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Friday, January 11, 2013


The New York Winter Auctions were an enormous disappointment.  Except for a nice run of Roman Republican silver in CNG the quality of coins was largely missing.  The beautiful and very rare Judaea Capta Aureus of Vespasian (pictured above) should have brought a hammer of $130,000, - and last year it surely would have.  Yet this year it brought in a mere $65,000.


Well, for one thing it was surrounded by very unimpressive coins.  The auction room was half full, whereas last year latecomers might have had to stand and bid in the doorway.  The lack of impressive material was noticeable throughout the auctions. The same was certainly true at the Freeman and Sear Auction - as well as the Baldwin's auction. 

It's tempting to blame the prices on the economy.  And surely that plays a role.  Only the best material is catching a bid.  But in Europe at the NGSA, the NAC and the Kuenker Auctions last month the prices for top material were stronger than ever.  But then  they were able to put together superior auctions which drew a competitive group of high net worth bidders.

Here in the US the lack of superior material just didn't draw the same crowd.  And without the very high end bidders - who are the only ones left with disposable income these days, there just wasn't the collector class to help the bidding along.

The Bourse floor today was similarly devoid of material.  This is something of a mystery a this point.  But to float a theory, I would say that High End collector/investors in this country are not selling their collections.  They don't want paper money in return.  They're rather looking to convert paper into hard assets, so the dealers here are finding it tough to present much of interest at auction.

Certainly in Europe where collections have been formed over hundreds and  hundreds of years there's a lot more material for top dealers to tap.  But one wonders how long that will last as the world wide paper money devaluation continues.

1 comment:

  1. I've been following your blog for a while - I agree completely. The US winter auctions have been incredibly dull and it's bringing prices down in general. Stacks is just finishing up their second session and the entire auction is mostly poor quality material in my opinion. There have still been a few solid prices (the Ex Biaggi Sabina aureus went for more than I thought it would, and CNG's Diva Marciana aureus sold with a considerable premium over its last sale in May) but it's mostly bland material with average prices.

    That being said, I hope the next round is more interesting as I'm keen to grow my collection.