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Saturday, August 24, 2013


While the Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Show was a pretty dismal affair: major dealers like CNG and Freeman and Sear didn't even bother to attend, very little of interest was to be found on the floor, and nice unusual items priced for suckers only - the auctions accompanying the show were quite interesting.

The Law Collection of English Gold Coins was a testament to what can happen when you get the right people together in a room bidding for very rare coins.  There were at least four bidders (yes four - imagine what happens when a dozen or so catch on to these rare markets) who could afford to pay whatever they liked for a coin.  They went at it on a number of lots.  Much to the satisfaction of Stacks Bowers who did a masterful job of getting these right people into the room for this auction.

The Henry VII fine sovereign - pictured above was estimated at $125-175,000.  Sometimes auction houses purposefully lowball their estimates so that they can brag about beating estimates.  This wasn't the case here.  This was a very reasonable estimate for this coin.  It hammered at half a million dollars.  Plus 20 percent hammer fee.

The Edward VI fine sovereign also pictured above was estimated at $100 -125,000.  It hammered at $329,000.

Both are very nice and very rare coins.  But not coins in top condition.  Often big money collectors care to shell out the most for coins in excellent condition.  Not so at this auction.

The bidding took many lesser coins that might have sold at $4-5000 up to $10-12,000.  Even junk was going for 2-3 times its normal sale price.  Yet, who's to say anyone overpaid - if they have a long enough time horizon.  When you take into account the fact that there a plenty of US coin collectors still paying north of $20,000 for 20th Century Lincoln Pennies with rare mintmarks and dates.  Pennies that were only minted in the tens of thousands.  Is it so crazy that some collectors lost their heads and paid $10,000 for a common Henry VII Angel in decent condition - when there's probably a few hundred floating around in the world's collections?

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