Help needed: genuine or fake? (Justin II solidus)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Gabor Papp, Apr 1, 2020.


Genuine or Fake?

  1. Genuine

    5 vote(s)
  2. Fake

    0 vote(s)
  1. Gabor Papp

    Gabor Papp Member

    Dear All,

    I have bought a Justin II solidus from one of the largest Hungarian numismatic webshop.
    However, I am not sure about its originality, because some of the gold coins of this webshop turned out to be fake. Nevertheless, the webshop give a life-long guarantee with full refund.
    Please help me, what do you think based on its photo? 01.jpg
    Could those many spots (some of them marked with red) casting slags on the coin?
    Or are they something else?

    Thank you very much for your help in advance!
    Best wishes,
    Curtisimo likes this.
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  3. Gabor Papp

    Gabor Papp Member

    Photos with higher resolution.

    Attached Files:

  4. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I don't see anything immediately that screams fake, but lets wait for the others to chime in with a more informed opinion.

    The arrowed region could just be a weak strike area, or die defect.
    Paul M. and Gabor Papp like this.
  5. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Broken, rusty and/or clogged die?

    There is no wear on it, so the weird surfaces must have happened during striking?

    Gold does not corrode to look like that unless it was dipped in aqua regia, which is not likely.


  6. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I think its geniune:)
    Gabor Papp likes this.
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Looks fine to me.
    panzerman and Gabor Papp like this.
  8. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    If @panzerman says it's genuine, then I would certainly bet my life on it.
    Gabor Papp and panzerman like this.
  9. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    For genuine types (with less wear) the weight should be between 4.3gms to 4.5gms. With the obvious wear it still shouldn't be less than around 4.2gms. That number will give you a better indication whether it is OK.
    Gabor Papp and panzerman like this.
  10. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    This solidus is most likely genuine. Those areas you indicated are probably due to die damage. They are not indicators of casting.

    Sorry but I'm going to be a bit blunt.

    If you trust the seller then you should value his opinion more, as he's seen the coin in hand. If you don't trust the seller, since you said he sold fakes (not sure how you are certain about this, or if they are glaring fakes) then I would suggest you should only buy from him if you yourself know the coin (is genuine).

    As others have mentioned weight is very important with Roman gold coins. Since you didn't mention the weight in your OP I take it that you might not be aware of this. Also this solidus is really typical of the type. So you don't appear to know the coin.

    As another seller has succinctly stated. "Know the coin or know the dealer." Or do not buy.
    Paul M., Ryro, BenSi and 3 others like this.
  11. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Sorry about piling on, but if I knew that a seller had knowingly sold fakes, I would never buy from that person. Why support a crook?
    Gabor Papp, Ryro and panzerman like this.
  12. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    I would ask for the refund.
    Gabor Papp likes this.
  13. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

    It's perfectly genuine.

    Barry Murphy
  14. Gabor Papp

    Gabor Papp Member

    First of all, thank you very much for your answers! :shame:
    I will measure the exact weight of this solidus on a microbalance in my research lab tomorrow.

    Anyway, this is my full story:

    One year ago, I bought two solidi from a well-known (at least in Hungary) Hungarian online numismatic shop. One of them is the coin from Justin II (see it above), the other one is from Justinianus I (photo is attached to this post).

    One month later, I bought two nomisma histamenons from the same shop. However, I have found that one of these coins was a published fake one made by a die created in Libanone between 1960-65 (thanks to the help of the members of this cointalk forum :shame:). (Photo of this histamenon is also attached. For further information about this fake coin, see this page:
    The other histamenon was also a bit weird, but I did not find it between the published fake coins. Of note, both histamenon came originally from the same suspicious German auction house, so I was sure that the other one was fake, too.
    I sent all the information about the published fake coin to the Hungarian seller, nonetheless, he did not accept that his coin was fake, and refused to give me any refund.
    In spite of that, finally, I managed to get back my money in an alternative way, since in Hungary, the buyers have a right to cancel any internet buying within 14 days without any reason.

    After that experience, I will never buy any coin from this numismatic shop in the future, of course.
    However, these two solidi, which were bought earlier, cause me sleepless nights. :(

    Attached Files:

    Curtisimo likes this.
  15. Gabor Papp

    Gabor Papp Member

    It's weight is 4,30 g.
    Brian Bucklan likes this.
  16. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    Well within the acceptable level. It is genuine.
    Gabor Papp likes this.
  17. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    The raised spots could be die rust.

    The flat areas of the coin are somewhat rough, but was probably the original surface of the flan before striking, as these flans were cast.

    The weight is good, so if it is a fake, it is a good one. I am not familiar with the design elements of the solidus series to comment about that, but overall the coin looks okay to me.
    Paul M. and Gabor Papp like this.
  18. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've heard that Byzantine solidi tend to sell for about four or more times their melt value. So there would still be plenty of incentive for someone to make a fake solidus out of pure gold, right?

    I'm not questioning the authenticity of the OP. I'm just wondering how critical weight is in determining a forgery.
    Gabor Papp and Paul M. like this.
  19. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    1 Troy ounce of gold is worth about 1600 USD currently. So a full weight 4.5g solidus should have a melt value of 1600 / 31.1 * 4.5 = 232 USD. This solidus will probably sell for more than that, but certainly not four times more. That will be 928 USD! I'd say it will sell for around 300 to 400 USD.

    I think it very unlikely for someone to fake this coin using pure gold. You would need to have a well engraved die for starters and the profit is small.
    Gabor Papp and Paul M. like this.
  20. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I agree, it would be more profitable to produce a mint state example from a rarer Emperor. Justin II/ Justinian I/ M. Tiberius are common and cheap even in MS.
    Gabor Papp and Paul M. like this.
  21. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    This was exactly my initial thought. But, since @Barry Murphy chimed in, I'm now convinced it's totally genuine.

    It's not entirely clear to me that the seller knowingly sold a fake coin as genuine. You know what they say about collecting ancients:

    But, of course, "know the coin or know the dealer" is always excellent advice. I give it frequently, along with "I'd rather buy a great coin for a fair price than a fair coin for a great price." When it comes to my collection, those are really my only ironclad rules. Everything else is governed by whatever catches my eye.

    I concur with @RichardT and @panzerman here. The amount of skill needed to fake a Byzantine solidus so well that it fools the average dealer, plus the amount of effort it would take is so high compared to the potential profit, I don't see this being very likely. Someone with that much skill could probably make enough money legally to make it not even worth thinking about faking common solidi.
    Gabor Papp, BenSi and panzerman like this.
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