Soliciting thoughts on two sestertii

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Picked up these two from two separate Roma lots (no mention of any fakery), both seemed "too good to be true" but I am trying to figure out at this point where they are on the spectrum from "Genuine but altered" to "Outright fake"

    Coin 1:

    Hadrian AE Sestertius
    HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP, Bare head right
    SC, Pax-Nemesis standing right, holding branch and drawing drapery from chest
    24.38g 32mm
    Hadrian sestertius nemesis.jpg


    My thoughts -

    - Patina seems OK
    - Hair looks like a die match to the Bertolami example
    - Corrosion at bottom of portrait is reassuring

    - Hair is almost certainly tooled
    - I can't find any other examples where nemesis' robe isn't billowing at all
    - Feathers of far wing are pointed on most examples I've seen

    My guess: Genuine, obverse hair tooled, some smoothing, reverse probably somewhat tooled and almost definitely smoothed.
    finny, Edessa, Spaniard and 3 others like this.
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  3. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Coin 2:
    Caracalla AE Sestertius
    M AVR ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG, Laureate, draped bust right, seen from behind
    PROVIDENTIAE DEORVM S C, Providentia standing left, holding scepter and wand over globe
    30mm, 23.10g
    Caracalla sestertius providentia.jpg

    Other examples:


    My thoughts -

    - Looks like an obverse die match to both examples
    - On closer inspection, crack seems to be deep and not filled

    - Suspicious patina with a lot of light metal showing through
    - Details seem soft
    - Hair details are too well-defined

    My guess: Probably genuine, hair probably tooled, whole thing heavily smoothed and probably re-patinated.
    finny, Edessa, Spaniard and 2 others like this.
  4. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    I, too, have been looking to acquire sestertii of Hadrian for the past few years. I particularly liked this one in an upcoming auction, due to its being a travel sestertii and having the galley rowing in the opposite direction from the one that I currently own:


    I was immediately wary about its condition, though, and, when I had my dealer look at this coin online, he soon confirmed my suspicions that it was egregiously tooled and possibly had been otherwise "worked."

    My personal opinion is that your coin is pretty much in the same category as the one I've posted. I agree with your opinion that your Hadrian is likely genuine, but the amount of apparent tooling would rule it out as an addition to my own collection.
    finny, Edessa, Spaniard and 2 others like this.
  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    I agree that no. 1 is probably tooled. So I suppose it is up to you to decide how much tooling/smoothing you are willing to live with. I would add that auction houses seem to be increasingly less shy about this so long as the coin in question is genuine.
    finny likes this.
  6. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    In my opinion the Galley sestertius has been somewhat overcleaned, but not tooled. Compare the VF BM specimen from the same dies, illustrated in the new RIC, pl. 115, 1315.
    finny likes this.
  7. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    Coin 1 is definitely tooled as you mention, which to me is the same thing as being fake. But - your collection, your choice!
  8. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    Do auction companies usually offer a partial refund or something if you find a fake in A group lot?
  9. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Coin #2: The light metal peeking through is likely orichalcum (brass), so that doesn't bother me. The patina is probably fake, though. The crack is visible on both sides of the flan, but does it go all the way through?
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Commonly, group lots are as-is and not returnable or adjustable for any reason. Read the terms for each sale.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  11. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Thanks all for the comments. It's reassuring to know that others share my opinion that the coins are genuine, even if altered. I will probably keep them, as I believe enough on the coins is still original to be of value to my collection.

    And what Doug said is correct - most group lots are sold "as is" meaning you're out of luck if you do happen to get a fake. Fortunately the only fake I have gotten was disclosed as such (and the lot was still worth it without the fake).

    @gsimonel the crack is fairly deep, although light isn't visible through it.
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