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Old Jan 11, 2009, 07:38 PM   #16
Lunatiki
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Any updates at all on this? I haven't seen any on Moneta-L. I'm surprised it really isn't raising that many eyebrows.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 10:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeastCoins View Post
Jeff,

I don't know how it can't appear at coinarchives.com since Mark actually saw it sell. I don't get it. The coin somehow has to have been delisted from the BOC ranks, but I have not yet heard how that happens and through what process. Maybe that's why the BOC no longer exists? Were they condemning authentic coins?

I'm utterly confused.

--Beast
This is the funniest thing about this entire incident, this assumption that to have been included in this auction this fake must have been "delisted from the BOC ranks" and declared genuine. Talking about bias!

The latest on this, from what I heard at the NY Int'l, is that both HJB and the winning bidder of this piece are aware that it has been credibly questioned and that HJB is leaning toward believing it is false. I don't know what decision the buyer has made.

That this hasn't been discussed publicly is all a part of the tradition in numismatics to hush-hush situations like this, to avoid airing dirty laundry. But this lack of openness winds up hurting innocents, such as some future buyer of this fake after it gets returned to the consignor who may buy it as authentic in a much less visible venue.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:00 AM   #18
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The fact at present is a clear case of conflict of interest.

The fact that the dealer in question is making a change determination for a previously documented fake, which if accepted would result in a profit argues for the existence of an independent review board for these sort of situations. In my field this whole situation would be an instance of a massive case of conflict of interest and would not pass the door of an independent review board.

Remind me again, why did the BOC close shop?

I know people, including myself, are largely anti-slabbing, but this incident is a prime example of the problems that led to slabbing becoming the norm for currency, coin, and comics.

Jeff
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reidgold View Post
That this hasn't been discussed publicly is all a part of the tradition in numismatics to hush-hush situations like this, to avoid airing dirty laundry.
What a surprise that RG is bleating "conspiracy theory"!
No one knows what has gone on EXCEPT the parties involved.
When - or if! - they decide to speak on the matter then we (ie: those who don't
matter a smidgeon in the long run - it's not our coin, its not our money, its not our
concern except from an academic level, end of story
) may know more. Then we may
be able to pass comment - or not.
Besides, why can't it be sold whether fake or not? Both parties know what is
going on, and THEY are sorting it out.

I'll bet YOU haven't bothered to ask any of the parties involved.
I'll also bet that they would give you exactly the time and comment you deserve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reidgold View Post
But this lack of openness winds up hurting innocents, such as some future buyer of this fake after it gets returned to the consignor who may buy it as authentic in a much less visible venue.
Hahaha, what a truly bizarre statement. What "innocents"? What "future buyer"?
You don't even know IF it has been sold, or that the consignor won't do the "right
thing". You cast aspersions blindly and slanderously (or libelously), all the while
making fanciful claims and usually without any form of substance.
Who would buy anything for 100K+ without doing some sort of due diligence and
research? This has been recorded in several places now, and all the fuss over it
is very well known.
Would YOU buy a 100K coin (or anything) without doing a modicum of research?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cogito View Post
The fact that the dealer in question is making a change determination for a previously documented fake, which if accepted would result in a profit argues for the existence of an independent review board for these sort of situations.
Hi Jeff,
Fact? We don't know what has gone on, nor what is going on with this. Let's wait
and see what transpires before condemning anyone or anything. The item as it
appears currently, seems to be a fake, and I can accept that. I would like to see
any reasons why it is not - if it is so determined. Any accusation that someone is
doing something solely for profit is pretty serious, and since we don't know what
is going on then we should moderate our comments until something happens that
we can then, more appropriately, comment upon.

As for slabbing, that really won't stop anything. This could have been in a slab (I
don't know either way) and still be offered for sale.
And with regard to an independent review board, who would pay for such a group?
What do you think would be the upcry of the collecting world if a small fee was
added to EVERY coin purchase to pay for such a board, say $1 or $5? If you don't
pay for it, who would want to be on such a board, copping the flack from all and
sundry who disagree with one decision or another - for free.
Novel idea, great ideal, but unfortunately very difficult to implement properly.

