Won't get "tooled" agaaain!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro Another victory like that will destroy us! Supporter

    As a self professed noob, newb, nube I feel like I am always asking questions here and unsure when I should venture an answer, as I don't want to steer anybody wrong (its better to be silent and for the world to think you a fool, then to open your mouth and prove them all right:facepalm:).

    Nevertheless, I want to give back and share knowledge where I can so I've done my homework and will be showing what to look out for when you feel a coin is "tool" good "tool" be true...when it's tooled that's when!

    "So Ryro", you may ask, "what the heck is a tooled coin anyway?"
    A tooled coin is a coin that someone has used a graver or knife to restore or add detail. As well, tooled can refer to smoothing of a coins surfaces to remove scratches, corrosion or other wear. As you know, ancient coins may lay around for a while (sometimes thousands of years!:eek:) but things like naturally smoothed surfaces from years of circulation will cause even smoothing on both the obverse and reverse of the coin. Sometimes you will find only one side of the coin tampered or tooled. These are referred to as obv tooled or rev tooled when identified.

    "But Ryro", you may ask now that your interest is piqued, "what's a tooled ancient coin actually look like?"
    Have no fear my CT pals! I've scoured the world wide web to show you some images of tooled coins vs ah natural.

    Take the always handsome Claudius for example (his own mother, Antonia, referred to him as "a monster of a man") with a Minerva reverse. You can clearly tell something is a miss just by comparing the top tooled coin with the bottom natural beauty (probably the 1st time in 2 millenniums that someone had referred to poor Claudius as a beauty).
    And the beauty...
    As you've probably observed coin 2 is pretty even in it's natural wear. The 1st coin however has a impressive obverse (note Claudius hair in particular) and a very worn reverse. STRANGE?! Nope. Just tooled. Or as we learned earlier obv tooled! And even the patina looks different from the obverse than the reverse.

    Here is a Vespasian with priestly implements on the reverse that has been tooled...
    And here is an unharmed one...
    Note the forehead, cheek and neck of Vespasian. On the true coin you see the wrinkles and folds that the emperor had acquired running the empire...and banquet table! But on the tooled coin they've all been smoothed over. A shame. Even if to cover scratches we are still losing a precious amount of authenticity in the man's countenance. Even the eyes of the tooled coin appear squinted. Though that does play into a famous line when Vespasian, famous for the always strained look on his face, had asked a well known funny man to make a joke about him. And the funny man replied, "I will as soon as you are done going to the bathroom!"
    Alright, enough picking on Vespy.

    So, if you are not that familiar with a coin and have doubts (or even if not) it is always good to look the coin up and compare. I recommend AC search, Wild Winds or V coins when looking for comparison. Or you can always post it here on Coin Talk, sit back and watch the knowledge roll in.

    I'll end with an exam by sharing one of the most famous modern tooled coins and you tell me is it the coin on the left or right that has been tooled?
    And remember, tool me once shame on you. Tool me twice shame on me.

    Ps, please share any tooled coins, knowledge or whatever you feel may enhance this thread!
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. ro1974

    ro1974 Well-Known Member

    Claudius out my collection / not tooled[​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My favorite tooled coin is trying to be an Alexandrian tet of Zenobia but started life as a Spes as of Vespasian or Titus, I believe. What started as SC became the date LE. The fabric of the coin is all wrong for a tet of the 3rd century. Most tooled coins add a few strands of hair or replace worn legends but a $5 slug and a lot of work can make an attempt to be a $5000 rarity. I bought it as what it is but always wondered if it ever sold to someone who thought it was what it was not.
  5. Ryro

    Ryro Another victory like that will destroy us! Supporter

    This is one of the silliest things I've seen in a while. Thank you so much for sharing this one. Great find! I could not have passed it up either (if I had the money I might pay the extra $5,000 just for the absurdity of the coin, but glad you didn't have to). Truthfully, the 1st thing to pop in my head when I looked at the coin was Austin Powers yelling, "That's a man, baby!"
    Justin Lee and papersplz like this.
  6. Mike Margolis

    Mike Margolis Well-Known Member

    So is this coin for sale on Vcoins tooled? I posted it once on a thread by @Johnnie Black who bought one of these and @IdesOfMarch01 posted that it was an obvious job of tooling. [​IMG]
    And here is another one for sale for 6X the amount of the above one:
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  7. Ryro

    Ryro Another victory like that will destroy us! Supporter

    Interesting...did @IdesOfMarch01 say what gave it away? If I had to guess, I would say the bust and Victory appear to have been smoothed over to get rid of corrosion.
  8. Mike Margolis

    Mike Margolis Well-Known Member

    This is what he replied about the coin:
    "The Franz coin exhibits an extremely flat strike with little or no detail remaining in the obverse and reverse devices. The surface is rough and has been aggressively smoothed to minimize pitting. There may be some tooling on the reverse as well."
    Thanks, good to know. I see how the bust is very flat and I just thought that was circulation wear but can see now how the entire surface may be smoothed down compared to the relief on the OP coin.
    The tooling I do not get- do you mean on the legend?

