Saturday, April 12, 2014
Heritage Ancients Auction: The Very Wealthy were out having a good time.
The results of the Heritage Ancients Auction that kicked off the Chicago Internationl Coin Fair almost perfectly mirror the broad economy. The Marc Antony Aureus pictured above sold for $140,000. This was typical of the very high end which sold for very high dollar amounts. Rich people who can afford to pay almost any price for any coin they deem worthy clearly had a great time at this auction which boasted a number of desirable Roman Aurei.
This Claudius aureus in high grade, though not very rare sold for $64,000. High grade Claudius is always in demand.
But meanwhile, as in the broad economy, the middle end got slammed. Especially the lower middle. Coins that were not particularly rare and of emperors not particularly popular sold near wholesale prices, even when in pleasing collectible grade.
Some emperors that were not so rare like Severus Alexander and Gordian III sold near wholesale even in very high grade. Other coins that were attractive and of emperors in high demand still sold at very reasonable prices: For example this attractive but common Vespasian sold for $5,500: the exact same price it would have sold at last year, or three years ago.
Clearly the very wealthy were not interested. And when the very wealthy are not interested there doesn't seem to be a huge collecting middle class to pick up the slack.
It certainly seems that almost all the disposable income is in the hands of the very wealthy. It's hard to imagine that will change any time soon.