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it seems that a name of church from auction description does not match with the new finds :shock:

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I have a feeling its like the fable of the "Twelve Chairs". Only one of the chairs had the diamonds. If the treasure was so well documented, it is probably that at least a few "brave" russian men would have attempted to find it. The result would have been a structural failure to the churche's walls :shock:

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  • 1 month later...

description says small scratches? is this hair lines? also there is a big dig at left wing and it comes with certificate of authenticy from GIM with estimate $100000 :)

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description says small scratches? is this hair lines? also there is a big dig at left wing and it comes with certificate of authenticy from GIM with estimate $100000 :)

Very interesting comparison between this one and the Künker auction coin:

 

1. There is a slight irregularity in the "0" of the date on the right side of the digit (inside, towards the top) which shows on both coins. This irregularity is missing from 1904 and 1909 coins; the only image of 1906 on the "Монетный Двор" website is too small for comparison. But I assume that this might be one way of authenticating the 1907 date.

 

2. In the Alexander auction coin, there seems to be a raised die cud between the "И" and the "С" at the beginning of the legend on the right. I think it must be raised and not incuse because of the angle of lighting, IMHO it is a die cud which should show up on ALL of the coins with such a limited production. There are images (very small, unfortunately) at the "Монетный Двор" website of a coin auctioned by Gorny & Mosch in 2006 which show some kind of disturbance at this place, presumably the same cud. However, this is missing from the Künker auction coin. If it is a die cud, and of this size, it would be strange for it to be missing ... unless something damaged the obverse die in between strikes, which is certainly possible, but highly unlikely if the coins were all struck in one production run (which I assume they were). However, it is conceivable that the coins made to place under the church were done in one run, and the remaining half-dozen or so as an "afterthought" -- perhaps after polishing the dies some more, and perhaps damaging the obverse die so as to produce the cud. It could be that the coins which ended up under the church were not struck as proof at all ... who would know? Now, maybe some of them have been dug up and are being auctioned at $100,000 each (good business for whoever did the excavation!)

 

3. Neither the surfaces of the Alexander auction coin, nor those of the Künker auction coin, look like proof surfaces to me, but only high-grade business strikes. They have an "orange peel" look to them; proof surfaces should be more reflective. I don't know much about how proof coins were produced in the early 20th century, though -- it could be that this is OK.

 

4. On the Künker coin and the Alexander coin, there appears to be the beginning of a die crack running close to the rim on the obverse at about 8 pm. It is hard to see in the Künker pictures because they are much smaller, but I think it is also there.

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As soon as it was confirmed that the Kunker coin was not a proof (and it was confirmed by a dealer who attended the auction and viewed the coin), to me, the conclusion that the coin is some type of fake became obvious.

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As soon as it was confirmed that the Kunker coin was not a proof (and it was confirmed by a dealer who attended the auction and viewed the coin), to me, the conclusion that the coin is some type of fake became obvious.

Would you say that the Alexander coin is a proof? (that is, if you didn't know that there was a GIM expertise signed by Mr. Shiriakov?) Look at all of the 5 rouble coins between 1909-1911 on http://m-dv.ru which are called "proof" and compare them with some of the MS-65/66 coins listed there ... there really isn't much of a difference, to judge from the photos.

 

Of course, many (not all) of the references say that these coins (e.g. 1907) are "proof only". It makes a lot of sense: a limited number of coins struck for a very special purpose -- only for the Tsar or perhaps a few for friends + relatives of the Tsar. Well, of course, these should be of the highest possible quality -- what else?

 

But since the documentation about proof coins struck during this period is very scarce or even nonexisting, where do the reference works get their information? Many reference works written after 1992 just end up quoting Uzdenikov, regardless whether his information can be supported or not -- merely on faith. Of course, there is nothing wrong with believing in Uzdenikov, there are worse people one could believe in. But he was probably wrong about some things, for example the significance of the 1897-** so-called "Brussels pattern" roubles (с птичками). Nobody can be 100% right about everything all the time ... I have seen a 1903 poltina (in person) which was graded MS-something by NGC and described in an auction (NY Sale) as "prooflike", and I agreed with that description: prooflike, but not manufactured as proof. Of course, the references will have us believe that this is a "proof only" issue.