    "Yes, I suspect that the reverse legend and the outline of Victory's arm (at 11 o'clock on the reverse) may have been enhanced, not just smoothed."
    Ryro likes this.
  9. ro1974

    ro1974 Well-Known Member

    both coins are not tooled mabye heavy cleaned
    Ryro and Mike Margolis like this.
  10. Ryro

    Ryro Another victory like that will destroy us! Supporter

    Yeah, the pitting was probably really bad before "Tim the Tool man Taylor" got his hands on it and smoothed it all out.
    I see what he is saying about the arm looking "enhanced".
    Thanks for sharing this. The more we see the more easily we can identify them!
    Mike Margolis likes this.
  11. Mike Margolis

    Mike Margolis Well-Known Member

    But another question for you. if it had been smoothed over by Tim the Tooler wouldn't the chocolate brown patina have given way to a shiny brass orichalum dupondis color?
    Ryro likes this.
  12. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I usually avoid tooled coins but this Kushan coin is one of my favorites. I really like the three-fingered Santa Claus but not as much as as the goggle-eyed horse rider. I see this piece more as the equivalent of a hobo nickel than as a damaged ancient coin.

  13. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I'd definitely buy that (for a low price, of course) for my collection! It's so funny :D Doug's Zenobia too.
    ominus1, Ryro, GregH and 1 other person like this.
  14. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    Speaking of Zenobia, what do we think of this “as” atrributed to her, currently offered for a couple of thousand dollars? A5BE137C-9BCE-446F-868B-AB45693E76D7.jpeg
    I’ve never heard of this denomination for Zenobia. And the coin looks thoroughly tooled to me.
  15. Ryro

    Ryro Another victory like that will destroy us! Supporter

    Agreed. The legend looks manipulated. Not as hilarious to look at as @dougsmit 's example but IM(amateur)O tooled. I would like to hear what Doug thinks about this one to be sure.
  16. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    I almost bought an obviously tooled coin, but surprising to went well above what I'd be willing to pay for it.
    Ryro likes this.
  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Opinion: I do not see this as tooled but what you get from a very weak strike that failed to force metal into the deep parts of the die. The flan could be way too thin or the hammer hit way too weak. I have a couple similar appearing coins but none so extreme. This Hadrian sestertius is very detailed on the peripheral parts of the hair that were shallow but no detail was transferred to the center of the head or the high parts of the reverse figure. There is a flat top to the blank area rather than a rounded edge that wear would cause. Hair detail stops abruptly while wear would be gradual. Coins do not wear this way; they had no detail to lose.


    I am less sure of this Constantius. It is not tooled to restore legend but lacks detail in high points suggesting a perfectly even but much too weak strike.
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I don't think about it. If certainly genuine, I am not interested in the coin at that price. I don't know enough to comment in a meaningful manner except to say that people who pay that money for that coin need better advice than they are going to get from people like me who have never seen the coin before. I'm offended that some find my coin merely hilarious. Ridiculous, maybe. I have often said that I am very glad I am not in the business of selling my opinions on coins as we see with David Sear and NGC. I can just walk away and say, "Not my problem!" I don't see obvious tooling but those surfaces could conceal anything. On whose word that the coin is genuine would you be willing to pay $2000? $20? I have uglier coins but they tend to be in the under $20 range or known to be significant rather than dreamed to be so. I can say I have gained well over the cost of my Zenobia (I can't recall right now but $10 seems right - I don't catalog fakes bought as fake) just fantasizing that some king or robber baron bought it thinking it was real.
    Marsyas Mike, TIF and Ryro like this.
  19. Ryro

    Ryro Another victory like that will destroy us! Supporter

    Thanks Doug. I highly respect your opinion which is why I'd tagged you here. Your word is always taken seriously here.
    In regards to your coin, it is highly interesting. And I in no way ment to offend. I just got a kick out of the ludicrousness of someone altering a Flavian male (fellas not known for their good looks) to look like a rare empress.
    Your opinion is appreciated on any of my posts.:happy:
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  20. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    @dougsmit (and others) What do you think of this coin? The fields are devices are worn smooth but the inscription seems clear.

    Moesia, Nicopolis, Caracalla, AE27, 12.06g. Small centration dimples.
    Bust / Hermes std l, holding purse and caduceus.
    Marsyas Mike, ominus1, Ryro and 2 others like this.
  21. Johnnie Black

    Johnnie Black Neither Gentleman Nor Scholar Supporter

    Has this been smoothed and tooled? The fields seem too smooth and the reliefs are detailed. Am I just looking at a nice coin or has it been “enhanced”?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page