Horn silver on a very uncommon Roman piece?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Gallienus, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. Gallienus

    Gallienus coinsandhistory.com

    I've been looking for a certain Roman period ancient silver coin for some time. They're not super rare, but not super desireable so it tends to be a long hunt. Also I'm preferring a not too ratty one which makes it much tougher as these types were heavily used.

    Finally I've found a semi-decent one BUT it has definite black horn silver deposits obverse field near the edge. Normally I'd just say no as "we're all admonished not to buy problem coins". However I don't think it'll be too expensive with the horn silver, and it is legitimately tough to find otherwise.

    So what do you think? Should I go for the horn silver or not?
     
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  3. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Which coin are you looking for? If it's just sorta scarce, hold out for a better one. If we're talking about Caligula, Didius Julianus, or Gordian I or II in silver, I'd pay maybe 30-60% of full retail, depending on how bad it is.
     
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  4. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Would you be happy to own the coin? That's is the only question I ask myself.. not what others would think of it.
     
  5. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    If it isn't distracting to you, then go for it. Some collectors hate horn silver but I'd rather have horn silver over a poor strike or worse style. I'm also not overly bothered by edge scrapes/cuts, although I'll avoid them if I can.

    Every coin is a compromise (even those cataloged as "FDC"; controversially, I'll say that I've never seen a truly perfect = unimprovable coin). It just depends on your personal preference.
     
  6. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Gallienus, I put a year 3 Jewish Shekel in a Heritage auction 6 years ago that had traces of horn silver on it, mostly on the edge of the coin, see photos below. The coin weighed 13.59 gm (on the light side) but it managed to sell for $6,900.00.
    Year 3 Shekel, 13.59 gm, obv..jpg Year 3 Shekel, 13.59 gm, rev..jpg
     
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  7. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Below is a coin with horn silver. I wanted the type-- specifically this earlier heavier version because I prefer the style-- and the same coin in similar grade but without horn silver would have cost considerably more. I don't find the horn silver too distracting although others may. I agree with Clavdivs and Joe. If you like it, then don't worry about the horn silver except to factor in to what you are willing to pay.

    [​IMG]
    EGYPT. Ptolemy I Soter
    AR tetradrachm, 27 mm, 17.0 gm (Attic standard)
    Alexandreia mint, struck 313/12 BCE
    Obv: Head of the deified Alexander III to right, wearing mitra of Dionysos and elephant skin headdress, with aegis around his neck, and with horn of Ammon on his forehead
    Rev: ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ; Athena Alkidemos advancing right, hurling spear with her right hand and with shield over her extended left arm; to right, eagle with closed wings standing on thunderbolt to right with ΔΙ below
    Ref: Svoronos 33; Zervos series D, issue XIII; SNG Copenhagen 14; BMC 7
     
  8. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I think it looks great myself.
     
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  9. Gallienus

    Gallienus coinsandhistory.com

    Thanks very much for all the input you guys. This is a type I've been looking for a while and while the horn silver is not nice, it may not bother me too much in this case. I really like Tif's example but also the photograph doesn't show the horn silver as distracting at all. I haven't any Ptolemy I coins but they're also on a list...

    The coin I was seeking was photographed as bright white, with the horn silver in jet black, necessary for the auction so as not to misrepresent I guess.
     
  10. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    When you decide whether to buy it or not... post it either way so we can see the coin!
     
    TIF likes this.
  11. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Yes, please :).

    If it is an auction coin, post it after the auction closes. If it's a fixed price coin, post it after you've made your decision.
     
  12. Multatuli

    Multatuli Homo numismaticus

    Personally, I do not see any problems with horn silver deposits on the surface of the coins. Even because they confer another factor of authenticity. And besides, in my numismatic budget, I do not have many options if the coin is really of a kind that I want to get.
     
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  13. Gallienus

    Gallienus coinsandhistory.com

    Thanks everybody for your comments which were quite helpful and in the correct direction. But alas I did not win the coin, and it sold for a very strong price.
    It was lot #307 of the Gorny Auction 257 and was just sold this morning (15-Oct-2018). The PR was euro 1,600 without commission & Gorny is 20% I think.

    It is an Alexander III tetradrachm (apparently lifetime 331-325 BC, Price# 3698) struck in Babylon and is well struck and fully mint state other than the horn silver. Babylon mint tetradrachma are quite available but tend to be worn or banged up. Also, as a volunteer, I teach high school classes about "Ancient History as Shown by Coins" & I wanted a Babylon tet for my talk.

    This just goes to show that modest amounts of horn silver don't deter collectors of relatively high end material. Without the horn silver tho, this coin would've have been very exceptional and maybe a truly crazy price. I actually won lot #306 just before this: an acceptable but non-spectacular tet struck in Suza at e. 700.

    The horn silver coin pictured below. Yes, it wasn't Roman but it was Roman-era! Also following: me & a coin talk to 6th graders.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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