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Madness

Silliness of the "Un-researched Purchase" Variety

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Looking for a new hobby, wife inherits a half-sovereign and... abracadabra!  Here I am.

I see coins as tangible, and sometimes beautiful, artifacts that are representative of ages, events and historical figures; Something you can hold in your hand that has passed through the pockets and purses of ordinary people of times past. I've also decided to collect a small number of meaningful coins rather than going for bulk.  With this in view, I'm focusing, perhaps unwisely, on Australian proclamation coins.  

I'm less than a week into numismatics.  I foolishly purchased earlier in the week a 1794 guinea.  From eBay.  From an unknown seller.  Without research.  Without photos.  My monthly budget is about 50 pounds.  I spent about 430 pounds on this coins.  A bit of retrospective reading revealed that, apparently, "good very fine" doesn't mean what a layman would expect.    

I'm about to start looking for a 1787 shilling.  Here are a few questions:

  • How do I tell the difference between a poor strike and coin wear?
  • I'm aware of some of the pieces of evidence of cleaning/dipping.  Is there a comprehensive, illustrated guide somewhere?
  • Do you have a preferred variant of this coin?  If so, which and why?
  • Could I get one in extra-fine condition for somewhere in the range of 100-150 pounds?
  • Are there any trustworthy sellers you could recommend?

It will take me between two and three months to save, so plenty of time for reading.  

Thanks!  Looking forward to learning from this community of friendly experts.

Edited by Madness
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Coins 728x90

Welcome to the madhouse! I am sure you will have a lot of fun here.

It seems you have already learnt a painful lesson with your Guinea purchase - I am sorry to hear that. Are you not able to return it for a full refund?

I won't try to answer all your questions at once - others will chip in soon I hope. A few thoughts:

- Telling wear from poor strike will come with experience and can be very difficult in some cases. The main thing is that wear should only be on the highest points of the design. If the coin looks flat and lacking detail in the troughs, then it may be a weak strike - or even a copy.

- The two main variants of the 1787 shilling (with and without Semee of hearts) are equally common and seem to have no difference in price. Far more important is the eye-appeal of the particular coin you are looking at.

- As you have learnt, pay no attention to the grades claimed by sellers on Ebay. (A reputable coin dealer, Third Party Grading company or auction house is a different matter, but even then opinions will differ.) Go for the coin that appeals to you most. You can go for TPG graded coins if you wish, but you will pay a substantial premium for these. I prefer my coins free of plastic!

- Unslabbed a decent VF+ to EF 1787 Shilling should be easily achievable in your budget if you are patient. They are not scarce coins.

I hope that helps and I look forward to seeing other opinions.

 

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best to start on a few books , sounds like one on gradeing might be a must as well.

coins can come later .

Like most hobbies a little knowlege is a dangerous thing

Edited by copper123
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7 hours ago, Madness said:

Looking for a new hobby, wife inherits a half-sovereign and... abracadabra!  Here I am.

I see coins as tangible, and sometimes beautiful, artifacts that are representative of ages, events and historical figures; Something you can hold in your hand that has passed through the pockets and purses of ordinary people of times past. I've also decided to collect a small number of meaningful coins rather than going for bulk.  With this in view, I'm focusing, perhaps unwisely, on Australian proclamation coins.  

I'm less than a week into numismatics.  I foolishly purchased earlier in the week a 1794 guinea.  From eBay.  From an unknown seller.  Without research.  Without photos.  My monthly budget is about 50 pounds.  I spent about 430 pounds on this coins.  A bit of retrospective reading revealed that, apparently, "good very fine" doesn't mean what a layman would expect.    

I'm about to start looking for a 1787 shilling.  Here are a few questions:

  • How do I tell the difference between a poor strike and coin wear?
  • I'm aware of some of the pieces of evidence of cleaning/dipping.  Is there a comprehensive, illustrated guide somewhere?
  • Do you have a preferred variant of this coin?  If so, which and why?
  • Could I get one in extra-fine condition for somewhere in the range of 100-150 pounds?
  • Are there any trustworthy sellers you could recommend?

It will take me between two and three months to save, so plenty of time for reading.  

Thanks!  Looking forward to learning from this community of friendly experts.

