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A Beautifully Colorful AR Denarius Of Domitian With Minerva.

 
 
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 Posted 05/11/2019  9:10 pm Show Profile   Check paralyse's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I am sure it was probably cleaned / smoothed at some point. It didn't come out of the ground looking like this. The colors are pretty, though, and very vibrant, and for a cheap common denarius the lack of originality doesn't bother me. I've got more than enough original coins to offset this one exception. ;)

The old envelope has an original price listed of $18.50 and lists the reverse as Pallas (Athena) instead of the close Roman equivalent - Minerva - which is how modern books list it.

Domitian (ca. AD 95) - AR Denarius
RIC 773 (Rome.) Colorful toning.

Obverse: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII
Laureate head facing right

Reverse: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P
Minerva (Pallas) standing left, holding spear in right hand

This would have been struck only a year or two before the abrupt and brutal end of his reign as Emperor in 96.


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Specializing in 1932-1964 Washington quarters

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
Edited by paralyse
05/11/2019 11:45 pm
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 Posted 05/11/2019  11:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Acid cleaned to blast white, to within an inch of it's life.

With the right pH for the acid, it looks like some chemical surface silver enrichment has taken place. It looks like most of the 10% or so of the alloying copper has been leached out
Passivated and thoroughly rinsed after that
Perhaps this was required after recovery from direct ground burial.

Almost certainly professionally cleaned, perhaps by a museum. Always great risk involved, with this sort of cleaning.

Now gone quite some distance down the road of natural re toning. Re toning on worn high points to the same extent as the fields.
Not quite a natural appearance, but I quite like it, anyway.


I will bet anyone that this is now a more desirable coin compared to when it was first dug up, perhaps given a quick rinse with water. Most probably would still have been an unidentifiable black blob without cleaning.
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 Posted 05/11/2019  11:42 pm  Show Profile   Check paralyse's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, there's no doubt in my mind it's been "worked on" -- but I like the pretty colors, and that's the only reason I bought it. I know it's not natural or original and it certainly didn't come out of the ground like this, but I've got plenty of ancients with loads of original patina to make up for my transgression...I suspect it's also been smoothed quite a bit as well as cleaned. I am fairly sure whomever worked on it went a bit past "conservation"!

Considering that Domitian denarii are far from scarce in most cases, and that the price was more than reasonable given the "issues", I'm quite content just to look at it and go "ooh, pretty" and not worry about value or preservation or originality. It's like buying a silver coin when you know the toning is artificial, but it's cheap and silver and you buy it anyway just to enjoy the colors.
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Specializing in 1932-1964 Washington quarters

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
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 Posted 05/11/2019  11:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am not surprised that you bought it - I would have too!
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 Posted 05/11/2019  11:50 pm  Show Profile   Check paralyse's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It was too pretty not to pick up. I have seen similar retoning on other more modern silver coins once the original patina has been stripped by cleaning.

That being said, the fact that this process occurred at all requires a decent silver content, consistent with Domitian's coinage reforms. I might get an XRF done on it just for pure whimsy and to see what the metallurgical composition is.

I don't know how they cleaned ancient coins 40-50 years ago (I suspect this one dates from the 60s or early 70s) but I am sure conservation and preservation techniques have much advanced since then.
Member ANA - EAC - TNA - SSDC
Specializing in 1932-1964 Washington quarters

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
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 Posted 05/12/2019  01:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In line with what I have said above about surface silver enrichment, XRF testing may well prove silver close to 100% in this case.

One of the limitations of XRF is that it only analyses the X-Rays that reflect off the surface of the coin, (much like light), and none from the interior. Each atomic element has it's own reflected X-Ray signature.
Edited by sel_69l
05/12/2019 03:35 am
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 Posted 05/12/2019  03:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Daves Errors to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Man they had some ugly people back in the Day's
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 Posted 05/12/2019  04:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Half to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
LOL @ Dave

That is a very nice looking coin despite how it was handled! Prettier than a great many of my ancients. lol
Have a great day!

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Edited by Half
05/12/2019 04:26 am
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 Posted 05/13/2019  10:25 pm  Show Profile   Check paralyse's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I got this in hand today and it is quite a bit darker than seller's photos, although the colors are still quite vibrant and bold. It's closer to a darker steel grey than the silvery-white as seen in the first pictures; I'll endeavor to re-photograph it soon.
Member ANA - EAC - TNA - SSDC
Specializing in 1932-1964 Washington quarters

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
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15545 Posts
 Posted 05/13/2019  11:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Perhaps it may be re toning a little too quickly.

The toning can be stopped completely in it's tracks.
A thought crossed my mind:
Keep it airtight. How?
Spray with acrylic clear coat lacquer; this stuff is very easily removed with a quick acetone dip.

You then need to protect the clear coat. This is done by putting the coin between two clear square sheets of of acetate. These can be recovered from food packaging from your local supermarket.
Then put the protected coin in a normal 2x2 Mylar cardboard flip.
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