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Is This Histamenon Real?

 
 
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New Member

United Kingdom
5 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2019  08:19 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add martinius27th to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi - I'm a total novice so please bear with me. This (what I believe to be a) gold Histamenon has caught my eye. Based on the design I'm pretty sure it's Michael IV the Paphlagonian - as on all comparable Histamenons & Hyperpyrons the figure on the obverse has his right hand (with labarum) lowered rather than raised. Certainly the die is a close match to the coin pictured on Michael's wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micha...Paphlagonian

However, I haven't been able to find any perfect die matches for either genuine or fake Histamenons (including after scrolling through the Forvm Fakes Database). And because I'm a novice I really haven't a clue if it's real, beyond obviously recognising that the design is quite highly detailed.

Can anyone lend some wisdom? Real or fake?

Edited by martinius27th
10/13/2019 09:24 am
Bedrock of the Community
United States
30024 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2019  09:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
to CCF. Do you have the coin in hand? If so,weight? diameter? thickness?
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 5+ Million Cents Since 1971
New Member
United Kingdom
5 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2019  10:30 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add martinius27th to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi John, thanks for the welcome :) No I don't have it in hand - I'm considering buying it from an online seller. He claims that it's 4.5g (which seems to be the correct weight) but he hasn't provided a diameter or thickness on his listing.

I adore the coin but to date have only ever bought modern bullion. Verifying the authenticity of a coin like this is much harder & I may be out of my depth...
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 Posted 10/13/2019  12:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@martinius, first welcome to CCF. Second, before dropping four figures on a coin, I would want to know more about the seller. For example, are they listed here?

http://goccf.com/t/285634


I'm glad to see that you have already done some searching. Also, what sort of return policy is there? In a quick search, I didn't see this coin listed on either vcoins or ma-shops, but IMHO, this isn't the sort of thing that I'd want to pick on on eBay. Finally, while gold is shiny, might you consider getting your feet wet a little bit with lesser value coins before picking up gold?
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz

New Member
United Kingdom
5 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2019  2:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add martinius27th to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Spence, thanks for replying! The seller has a decade-long feedback history and appears to have bought as well as sold ancient coins. I can't find any accusations of fakes against him. But he's not a recognised / named dealer so it's a shot in the dark, isn't it?

I'm vaguely pleased that no-one has screamed "obvious fake!" - but then I suppose that's only verifiable once you can physically handle the coin.

Out of interest, if I managed to get the coin for a bargain (well below four figures!)... what's the best way to have its authenticity verified (either online or in person in London)? I've seen that NGC does grading & authentication - 40 for "standard" grading for "all coins" (which I assume includes ancient gold). That could potentially allow me to use the seller's return policy if it comes back fake. But I can see several problems with this (returns valid for 14 days only, NGC result being inconclusive etc etc).

I hear you loud and clear re avoiding gold while getting started. I've just got a soft spot for bullion as it's been my only focus to date. Ancient coinage is a whole new interest for me :) (and Zander Klawans' handbook is a great intro!)
Edited by martinius27th
10/13/2019 2:12 pm
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22623 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2019  3:55 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
to the community

IMO your coin is genuine, I see no red flags that say otherwise. That being said unless the coin come with a return guarantee I would only buy one of these from an established dealer or auction house.
New Member
United Kingdom
5 Posts
 Posted 10/14/2019  11:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add martinius27th to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Echizento - thanks for the vote of confidence in the coin! I was gearing up to bid but then I stumbled across the advice here http://esty.ancients.info/numis/fakes.html which says - perhaps unfair but probably not - never to buy from Bulgarian sellers.

Well the eBay seller claims to be American yet his feedback suggests he's sending items from Serbia. Which is obviously right next to Bulgaria. That combined with some suspicious listings on his account (stock photos for modern bullion) plus the words of caution on this forum has convinced me to walk away. Not an easy choice but getting a fake for my first ever ancient purchase would be a bitter blow!

If it is fake though... Wow. Anyway here's the listing: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Byzantin...293268661970

Back to the drawing board...
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Valued Member
United States
159 Posts
 Posted 10/14/2019  2:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add muddyknuckles to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very glad you decided to back out on a questionable coin research of the coins we purchase is key to not being taken for a fool. I am not sure if you are after a specific coin or not but you are better off buying certified coins from NGC or PCGS. Buying certified coins allows you some safety in your purchases being able to look up certification numbers. I searched ebay quick and found one in similar price range as the one you were bidding on this one is MS but smaller.


And verified...

Edited by muddyknuckles
10/14/2019 3:03 pm
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
2439 Posts
 Posted 10/15/2019  1:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DavidUK to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There is a bit of a conflict of emotions regarding Bulgaria. Firstly it has a long history and some of the oldest continually inhabited cities. It was what was previously called Thrace and is a place that unearths many old coins. It is also one of the poorer parts of Europe where counterfeiting is rife. You pays your money and takes your chances.
New Member
United Kingdom
5 Posts
 Posted 10/16/2019  07:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add martinius27th to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks all - in the end the Histamenon went for 271 which is way below what it'd be worth if real, but way above the spot value of 4.5g pure gold. So yes I see how uncertified coins like this are a huge gamble. I also recognise that I'm one of those people who always needs a bargain, and my decision-making will be influenced by that urge. Not a problem with modern bullion as it's easy to verify authenticity - ancients are a different ballgame.

Incidentally re refunds I'm still not clear if eBay offers buyer protection for fraudulent gold coins. Their customer support said yes they do as long as you pay with PayPal. But then PayPal said no, gold is excluded from their guarantee programme (because it's a "cash equivalent"). On top of that you have the difficulty of 'proving' it's fake - I doubt an NGC response of "Questionable Authenticity" would be adequate proof! Definitely a risky game and one left to the experts.

Re Bulgaria I hate to dismiss a whole country, but yes it's all down to economics. Lower income per capita means it's economically viable for a counterfeiter to invest more of his time perfecting a fake, hence they seem to produce some stunning ones. If I was a Bulgarian seller I'd get my ancients certified & flog them for three times as much - can't see why you wouldn't unless you know / suspect they're fake.

Anyway, really appreciate everyone's helpful responses - this is a great community. Especially thanks to Muddy for finding me a substitue :) I'll monitor what that Theophilus sells for & do further research about the era / style I want to start with. (The Histamenon solely appealed to me because of the artistry tbh.)

If I can combine nice artistry, affordability & the potential to go metal-detecting for my era when travelling in Europe then I'll be golden. Not too much to ask for is it?!
Edited by martinius27th
10/16/2019 07:51 am
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United States
2605 Posts
 Posted 10/17/2019  4:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
CNG has always got some nice Byzantine gold in their auctions, and I assume would be a more reliable source: https://cNGCoins.com/Coins.aspx?CAT...&VIEW_TYPE=0
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