I got into collecting ancient coins a couple of years ago and the first thing that I did was to call up a friend who works at the Sadigh Gallery in New York. My initial questions were really around where the best places to buy coins were, what particular areas were easier than others and how I should best care for the coins. Whilst she dd give me this information she was also incredibly keen on letting me know just how careful I have to be when I am buying coins.
This is the same thing that goes for anyone who is buying antiques, and I have actually seen first hand now, why you have to be careful.
Copying For Fun
The main reason why you have to be careful when you are buying antiques and ancient coins is that there are just so many fakes on the market. Believe it or not there are actually businesses which are set up that only dedicate themselves to fraudulently copying these pieces of art. I have seen some fakes, shown to me by a friend, and I am absolutely staggered at just how accurate they are. In some cases only a trained eye could tell you the difference between a real coin and a fake.
Bait and Switch
A dear friend of mine bought a piece online from what he thought was a respected vendor. This individual was on forums discussing pieces and mentioned that he had a high value coin which he was prepared to sell. After seeing pictures and even having a video call with the vendor, my friend sent over a payment of $1700. As I’m sure you can probably guess, the coin was never posted, the money was taken and my friend really lost out badly. Not only should you not send money in this way, you should always buy on a platform which offers protection or make sure that you do the deal in person. My friend certainly learned a hard lesson from that experience.
What Does Being Careful Mean?
Ultimately there are not too many ways to ensure 100% that you are able to avoid buying a fake piece, but if you take care you can greatly minimize the risk. Firstly if you are buying online then don’t ever buy expensive pieces. If the piece is expensive then be sure to go and see it in person. Secondly be sure that you know exactly what you are looking for in the piece. You should know all of the hallmarks, the weight, the metal it is made with and the signs to look for which have come from the way that it has aged. All of this information is critical. And finally if you are buying a highly priced piece, it is worth paying for an expert to glance an eye over it to assure you that the piece is genuine.
Be careful out there and you should be alright.