Just a Buyer beware heads-up for fellow Ancient Enthusiasts

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Fabrosee, May 4, 2021.

  1. Fabrosee

    Fabrosee New Member

    Hello all,
    Quick little story:
    I bid on some Ancient Greek/Roman coins on an auction within the Live Auction World site with a newer auctioneer called Super Auction Gallery based out of Pakistan. I won a few coins and finally received them...they were very nice and my initial feeling of anxiety was going down (new auctioneer, bad communication & the too good to be true maxim). Until I noticed one of the main coins I had won did not have a crack I had been expecting from the auction pictures.
    After investigating for a bit, I found that Super Auction Gallery gets their coin items from Coinlandia (a very good replica maker in Bulgaria) and does not disclose that they are replicas. I could go on Etsy or directly to the Coinlandia.net site and purchase all their same replica coins for much less than I had paid in the auction. They are excellent replicas and fooled me initially when I first received them and started examining them.
    They have another auction with "Rare" ancient coins starting on May 15th on icollector.com and I just wanted to put the word out to keep anyone else from having to take a hit like I took.
    I let Live Auction world know what I found and so far they are ignoring me which gives me a bit more hesitation on using their site.

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  3. William F

    William F Well-Known Member

  4. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    So they use photos of authentic coins but mail you replicas? I went to their site and I cannot tell from those photos any fakes that stand out to me.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  5. Fabrosee

    Fabrosee New Member

    Like I said, they are VERY good replicas...most if not all of the pics are from Coinlandia's own website or Coinlandia's pics on Etsy
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  6. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    Looking at the current auction, all are very obvious replicas.. edit - fakes on the first page on the other pages most seem real.. — but I think on the other pages the auction just found other coins currently for sale elsewhere that they don’t own + and marked up the prices, so if you buy one they will buy the from the seller of the cheaper coin + sell it to you for a big profit..
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    +VGO.DVCKS, svessien and Inspector43 like this.
  7. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    +VGO.DVCKS, Alegandron, GH#75 and 2 others like this.
  8. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    If these are the coins, only new collectors will get fooled:

    You actually have to walk past two really big red flags:
    1. Deciding to buy from a new auction house in Pakistan.
    2. Ignore quite obvious replicas.
    Yeah, and 3. Make sure you don’t pick up a bridge in Brooklyn as a snack.

    Oh, let’s add
    4. Make sure the Mrs. doesn’t notice, as the Porsche needs repair.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That Faustina isn't going to fool anyone!
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  10. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    I find the auction house blurb very reassuring. The choice of fonts and name. The link to a website address that's permanently down. The professional description. The photos of Bulgarian fakes. Reassuring as in, those who bid have been very well warned indeed Screenshot_20210505-121509_Chrome.jpg
    Ryro, AncientJoe, DonnaML and 4 others like this.
  11. Cinco71

    Cinco71 Active Member

    The end result of all these fake coins continuing to flood the market will be a drop in confidence by casual collectors, scaring many away once they’ve been burned a time or two.
    Scott J and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My personal favorite is the mule with obverse of Septimius Severus (with very strange obverse legend) and reverse of Otho. I realize I am naive but I really did not know that they were making fakes this bad. The style is just plain wrong. The types selected include great rarities which have starting prices the same as the more common coins. The danger here is to people who insist on ignoring everything that the Coin Talk family has been advising for the last decade.
    DonnaML, Nemo, PeteB and 4 others like this.
  13. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    The coins sold by coinlandia are pretty terrible in my opinion. They're not really dangerous if one compares them to real coins because the style is just laughably bad, among other things. Most have a very modern looking fabric as well.

    My suggestion any time you're considering bidding is to first try and get a feel for how long the dealer has been around. Most of the big names(CNG, Roma Numismatics, NAC, Naville, Gorny, etc) have been around for a very long time and you can pretty regularly find reports from people here bidding and winning coins in their auctions. Dealers that fall into this category are, in general, extremely safe to buy from with the exception of Lanz - a formerly good dealer whose name is now largely known for selling fakes and altered coins.

    The second thing I'd recommend is comparing the coins you're looking at to coins in the sales record on ACSearch. I think you'll find if you compare these Coinlandia coins to those sold by some of these long-standing firms you'll quickly start to see what I mean regarding style. Style is subjective of course but in general you can get a feel for what the type should look like from these auction archives.

    At the end of the day, buying coins from good dealers does cost more than taking a chance on lesser known dealers usually but as a new collector you shouldn't really be looking for deals. You should be looking for good, authentic coins from reputable dealers. Any extra you pay is basically tuition in your ancient coin education. There are also dealers out there who look for, evaluate and bid on coins on your behalf but at the prices you're paying, you're not really at the point where it makes sense to hire a dealer, but that can make sense if you're interested in moving up into the higher end of the market.
  14. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Welcome, @Fabrosee! ...And, Hmmm. Just from here, your and @Andrew McCabe's reference to Bulgaria sent up still more warning flags. If you're ever bored enough, as a medievals guy, to look at US ebay, you see incredible amounts of laughable fakes, overwhelmingly from Balkan countries. The worry is that eventually, they'll get better at faking those, too. But you're still looking at alleged Anglo-Saxon coins --all rarities, of course (red flag number ...whichever)-- mysteriously finding their way, in quantity, to Balkan dealers.
    philologus_1 and DonnaML like this.
  15. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    They got Borat to write their website copy.
  16. Theodosius

    Theodosius Fine Style Seeker Supporter

    Thanks for putting out the warning though. I'm sure there are some people who are new who might have been tempted and gotten burned. It's always helpful for people to point out fakes when they are for sale and auction houses that are shady.
  17. romismatist

    romismatist Active Member

    I would definitely agree with @red_spork. The more real coins you look at (either on-line during the pandemic but always better in person when this terrible COVID thing is over), the more you will understand the more subtle differences in style and appearance. Good introductory sites to fake coins like those from the Calgary Coin Gallery, Ilya Prokopov's Fake Ancient Coins database and the wonderful web pages from CT'ers like our own @dougsmit also informed me early in my journey.

    Until you reach that stage of comfort, it's probably better to stick to lower-risk coins like late Roman bronzes (LRBs) which I believe are still relatively affordable in decent grades and auction-house coins if you feel the need to take the plunge into higher value coins from the get-go.
    DonnaML and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  18. romismatist

    romismatist Active Member

    OMG @+VGO.DVCKS, that's so true! It's a real chore to slog through all those Bulgarian fakes in the US Mediaeval Coins section to find the few genuine coins which sometimes peek through the weeds. It's a real turnoff and makes me wish that EBay took fakes on their sites seriously. Another reason other auction platforms like Catawiki may be more appealing (to quote another of today's threads).
    DonnaML and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  19. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Yes, @red_spork, the style is always your first giveaway. ...And this is just riffing on what you already said, implicitly or less so. It takes getting literate in that, regardless of where on the 'ancients' spectrum you are. I always have to squint to see the more technical details, like the bubbles and seams you get from casting.
  20. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @romismatist, the sad part of this is that, to wallow in the obvious, some of us can remember when even USebay was on a better level than this. Maybe not so much in terms of the culture at ebay per se as the medieval dealers who used to list there ...before giving up, as people here have mentioned regarding VCoins.
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