Each year fraudsters who replicate pieces of ancient art and antiques from civilizations gone by make millions of dollars for their work and sadly there are many who get caught out and end up buying something which they believe to be real, in many cases not even realizing that it is a fake until too late. So how can you possibly avoid something like this happening if you find a coin that you think is the real deal? To help us with some tips on what you can be doing to minimize your chances of getting caught out, I caught up with my friend Sally from the Sadigh Gallery in New York, and here is what she had to say.
The first point to make here is that there are never any guarantees that you can completely avoid a fake so don’t get overly paranoid about it, there are some guidelines to follow but that is about as much due diligence as you can make, unless you wish to invest thousands to have every piece which you look at valued and checked by an expert.
When it comes to coins you have to first start off with as much literature as you can get your hands on which will describe every single detail of the coin which you should expect to find. This will include the material that the coin should be, the weight, the color, the markings if any that the piece has and of course any inscriptions or embossing which may be found on the coin.
One area which fraudsters do find difficult to mimic is the wear that a coin may have had. LEt’s say that a coin is from the 15th century, during the last 500 years the metal would’ve worn and corroded in a certain way, the use of the coin would have seen details rubbed off and some discoloration would have taken place in certain areas. This is where you can often spot fakes because trying to copy something new is one thing but trying to copy something and create 500 years of wear is not going to be easy. Make sure that you know how the particular material should wear over time and what to expect from a piece which is as old as it is.
It may not be particularly scientific but there is a lot to say about trusting your gut instinct when it comes to more expensive purchases. Now if the piece you are looking at is $40 for example then it may very well be worth a punt, if on the other hand you are looking at spending some serious money on the piece there is just no point at all in buying something if you have any doubts about it. Assuming you’ve done your homework, the last test is to trust your own instincts about whether or not the piece is real.