Revisiting an interesting story

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by kirispupis, Oct 20, 2021.

  1. kirispupis

    kirispupis Supporter! Supporter

    Technically, I shouldn't delve into this story. After all, the coin was a gift and I am very grateful for it. However, the curiosity in me is always after the truth, even if it dulls an otherwise amazing story.

    My story
    Over ten years ago, we visited Israel. We have many friends and family there, and my wife's culture has a saying for these types of trips - Gur ba gur, lahaat ba lahaat. This means roughly "grave by grave, tombstone by tombstone", and the gist of it is to visit every deceased relative and a few of the living.

    Of course, I wanted to see more of this beautiful country, so we did some sight seeing too, sometimes with (living) relatives, and sometimes not. One trip we did by ourselves was to Petra, where we spent two nights. There, I fell prey to the locals and wound up bringing back a handful of fake coins, only then I didn't realize they weren't real.

    I proudly showed my haul to one of my wife's cousins, and he thought they were cool. We had a great trip and went back.

    Two years later, that same cousin visited us in the US. He brought this coin and gave it to me, since he knew I was interested in old coins.

    His story
    One day, he was walking in the old city of Jaffa, when he saw something sticking out of the stones. It was super dirty and encrusted, but he knew it was a coin. He took it home and spent quite a bit of time cleaning it. He then brought it to us.


    My research found this is from George Wilhelm, 1623. It is 1/4 Thaler, or 1 Ort. It weighs 5.95g.

    Later on
    Recently, I showed this coin along with my "actual" ancient coins to an Israeli friend who had stopped over for dinner. He called bullsh!t. Given how meticulous Jaffa had been excavated, there was no way one could find a coin this old. I must admit that I've been to Jaffa too, and was surprised on hearing the story.

    My guest's feeling is that he bought it in a store in Israel, and that it's most likely fake. Adding to that theory is that Jaffa was controlled by the Ottomans at this time, so it's unlikely a coin from Prussia would wind up there. Of course, there was trade...

    My feeling
    My suspicion is the story about "finding" the coin wasn't true. He bought it in a store, and it was still a nice gesture. I'm not an expert, but I think the coin is real. It's a bit below the average weight (5.95g vs 6.5g), but I have seem some copies for sale as low as 5.73g. It does feel a bit fake in the hand, but the only other silver coins I own are Greek and Roman. I know almost nothing about coins this new (my 2nd "youngest" coin is from Julian II), but I suspect the silver percentage is much lower. It's also not a very expensive coin, so it probably wouldn't be worth the effort to fake it.

    What do you think?

    Also, please share your coins with debatable histories.
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  3. cplradar

    cplradar Talmud Chuchum

    Two things about Israel. it is a great place to find real artifacts and they are legal to trade there. Dealers have paperwork and are registered. It is also a great place to be rooked with fakes. You have to assume, under the circumstances, that the coin is fake, unless you have evidence otherwise.
    Numisnewbiest and kirispupis like this.

    KIWITI Well-Known Member

    Solely by picture, I believe that coin to be genuine. That said, I am having a hard time believing he found it in the ground with that kind of unusual black patina. Nice gesture though.
    kirispupis likes this.
  5. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter Dealer

    Do you still have the fakes you bought in Petra? I'd like to see the pics. Were they Nabataean coins?
  6. kirispupis

    kirispupis Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, somewhere in the house. One was a Nabataean. The others are mutant denarii.
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