 

What I think is that the technique of coin striking (business strikes) was so advanced at the time, that it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between proof and high-grade, uncirculated business strikes TODAY of coins minted during that period. Especially by just looking at photos of coins. How many of us will be fortunate enough to see genuine, rare proofs in person? Probably not very many. And how many of those will get the time to study the coins in detail? Even less!

 

Also, if one considers that proof coins are the result of polishing the dies and polishing the planchet, I am sure that there were varying degrees of polish used -- especially if one considers that the product will not go to the scrutiny of collectors, but be buried under a church somewhere ... who cares if the polish was so perfect?

 

The Gangut rouble is another interesting case: according to Kazakov, there are mules where one side is proof, the other a normal strike. Depending on which side is proof, one can tell when they were struck.

 

Sorry for being so verbose ... but there is a big "proof/non-proof" gray area in Russian numismatics which has yet to be investigated. It starts around 1840 or so when many silver coins (especially roubles) were struck with mirrored surfaces which are prooflike, but not proofs. Maybe there are other factors involved with gold coins? It would be very interesting to hear what RW Julian has to say on this matter...

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I did not base my conclusion on the photo, but the description of the coin by Kunker, and a report of a person who looked at it during the preview.

 

As to the rest of your note, -- if I agreed with everything that you wrote (I do not want to sound argumentative, so I will not address it in detail), it would still did not convince me that the coin is, or, even may be original. Such revolutionary "discoveries" should be supported with documents...

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I did not base my conclusion on the photo, but the description of the coin by Kunker, and a report of a person who looked at it during the preview.

Of course, it is always necessary to look at the coin in hand before making any conclusions ... otherwise, we are merely constructing another village for Potemkin. :)

 

As to the rest of your note, -- if I agreed with everything that you wrote (I do not want to sound argumentative, so I will not address it in detail), it would still did not convince me that the coin is, or, even may be original. Such revolutionary "discoveries" should be supported with documents...

Exactly! What documents exist that support the claim that these were only struck as proof, though? (BTW, please feel free to be argumentative ... I respect your knowledge, and I haven't had a good argument in a long time. :D )

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Where is the document that the a 2 kop 1790 EM (or a poltina of 1913) was never struck in gold? If one appears, would you be asking for a document negating its existence in order to come to a conclusion that it is a fake?! Otherwise, you would say that it is possible that it is original?

 

Possible - yes (nothing is impossible). Probable -- NO! Therefore, someone who wants to sell an AU/XF business strike of 1907 5 r. should be the one trying to prove that it is an original -- not the other way around. But, now it is the "lucky" purchaser's problem. If there was a purchaser...

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Would you say that the Alexander coin is a proof? (that is, if you didn't know that there was a GIM expertise signed by Mr. Shiriakov?) Look at all of the 5 rouble coins between 1909-1911 on http://m-dv.ru which are called "proof" and compare them with some of the MS-65/66 coins listed there ... there really isn't much of a difference, to judge from the photos.

 

Of course, many (not all) of the references say that these coins (e.g. 1907) are "proof only". It makes a lot of sense: a limited number of coins struck for a very special purpose -- only for the Tsar or perhaps a few for friends + relatives of the Tsar. Well, of course, these should be of the highest possible quality -- what else?

