Saturday 11 April 2020

Bactrian Coin, Metal Detected Find from Rotherham?

A lot of metal detecting finds being sold by Hickleton Antiquities (jamesey123456 - 6281 feedback points) of Thurnscoe, Rotherham, S Yorks, UK. This includes this amazing cast coin of Basileos Demetrios (205-171 BC) of Rotherham, a little-known territory of the Hellenistic Pseudo-Bactrian kingdom
unresearched silvered coin metal detecting detector finds United Kingdom unresearched silvered coin with good detail, metal detecting find, please see the photos and judge for your self (sic), happy bidding
Soapy cast surface, casting bubbles, stylistically wonky. 
The detail is rubbish, you can't see that Heracles is holding a club and lion skin. And what's the weight and metal?

It is interesting to see the pattern in how he presents his other objects. There are one or two pieces of what I would say are pieces cheap fairly modern costume jewellery that don't look as if they've been worn much, or been buried in the earth, said to have been from metal detecting. These perhaps are there to give the air of verisimilitude  to eleven items that are very like the things that were coming out of Bulgaria a decade ago (including some that were probably produced on the basis of moulds made from plastic toy animals and soldiers that were reworked). There are a couple of 'Viking' objects that I'd guess were were made in eastern Europe. Some of these are labelled "part of a collection i am auctioning off", as perhaps a get-out clause that he did not actually said he'd metal detected them himself in Rotherham. Then there are items like the 'Luristan' sharp pointy thing that he says nothing about the origins of.

I'd say even if you cant tell at a glance that a lot of these 'antiquities' may not be what he says they are, there are a number of pointers to dodginess:
- private auctions
- sketchy descriptions
- complete inability of the seller (who you are to trust knows his subject well) to spell or punctuate,
- does not actually say where any of them are physically from (let alone having any documentation of licit origins and export)
 A lot of people have bought stuff from him. Five gave him neutral feedback, all of them saying that they were "not sure" what they'd just bought when the had it in their hands.

There are a couple of things he has that don't look so dodgy, but I am not sure that this makes them potentially authentic. But my guess is that the majority of this has been produced without harming any archaeological context, and put money into the pockets of eastern European artisans.

But this is what British tolerance and encouragement of 'metal detecting' and no-questions-asked buying and selling of artefacts leads to.

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