Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Lost Collector Seeks Help [Updated]

Collector JJ Walker Oct 28 2021:
Re: Help with identifying what this Roman bronze is. Looks like a hippocamp. Bought at online auction. Listing said "Roman Empire, 1st - 3rd c. AD. Bronze zoomorphic handle fragment of a horse. 60mm x 31mm x 21mm. Found in the former Yugoslavia. Looking for help with this. Is this really a handle? For which object would it be a handle for? It looks like it could be a hippocamp. I see an object that seems to be holstered to the animal and that object has 3 dots on it's own handle. This was found with a bunch of silver coins from around the year 200. Would love to hear all your thoughts.
My thoughts are that if a person who does not know what a hippocamp should look like buys something in an online auction "grounded" with nothing more precise than "Found in the former Yugoslavia", he deserves to be ripped off.

Nevertheless dealers and collectors over there are valiantly trying to identify this piece of unpapered, unprovenanced piece of modern "bazaar archaeology" ... 

Ancient artefact collectors learn very slowly. If they'd turn to page 216 of D. Collins and E. Strangelove's 'CSE Chemistry for Remedial Groups' (Colchester 2002), they'd find that thing called the "reactivity series of metals", which if they were not sleeping in the lesson would enlighten them why this object would be unlikely to have that corrosion if it had been found in a deposit of Severan silver coins...   

Despite the dealers' efforts, all that we can see here shows that there is every likelihood that it is a modern pastiche piece with artificial patina. 

Update 3 Nov 2012
Ancient.artifacts.groups.io member "Renate:
Someone is once again using the content of this page to fill his blog. However, the objections may be relevant [...].
I'd be quite happy to contribute to the discussion of this collector's piece if they'd let me on their forum, but their moderator eBay seller "Tuppenny Tim" threw me off for contributing my thoughts before (April 2010 to be exact). 

So, unlike its closed-to-visitors former incarnation, since we can all see on this forum what these people are doing and writing (and not doing) there should be no grounds for complaining that a blogger comments on the aspects that interest him. And yes, since I am an archaeologist with many years of handling excavated artefacts of unquestioned authenticity, I do feel I and my colleagues with similar knowledge and experience actually do have something to say on unpapered items bought no-questions-asked by lost collectors like this.


Brian Mattick said...

Who'd have thought you owned 'CSE Chemistry for Remedial Groups' Paul!

Paul Barford said...

Ha! Caught me out, Brian.

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