Commodus and Maximinus fakes or no?

So I shop a lot on MAShop. I haven’t had any red flags about any coins. But my instincts came up on these three for some reason. From the same seller. And I noticed he sells mostly more modern coins so I can’t be sure if the positive reviews are ancient coins or not. And they’re in a different language.

so these are silver. I know an early patina can be goldish colour, but since they’re so ancient, they shouldn’t be this patina  should they? It just looks very different to all the other silver coins I’ve seen and their variations. Like they’ve been painted. Something inside is like “Don’t touch it!” But I know MA Shop is supposed to be mostly okay. And I actually think it is mostly.

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  • Hi Lydia --

    Oh, I'd be crushed to think there's a shyster on MA Shops. It has always been a top-notch organization, a "go to" place for me when I was developing the CoinQuest web site. The dealers there have always been fair and accommodating to me.

    BUT ... You are surely correct that the surfaces of the coins you show look ikky. I've included some write-ups from the CoinArchivesPro database for the Maximinus / Victory piece, and the patinas all look normal. Your MA Shop examples all look abnormal.

    The patterns of your coins look correct, although comparing patterns on ancient coins is basically impossible. As you say, it's the surface quality that is most troublesome.

    My evaluation is that the coins are genuine, but they have been cleaned using some extra harsh method. For me, I would steer clear of this dealer.

    It might be a worthwhile exercise to write to this dealer and ask about the surface quality. You could include and reference to this page. I wonder what he or she would say? Let me know, if you decide to do this. In the meantime, look elsewhere.

    Thanks for posting.

  • Thanks Paul. It’s funny you should say that. Because I actually was thinking the same thing after I posted this. It’s like the coins are legitimate. You can even see what I would call a genuine crack in a couple of them and I would not have even given it a second thought except for the colour. Thankfully MA shop would give a refund for a fake, but I still don’t like the idea of buying a fake lol. I’ll message him and maybe ask an innocent question for starters like “I’ve never seen this patina on any of these sorts of coins. Can you please explain what cleaning method you used?”. I dunno lol. I reckon I’ll ask and just see. Yes I’ve been looking at nothing but genuine coins for days and so I’m starting to notice if it doesn’t look right. I only looked up how to look for fakes last night AFTER I felt funny about it lol. By the way, I actually wondered if he had simply painted a less attractive coin lol. To add a bit of zip.


    okay so just a quick edit to my original post. I messaged the guy and said “Hi,I was just noticing that I’ve never seen a coin of Maximus I with this kind of gold patina to it. Have you used a particular cleaning method for this? It looks real except for the patina and although I would like to buy it, I’m just not sure what this is. Are you able to give a satisfactory explanation?Thankyou very much for your help.”

    I’ll see what he says and send another post with what he says.

  • Looking forward to his answer.

    I'd say you have a well-calibrated gut! Ignoring your gut feelings would be a mistake!

    -- Paul R

  • Oh hey does using a harsh cleaning method on a coin like that devalue it? So let’s say he has just cut it down hard. Does it matter or not? It doesn’t look damaged.

  • Hi Lydia -- Sorry for the overdue reply. We take care of Rachel's Mom, who is 103. It is very time consuming.

    Almost all serious collectors have encountered this


    in one form or another. They have been conditioned to shun cleaned coins. This is not so prevalent in ancient coins, because they need cleaning to begin with. Nevertheless, the DO NOT CLEAN idea probably sloshes over and impacts all coins, including ancients.

  • Good on you for looking after your mother. I have a sister named Rachel. So are you saying that collectors will shun a coin if they think it’s been cleaned like this? What I mean is...if I knew this was silver and bought it, would it be regarded with distain at say CNG? I’m not going to buy these, just the same. The guy never replied.....hmmm.  I feel like following up actually 

  • Hi again, Lydia --

    Yes. I think you would have trouble on CNG and anywhere else. But this is an educated guess.

    Notice that you were very skeptical. Like you, I think all experienced collectors would question these coins. The seller is apparently having trouble, since he does not follow up on inquiries.

    I was a "shirt pocket" coin dealer for about 15 years during the middle of my "day job" career. I learned very quickly that harshly cleaned coins are a disaster. However, I never handled ancient coins, so I do not know for sure.

    I guess my friend Joshua is busy or, at least, not following this thread. I'll email him and see if he'll make a comment here.

  • Hi Lydia, 

    Its rather hard to say for certain without seeing the coin in person, but my theory is that the weird color on the seller’s denarii is due to the way they are photographed rather then harsh cleaning.

    Of course it could well be cleaned, but my first thought when seeing the seller’s photos and in particular that gold / yellow look to it reminds me of photography issues I had when I was learning how to take coin photos, especially ancient ones ( rather then say strong polishing )

    Still, dealer etiquette ought to have the seller answer to your very reasonable inquiry. I personally would take the view that if your question isn’t responded to within a certain time that you might be best off looking at other sellers on MA as the coins aren’t too rare, and their photos may well provide less doubt on your part as it is often an extra hassle to arrange for returns and refunds etc. 

    Hope this helps, 


  • Very helpful thanks. I did wonder if he had a light to the left and maybe he made the mistake of thinking it might be a selling point to look like that. 

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