Won't get "tooled" agaaain!

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

  1. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting discussion. Since I am a bottom-feeder on a budget, I do not mind tooled coins so long as they are cheap. Tooling, like holes, jewelry mounts, etc. are for me just part of the coin's history - so long as this sort of damage is taken into account in the pricing.

    This isn't an ancient, but I thought I'd share it because it is the kind of tooling that is somewhat different (I think) than what is done to ancients. This is a silver thaler from Salzburg dated 1623 that has had the fields extensively tooled - my guess is this kind of tooling was done by jewelers before enameling (ancients are usually tooled to make the coin look better, not worse). The photos make the coin actually look better than it does - in hand the tooling is more obvious. I knew it was tooled when I bought it, but I was happy to pay $13.49 for it, which is almost in the melt-range.

    One of the other thing I like about such damage is that I can handle the coin guilt-free - not really worried about damaging a beautiful surface on this one!

    1623 Salzburg Thaler (4).JPG

    1623 Salzburg Thaler (7).JPG
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee Well-Known Member

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  4. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    I'm not an expert on tooled coins -- I've been wrong in the past on these -- and I didn't write that the above coin "was an obvious job of tooling." Rather, I wrote "There may be some tooling on the reverse as well." Note the word "may" in italics.

    I supported my opinion with specifics about where the coin may have been tooled: "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." But again, I'm not certain, although I still believe this coin exhibits evidence of tooling. Some of the edges seem too sharp relative to the wear exhibited by the rest of the coin.

    Here's a coin that shows similar features that I KNOW to be tooled on the reverse:


    I viewed this coin in person, with my dealer, in Heritage's L.A. office prior to the auction. In addition to the reverse figure being tooled, the reverse legend has also been re-engraved in most areas. Some of the same suspicions arise in the above Nero sestertius. That's the basis for my opinion.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  5. Mike Margolis

    Mike Margolis Well-Known Member

    I do apologize for bending your words so to speak as a misquote. I would like to get to the bottom of this tooling issue but it does not seem easy. I figure that people who have actually done these kind of alterations of ancients would be better at judging what is and what isn't altered. I still question what happens to the patinas when surfaces are removed to either smooth or enhance. It seems that a person who has some practice doing these things would have a better insight.
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  6. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    For bronzes, my guess is that the coin is repatinized, or the tooling doesn't go deeply enough into the coin to remove all the patina.

    If you look at the Colosseum sestertius I posted as an example, it appears to me that the reverse (and maybe the obverse) was repatinized after it was altered.
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  7. Ryro

    Ryro "To the strongest!" Supporter

    Very interesting!
    In the Claudius example in the OP it lists that the tooled obv was also repatinized. Those forgers really know every trick in the book. Another reason why it's so important for us to study (that and cause studying coins is just plain fun)!
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