gregarious E Pluribus Unum

    yeah.. that's a good yellow there
  12. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Ummm, isn't Athena the seller formerly known as Holyland Numismatics?


    => yah, I'm always vary wary of desert patina

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
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  13. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    I'm surprised he didn't start out with "Friends, Romans, countrymen...." :p
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  14. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter


    I've asked for unwaxed pictures from each of them for coins of high interest-- high interest because of the coin, not the garish wax. One of these sellers protested that the patina was not applied but obliged and gave it an acetone soak (or whatever) and sent picture of the coin sans orange. The other seller sent the "naked" pictures so quickly that I don't think there was time to remove its makeup-- the "before" pictures may have existed before I wrote to them.

    Naturally, the applied substance filled in uneven spots and made the coins look better (better except for the hideous applied patina). I didn't buy the coins. I might have considered them but only for a much lower price.

    Zurqieh has a large number of Roman Egyptian coins I'd like, but I can't buy the colored coin without seeing it sans covering and I'm not going to ask them to remove the wax a dozen times a month. If they stop this practice and price the coins reasonably, I'll reconsider.

    Some may consider the application of opaque wax (or other such substance) routine and acceptable but I am against the practice.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  15. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Yes, one and the same

    Plus, they may work hand in hand : the "yellow" guy will give his friend the occasionnal orange find and vice versa. That's easy :)

  16. Johndoe2000$

    Johndoe2000$ Well-Known Member

  17. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    A fourth point to add: the opaque applied coloring might be actively harmful to the coin.

    I bought a group lot of Alexandrian tetradrachms some time ago. Most of them had a distinctive beige "sand" patina which I strongly suspect was makeup.

    Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 5.05.05 AM.jpg

    Here's an example from that lot, a before and after, with most of the makeup removed. It sure looks like the makeup itself caused corrosion.


    It took many alcohol soaks to remove the makeup, and then I had to treat them with Verdicare. I check them periodically to see if there the corrosion is active.
    Broucheion, Bing, dlhill132 and 11 others like this.
  18. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you?

    Great post, Bob!!

  19. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Everyone knows I'm new at collecting Ancients. I don't try and hide that fact. All I can say is "WOW!!". :coldfeet::coldfeet::coldfeet::coldfeet::coldfeet::coldfeet::coldfeet::stop::stop::stop::stop::stop::stop::stop:
    gregarious and Theodosius like this.
  20. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

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  21. gregarious

    gregarious E Pluribus Unum

    yesterday after i read this i seen on ebay a coin from the Z dude.. heavy on the yellow pat.
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