Stefan Proynov: Undoubtedly, Roman diplomas are one of the most dreamy dreamy color signals.
In the past, when the hobby of metal detecting was not prosecuted by law, people who were engaged in the search for ancient coins and artifacts often dreamed of finding such an artifact that was highly valued on the black market because of its high value.
Roman diplomas have always been valued for their uniqueness, because they are personal documents and each one is unique and unique, but each one, in addition to being unique, also carries information not only about the fate and life of its holder, but also about the legions when and where they resided.
Their exact dating in which province and during the time of which emperor, this information is important for historians, who thus date given events with the greatest accuracy.
Thus, after the demand for certain artifacts is high, fake diplomas also appear, which are easily recognized by specialists and people who have seen and studied such artifacts, but there are those for which antique materials were used, which carry the chemical composition, crystallization, patina and the broadcast, if you will, of the old, and thus the mediocre dealers and dealers of antiques can be deceived.
Forgeries are divided into two types. Type A made of modern materials and type B made of antique materials.
For type A, we will list some of the differences by which you can immediately catch the fake. In type A, the comparative material is easy to work with and has not crystallized, and here the engraver worked calmly because the material did not need a special approach. The tools that were mainly used were engraving coils and chisels.
Texts of already existing diplomas were often used, only replacing the name of the holder and the witnesses, if there were any, as well as another date to make the document unique. The truth is that the forger does not have the experience and the necessary knowledge in the field of Roman inscriptions and documents, and this is where the differences begin to surface. They often even write some words with a modern expression, but with Latin letters, especially when replacing names, dates and years.
There are differences in the spelling of the letters and their style, there are differences in the size of the font, the specific wear and tear on the metal and the patina are missing – oxidation of the metal, ulcers, diseases on the metal, the color and that radiance of the old and authentic cannot be reproduced with modern chemicals and catalysts of the oxidation process like the kiss of time are missing.
By adding a single pointing of the spectrometer to the sheet of tin, in just a minute the chemical composition of the fake is on the display and all is revealed. There are other methods of expertise, but I will not go into specifics, so as not to confuse the heads of pishman forgers and not to push them to education and self-education.
The second type of forgeries from B, for example, used antique sheets or pieces of large bronze vessels. Here, the metal looks just right and has an air of authenticity because it is antique.
Here, the technique of hammering and forging letters and numbers is practically inapplicable, because the metal is crystallized and easily broken and loose, and counterfeiters use engraving motors to apply the text like this, however, the writing of the letters and numbers of R,P,Q,B ,O and some numbers betray the forgery with their stylish.
Another mark that cannot be recreated with engraving is the absence of a tiny chip residue at the end of the letters, which was often not cleaned on the original Roman diplomas because there was no need and they were often rushed because they were pressed for time.
Of course, there are those that are cleaned and further embellished like a font and even ones with a place to put personal seals of witnesses, but these diplomas are much more beautiful and detailed well inlaid and issued to soldiers with a greater status and rank they usually have two or three leaves and are much rarer and more expensive.
With type B it is clearly visible that where the text and letters have been touched up in the additional inlay the surface of the metal is the patina is broken and often fraudsters say that it is cleaned to be read and so they try to mislead you to cover up the difference in the surface of the metal they cannot hide.
GALVANIC INTERACTION BETWEEN IRON AND BRONZE AND THE LETTERS ARE MISSING IRON.
They often resort to additional patination and painting even to even out the color of the patina and even additional fingering, but the experienced expert will notice this.
Stefan Proynov: The sizes of the diplomas and the text in them in different eras are constantly changing, because during the reign of the Emperors, different decrees were issued related to different rights and responsibilities of the subjects of the empire. These decrees relating to the subjects of the empire were published on marble and bronze tablets as well as on parchment and others and were sent to the State Archives as well as published in the Capitol, temples, municipal and provincial administrations. The edicts are also written on columns placed in the squares.
Such edicts relating to the legions were also sent to the Military Administration of each legion, and there are even those on Bronze Plates dated at the present day. Copies of these decrees were sent to the military units and were handed to each soldier individually, because they are by name, but there are those that were issued locally in the legion or in the province, then they were entered and witnessed, usually an odd number of 3, 5 or 7 the person.
This method of certifying a fact before a notary was introduced in ancient Rome and is still used today. This standard is applied nowadays in the authentication with witnesses in court, notary offices and is widely applicable in investigative procedural investigative bodies of the police today.
Such a type of Roman diploma can be clearly seen with the one found in Croatia – Slavonski-Brod. This Roman military diploma is related to the ancient Roman city of Marsunia, issued on 9 February 71.
The diploma is a decree of Emperor Vespasian (69-79) of Lycaus, a member of the Illyrian tribe of Breuca, for his honorable discharge from the Roman army.
Both Tablets and Five Wax Seals of the Witnesses Centurion Diploma Holder Licchai, son of Birsa of Marsunia, veteran of the Mycenae fleet. It is a perfect illustration when this document is issued by a provincial standards authority with attestation by witnesses.
Stefan Proynov: We can talk a lot about Roman diploma forgeries and how you can protect yourself from them. A well-known method of patina or surface manipulation of a diploma or other type of artefact is the use of various modern materials such as boi, varnishes and whatever you can think of from modern chemistry, which leave behind irrefutable traces such as smell, colour, if you want and taste even.
Such rapid tests are usually done with a preliminary preparation by having a set of small bottles of diluents and solutions for organic and inorganic chemistry and using small cotton swabs or so-called ear tufts and after rubbing the cotton swab with the solution somewhere on the diploma and it turns blue , green or brown, whatever the color of the diploma is, it is about elementary manipulation – painting.
In addition to wax seals, there are cases in which lead seals were also used, which the local administration of a city used and marked as commercial and washed goods were marked. Some forgeries also use antique seals and there are also inconsistencies, manipulations and even often differences in the seals.
It is important to know that if there are differences in the oxidation, the color and the thickness of the oxide in the fillings, or if it is evident that they have been placed in a modern way, it means some kind of manipulation and modern finishing, which leads to doubts, and if there are doubts, then something is wrong.
Stefan Proynov: For many years, we have been telling everyone that “two opinions are more than one, and three opinions are more than two”, so if you have doubts, consult, if your doubts are confirmed by other experts, just don’t buy, but you can to post the fake to alert the whole community about it. We can assist in the fight against fakes offered as originals, because there are people who are trying to make money on the back of foreign ignorance and greed, undermining the trust and authority of Bulgaria and not only.
They manipulate not only the ignorant, but the legitimization of forgery and the manipulation of history leads to the imposition of standards in auction houses and museums, which after buying a fake artifact or coin, they publish it and put it on display, and people already build their knowledge and vision of the given item as the standard of comparison is counterfeit. It is harmful, immoral and impermissible, illegal and wrong. It is our duty to educate ourselves and share knowledge with future generations.
We are witnessing the replacement of standards in the community of values and rules in every nature. Let’s not let a handful of people rewrite the history of the world.
We can TOGETHER change laws and rules, bring back some good practices proven by the old normality.
Stefan Proynov: I want to ask what we will bequeath to future generations – fakes?