WARNING: Reading this post could scare you from collecting Roman coins, that is not at all the purpose of this blog. If you are a susceptible or faint-hearted collector… just don’t read this.
Two months ago… the German auction house Gorny & Mosch listed on auction this coin…
The dies are well known as forgery (Lipanoff studio, see Prokopov, Vol.II, n.28), in this case the coin was struck on a real ancient flan . Patina and sand deposits are probably faked, like those usually seen on tons of forgeries sold on Spanish auctions (this argument I will discuss in a forthcoming post).
Following I attach two samples from the same bulgarian dies, matching the coin sold by Gorny (before artificial ageing). Source: ForgeryNetwork.
By a brief search on online auction databases we can find other samples sold by major auction houses:
The sample sold for 170 Eur + fees by Jesus Vico is interesting because shows how the ancient flan was damaged by the modern re-striking.
Now, this could seem a post like dozens I already published on this blog, so why the Warning message at the beginning? The scary side of this story comes now. In fact, the day before the auction, Gorny & Mosch was advised by experts that the the coin was a forgery by Lipanoff dies (Source here). This was the incredible seller’s reply…
This reply shows that the seller is at worst a scammer, at best an ignorant. In fact it is well known that most of the dies produced by Lipanoff were newly hand-engraved, not simply transferred from casts of real coins. But, above all, this type of Nero is unmistakably a fake, because there are no known authentic specimens in publications or historical collections in which the portrait shows that “vertical” beard and the eye-bags! At this link you can see how a genuine die of Nero R.I.C. 351 should look.
…the day after the coin was acquired by a naive unaware collector for 190 Eur + fees.
And now some final questions concerning this incredible story. I wonder, if one day the cheated collector should read this post and contact the seller for a return and refund of the fake coin, would he have some chance of getting justice? Or would he simply be replied that the coin is genuine because on auction online databases there are other specimens from the same dies? It is really happening this? Now if a fake goes listed in many specimens over the years it can become genuine? If some sellers like Gorny & Mosch do not more trust in scholars’ works, denying reality even in front of irrefutable evidence, what does remain as guarantee for collectors? Do collectors really want it to let the market decide, in this wild ignorant way? And, above all, what is IAPN doing? Are they sleeping? Many of the sellers who are polluting the market in recent years by selling tons of fakes are on the IAPN members page. Probably most of them have not even ever read the bulletins of fakes published by IAPN, as they know that they could easily sell tons of fakes without the risk of being fired by the association.
Maybe experienced collectors and skilled numismatists should found soon a new International Association, or ancient Numismatics is condemned to be spoiled and perish, finally buried under a mountain of shit.