E-Auction 33

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Closing December 11, 2019

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  1. Winning Losing Won Lost Watching Available in aftersale  
  2. Winning Losing Won Lost Watching Available in aftersale  
    E33, Lot 11:

    UNITED STATES. AV half eagle. 8.31 gm. 22 mm. Liberty Head. 1847/7. Extremely Fine; underlying luster in stars and legends.

  3. Winning Losing Won Lost Watching Available in aftersale  
    E33, Lot 47:

    Classic Greece. Robert Ready British Museum electrotype--copy of coin in the BM. Lucania, Velia. Circa 334-330 B.C. Silver nomos copy. 21 mm. Helmeted head of Athena left / A lion standing left, head down, feeding on a ram's head. Not listed in Head. Perfect copy of an extraordinary fine style ancient Greek coin residing in the British Museum.

     

    An in-hand experience of the finest of Greek coinage

    Robert Ready British Museum Electrotypes

     

    Invented in 1838, electrotyping involves coating a mold of the coin being duplicated in a conductive material, graphite, then connecting it to a wire and running a current through it while suspending it in an electrolyte solution along with a copper anode. The copper dissolves from the surface of the anode and is deposited on the conductive graphite. The final result is a uniface replica of one side of a coin, which was sometimes then joined to a copy of the other side and the edges smoothed to create a more accurate replica. The copper shell was also often gilt to represent silver or gold coins more accurately.

     

    Electrotypes were widely produced by Robert Ready and his sons for sale by the British Museum between 1859 and 1931, using examples from the Museum’s collection. Electrotypes were a popular display and educational product that, while convincing, are usually fairly straightforward to distinguish from the actual pieces by examining the edge for a seam, comparing the weight to an actual piece, or by a stamp of RR, R, or MB on the edge (which stand for Robert Ready, one of his sons, or the Latin name for the British Museum respectively). The examples offered here have not been joined and are still in two separate pieces, obverse and reverse, with the Barclay Head reference number written in marker on the inside of each piece. They fit together perfectly, if you would prefer that they be united we can suggest a product that we believe works well. The examples we have sold in the past seemed to have been held together by something that was a bit granular (and a bit fragile after a century plus), possibly plaster of paris.

     

    The best of the British Museum coins were published and finely photographed in a 19th century classic reference by the scholar Barclay Head, A Guide to the Principal Coins of the Greeks. Subsequent (and little changed) British Museum editions of that historic book can still be found for very reasonable prices. The numbering of the medals is taken from that reference.

  4. Winning Losing Won Lost Watching Available in aftersale  
  5. Winning Losing Won Lost Watching Available in aftersale  
    E33, Lot 60:

    Nero. A.D. 54-68. Æ cast “sestertius." 22.97 gm. 35 mm. Paduan type. Early cast. His laureate head right, globe at point of bust; NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P / Nero on horseback right, carrying spear, horseman behind holding standard; DECVRSIO S C. Klawans 3. Near Extremely Fine; handsome red patina; some light underlying corrosion. Particularly fine example.

    "Paduan" medals are so named after Giovanni da Cavino of Padua (1500-1570), who during his lifetime produced high quality dies to strike imitations and fantasy versions of Roman coins. The dies were passed down through Cavino's family until being purchased by the antiquary to the king of France in the 17th century, 100 years after Cavino's death. It is quite likely that the dies were used in the years between Cavino's death and their sale, and many copies were also cast based on struck originals. Casts were also created using existing casts, these 'aftercasts' generally decrease in quality and fidelity the further removed they become from the original struck examples.

    Whether or not they were made as intentional counterfeits is not conclusive (many scholars argue no). Various examples found their way into serious collections over time, but Zander Klawans's 1977 reference (and the many preceding works by Lawrence and others) mean that they are now rarely mistaken for real examples. Unlike many non-contemporary counterfeits Paduans are historic and collectible in their own right.

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