First of all Welcome to the forum and welcome to collecting of shiny bits of squashed metal with pretty pictures on them,  it is indeed a great way to be in touch with history.  You have decided upon an interesting field of collecting there are some interesting Georgian coins and the history of the time is great too. I would recommend as a starting point having a look at the feeds on Modern Fakes.  There are a lot out there and I also advise that you go onto one of the chinese selling sites like Aliexpress and search for coins and see which ones fit into your category of collecting. There is a great little book by reprographics the supporters of this site on coin grading which covers most of the obverse and reverse types since G III ( I don't work for them by the way) but it is useful.

if you do not like the guinea that you purchased send it back.  No matter what the seller says internet buying is remote selling and hence the buyer only has a limited scope of viewing a potential purchase.  If on arrival you simply do not like it send it back , open a request on ebay for a return.  Legally a seller cannot refuse this in the case of coins simply because no advert is sufficiently good enough.  Even if a buyer has no previous feedback it is invariably safe to buy especially if you pay through pay pal which allows you 6 months to change your mind ebay is only 30 days I think.  You are just as likely to be flogged rubbish by some of the "professional" sellers and the amateur sellers, although some have a better reputation than others read the feedback and look at the other coins they are selling.  Once you know the modern fakes and the types you can quickly see if they are selling the junk you can buy for a few dollars even if they battered a fake is spotable in the most because it usually comes from grannies attic , or a tin grandad had in the loft, or basement.  Take many of these family treasure trove stories with a pinch of salt. 

I am the resident crazy person on here at the moment ( as I am sure you will discover) so take anything I say with a dose of salt or pinch depending on your view on novelty approaches to collecting.

Good Luck 

Larry 

 

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Welcome to the forum Madhouse.

I dont know where you live but probably the best thing to do would be a good coin show.

Lots of coins to look at in hand and reputable dealers who can point you in the right direction.One in both Wakefield and Birmingham every month and a big one in York tomorrow and Saturday.

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14 minutes ago, PWA 1967 said:

Welcome to the forum Madhouse.

I dont know where you live but probably the best thing to do would be a good coin show.

Lots of coins to look at in hand and reputable dealers who can point you in the right direction.One in both Wakefield and Birmingham every month and a big one in York tomorrow and Saturday.

I think he might not be in the UK or is a very early riser or a very late night person the post went up 7 hours ago .....although saying that I often end up rising in the early morning and get lured into the coin world LOL 

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Thanks all for your words of welcome!

@copper123 "The Standard Guide to Grading British Coins" is next on my to-buy list.  Thanks for the suggestion.  

@PWA 1967 I'm an Australian living about five hours drive away from Brisbane and six hours drive away from Sydney, the two closest capitals.  The rural town I live in unfortunately doesn't have any coin fairs.  For fun, most people here drink beer, drive utes in a manner-unbecoming-a-gentleman and shoot pigs, often at the same time.  

@DrLarry Well deduced! BTW - great to be in the company of fellow loonies.  I'll certainly be looking into the fake-coin shenanigans.  Being in Australia, I don't think eBay and PP users have the same protections as in the UK.  Will certainly look into it if the coin happens to be a dud (or duddish).

Here's the eBay listing.  The coin seems unnaturally shiny.  Will have to wait for it to arrive to see what's going on.  Will post photos when they arrive.  Without a doubt they will be grainy and out of focus.  How do you chaps take such cool photos, out of interest?  

Edited by Madness
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1 hour ago, Madness said:

Thanks all for your words of welcome!

@copper123 "The Standard Guide to Grading British Coins" is next on my to-buy list.  Thanks for the suggestion.  

@PWA 1967 I'm an Australian living about five hours drive away from Brisbane and six hours drive away from Sydney, the two closest capitals.  The rural town I live in unfortunately doesn't have any coin fairs.  For fun, most people here drink beer, drive utes in a manner-unbecoming-a-gentleman and shoot pigs, often at the same time.  

@DrLarry Well deduced! BTW - great to be in the company of fellow loonies.  I'll certainly be looking into the fake-coin shenanigans.  Being in Australia, I don't think eBay and PP users have the same protections as in the UK.  Will certainly look into it if the coin happens to be a dud (or duddish).

