Buying coins in lots at auctions?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Everett Guy, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    I am courious for those who have bought coins in lots at reputable auctions if there is anything to look out for or things to avoid? While looking at coins on a auction site I seen several lots that looked good but I have zero experience in online auctions other than eBay.
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  3. AZSteve

    AZSteve Active Member

    We have an auction house in our area - everything from A-Z, and even some coins and currency. I can view on-line, or go there for a better view in-person, but due to Covid, currently all bidding is on-line. One of the managers there said when ever he finds silver or gold, at his place or on other online auctions, he bids on it for the potential bullion value. He's not a collector, and apparently a lotta of people do that same thing. It pains me to think that maybe a lotta very nice coins are going to the melting pot.
  4. ycon

    ycon Renaissance Man

    almost all the major world and ancient coin auctions are listed on the auction aggregators: numisbids, sixbid, biddr, and bidinside. These sites also allow you to set up wantlists so you get notifications when matches appear.

    There's a lot of overlap between the listings on the four sites. With the exception of the auction houses Lanz and Emporium Hamburg, which are both notorious for peddling fakes (you can search the archives here for more details) the firms that list on those sites are pretty much all reputable and have enough eyes on them that the chances of any accidental fakes getting spotted and removed are high.

    The most interesting coins and the best deals are nearly always found in auctions, so I highly recommend you branching out beyond ebay.

    A couple other pieces of advice:

    --don't put much (or really any) stock in auction estimates. They're usually set low to entice bids and have only minimal relation to the market value of the coins.

    --remember to factor in auction and shipping fees and currency conversion on top of what you bid when you're deciding your budget. I've seen firsthand how a coin you thought was going to be $250 ended up costing $500.

    --if you get to the point of bidding on coins in europe (where many of the best auctions are) you should pay using transferwise or a similar service that has much lower fees than bank transfers

    --Italy and some other countries have export restrictions which mean that coins need to get export licenses which can add months to the delivery time
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  5. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    If the auction house is reputable and knowledgeable about ancient coins, then their large lots should be safe to bid on. Buying a large lot can be a very cost effective way to acquire a nice variety of ancient coins. Just be aware that these lots are usually sold "as is" with no right of return.

    I once won a lot of ancient Greek bronzes for what I thought was a great price. When I received them, I was surprised to discover that all the coins were between 9 and 12 mm, rather than the 16-20 mm coins I was expecting. This was not apparent in the auction photo. I was pretty disappointed initially, but I ended up having so much fun trying to ID them--what a challenge; after about 18 months, I've been able to identify about 85% of them--that I'm now totally hooked on Greek bronzes.
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