 

But since the documentation about proof coins struck during this period is very scarce or even nonexisting, where do the reference works get their information? Many reference works written after 1992 just end up quoting Uzdenikov, regardless whether his information can be supported or not -- merely on faith. Of course, there is nothing wrong with believing in Uzdenikov, there are worse people one could believe in. But he was probably wrong about some things, for example the significance of the 1897-** so-called "Brussels pattern" roubles (с птичками). Nobody can be 100% right about everything all the time ... I have seen a 1903 poltina (in person) which was graded MS-something by NGC and described in an auction (NY Sale) as "prooflike", and I agreed with that description: prooflike, but not manufactured as proof. Of course, the references will have us believe that this is a "proof only" issue.

 

What I think is that the technique of coin striking (business strikes) was so advanced at the time, that it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between proof and high-grade, uncirculated business strikes TODAY of coins minted during that period. Especially by just looking at photos of coins. How many of us will be fortunate enough to see genuine, rare proofs in person? Probably not very many. And how many of those will get the time to study the coins in detail? Even less!

 

Also, if one considers that proof coins are the result of polishing the dies and polishing the planchet, I am sure that there were varying degrees of polish used -- especially if one considers that the product will not go to the scrutiny of collectors, but be buried under a church somewhere ... who cares if the polish was so perfect?

 

The Gangut rouble is another interesting case: according to Kazakov, there are mules where one side is proof, the other a normal strike. Depending on which side is proof, one can tell when they were struck.

 

Sorry for being so verbose ... but there is a big "proof/non-proof" gray area in Russian numismatics which has yet to be investigated. It starts around 1840 or so when many silver coins (especially roubles) were struck with mirrored surfaces which are prooflike, but not proofs. Maybe there are other factors involved with gold coins? It would be very interesting to hear what RW Julian has to say on this matter...

The whole matter of proofs is an interesting one. It is quite possible for uncirculated pieces to exist in what is supposed to

be a proof-only issue. When proofs are struck the rule is that only the best pieces go to collectors (or the Emperor &&),

leaving the less well-struck pieces to be destroyed at year’s end or released to circulation. It is also quite possible for such

pieces, rather than being melted, to leave the Mint via some high-ranking official or even the Grand Duke, who might well

have picked up these remainders at his pleasure, for distribution to friends.

 

The above comments are based on what is known to have happened in the U.S. but a mint is a mint and I doubt that much of

a difference existed in world mints of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

There is also the possibility of poorly-struck proofs being issued in sets due to carelessness on the part of employees at the Mint.

 

The problem is that we really do not know the exact details, for example, of the proof-only issues.

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Where is the document that the a 2 kop 1790 EM (or a poltina of 1913) was never struck in gold? If one appears, would you be asking for a document negating its existence in order to come to a conclusion that it is a fake?! Otherwise, you would say that it is possible that it is original?

 

Possible - yes (nothing is impossible). Probable -- NO! Therefore, someone who wants to sell an AU/XF business strike of 1907 5 r. should be the one trying to prove that it is an original -- not the other way around. But, now it is the "lucky" purchaser's problem. If there was a purchaser...

There was a 1913 Tercentenary rouble in a UBS auction a few years ago. Funny thing was, it was struck in copper and silver-plated. The silver was coming off in a few places, so you could actually see the copper. I looked at it ... edge lettering looked good; all the details seemed to match the original silver coin's details.

 

Was this a rare trial strike in copper, which some idiot later covered with silver? Or just a clever fake? I thought it must have been a fake at the time, but now I'm not so sure. It didn't sell, so I guess I was the only one that considered the possibility that it might be something else. But there just aren't any documents which say one way or the other.

 

My point was that it just isn't that easy sometimes to tell the proof coins apart from the business strikes of that time. And if such a borderline proof coin circulated, or was otherwise mishandled -- maybe King Farouk gave it to his kids to play with, who knows? -- I think some other kind of authentication should be used.

 

At any rate, as someone over on one of the Russian forums has pointed out, there have only been four or maybe five distinct specimens of the 1907 5 rouble coin sold at auction to date (the link to discussion is here (Старая Монета). It should be possible to establish a pedigree for any of these coins we see being sold today. I wouldn't buy a coin like this without a pedigree.

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