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Everything posted by altyn

  1. Hello bobh, if I were the lucky owner of this beauty, my primary concern would be its preservation. It is so easy to cause an irreversible damage just by accidentally dropping the coin, for instance. And somehow I never saw the plastic as impediment for enjoying a beautiful coin, but it may be just me, many people think otherwise.
  2. Beautiful coin, bobh! Very likely among the best (and much better than mine). Do you plan to send it for grading to see what grade it can fetch?
  3. No, I did not. I do not know anyone around here who would be knowledgeable enough to be asked. The coin had been returned to the seller.
  4. How about window glass? Should be pretty even thickness and good surface. Any easy to obtain.
  5. I use a high quality glass piece with a thickness of ~ 2mm and a very smooth surface.
  6. I saw several 1909 coins with a relatively poor strike of the reverse. Among those is the upper coin shown in my first post. One can look for example at the central shield behind St. George. The vertical lines which form the shield's background came out only in the upper right corner of the shield. And this is a rather typical defect that I remember seeing a few times. So, it is really tempting to hypothesize that at least some of those coins represent bolsheviks' restrikes for which some old, corroded or crudely cleaned dies were used. The subject of 5 and 10 rouble restrikes by the Soviets in 1925-26 was among those addressed in a study published on Staraya Moneta. The author claims to have found some (minor) features resulting from a sloppy technology used by the Soviets that allow for identification of those restrikes. He lists 5 rouble restrikes for years 1897, 1898, 1899, 1902 and 1904, but not for 1909. Whether or not these conclusions can be regarded as absolutely accurate is questionable. The same author, although having meticulously listed six types of the obverse dies, did not discriminate between the two types observed for 1909 for which year he only listed the same die as for years 1903-4. Yet, according to this author, three different types of obverse dies were used by bolsheviks, and one can suspect that the actual number may be even higher. This is certainly in line with the notion by bobh that bolsheviks would use whatever happened to be around and in working condition.
  7. These are lovely images! I like that softness of light that shows on many of them. However, if you want to make some of them look more contrast or to highlight details, then I suggest to try Kaiser halogen lamps. This is a very powerful light source (300W - and it becomes very hot, so be careful). This type of lighting is rather harsh, or I would say ruthless, showing all minute details of the field and devices but sometimes this is exactly what one needs. The set up is well described in the book by Mark Goodman "Numismatic photography".
  8. Thank you Sigi. Those images were taken using a Kaiser 300W halogen light source. The objective was a Nikkor 105 mm macro lense. I would be happy to discuss the set up by PM
  9. Here I put together the most obvious differences. Many thanks to bobh for pointing at the neck line (Adam's apple) difference!.
  10. These are two coins from my collection. Several differences in the portrait are noticeable: the earlobes, the tip of the nose, and especially the shape of the nose bridge. These differences cannot be attributed to different light angles etc - I took both pictures pretty much the same way. Most coins shown on the m-dv site are of the upper type. The lower portrait is the same as seen on the 1903-1904 coins. Kazakov does not mention two types for this year. The Conros catalogue lists the upper type as their portrait B (249923) which it certainly is not (portrait B is an early type, named by Kazakov as 'die of 1898', and seen until 1902). The lower type is the Conros type C (191355, but their photo accessible from that link is not very good and one can't be sure). Most of the 1910 five-rouble coins shown in m-dv seem to be of the upper 1909 type, but in 1911 the portrait gets slightly changed again. I wonder if anybody has seen this the same way I do.
  11. So, here is another example of a 'real life' (top, my image) vs. 'catalogue' case. Still, any suggestions on what to try to make a more 'cosmetic' picture (the catalogue style)? I am thinking about using a photographic tent or a lighting umbrella to produce a very diffuse light which is probably at the core of the issue. My images so far have been taken using a direct light coming from a halogen source.
  12. Thank you Sigi. I do not have the Yusupov's catalogue - a clear deficiency in my library that needs to be remedied. Neither Bitkin nor Adrianov (2008) separate these two varieties, but then I found them in the Conros base catalogue. Actually, I am beginning to like it more and more.
  13. Thank you for pointing at this difference. Are there just these two distinct sizes? Or a continuum?
  14. I share this kind of affection...
  15. NGC has already branded the coin as of questionable authenticity. They will most likely recognize it when they see it again and you will get the same verdict. If you still want it slabbed, you might want to consider sending it to PCGS instead. However, the doubt expressed by NGC should represent a sufficient reason for returning the coin to the dealer. And you would not be having a nagging feeling that the coin in your possession might be just an expensive fake. Just my opinion.
