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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Auction review

CNG, Gorney, Kuenker and Hess Divo provided the market with better than usual selections of Greek and Roman gold and electrum. There were few rarities, but several tougher to find pieces in very nice condition brought the new normal of around $20,000 dollars

CNG and Nomos contributed the de-accession of the Clearwater Collection which included the better part of the "Walwel" horde as well as a fair number of the Pergamon staters.  These coins held their value surprisingly well as savvy collectors used the opportunity to pick up pieces that may not hit the market again for many years.

Later Roman and Byzantine gold was everywhere in evidence and often in spectacularly high grade.  Late Roman of course fared better than Byzantine, especially emperors closest to Constantine.  Both CNG and Kuenker had amazing runs from the recent horde, as does NAC later next month.  Hess Divo offered several late Roman rarities including a couple of medallions from outside the horde that fetched prices in the $100,000 range.

And finally Gorney and Kuenker each boasted a very high quality shooting Daric.  The Gorney's, with a far more detailed style, went for $48,000 and the Kuenker piece went for $25.000.  CNG ran their worst piec,e a VF specimen, that went for $6,500, after selling a superb piece off their site for $27,500 while Roma had 3 pieces, all in poor condition, and all went around the same price as the CNG auction.  Finally Goldberg had a nicer VF (called EF) that went for $12,000, and Heritage had an EF off center that went for $17,500.  The rumor was that there were 20 pieces in all with the finest specimens all going into auction.  It is proving to be true as none of the top dealers have any more for offer at any price, and none of the forthcoming auctions have a single example.   A few more could surface of course, or be recirculated, but it seems the opportunity to pick one up has come and gone.

Still to come is NAC's amazing Republican Roman auction which is sure to bring staggering prices especially for the astounding selection of ultra rare Imperatorial Gold.

And it must be noted that most of the European auctions continued to run ex-jewelry and damaged pieces undescribed as such, which will continue to be a huge problem for US collectors looking to get them graded.

On a related note, none of the European auctions ran graded coins, though CNG did so especially with the Clearwater Oktadrachms, and there are several graded pieces in the very fine Maison Palombo auction running in December.

And, of course, the US firms that are moving into ancients all run exclusively graded coins, as that is what their clientele expects.  I expect that over time grading will become the expected and accepted means of valuing ancient pieces - with the proviso that grading can take into account condition variables but all there is to describe coins of tremendous eye appeal as the asterisk (*) and the "fine style" designation both of which are highly subjective.  So it will be always and ever up to the eye of the individual collector to assemble truly great collections.

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