Holding History "Looks promising!" Uncleaned Coins REVIEW

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, May 24, 2020.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    **Medium post warning** (lol)

    Okay, this is the last and final Uncleaned Coin review for the foreseeable future. I've spent way too much money on these, and I don't think I'll be buying uncleans ever again.

    However, this last and final review is actually a bit of a high note. I'll post a before and after of each coin, and give a final rating.

    Holding History is an eBay seller and also a website seller who specializes in ancient coins. I've purchased a couple coins from them before.
    One thing I've noticed is that many of their coins exhibit visible tool marks, evidence of some zealous cleaning attempts. However, the coins they sell are generally quite excellent and fairly priced. Most start at a $0.99 auction and will sell for no matter what it bids up to.
    That's how I got a mediocre Ant Pi dupondius for just $12.50.

    I purchased two lots of 3 uncleaned AE2s, which were described as "Looks Promising!"

    6 coins at a cost of $39.44 comes out to $6.57 per coin.

    Now this is significantly more than the previous coins I've purchased, which ranged from $0.73 each from the large hoards, to $1.70 for my most recent Noble Roman Coins "Premium Uncleaned" coins review.

    These coins from HH are 6x more expensive, but are they worth 6x the cost? Let's find out.

    My cleaning process consisted solely of a long soak in lye, and Ren Wax application. After breaking my back on the last 30 coins, I was 100% done and didn't want to waste any time on these.

    In no particular order...

    Constans AE24
    FTR Galley reverse
    This one looks pretty tough.Multicolored corrosion is all over the coin. The green spots were very hard and unyielding to mechanical attacks.
    Wow, what a change! All of the multicoloration is all but disappeared. The green corrosion spots were still present, and unyielding to mechanical attacks. At least the Jax and Ren Wax darkened them enough to be undistracting.
    Rating: 8/10
    Grade bump for the dumbest bust of Constans I've ever seen
    Rating: 9/10

    Constantius II AE22
    FTR Hut reverse
    This one looks even worse than the last one. Obverse is almost completely covered in brown rust and has scratches on the face. The reverse is severely marred by that adamantium green stuff.
    Now this is much better. The cheek scratches disappeared, and the colors have evened out considerably. Unfortunately, the green stuff just won't budge even though the reset of the reverse looks great.
    Rating: 8/10

    Constans AE22
    FTR Galley reverse

    Again, a very rough start. Same as before, more discoloration. This time the reverse has some bright teal spots instead of darker green. Yikes
    A great improvement, but the obverse now shows some pitting over the entire surface. The reverse is great though, and most of the green is now darkened enough to be nearly invisible at first glance, and much of it even came off entirely. I like how you can see the breasts of the seated figure in such detail.
    Rating: 7/10

    Magnentius AE22
    Securitas Reipublicae reverse
    The obverse looks great on this one. A decently even patina is really ruined by a horrendous reverse. Fortunately, no greenies here. You can see some obvious attempts at a mechanical cleaning, which were given up on apparently.
    Now this is a cautionary tale of "tit for tat." I sacrificed the obverse for a great reverse. A formerly well-patinated bust is now completely pitted to oblivion, and looks disgusting.
    However, the reverse really cleaned up and looks great now.
    How much did it cost? Everything.
    Rating: 6/10

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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Constans AE21
    FTR Galley reverse
    Unsightly splotches of green and brown cover the entirety of both surfaces. There is some attempted cleaning in the right field of the obverse, to no effect.
    This is what we call a good success. The obverse is completely cleared of all blemishes, and the reverse has some great detail. Again, the green wouldn't leave but at least it's darkened enough to blend in.
    Rating: 8/10

    Magnentius AE21
    Victory circle reverse
    This one looks pretty bad, almost beyond hope. The reverse appears obliterated and it's overall pretty rough.
    Et Voila - a decent result from not-so-decent beginnings. Unfortunately, the obverse still has a few greens, but it's not too bad. The right victory on the reverse is obliterated, but at least the overall composition looks a bit better than it did before.
    Rating: 7/10

    Average Total Rating: 7.5/10

    Value for the cost
    : Excellent. You're paying 7 bucks each for some very easy to clean and very presentable coins. You could pay twice or three times as much for something that looks nearly the same.

