Monday 5 August 2019

"Gold Detectors Made in Germany"

OKM Promotional material
Writing what I do, on various browsers and despite ad blockers etc, I tend to get all sorts of adverts from metal detector suppliers and antiquities dealers inserted into what I am reading. This one, "Gold Detectors Made in Germany" caught my eye, with its picture showing a scraggy bloke in camo trousers looking for artefacts on a sunny day in a ruined structure (castle?), though he does seem to be over-optimistically looking in a masonry wall. The firm is OKM was begun (it says on teh website) in 1998 and they are based in Altenburg Germany but with a subsidiary OKM Emirates FZE in the United Arab Emirates.

OKM have a blog detailing how other people have found all sorts of treasures with - precisely - an OKM machine. (I guess they consider their potential clients are the sort of idiot that would think that if they bought the same machine as Henry Westphal and Mario Renner, their chances of finding the next Nebra Sky Disc are somehow magically [?] increased).

There are a number of stories there, some of interest, like the one entitled 'Ancient Coin Treasure Discovered with OKM Detector Black Hawk in Turkey'. The story goes like this:
 There’s nothing more satisfying than success, especially in terms of finding an ancient gold treasure. Yet another OKM customer from Turkey joined the group of lucky finders of legendary coin treasures. He sent us several photos of his coins and permitted to publish his favorite one [looks like  a decadrachma of Athens PMB] in this post. Using his pulse induction metal detector Black Hawk he detected this valuable ancient coin treasure in a depth of approx. 2.5 m (8.2 ft). [...] So, it was a wise decision to utilize the OKM metal detector Black Hawk to search for buried treasures. This treasure find is a numismatic rarity, because there are not many decadrachmas known. One example can be found in the Numismatic Collection of the state-owned museum of Berlin.
The text contains a lengthy, and not terribly coherent narrativisation of the type of coin illustrated (it also uses terms like 'the front side [of the coin]' and 'back side') Now coins of this type have been found in Turkey, for example in Lycia, Turkey in 1984 in a discovery called the Elmali Hoard - which has a literature all of its own (and from which the Berlin coin allegedly came). The Elmali hoard and the Berlin coin have literature of their own. But this new 'Turkish OKM find' is interesting. No mention is made of the find being surrendered to the grateful Turkish authorities.  Note the finder is anonymous, understandably because if he found ancient coins in Turkey and walked off with them, he'd be breaking the law (and Turkish jails are not much fun, I gather). But two other things stand out, first the claim that the coin was detected by the OKM's Black Hawk detector at a depth of 2.6m, and secondly the material this find is said to be of: "The treasure hunter’s absolute favorite is a well preserved ancient Greek gold coin dating back to the 5th century BC". There is no mistake, the word "gold" appears seven times on that page referring to this coin. The problem is that Athenian dekas were struck in silver. Looking at the photos show that the crude and aberrant design (look at the base of Athena's neck compared to a real example) is that of a fake - or rather since the details are so nasty, a replica. This whole story is clearly an inexpertly-written load of baloney from start to finish.

Oh by the way, that "[black] Hawk" pulse induction metal detector is marketed as a deep-seeking machine, 'built with the treasure hunter in mind',
search at night with a built in LED lamp and adjustable backlit display [...] wireless stereo headphones for silent metal detection
There is another story of interest on the detector producer's website:

OKM detectors
'Ancient coins found with eXp 4000 in Greece'
A treasure hunter from Greece, who is using eXp 4000, found several ancient coins within an old grave. The treasure contains about 54 coins in three different sizes and motifs. Unfortunately the treasure hunter could not give any details on the age or regional provenance of the coins.
I think we can... We see here the same pattern, "[anonymous] user in [foreign source country] found [something pretty implausible]". There are not too many "ancient Greek graves" excavated legally or illegally that contain a group of 54 coins. Especially a group that would contain archaic-style Athenian tetras and Hellenistic coins together. On the left we see two soapy fake Athenian tetradrachmas  (sort of 5th cent BC) and the right, a nasty clumpy fake with helmeted Athena on the obverse and a Nike reverse and a wobbly AΛEXANΔΡOY legend. This find story is as fake as you can get.

I would say such a promotional text would undermine the reputation of the firm using it and shows an actual disregard for its potential customers. OKM would do well to take more care to ensure that their online adverts leading to such compromising material don't get onto the computers of people with an IQ higher than 70 and a reading age of twelve.

Sadly, there are few other entertaining stories about 'successes' with OKM equipment, clicking on the tabs of the website reveals that 'this site is experiencing technical problems'. Let customers hope they build metal detectors better than their website.

OKM's office building is a golden glass pyramid with Egyptianising doors and flanking statues. Check it out on Google Earth: Julius-Zinkeisen-Str. 7 04600 Altenburg.

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