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Friday, May 1, 2015

When medals take off

When certain medals suddenly become the object of collector frenzy for reasons that are not readily apparent, the prices can jump by 300 percent almost overnight.


Because they are just all very rare.

Take the Victoria Jubilee medal:


With 944 specimens minted it would be extraordinarily rare for a coin, but it is not all that rare for a medal.  For years it sold for about $5000 which it at 84.5 grams was very close to melt at one point..

Then almost overnight it jumped to about $15,000 - even more in super high grade.

Why?  Well, it does have a particularly beautiful reverse.  And Victoria has become extremely popular.

But, really, that has always been so.  Around the same time the very rare (even for a medal) Victoria Marriage medal (Unofficial). jumped to about $30,000.

That is still quite inexpensive for a large beautiful medal such as this.  But the point is, the price doubled from just a few years before, which is when the last one auctioned.

The same is true for the spectacular Vicky Empress of India gold medal which auctioned at Spink last year: 


It was estimated at about $15000 which is where it went last time it was auctioned.  This time it went for $45,000.  The medal was issued at the Delhi Durbar (The ceremony where Vicky was crowned as Empress of India) to attending VIP's. 

For pieces that are extremely rare, like this one, auction results can be taken as nothing but one-offs.  Because that's what they are.  They might be reproduced next time out.  But they might be totally meaningless, as just one or two more wealthy bidders show up on the scene, in search of a particular monarch, historical period, or event.

If you happen to like Victoria, her medals are suddenly far more expensive than they were a few years ago.

This can happen at any time to any medal, as they are all available in extremely small quantities.

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