    Fun Factor: I was still irritated at spending 15 hours I'll never get back with the NRC lot, so I was pretty bitter starting out. Compared to that, this was Disneyland with the family.

    Satisfaction: Superb. I wasn't expecting too much, but I got some amazing results with little to no effort. All it took was lye and some wax and these are very beautiful coins. Nothing more satisfying that unveiling a stupid looking Constans in such good condition.

    Recommendation: Excellent buy for all ages.

    Conclusion: These coins appear to be rejects from the HH stock. HH either cleans themselves, or outsources cleanings, it appears. All six of these coins appear to have come from the same hoard, and with the same overall issues of brown rust and hard green corrosion. All exhibited some measure of attempted cleanings, which were given up for whatever reason. Perhaps the cleaner uncovered a coin that wasn't worth too much, or not worth the effort in trying to clean. Whatever the case, the savings were passed on to youuuuuu.

    Final Word: There was no misleading description to give you a false sense of security. The seller said they "looked promising" and by golly they did. These are the best uncleaned coins I've bought. However, I think I'll lay off it for quite a while now since I've already exhausted my bank account on...coins...
  4. Cachecoins

    Cachecoins Historia Moneta

    They are definitely better than most if not all the uncleaned I have purchased, most of which turned out to be virtually blank bronze discs. That is why I stopped buying them. When I first started some time ago I got a few decent ones out if ten, after a time the decent ones just disappeared.
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I'd call it a barbarous copy and there are people who prefer these. Your bump strikes me as appropriate.
    Kentucky and hotwheelsearl like this.
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    That makes more sense. Arles portraits seemed to be a bit funky, but no bust quite as giraffe-necked and shrunken. Haha
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    .i've been dealing with him for over 14 years and never a complaint...:)...in fact my last coin, the Dioscuri, came from him...and i won a Valerian this weekend..so in other words, my last and 1st came from Holding History :D...he's a purdy stand up guy...
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    If you like large lots, doing your own attributions, and are just about done with the uncleaneds, you could take a look at the group lots that you'll always find at the back of catalogs of regular auctions held by Roma, Naumann and Savoca. Even an auction like yesterday's Obolos will set you up with some nice lots. After juice and shipping, a lot like this or this would still come in at $7 a coin or less.

    My own crash course in LRBs came courtesy of this pile below, purchased a few years ago from a Künker auction for about $7.50 a coin.

    Pile - LRB.jpg
  9. montynj3417

    montynj3417 Active Member

  10. montynj3417

    montynj3417 Active Member

    That's quite an impressive hoard of ancients. What proportion of them have been cleaned? And for the more-ignorant (including Y.T.), what is the English translation of "LRB"? Another very interesting thread; t6hanks.
    That's not a typo, as everyone must immediately presume. I am hoping, fervently, that some nice person, someday, will address me by my actual, secret fantasy handle: "Tom6Hanks".
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  11. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I've really enjoyed these reviews, hotwheelsearl. This despite the fact I wouldn't do an uncleaned lot of ancients because I am both lazy and mechanically/chemically inept. But I do enjoy watching other folks work through them.
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  12. froggycoins

    froggycoins Member

    Hi All
    Actually LRB stands for Late Roman Bronze ..
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  13. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The coins are simply better, not just in better shape. Western mints, better denominations and some diversity, although in the same general timeframe. If you'd have gotten an Amiens mint it would've been even better.
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  14. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I've spent way too much time and money with not enough satisfaction or monetary gain from these.
    At least this final batch was pretty nice...
  15. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Great idea! I would enjoy that very much. I like attributed coins but the fun part for me personally is attributing them myself, without expending hours and hours cleaning them first.
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