Walter Holt
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 07:42 AM   #20
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Nice post Walter. I actually had written a fairly long reply yesterday, very similar to yours when we lost power for a few minutes and I lost my post and was too lazy to retype it.

The fact is, the bidders were all aware of the possible problems with the coin as was the auction house. This was an auction not a fixed price list and auctions happen at a certain time on a certain day. You can't just stop the auction and sell the coin again in a month or two. There's nothing wrong with selling the coin as is pending further research as long as all parties involved are aware of the concerns, and in this case they were. And the parties involved have no obligation to make all their discussion public as some have suggested. Where exactly would one do that?

There's been quite a lot written here and elsewhere about this coin and the auction, all by people who were not at the auction and did not discuss the issue with anyone involved. I was there and did discuss it and there was nothing wrong at all in the way it was handled.

Barry Murphy
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 08:24 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by bpmurphy View Post

There's been quite a lot written here and elsewhere about this coin and the auction, all by people who were not at the auction and did not discuss the issue with anyone involved. I was there and did discuss it and there was nothing wrong at all in the way it was handled.

Barry Murphy
Barry,

The whole reason I started this topic in the first place is because sooner or later it would have come up anyway. The coin was withdrawn from the auction as far as on-line bidding goes, but may have been made available again on-line at some point (not sure - wasn't bidding on it). As soon as I saw the PR list, the sale price of $100k jumped out at me and I had to see what lot sold for that price as I wasn't expecting to see a number like that so late in the auction. As it was the hammer price for the previously withdrawn stater, I was left with all sorts of questions as to what transpired in the previous month.

No, I was not at the auction and no, I didn't ask anyone about it and no, I was not implying there was anything wrong with how it was sold. However, the "facts" on the surface would lend itself to all sorts of conspiracy theories if not talked about. As an observer, these are the "facts" available:
  • A gold stater published in the BOC as false was offered in the Gemini V auction
  • The coin was withdrawn from on-line bidding when questioned
  • The coin passed the auction block as observed by auction attendees
  • The coin appears in the published prices realized list

This is the only available information from those not in attendance at the auction and without speaking to anyone about it. With the lack of further information, the above "facts" present a problem. Would you rather have had me start a thread asking what happened or have MVR plaster a conspiracy all over the Internet without the chance at getting to what happened in-between the withdrawal and sale?

So, as it stands now, the uninformed (obviously that includes me) have now learned the coin was sold at the auction with the caveat that its authenticity is questioned. I don't really care who bought it - I would just like to know how it was determined by the Gemini staff that it might be authentic that they are willing to take the risk of it coming back later. I know Mr. Berk has a lot of money, but no one in their right mind would take a $100k risk if there wasn't a good chance of the coin being authentic. Even if it was sold to another dealer, who then sells it to a private collector who is unaware of the situation, eventually the coin will come up for sale again and it will be easy to trace it back one step to the Gemini auction, at which time the controversy will come up again unless the joint venture Gemini LLC is dissolved and the new owner has no recourse. That just seems like a long shot to me.

Giving the Gemini staff the benefit of the doubt (which it certainly sounds like a bunch of people wouldn't do in the first place), I'm simply asking what new evidence has been presented for the coin to possibly be thought now as authentic, as contrasted to the evidence proposed by Mr. Walker and Ms. Hurter in 1996?

I understand some coins are debated at great lengths and sometimes are never agreed on unanimously. I recall a certain Divus Pertinax sestertius at CICF a number of years ago where two premier dealers could not agree - one was certain it was fake and the other certain it was genuine. The Gemini staff doesn't owe anyone any kind of explanation of course, but it would certainly help head off any conspiracy weapons if the folks who have been following this on-line had some sort of information as to how the coin has been re-examined and possibly overturned.

