It never occurred to me that so many readers might be interested in the outcome of my planned vacation (participating in an archaeological excavation) at Phalasarna, Crete. It seems that armchair travel is still a popular pastime. Practically everyone that I have talked to since returning from Europe in June asks about the dig.
Sadly, I do not have a story to tell. Through a combination of unfortunate circumstances, I did not make it to Crete. I did, however, visit some of the museums of Rome and Naples that escaped my attention on earlier visits, and made a trip to the excavations at Pompei. The site and modern city of Pompei are very worthwhile and refreshing diversions in a part of Italy that offers little for the tourist. The hope of participating in a dig still burns bright and one of these years it will happen.
Another Question that continues to surface is that of format for The Celator. Some would like to see the tabloid converted into a magazine, having looked seriously at the question, it seems best at this time to continue with the present format. Although the storage and preservation of issues, for those who want to save them, may be somewhat of a problem, the tabloid is a comfortable format which has distinct advantages for the advertiser, publisher and reader. It is an economical format, both from the standpoint of printing and of layout. It is also a forgiving format, which lends itself well to the philosophy of The Celator as a "popular" publication rather than a scholarly journal. We will, however, be offering a "Best of The Celator" annual in signature format (magazine like). These annuals will be produced on a more durable paper and lend themselves to storage and binding. They will consist of reprints of articles and features from issues of the previous year. Watch for ads in The Celator announcing their arrival.
We have received several comments from readers about the dearth of advertisements in The Celator for lower priced coins. In this issue there are at least four ads which offer fairly detailed listings of individual coins, many in moderate price ranges. The only thing that will ensure more of the same is a solid response to these offerings. If these are the kind of ads that you want to see more of, it would be smart to write to those advertising and indicate your wishes.
Another common concern is that of detecting counterfeits. Readers often ask, how can I detect a counterfeit coin? What should I look for? The answer is far too complex to address in a column like this, however, there are some obvious telltale signs that every collector should be aware of. We printed an excerpt from David Hendin's "Guide to Biblical Coins" in Vol. 2. NO.3 (March 1988) which reminds collectors to check such details as edge marks from filing or hammering, surfaces for casting bubbles, tooled letters, suspicious patina, size, and weight. Another useful indicator may be the tiny stress marks from striking that are found along letters and other vertical edges in the coin design. The cast copy will not, when examined with a glass, bear sharp distinct stress marks. Modem die-struck copies may bear these stress marks. but the overly flat fields found on some of these copies often betray the counterfeiter's work. Generally speaking. if a coin seems a little "off' for some reason, it is not worth taking the risk. That does not necessarily mean it is a counterfeit, but why take the chance? We hope to offer an in-depth treatment on counterfeit detection in a future issue of The Celator.
Our travelling schedule for September includes the shows at New York and Long Beach. In October we will be at Coinex in London and the Classical Numismatic Bourse in Dallas. If you are planning to attend one of these shows, please make a point of saying hello, it's always a great pleasure to meet readers of The Celator in person. Although we won't have a table at New York or London, ask one of the dealers to point us out. Meanwhile, tell a friend about the new voice of the hobby and by all means, let us hear your point of view!