Here's the eBay listing.  The coin seems unnaturally shiny.  Will have to wait for it to arrive to see what's going on.  Will post photos when they arrive.  Without a doubt they will be grainy and out of focus.  How do you chaps take such cool photos, out of interest?  

yes I would have gone for the Australia deduction as my first choice, but I admit that I hesitate to make assumptions on here my deductions usually end up with me under a pack of wolves.  I think the rules are the same I think it is an international law issue and as EBay are legally based in Luxembourg it should work.  I suppose the issue is the cost of the postage, the buyer if they "just don't like it" has to pay the return but if the coin has been polished and it is not noted then the description does not match in which case the seller is the responsible one.  I assume it is in part the law of contract if the object does not match then the contract is deemed to be void or at least questionable. 

images :  great little app for the android phone is one called "cozy magnifyer +" in the google play shop it is only a couple of pounds or free in the less good version helps turn the phone into a microscope it is helpful in that it allows you to view things in reversed light so that images on the screen of coins, can be seen and the flaws show up quite nicely and you can zoom in for details.   I use a microscope a lot ( much to the annoyance  of many) my findings and musings tend to get dismissed a lot LOL  all in a days work.  

Edited by DrLarry
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A thought that before learning to spot a fake I'd start to carefully examine the characteristics of the real deal. Found an auction house website and examined images of VF & EF 1787 shillings.  Here are images of the obverse of the first three examples I saw:

img.php?a=159&l=2951&f=o&s=l

img.php?a=159&l=2950&f=o&s=l

img.php?a=157&l=3063&f=o&s=l

Yep - There are two variants: The dot over the wreath and the dot not over the wreath.  However, the position of the text is slightly different between all three.  Check out where the last "I" of "III" ends and the "D" of "Dei" begins.  Is one of these non-genuine?  Were there different dies with different text positions?  

Similarly, I examined the reverse of each of the coins:  

img.php?a=159&l=2951&f=r&s=l

img.php?a=159&l=2950&f=r&s=l

img.php?a=157&l=3063&f=r&s=l

The dot between "F" and "D" at the top of the coin in example two is lower than in the other two. Incidentally, this is the non-dot coin.  Is this typical of this variant?  Furthermore, re text "A.T.ET.E.", there is no evidence of the dot before and after "ET" in the first example.  Is this wear? A variant?

It's going to be hard to try and spot fakes without knowing everything that's within the range of acknowledged, acceptable variation and their acceptable combinations!  I have much learning to do.  

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part of the problem is that most prefer not to to see legend variations as varieties and hence they end up unlisted so there is little method as far as I see it.  Variations in the lettering and position seems to depend as many will say on "who it is who refers to them" in other words you have to be the "right" person....rather takes it out of the hand of the normal folks, although we do find new varieties that end up on a list somewhere.  I am afraid I dont know too much about proclamation coinage I have a reference set but they oftentimes seem very "spotty" especially the silver (black marks across the surface something to do with the metal impurities or method of stamping) 

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Ah - I'm an idiot!  They are three separate variants: a. dot/no-hearts; b. no-dot/no-hearts and c. dot/hearts.  

How many manufacturers of this coin were there?  Would this account for the differences?  If only one manufacturer, did they mix and match obverse and reverse dies randomly?  For example, might one expect to find a coin with the obverse of b (above) and the reverse of (c)?

Thanks! 

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the British Numismatic Journal is available free online you might want to take a look and search in that someone at some point is likely to have done some kind of study of the coins of that period and you can download them as pdf's 

Edited by DrLarry
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3 minutes ago, DrLarry said:

part of the problem is that most prefer not to to see legend variations as varieties and hence they end up unlisted so there is little method as far as I see it.  Variations in the lettering and position seems to depend as many will say on "who it is who refers to them" in other words you have to be the "right" person....rather takes it out of the hand of the normal folks, although we do find new varieties that end up on a list somewhere.  I am afraid I dont know too much about proclamation coinage I have a reference set but they oftentimes seem very "spotty" especially the silver (black marks across the surface something to do with the metal impurities or method of stamping) 

Does "legend" mean the text on a coin?

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7 minutes ago, Madness said:

Does "legend" mean the text on a coin?

yeah , I assume also there were several dies (design stamps) from which the coins were made, as each die reaches the end of the line (breaks or wears) it is replaced sometimes the new dies are the same others seem to have variation.  There is supposed to be a master die from which the other working dies are cut but there appear to be anomalies in this simple approach which made no sense to me at times. Also you have to remember that there was a serious of shortage of small denominations at this time the only previous silver was the 1863 Northumberland shilling (often faked) I dont think this new design was liked that much, I am not sure why I think that.