--Zach Beasley
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 09:11 AM   #22
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My uninformed opinion is with Zach on this one. I think transparency on this would be best for everyone, otherwise many people are left wondering what happened, to the detriment of us all. Big, blank areas get filled in with all sorts of theories, plausible, implausible, or otherwise. As historians, I think we can all appreciate that fundamental.

Steve
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 09:42 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by numismo View Post
What a surprise that RG is bleating "conspiracy theory"!
No one knows what has gone on EXCEPT the parties involved.
When - or if! - they decide to speak on the matter then we (ie: those who don't
matter a smidgeon in the long run - it's not our coin, its not our money, its not our
concern except from an academic level, end of story
) may know more.
Walter Holt
Wrong. Totally wrong. Unbelievably wrong. Falling-off-my-chair wrong. Here's why it's wrong. This coin, by its rarity and value and by the very public way in which it was auctioned, is news. It's not just some private transaction between two parties. Thus, what happens to this coin is, or should be, public information.

There are other reasons why it's in the public interest for information about this transaction to be public. If -- emphasis on "if" -- what happens to this piece is the same that happens to so many other fakes, it will get returned to the consignor. What do you think he or she will do? The best scenario would be for the piece to be permanently taken off the market by being donated a group such as the ANS or ANA.

But a far more likely scenario is that the coin will eventually make its way back to the person who knowingly sold it as a forgery, perhaps the person who made it, perhaps someone working with that person. This person could then find another, less visible way to sell it as an authentic coin. It may thus still make its way into a collection, victimizing a collector, but less openly, more secretly.

And here's one reason that makes the above scenario more likely: Because this published fake wasn't withdrawn before the auction's close, the transaction may get recorded by the online coin archiving services using the PUBLIC information available about this piece, that it was sold at auction at a particular hammer price. It may thus get recorded as an authentic coin sold by a reputable auction house.

HOWEVER, that people are doing the opposite of what you suggest, that they're discussing this publicly, makes it far more likely that those who run these online coin archiving services will manually step in and prevent their automated archiving algorithms from recording this as a transaction. Does this happen with other, less visible fakes that are also not publicly withdrawn from auction, only privately?

In a weird statement you say it was "bizarre" for me to suggest that an innocent may (notice how I used, then as now, the word "may") get cheated with his piece down the road. And out of further weirdness, you accuse me of slander and libel. Was that one or the other or both? LOL.

In yet more weirdness, you ask incredulously how someone spending $100,000+ for a coin wouldn't undertake due diligence and investigate its authenticity. Isn't that what collectors expect dealers to do? (!) Particularly high-end dealers. Particularly for the type of collectors who are the target market for coins like this, some of whom are investors much more than they are numismatists. That's why people pay the big buyer's fees and the premiums on hammer prices from the dealers and auction house with the big reputations. They expect dealers to vet the coins, to be their authenticity expert, to have read the literature.

Do you really think as you say that the situation surrounding this piece is "very well known"? By everybody, even by most people? Will this incident be written about in a major numismatic publication? What percentage of the kind of collectors/investors buying coins like this do you think follow these online discussions?

Nobody is perfect. Well, at least I'm not. But HJB is a very reliable dealer/auctioneer, and I absolutely expect he'll do what's right in this case. He is and will continue to be a dealer I'll buy from and recommend that others buy from, a very knowledgeable, very savvy guy who has been around a long time and who has very knowledgeable, very savvy guys working for him. As other have said, as I said previously, information about this piece has been shared among the parties involved. But the Internet creates a new world, and in this new world information needs to be shared more publicly ... or innocents can get hurt, as spelled out.

About selling the piece for what it is, I agree, this piece could be sold as a modern forgery. But you fail to recognize here as well that this also is not a black and white area, that some don't believe that counterfeits should be sold as counterfeits. This is a whole other discussion, however, best left for another time.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 12:06 PM   #24
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Well said, Reid.

