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Vol 01 No. 03 - June July 1987

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About This File

Support for The Celator has continued to grow over the past two months and we thank all of our new friends who have joined the ranks of subscribers or advertisers. Collectors of ancient coins and antiquities will be pleased to see that we have introduced a new Professional Directory of dealers and suppliers with this issue.

Our feature story, about the many auctions held this past two months. shows that the hobby of collecting ancient coins has grown substantially in popularity. As newcomers read the results o f muti-million dollar sales, it is easy to perceive the hobby. from a financial point of view, as "The Hobby o f Kings". While it is true that absolutely premium coins are bringing unheard of prices, a quick trip around the bourse of your local coin show will prove that there are still great bargains and real treasures available ·to the average collector.

On more than one occasion, we have encountered disbelievers who scoff at the authenticity of ancient coins in general. They are, of course, poorly educated in the subject and must never have seen the thousands of varieties filling dealer "junk boxes" at a coin show. It would take quite a talented team of forgers to produce lhis array, not to mention the time and cost

Still, there seems to be a Iiule truth in most every argument, and one can certainly find examples of the forger's work among some of the most prominent collections in the world.

The counterfeiting of coins in ancient times was widespread. In most cases, these coins were struck for circulation and we tend to think of the surviving copies as ancient coins themselves. However, copies made during and after the Renaissance are another matter. Many of these pieces were created to deceive an all-too-eager clientele. with a voracious appetite for classical art and the capital to amass huge collections. Some of the early forgers have earned dub ious reputations as masters in their own right Cavino, Becker, Caprara and Christodoulos for example are perhaps better known to many collectors than the Greek celators Euainetos and Phrygillos.

Although the names of some modem forgers are not yet a matter of record. their works are also masterpieces of a sort. The ability to reproduce artifacts has improved substantially with advances in technology.

For the beginning collector, and the most advanced collector, this threat is minimized. In the case of coins sought by the former, the low cost and wide variety makes sophistocated forgery an impractical venture. In the case of the latter, the resources of experts in the field are available to guard against an ill advised purchase. The danger zone

seems to lie between these two extremes. Coins selling in the $200 to $1,000 range provide the most fertile ground and greatest profit for those who would earn their living through deception.

The best protection for buyers of material in this class is to deal with individuals who are well known and trusted. Even an experienced dealer can be the victim of a sophisticated forger, but the chances of this happening are greatly diminshed when dealing with a conscientious and reputable firm.

Every person who collects ancient coins or artifacts should take the time to acquaint themselves with the techniques of manufacture in ancient times so they can better understand the signs of modem reproduction. The rule of thumb today, which was as true 2,000 years ago, is Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware!

On a happier note. we attended the Central States Numismatic Society Convention at S1. Louis in May and enjoyed the company of Bart and Linda Lewis (Olympus Coins) and collector Bob Kutcher of Lincoln, Nebraska at the CSNS banquet. Bob's outstanding exhibition of ancient coins won the "Best of Ancients" award (and would undoubtedly have won best of show except for an incredible mishap in the bathtub of the Lewis' camper on the trip down from Lincoln!). Bart and Linda are soon departing for an eight month stay in England, where they will continue serve their customers with listings of ancient coins and artifacts.

Word has reached us that Superior Galleries will hold an auction of the Dr. Fedori Petito collection of 2,150 ancient coins in conjunction with the New Yark International Coin Show in December. Remember, you saw it in The Celator fIrst!

Finally, just a word about mailing. In order to hold down costs, and your subscription price, we distribute The Celator by bulk mail. It is mailed on, or very near, the first day of each even numbered month. If you do not receive your copy within a reasonable time (3 to 15 days depending on distance and mail backlog) please let us know and we'll send a replacement copy. If you change addresses, it is imperative that you notify us because bulk mail is not forwarded and we will not receive an address change from the Post Office. So far there have been no complaints - this is just a precaution.

Thanks for your support and let us hear your point of view!

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