Tonight's Heritage Auction

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    My coins from Heritage arrived today, but they made an error -- they described this coin as a sestertius but the coin is actually an as. In retrospect, I can see the reddish copper through the patina on the high points (it's copper, not orichalcum):


    I bid on the coin in good faith, trusting in the description that it was an "AE sestertius (32mm, 23.71 gm, 6h)." However, it weighs 12.87 g and measures 26.4 mm in diameter. The collector's envelope that came with the coin even called it an as. I already have an example of the dupondius in my collection (albeit at a lower grade) and I purchased this one entirely because it was described as a sestertius, which I need for my collection.

    As an as, the coin is not worth the price I paid thinking I was buying a sestertius. While I am willing to ship the coin back to Heritage for a full refund, I like the coin as an example of the as to compliment the dupondius I already have in my collection, and it's certainly an upgrade. I do, however, think I paid more than fair market value had the coin been properly cataloged and properly described.

    So, I wrote them asking for a partial refund of the purchase price (about 1/3 of the final price, counting buyer's commission and shipping). We'll see what they say about my offer.

    Here's the dupondius, by the way. It has different breaks in the legends on both the obverse and the reverse. I don't consider the coins duplicates, though some collectors would.

    Faustina Sr AETERNITAS Providentia globe and scepter dupondius veiled bust.jpg
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  3. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Sounds like a pretty big error to me!
  4. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    That's a bizarre error. I can understand them listing it as a sestertius with the correct measurements present, but I have no idea how the could manage to also fabricate incorrect measurements in the process.

    Hope you get it sorted.
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  5. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I suspect the error happened when the dimensions for this coin from an earlier auction somehow ended up on your coin's auction entry. Cutting and pasting is the devil. :mad: Bummer, RC. If you're looking to keep the coin, though, I hope they'll take you up on your offer.
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  6. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

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  7. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    Totally agree. This is the likely cause of the error. Heritage might be happy to pay your 1/3 to avoid telling the consignor about their screw-up!
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  8. HaleiwaHI

    HaleiwaHI Active Member

    I'm curious too if the consigner sent in the wrong information on the coin? I've always had HA offer to have my coins sent to PCGS or NGC to have them verified or graded. But then again, maybe HA is just getting too busy & hired new workers that are good at cutting & pasting!
  9. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    You need to have some level of understanding and compassion here. A firm like HA or CNG or any auction house that deals in volume will not reinvent lot descriptions everytime a similar coin comes along. They need to get lot descriptions done quickly and efficiently, and utilizing old descriptions is one way they do so. Cataloguer may have gotten distracted by a phone call or whatever and neglected to change the weight and denomination. It's not an excusable mistake but certainly an understandable one. You try uploading a minimum number of lot descriptions in an 8-hour day; I'm sure it's very demanding work with high quotas.
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  10. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

    The people at Heritage knew the coin was an As. It's just an oversite. It happens in everyone's sales, from Heritage to CNG to NAC.

    It's no big deal and will be rectified I am certain.

    Barry Murphy
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  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Yes, everyone makes mistakes but the measure of a good dealer is how they handle mistakes. IMO, the minimum adjustment appropriate here would be refund of the entire buyer's premium and postage. Sellers that get additional payment over hammer deserve that money for the professional services they provide. When there is less than professional level services provided, there should be no premium. They owe the consignor for the coin and he should get his money rather than the return of his coin as an unsold. They owe you something for their wasting of your time. That is why I propose they owe you the postage. It might not be too much to say they owe you a sestertius like you ordered but at a minimum they do not deserve profit from their poor work. If the industry standards required all professionals to provide what they sell, this sort of thing would not be as likely to happen.

    I ordered a burrito at Taco Bell. When I bit into it, I discovered the new employee had put the wrong sauce on it and omitted the cheese. They replaced the item with a brand new (correct) one and did not charge me for the bite I had taken. They even gave me a free desert item. Taco Bell wants me to come back another day. Does Heritage care or do they figure someone else will buy the stuff so we must tolerate their errors?
  12. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    I'd be stunned if Heritage didn't try to make this reasonably right for the buyer. My previous post was to provide some context to how/why such an error might occur, not to absolve the error. It should be corrected somehow. The difficulty in such situations is often finding the solution that satisfies all interested parties.
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  13. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter


    Heritage gave me a $50 voucher to use in a future auction to make up for the difference in value (this is essentially what I asked for).

    Moreover, I was the successful bidder on the sestertius version of the coin I had been looking for at today's Leu action.

    Faustina I, AD 138-140.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 26.95 g, 32 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 140.
    Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA •, veiled and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Providentia standing front, head left, holding globe and scepter.
    Refs: RIC 1108; BMCRE 1421; Cohen --; Strack 1230; RCV --.

    The dot after the obverse inscription is interesting. It's present also on the "mirror image" reverse type in the British Museum (BMCRE 1418):

    Faustina Sr AETERNITAS Providentia scepter and globe Sestertius veiled bust BMC 1418.jpg

    And also on the Dinsdale plate coin ...

    Faustina Sr AETERNITAS Providentia globe and scepter Sestertius veiled bust Dinsdale plate.JPG

    Moreover, the BMC version of my coin has the legend broken as DIVA AVGVS-TA FAVSTINA but still has a dot.

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
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