  16. Thank you for the comments. I am sure many of us share this view on coin photography. We want to master different techniques in order to be able to emphasize various aspects of our coins: sometimes minute details and sometimes their general appeal. It is impossible to just apply a universal "best" technique: what is best and what is not depends on the purpose. This is actually what prompted me to start this topic initially, although I sort of deviated from my intention and did not ask my question straight. And that was about how those Kuenker catalogue images are made. I think that the method that I am currently using may represent a coin in a somewhat disadvantaged perspective: it shows all imperfections including those that are not seen by a naked eye. Therefore, the impression made by an image is different from that made by an actual coin. Although this is how I like it most of the time, still one can ask: can this (very detailed) image be viewed as 'real'? ("Photographing any subject raises questions of what is real" - a very good observation indeed).
  17. I am working on this. There will be, eventually, a web site with my entire bug collection .
  18. They graded it as MS61, in line with the 'vorzuglich-stempelglanz' description by Kuenker, and I think this is accurate. Yet, it is very convenient for an auction house to use that particular technique which is not overly revealing, so to speak, as you have also noticed.
  19. Thank you, bobh, for sharing your thoughts. Yes, if this is the same company that serves most European auction houses, this would explain why their images look the same style. I can't say I dislike them but I think they often fall short of showing color and luster (if present, of course). Just to illustrate my point I show two sets of images below: the upper was made by me and the lower was from Kuenker. I am not saying that my images are professional level (far from that) but because I can compare them with the actual coin, I can tell that they do a better job in representing the coin compared to the catalogue images. The drawback of the technique I used (two halogen lights high up at 11 and 1 o'clock, basically per the book of Mark Goodman) is that it is rather ruthless in showing the coin's imperfections, not just virtues. Thus, while a lustrous coin would be revealed in all its glory, a worn coin would actually look worse than in reality.
  20. I was always wondering how professional photographers take pictures for catalogs or auctions. Obviously, there is no single approach. What we see on the Heritage web site is certainly not the same in terms of technique compared to how this is done by Stack's (although I must admit I can only suspect what they do). In any case, both of these approaches, in partucular the one used by Heritage, show very informative images. However, the approach that is most popular in Europe is different. If you look at their web sites or catalogs (e.g. Kuenker), you would see images apparently taken using diffused light with no sharp contrast; although most detals would be clear, the actual structure of the coin surface, for instance, would remain somewhat hidden. Please don't take me wrong: I am not talking about image resolution (bites or pixels) but different photography techniques that either reveal everything or not quite everything. Of course, Kuenker does excellent job in assigning a grade; if they say a coin is 'vorzuglich', you'd bet it would be graded as AU58 or AU55, so there is consistency here. Yet, their photos are somewhat 'cosmetic', while I'd prefer to see a coin exactly how it looks early in the morning. What do you think?
  21. Yes, when I first saw it, although I was puzzled by the unusual appearance of the crown in particular, I did like the overall look of the coin, especially the planchet texture, if you wil. For sure, it did not look like a typical fake. Yet, I was uncertain, so I sent it to NGC. When I got it back with the AU55 verdict, my worries subsided for a while, but they did not go away since we all know that NGC can make mistakes, just like any one else. Recently I posted it on a Russian forum and the opinions were unanymously negative. The question was then posed to the seller who has agreed that the coins looks unsual, certainly not like the majority of this type polushkas. Remaining true to his excellent reputation, the seller has also agreed to accept the coin back, for which I am very grateful. So, I am sorry but I can't show the edge. I should have photographed it before sending to NGC, along with the obverse and reverse, but I did not.
  22. I recall I went to that site and copied the URL from the Navigation Toolbar of my browser and then pasted it into the body of the message. I will keep you guys updated on the further developments of this story.
  23. Thanks Alex. The opinions that I have heard so far (including those expressed on a Russian forum) give me no reason for optimism.
  24. Thank you Sigi. The differences between my coin and the coins at www.m-dv.ru/catalog/ (the source of the posted reference coin) are disturbing.
  25. The upper coin on the image shows the coin which I purchased at one of high profile 2011 auctions. The lower image shows a coin from http://www.m-dv.ru. The differences between my coin and the reference coin are obvious: look the shape of the crown, the cipher, the bow etc. What would you think: can these differences be explained just by die variability? Or maybe there is a reason to question authenticity of my coin? Besides the fact that it was sold by a reputable seller, it was also graded by NGC (AU55, for whatever it means). Thanks.
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