For me there are three major issues:

1.) conflict of interest concerns

2.) archival nature of the sale

3.) withdrawal from online bidding

Issue one is a wider concern, typified by this situation, where the spectre (mind you, not necessarily the reality) of undue influence from big money may taint the perception that BOC is a reliable source on fakes. Whether intended or not, this is the situation now. This incident forces one to now wonder what other coins in BOC are "reversible." Additionally, if the persons seeking BOC "reversal" have a financial stake in the determination, then this is a classic case of conflict of interest.

Issue two you raised in your post, so I won't belabor it here. I would only hope that we can continue to keep coinarchives.com relatively free from fakes.

Issue three is the one that bothers me the most. If the logic, as presented by Barry and others here, is that "as long as both parties are informed of the risk, then the transaction should continue" then why pull the coin earlier from wider bidding from other "informed bidders?" HJB's initial reaction of withdrawing the coin from Gemini was typical of what we would expect, but the re-insertion of the coin for floor bidding is what is bothering people (at least me). If there was an "informed bidder," who knowing the risks wanted to buy the coin, then why not offer the coin in a private sale? Re-inserting the coin at the floor auction is not consistent with HJB's earlier actions, which suggest that they too thought the coin was fake. By withdrawing the coin from online bidding, it was pretty insured that the opening price on the floor would be low, plus the chance of it being fake (as evinced by the earlier withdrawal) would reduce the number of competing bids. I'm not suggesting this was planned, but these are the objective results of the early withdrawal and floor re-insertion. Again, I keep coming back to a simple question on this point, "why wasn't this coin sold under private treaty...why was it necessary to re-insert the coin at Gemini?"

Jeff
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 11:37 PM   #25
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Blah blah blah blah - Wrong. Totally wrong. Unbelievably wrong. Falling-off-my-chair wrong.
Blah blah blah blah - should be, public information.
There are other reasons . . . Blah blah blah blah - something typically hypothetical and unsubstantiated.
But a far more likely scenario . . . Blah blah blah blah - again, something typically hypothetical and unsubstantiated.
And here's one reason that makes the above scenario more likely: Because this published fake wasn't withdrawn before the auction's close, the transaction may get recorded by the online coin archiving services . . .
- How do you know? You have NO IDEA, nor any EVIDENCE. Have you asked ANYONE whether this IS the case?

It may thus get recorded as an authentic coin sold by a reputable auction house.
- Again, how do you know? You have NO IDEA, nor any EVIDENCE.

HOWEVER, that people are doing the opposite of what you suggest, that they're discussing this publicly, . . .
- The only people discussing this here are people not involved. That's great for speculating, but not news, not information, not intelligence. The people who have the information may not (ie: I don't know) even know about this forum, let alone this discussion. And who are you to demand that they should come on here and answer anything? Who am I to ask anything of them? If they want to they can - IF they even know about this. Have YOU asked anything of them? Have YOU asked them to reply here? Didn't think so.

In a weird statement you say it was "bizarre" for me to suggest that an innocent may (notice how I used, then as now, the word "may") get cheated with his piece down the road.
- Again, purely hypothetical and unsubstantiated. Again, what "innocents"? What "future buyer"? You don't even know IF it has been sold.

And out of further weirdness, you accuse me of slander and libel. Was that one or the other or both? LOL.
- When you become the court of record, and a ruling has been made as to the nature of text in a public forum being one or the other (as it relates specifically to this e-forum) - let me know, oh omniscient one.

In yet more weirdness,
- no, this cannot possibly be interpreted as any form of attack!

. . you ask incredulously (REALLY?) how someone spending $100,000+ for a coin wouldn't undertake due diligence and investigate its authenticity.

Isn't that what collectors expect dealers to do? (!) Particularly high-end dealers.
- It may be a service offered by certain dealers. But doesn't that negate your argument about due diligence - that is part of the diligence process, isn't it?

That's why people pay the big buyer's fees and the premiums on hammer prices from the dealers and auction house with the big reputations.
-
I could be mistaken, but I believe most auction houses internationally have about the same fees, more or less, plus any local taxes. Please explain what you mean - any evidence for this?

