Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wikipedia on fourrées

Wikipedia's article on fourrées includes a section on modern fourrées which surprised me
The 1982 and later US one cent piece (Lincoln penny) is an example of a fourrée since it is zinc which has been plated with copper in a manner to deceive.
Nice! I hadn't thought about it that way before.

The image on this post is not from Wikipedia, but from my own collection of fourrées depicting Medusa. I bought this in 2003 and finally got around to scanning it. This one is from Rome, about 74 BC, with the name of the moneyer L. Cossutius C.f. Sabula. The numeral on the back, XXII I think for mine, is for the die; Michael Crawford says “The control-marks are the numerals from I to XXXXII; no control-numeral has more than one die.” I would be interested to see other XXII issues to see if they are in similar style to this fourrée.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ancient silver coins in Uttar Pradesh

Thaindian News reports (no byline)
Lucknow, Aug 20 (IANS) Nearly 68 kg of ancient silver coins dating back to 1861 and 1892 were recovered from three men who were arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi district, police said Thursday.
Rajesh Singh, Aditya Sharan and Mukesh Mishra were nabbed Wednesday night from Chetganj locality of Varanasi, about 250 km from here.


According to police, the coins carry symbols of Queen Victoria and King George V of Britain.

“We will hand over the coins to the archaeological department for evaluation,” said Rai.
How can this hoard date back to 1861 and 1892? Shouldn't it be one or the other?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ukrainian detained for attempting to smuggle ancient coin into Ukraine

“Ukrainian detained for attempting to smuggle ancient coin into Ukraine” reports the Kyiv Post (no byline).
The press service of the Crimean customs service reported on Wednesday that a copper coin had been found in his wallet at the Kerch customs post.

According to preliminary reports, this is a coin from Panticapaeum dates (sic) to around 314-310 BC.
The illustration depicts not an ancient coin, but twelve old coins, mostly British pence with the reverse used in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Art Pantine repatination kits

A reader alerted me to the Art Patine web site, YouTube videos, and items of eBay seller la_vitrine_du_prospecteur. [A Google translation of the French site is available.]

Art Patine is selling a patination product for coins and antiquities, replica Roman coins (plus toy metal detector), and antiquities like this triple phallus.

As far as I know this is the first repatination product marketed directly to coin cleaners and replica merchants. The art of patinating isn't new, bronze artists have been doing it for centuries and there are even books such as Richard Hughes and Michael Rowe's The Colouring, Bronzing and Patination of Metals (1991) (I haven't read this.). I asked some zappers a few years ago about patination and they all insisted they don't do anything beyond reverse electrolysis.

If anyone is using this product I'd be interested in a review. I would also be interested in hearing from any bronze artists who patinate and want to guest-blog about it here.

I don't know much about detecting artificial patinas. Supposedly a real patina is thicker and often changes color or consistency with depth. Authentication seems to require destructively slicing into coins; I haven't been able to bring myself to do that. (It's also illegal damage antiquities in some countries). Does anyone out there have much experience with spotting artificial patinas?

Art Pantine also sells a product for silver plating coins (video here).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Andrew McCabe visits a bookbinder

Andrew McCabe describes his visit to a bookbinder on Moneta-L.

The real toughies were Martini, Haeberlin and Goodman. Martini was a special case, a softback with superb but loose plates that I needed to get bound into a recovered hardback. After a debate during which the bookbinder asked me "is this a valuable book" (it is, very.) he decided rather than stitching into the existing paper of the plates, to make a separate attachement to each plate which will then get stitched in.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Israel to require collectors to register?

Cultural Property Observer comments on a Jerusalem Post story by Jonah Newman on new enforcement of a 2002 law jailing unregistered collectors for up to six months. Under Israeli law, a collector is anyone with 15 or more artifacts.

This seems like a huge pain for the Israeli government, especially if, as Newman reports, 100,000 citizens have 15+ artifacts and collectors can choose to receive an appraisal of the historical significance of their artifacts. Who writes appraisals of 1,500,000+ artifacts?

Cultural Property Observer hints that the mandatory registration in Greece has devolved into a system where only wealthy, “connected,” people become “registered collectors.”.

I don't know much about the Greek registration system. It's described here. Apparently, under Greek law, the collector is required to give the government photographs of every object and facilitate visits. The collector “shall be responsible for the unity of a collection. The collection may be dispersed upon permit granted by the Minister of Culture following an opinion of the Central Archaeological Council.” What does that mean? If a Greek collector decides to trade a coin with another registered collector do both need permission from the Central Archaeological Council? How often does it meet?

Greek collectors have some rights, for example they are entitled to “reproduce and dispose of photographs or other representations of their monuments.” Does this mean non-collectors cannot dispose of photographs? How do do non-collectors dispose of photographs they don't want anymore?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Medals of Dishonor

I am not in London and unable to see Medals of Dishonor at the British Museum.

It's an exhibit of satirical and political medals from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including medals recently commissioned. The web site includes a gallery of 18 medals. TimeOut: London has a review.

OxbowBooks has the catalog for $30 and Amazon has it available for preorder.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Numismatists needed (for pay!)

The editors of Business Standard report “Jobs aplenty in archaeology dept, but no takers”.
There are many a job opening, with posts falling vacant regularly, but there are no candidates to fill them up. This is the plight of the Archaeological Survey of India ...


“The situation is still deplorable in this area. Across the country, there are hardly 3-4 numismatists left to study old and ancient coins,” he said.

Underling the urgent need to create a cadre of epigraphists and numismatists, Rao said the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies (VIIS) of which he is the director would start shortly programmes in Indian studies including epigraphy and numismatics in co-operation with the ASI and the directorate.