Is this Alexander drachm authentic?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orielensis, May 17, 2019.

  1. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Please excuse this request – I usually don't like to ask for authenticity assessments on CoinTalk, but here is a coin I really don't know what to make of.

    I recently bought this one cheaply from Savoca London (2nd Blue Auction), thinking it was a Celtic imitation of an Alexander drachm (17mm, 3.7g). In hand, it turns out that it has a monogram and a control mark and thus should be an official postumous issue from Abydus (301–297 BC, Price 1579, see here).

    My best guess is that the reverse saw some wear, possibly was weakly struck to begin with, likely was covered with horn silver when it was found, and received harsh chemical cleaning. The whole coin might have been polished a bit afterwards, resulting in the shiny surfaces.

    Since I already have an official postumous Alexander drachm in a higher grade, I tried to sell it for what I paid here on CT. The (very friendly and sensible) buyer apparently asked some other collectors about the coin and showed them my picture. They had doubts about the coin's authenticity, and I of course offered to refund our fellow collector.

    Now, this has made me wonder about this coin myself. What do you think? Does it look like a forgery that has slipped through in Savoca’s auction? If so, I’ll write them a polite e-mail and the coin will go into my “black cabinet”...

    My picture: Alexander drachm.png


    Savoca's picture:
    561341.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
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  3. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    It just looks weird. The cheek and the looks..
     
    Orielensis likes this.
  4. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

  5. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    I'm not so fast to call it a fake, wait for other opinions
     
    Orielensis likes this.
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Cheap B-Tard

    Wait, are those two even the same coin? They certainly look very different to me
     
    Adam95 likes this.
  7. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is the same coin – different lighting and my amateurish photography skills make a huge difference...
     
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  8. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Cheap B-Tard

    That’s crazy! The first picture makes the coin look inauthentic while the second makes it look genuine. Wow
     
    Orielensis likes this.
  9. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    It does look a bit odd to me, but I don't have the experience to say one way or the other.
     
    Orielensis likes this.
  10. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all of you for taking a look and giving an opinion. As far as I understand, most of you agree that it has an odd style but are reluctant to say anything else about whether it is authentic or not. I guess in this case it comes down to how much you trust Savoca's expertise...

    @Sallent , I appreciate your opinion. Might I ask you to elaborate a bit? Maybe you recognized something the others didn't?
     
  11. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    It's obvious based on the shape of the flans, and little defects in the dies and other similarities in the design, that both are casts from the same mold. One is slightly sharper than the other, but both coins come from the same source.
     
  12. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    What "both",? He posted two pictures of the same coin, one from the dealer and one he took. I would hope they look the same!
     
  13. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    tenor-1.gif

    I think it's time I put this on and hope people soon forget my moment of cheer stupidity....:( . That's what happens when trying to be opinionated without properly reading a post.

    paper-bag-over-head.jpg
     
  14. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    @Sallent , thanks for coming back and explaining. Also, no need to put on the brown paper bag – I'm sure we all have moments like this now and then.
     
    Justin Lee, Kentucky and TIF like this.
  15. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    :)
     
  16. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Cheap B-Tard

    It's okay, I initially thought the first picture was fake and the second was real. I figured the auction house bait-and-switched!
     
  17. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Well, it definitely is the same coin, judging from all the small imperfections of its surface.

    The difference between the two pictures is due to photography skills and conditions: I assume that Savoca used a ring light or ring flash and professional coin photography equipment. My picture, on the other hand, was taken with a hobby-level DSLR mounted on a tripod, and with my living room window as the only light source. This created a very different pattern of light and shadow.
     
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  18. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Cheap B-Tard

    Well at the end of the day I don’t see anything glaring of it being fake.

    That being said, depending on the value it could warrant a submission to a TPG to verify authenticity
     
    Orielensis likes this.
  19. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your opinion. Submitting it to a TPG certainly would bring extra security, yet I fear that in this case, the fee would exceed the value of the coin.
     
    Kentucky likes this.
  20. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Cheap B-Tard

    That is unfortunate.

    Is your main concern whether this is a modern forgery or an antique counterfeit? You could try the "tried and true" detection methods (such as magnet, specific gravity, etc) for a first effort
     
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