What percentage of the kind of collectors/investors buying coins like this do you think follow these online discussions?
- And yet you demand that the parties involved in this SPECIFIC transaction come on here and justify themselves. So does that mean that you KNOW that they do, or that don't you know this either?

But the Internet creates a new world, and in this new world information needs to be shared more publicly ... or innocents can get hurt, as spelled out.
- What "innocents"? And what information can they (if they exist) get here and not by direct or indirect contact with the RELEVANT PARTIES?

Blah blah blah blah - something typically hypothetical and unsubstantiated.
Blah blah blah, I haven't bothered to find out for myself.
Conspiracy theory, the sky is falling, blah, blah, blah, . . . .
__________

To answer Beast's far more cogent and intelligent post, I have no problem with the questions being asked, but I do have a problem with wild and fantastic theories being stated in such a way as to be interpreted as fact. These aren't answers to questions, this is wild speculation of no value whatsoever. I also have a problem with things getting out of hand like this before anyone involved in the matter has had a say.
Lets ask these questions, but have the people involved answer them, not have people who have no idea AT ALL responding with their bizarre hypotheticals and unsubstantiated assumptions and conjecture. It is worthless.

Walter Holt

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Old Jan 14, 2009, 04:54 AM   #26
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I have nothing to say about this coin but I can say that, if nothing else, this conversation demonstrates a lack of trust. That is the point and it should concern everyone here. How did it come to this?

Can it be improved, does it matter? Only time will tell.

Brgds

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Old Jan 14, 2009, 07:04 AM   #27
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Blah blah blah blah - something typically hypothetical and unsubstantiated.
Blah blah blah, I haven't bothered to find out for myself.
Conspiracy theory, the sky is falling, blah, blah, blah, . . . .
Can't we all just try to be nice to one another? In my opinion the worries expressed here are real and legitimate, and it is the very lack of information that prompts the more extreme hypothesizing. That's life (esp. on the internet). Nastiness and sarcasm aren't going to convince anyone of anything, and will prompt nothing but a flame war. So sit back, take a deep breath, and say your Greek alphabet backwards while focusing on this smiley:

Richard
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Old Jan 14, 2009, 08:27 AM   #28
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Folks,

I received an email privately that Mr. Anton Tkalec of Tkalec AG in Switzerland saw the stater in hand and provided his feedback he believes it is genuine. The email also said Mr. Tkalec stated the original determination by Ms. Hurter was incorrect and the coin should not have been condemned in the first place.

Now, I don't know if this information is true or accurate, but it's the first I've received from anyone at the show about it, apart from Barry's note in this thread that he discussed it and nothing was wrong with how it was handled. Keep in mind that Barry is one of the best ancient fakes spotters in the entire world, so his opinion does carry a lot of weight.

My whole point of bringing this up in the first place was to hopefully avoid a media train wreck by finding out why the coin is apparently thought to be genuine now. Although large, well-established dealers don't really have to worry about events like this, we small dealers get hit will all sorts of collateral damage from on-line collectors (yes, and archaeologists) who see ancients dealers as unethical money-grubbing tomb raiders. As unfair as it is, I do actually get emails from people who point to events such as the above and ask me how I can be in such a business. It's an uphill battle being a coin dealer trying to prove one's honesty and integrity when I can't answer questions about the public actions of others or how coins come to market or what I'm doing about the amount the fakes in the marketplace. Not whining - just trying to get people to think of dealers in a positive light.

Is any of this making sense to anyone or am I just seriously blathering?

--Beast

ps - No, I haven't called Harlan to ask him about it because, frankly, he scares me. Yes, I know I'm a lot bigger than him, but he is still scary. And I've had plenty of perfectly good conversations with him and get along with him just fine. Still, I work with Shanna, Aaron, Curtis and Phil when I'm buying coins at his table at shows. (Yes, this is supposed to be humorous - a touch of levity to keep the topic upbeat)
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Old Jan 14, 2009, 08:54 AM   #29
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In my opinion the worries expressed here are real and legitimate, and it is the very lack of information that prompts the more extreme hypothesizing.
Richard
It's exactly this -- lack of information. In other words, secrecy. Walter Holt wants everybody to just let the dealer take care of it. Walter Holt is a dealer, after all. Why should collectors intrude on a dealer's private business. If the dealer wants to do what other dealers have done, keep it secret, why that's his right, by gum. It's always been done this way, and it always should.