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14 hours ago, Madness said:

I see coins as tangible, and sometimes beautiful, artifacts that are representative of ages, events and historical figures; Something you can hold in your hand that has passed through the pockets and purses of ordinary people of times past. I've also decided to collect a small number of meaningful coins rather than going for bulk.  With this in view, I'm focusing, perhaps unwisely, on Australian proclamation coins.  

I'm about to start looking for a 1787 shilling.  Here are a few questions:

  • How do I tell the difference between a poor strike and coin wear?
  • I'm aware of some of the pieces of evidence of cleaning/dipping.  Is there a comprehensive, illustrated guide somewhere?
  • Do you have a preferred variant of this coin?  If so, which and why?
  • Could I get one in extra-fine condition for somewhere in the range of 100-150 pounds?
  • Are there any trustworthy sellers you could recommend?

Hi Madness, Welcome to the forums . :) 

Trying to answer your questions as best I can:

  • In relation to the 1787 shilling, you don't really need to worry about weak strikes. It was a limited edition strike using a revolutionary new method - compared to standard early milled - made available (at the time) only to BAnk customers. This is why so many exist in high grade; in fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen a worn one?
  • Evidence of cleaning / dipping is either obvious, or it's more subtle and you would need to see the coin in hand, or else post good pictures here 
  • No, not personally. With or without semée of hearts makes little difference to me (I think my shilling is one type, my sixpence the other?)
  • Yes
  • There are members of this forum who will give you excellent advice on good sellers.
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Welcome to the House Of Fun, Madness ;)

Good choice, the 1787 shilling.  A nice coin with a bit of history, some different variants and fairly widely available at reasonably low prices.

Mine is probably a bit lower grade than you are looking for, but it only cost me 40 GBP, about 3 years ago.

z33X8yF.jpg

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Are there any forgeries of 1787 sixpences and shillings out there?

These coins had around there worth in silver in them so unless you were using a silver/copper mix there would be no point faking them .,

Are you sure you are not thinking of the fake northumberland shillings from 1763 - there are plenty of them around- modern china fakes that is not contemporary

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I started to plan a comparative analysis to find as many variations in the 1787 shilling as I could find and work out their combinations to see if I could notice a pattern.  Before I got more than toe deep I decided to look into the meaning of the reverse legend. Stumbled across this amazing article.  

It explains everything!  Answers all my questions.  From the conclusion:

"These coins represent an intermediate stage in the modernization of coinage techniques.  The inscriptions on the obverse dies were made with individual letter punches, a centuries-old practice, but the reverse dies were sunk from fully-lettered punches, a major advance.  Even on the reverse dies, however, fine features such as stops, the Westphalian horse, the semee of hearts in the Hanoverian arms, and the strings of the Irish harp were added individually, suggesting that truly complete punches (except for the last two date digits) remained difficult to manufacture or impractical to use".

This explains the differences I was seeing in the positioning of the inscriptions on the obverse.  I also noticed that some examples had a six-stringed harp and others had a seven-stringed harp on the reverse.  I can imagine some poor bugger trying to hand-engrave evenly-spaced strings on various die.  Not an easy task I would imagine.

Boy this hobby goes deep!  I could spend a lifetime trying to track down strikings from all the different dies of this coin and a mint finding a Pingo proof.  That in itself would be another rabbit hole, collecting a complete set of these 1787 proofs of shilling, sixpence, guinea and half-guinea!  I can see much fun awaits me!

Please correct me if I misuse jargon.  

Edited by Madness

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4 hours ago, Stuntman said:

Welcome to the House Of Fun, Madness ;)

 

Great band! That song takes me back to me back to the early eighties.  Many reasons for the choice of my user name.

Edited by Madness

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9 hours ago, Madness said:

Great band! That song takes me back to me back to the early eighties.  Many reasons for the choice of my user name.

You're an embarrassment.

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3 minutes ago, Peckris said:

You're an embarrassment.

?

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Just now, Madness said:

?

Yes, an embarrassment, a living endorsement

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An embarrassed embarrassment.  Oh, for the wings of a dove!

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1 minute ago, Madness said:

An embarrassed embarrassment.  Oh, for the wings of a dove!

Just pass the ready rub

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You win! :)

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