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Michael asks 29th August 2005
I worked and managed a gallery in Syracuse NY.
My situation at hand is about items I've purchaced from other collections and such. Have not dealt with fakes which makes it difficult for me since I was only in touch with the real things.
Attached are two Egyptian faience items. These are from a collection of a Doctor from Buffalo NY. What do you think?
This piece which I take to be in a ceramic of some type. Though you say faience, modern fakes are seldom actually made in quartz composition.
Jackal headed things are popular with the fakers.
As you probably know the only mummiform jackal headed entity in ancient Egypt was Duamutef, one of the Four sons of Horus. He was the guardian of the East and protected the stomach of the deceased in the canopic jar whose lid, after the 18th dynasty, had his effigy.
But alas, I fear your piece is not genuine.
It bears stylistic similarities to this fake for sale on eBay
I think it's instructive to show what this seller says.
This sale continued despite several people reporting itto eBay.
The above listed item is from the Third Intermediate Period(1075-715 B.C.E.). This incredible "Mummiform Anubis" was cast from clay and was covered with blue green faience glaze. We acquired this item from a very large private collection in Luxor, Egypt. The front has a very visible inscribed row of hieroglyphics and it has retained most of its beautiful faience glaze! This type of figurine was usually placed in the tomb of the deceased. The piece is intact with age wear. The reason for the item being available is due to the vast extent of old archeological findings, thousands of years in Egyptian burials and also the proliferation of these said items in private collections worldwide
Our company strives to provide our customers with the most interesting, unique and quality Egyptian artifacts! Our company spends a great deal of time researching and investing monies on private acquisitions to make these items available to you, at a low auction price. We continuously work at improving the quality and variety of our merchandise. We take pride in making your purchases exciting and gratifying! We always do our best to make all of your transactions easy and comfortable. Our ideal is to offer our customers every opportunity to acquire an Egyptian anitquity without the high end gallery price tag. Know that we stand firmly behind all of our fine products, guarantee and easy return policies. You have nothing to lose so,
Bid with the Utmost Confindence!".......
........that everything this seller touts is a fantastic fake and fantasy.
Thanks for filling me in. I was very suspect of the Anubus figure since it has a distinctive "ping" when tapped.
This scarab on the other hand has some incredible crazing for a fake! The crazing was what made me think it was possible for it to be real. Some of these cracks are quite deep. The brown gunk all over it smells very much like some of the animal mummy's I've handled.
First of all read the introductory comments by Ben on the page about authenticity
Sorry. Not a genuine scarab I'm afraid.
The rather simple badly scratched designs, which are not hieroglyphs, are typical of many fakes.
The hawk/bird and simple horizonal and short vertical lines seem to be favoured by this type of faker.
These are on my website in the fake scarabs section at the moment.
You can see a stylistic similarity.
Asks abut this erotic oil lamp he bought.
Alas, no, it's a dreadful fake.
Here is a better image of it on the website where it was acquired for $248
It was bought by this seller , (unless they have the same suppliers) from this catalogue.
Live and learn. You got stung by one of the most notorious sellers of
fakes on the web, http://www.ancientantiques.com/
ALL of their items are fake, or so it appears. The Egyptian items are
100% fake and the Greek items are 100% fake. They may have mistakenly
listed a genuine Bactrian pottery, but if you treat their site as a
stinking cesspool, you'd be wise.
Never deal with someone who offers a 7, 15, 30, 60, 90, or
other "Weasel Clause" guarantee that requires written "proof" that the
item is fake. This is really just common sense and most people new to
this business don't understand the game, and want stuff cheap, so they
end up getting ripped by a predatory fraudster like this
I have a few spare minutes. We'll see what they say for themselves.
Sadly, I'm all too familiar with that website.
Every single lamp -including the so-called "Holy Land" lamps - on that site is a modern fake. There are no exceptions.
Many of them bear only a superficial resemblance to genuinely ancient lamps and are just modern fantasies.
As Geoff noted, they all appear to have come from Sadigh.
That erotic lamp is certainly illustrated in the Sadigh catalogue.
This seller says "if you are not happy send it back..."
Steve is taking the opportunity of also sending back the fake ushabti he bought from this seller many months ago.
Well, I'm not an expert in ancient mirrors, but I'm supposed to be an expert in Greek and Latin.
Please look at this.
The inscription reads ALBANVS FVCIT: this is what the seller says. We should expect FECIT, of course.
I look at the pictures and I can read anything but FVCIT. It seems to be FUCIT: but is it possible that "someone" ignored that what we pronounce "v" and "u", in Latin is always written "V"?
What should I think about this item?
I'm not an expert in ancient Roman lead mirrors, but I studied some latin
and greek philology too.
You are definitely right about the reading AlbanVs fUcit, with the
intriguingbdouble U/V outcome, even though it is certainly possible that the craftsman
who did this mirror was not so acquainted with writing. Romans, as you know, had
at least another double sound problem regarding C and G (the well known Caius/Gaius
issue...) which for a long time was not resolved: about this text, may I
suggest then a reading "Albanus fugit", meaning its image as reflected but obviously not
lasting, just like his/our life?
I know little about Roman mirror frames but the first item looks to
me like something we in England would call a 'Billy and Charley'.
When a few genuine Roman and medieval metal items were found in the
mud at low tide on the banks of the Thames in the mid 19th century
the occasionally lucrative pasttime of 'mudlarking' became the
rage. 'Mudlarks' would sometimes make quite a good profit from
selling their finds to amateur archaeologists and wealthy collectors.
But since mudlarking was hard work and really intersting finds were
few and far between, two enterprising but ill-educated Victorians,
William Smith and Charles Eaton, decided to produce their
own 'artefacts' and pretend they had found them. They began in 1857.
Their items were loosely based on the Roman and medieval things they
knew would excite collectors - figurines, pilgrim badges and flasks,
bits and bobs - and were typically made from lead.
Some of the items were quite ambitious but since Billy and Charley
had to fantasise as they had no real knowledge of what the genuine
article would look like and any inscriptions were semi-literate,
their 'artefacts' soon gave themselves away to knowledgeable
They produced literally thousands of items. Those items still turn up
from time to time - and occasionally they still fool more unwary
Of course, I may be quite wrong about the mirror frame but the style
and inscription look wrong to me, it has a 19th-century feel to it,
it is made of lead and it does look very much like a 'Billy and
Charley' (or by one of their competitors).
"Albanus fugit" is really intriguing; it's a very good idea indeed!
If we admit that the mirror is authentic, I do not know how to date it. In
capital scripts we find what looks like an U (insted of V) from IV century
AD onwards: see an example in the famous Vergilius Vaticanus:
(click on the image for a bigger picture)
(By the way this site is highly recommended for Latin palaeographic examples
But we do not find the T with a long horizontal stroke before V-VII century AD:
and I do not see on the mirror the typical features of uncial script.
Again, the same scribe would not write the same letter in two VERY different ways (minor variations do occur): here we see V (albanVs) and U
(fUcit/fUgit). We should expect just the U shape, or just the V shape, not a
mixture. This is valid even when the author of the script is an illiterate
person copying another text or inscription: he always tries to make a
faithful copy of the original.
These are the reasons why I consider the inscription on the mirror
"problematic" at least.
19th Jan 07
The inscription ALBANVS FVCIT (in fact FIICIT) rather than the expectable FECIT, is taken as suspicious.
The form II is in fact the normal way of writing E in Roman cursive (handwriting) and it is frequently found in more epigraphic style writing too - as here. So that feature, at least, is no argument against authenticity - on the contrary: a faker would rather have gone for the better known, simple FECIT, I should say.
Thanks very much for that.
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