Walter Holt also has a reading comprehension problem. Not once, not one time, did I say that I knew that such and such bad thing was happening in this case, not once did I accuse anyone of wrongdoing. Yet he keeps on saying, What's your proof, how do you know, you think the sky is falling, you're a conspiracy theorist, you're attacking me, yadayadayada.

We do know certain things, as has been discussed. It's entirely anybody's right to speculate on what we don't know, on what might happen in the future. For other examples of this kind of speculation, pick up any New York Times or Time Magazine or any local newspaper or general-interest or specialty magazine.

What we also know is what has happened in the past. What we do know is that some fortunately small percentage of dealers/auctioneers don't withdraw forgeries until the auction itself so as to not admit publicly that they inadvertently let a forgery into their catalog, and in these cases these forgeries can get recorded as authentic coins that went unsold. We also know that some perhaps even smaller percentage of dealers don't withdraw blatant forgeries, period, as was shown again recently with a very public forgery that was on an auction catalog cover. And we know that in some significant percentage of cases, forgeries when caught aren't taken off the market but move backward in the chain of supply, with dealers trying to get their money back, until the forgeries reach those responsible for them. Dealers do build black cabinets of forgeries they've gotten stuck with, typically through groups of coins they've bought without having the time when buying them to carefully examine every one, and these pieces are taken off the market. But it has been shown that forgeries, high end as well as low value, have reentered the market after being returned to those responsible for them.

This is all acceptable subject matter for discussion. It should not be hushhushed.

We also know, at least I know, that the vast majority of dealers/auctioneers show every evidence of being honest and reliable and wanting to do the right thing, people who can be trusted. We also know, at least I know, as I said, that HJB is a very reputable guy with very reputable guys working for him, and nobody in this thread has accused him of doing ANYTHING wrong. So Walter Holt doesn't further go off his rocker and make more loony accusations, what's happening here is not dealer bashing.

Furthermore, unlike what Walter Holt is charging, nobody is demanding that HJB or one of his employees who are active online come to this or any other forum to publicly explain what's happening with this coin. He has this option, but it's entirely his right to deal with this situation as he pleases. Likewise, it's the right of people here, interested parties involved with numismatics, to comment and speculate and otherwise shine a light publicly on this very interesting, very public situation.

This thread has evolved into disagreement. But it's no flamewar, not even close. It's a substantive, emotional sharing of divergent views. This kind of disagreement and debate is healthy. It's one way that truth is revealed and knowledge is spread. It's the cornerstone, actually, of democracy. God bless America. Greece too. And Italy. Other countries. Not to mention Zeus. And Jupiter, derivative though he might be.
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Old Jan 14, 2009, 03:04 PM   #30
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Although I really want to know the inside story of this coin, I have to agree with Walter that I do not have the right to this knowledge. Just because we post this discussion on the internet, it does not compel those involved to reveal all the backroom goings on. I do not feel that HJB has violated any ethical or moral boundries. HJB's past history of doing right by his customers is something I have seen consistently enforced. Because of this history and the fact that it does not serve his long term interest to **** off the large fish willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars I am more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I am also aware that just because a coin has been condemed in the past, it does not mean that a new assessment by experts has not been done. If an expert does feel a previously condemed coin is legitimate, they are under no obligation to publish their findings. They are only beholden to those who are asking them for their opinions. As the BOC is not really officially around anymore, it is not realistic to expect them to overturn prior assessments. Witness the Gemini Athena Deka from a few years ago

Finally, I now have even more respect for Beast than ever before. Not only do I respect his well thought out post, and his numismatic knowledge, but I agree I would rather deal with Shanna's bright and lovely face anyday over Harlan's stern glare.
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