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Ian Fenn's Blog

31 Aug 2015

Trip to Jordan

Coins | Ian Fenn

Until now I haven't had much to write about since the summer seminar, and to be honest it was just too hot here in Vienna. To escape the heat in Vienna My wife and I fled to the heat in Jordan, (Same temperature just a different environment). I posted a few pictures of our trip on face book. Of course while I was there I did some coin hunting, it wasn't overly successful. I had learnt many years ago the best way to find coins in Jordan was to check the local Jewelers . IN Jordan it is more likely someone will take coins( gold) to their local jeweler than to the gold markets. The problem is with the high gold price over the last few years, more often than not the coins get melted down almost immediately. 10 years ago it wasn't uncommon to pick up interesting pieces for the spot price. Now there is nothing. For silver coins you do have to head to the gold market ( and the silver shops in that markets) 10 years through to four years ago, I used to find boxes of coins to sort through.... but this time the gold price has also had an effect on Silver. The tradition in Jordan is to give the bride presents ( an insurance policy of sorts) usually it was gold, but the gold price until the last few months was such that few of the traditional wedding buyers could afford it. So they purchased silver instead, and where did Jewelers get there silver from? The old coins their customers sold to them. Of course in Jordan like every where in the middle east you can find Counterfeits and replicas. Now that is all is all I could find (fakes). I did buy one replica gold sovereign from a Jeweler I know reasonably well. I was amused to find he had actually made that replica the day before( about 10 days ago now). It is a cast copy produced in 21 Kt gold, as is required by law in Jordan it is Counter-marked( well in this case laser etched). The mark was a new one, a stylized representation of the treasury in Petra, below which is clearly inscribed 21 kt, being new to me I wanted an example. These replicas are not made for tourists or collectors they are made for locals who buy the coins as gold bullion or give them as gifts to family members on important occasions. They are sold only at the current gold value so I only paid the spot price for the coin. To day , back in Vienna, Austria I was just going to put it away and forget about it when I noticed that this replica was cast from a replica, if you look just below the sword on the reverse you can see the faint outline of the counter-mark that would have been on the coin used to create the molds, for this new coin. For me its an amusing find and I thought I would share it here.

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