Did I get grifted (shilled) on this coin?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by AussieCollector, May 28, 2020.

  1. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Hi all

    A while ago, some of you may recall that I was on the hunt for an affordable ancient Greek gold coin as the center piece of my "ancient Greek states" collection.

    The criteria I set out for myself were:

    1. A Greek gold coin from any ancient Greek state/city (I wasn't fussed whether it was Bactrian, Seleucid, Bosporus, Ptolemaic, Macedonian, or whatever)
    2. A period where the relevant Greek state was still independent (i.e. that it wasn't a client state of Rome or whatever)
    4. At least 12mm in diameter, and preferably 15mm or more (which ruled out El Hekte coins)
    4. Less than $1500 USD (not including auction fees etc)

    I had a few good recommendations from the good folk at CT, and landed my sights on seeking out a bargain basement Phillip II or Alexander III gold stater.

    I achieved my goal with the following coin. At the time, I was both pleased and a bit "hmmm" about the purchase, as it went right up to my maximum bid (within 5%) without going over. Pure luck? Or something else?

    Alexander III ‘the Great’, 336-323 BC gold stater
    Obverse: head of Athena to right, wearing Corinthian helmet decorated with a serpent.
    Reverse: AΛEΞANΔΡOΥ Nike standing front, head to left, with her wings spread, holding laurel wreath in her right hand and stylis in her left; below left wing, crescent above A
    Mint: Lampsakos
    Diameter: 17 mm
    Weight: 8.60g


    My question is, was the price I paid actually an ok price? Or did I overpay?

    I ask, because I entered my absolute maximum bid on the coin before going to bed that evening (given almost all ancient auctions are at ungodly hours for us in Australia). I thought doing that would be ok, as an auction is an auction, and the bidding is the bidding. However, I later learned about shill bidding in a CT thread where it was discussed at some length,

    So... I guess I'm in two minds about my purchase. On the one hand, I have a beautiful piece of history in my collection, that would have been difficult to obtain for the criteria (i.e. price) I set out. But on the other hand, I can't help but feel that I was shilled.

    I've done some acsearches, and the reality is that holed gold staters don't come up very often, so it's difficult to establish a "market value".


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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I have no answers to any of your questions.
    All I can say, is that as a lover of all things Nike/Victory, your coin is absolutely beautiful. Given the funds, I would be happy to add that coin to my collection any day of the week.
    AussieCollector likes this.
  4. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Thank you. This comment gives me some comfort.

    I guess if I did get shilled, it's nice to know that perhaps, at the very least, I didn't get taken to the cleaners.
    furryfrog02 likes this.
  5. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    I love it, but my wife would kill me...
  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..not if you let her wear it..:D
    Kentucky, Alegandron and Clavdivs like this.
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    it looks good to me....maybe an expert can comment on it and either set your mind at ease...or ....:woot:..:rage::wideyed::sour::vomit:...i could on, but i think its ok.....:D
    AussieCollector likes this.
  8. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Firstly it is an absolutely amazing coin, obverse and reverse.. that helmet is outstanding! A worthy centerpiece to any collection.

    I don't know enough to give you answers on price... other than understanding if you are happy with the "discount" you received for the coin being holed? Without the hole this would have been outside your set budget ... so I would call it a big win!

    As for the shill bidding? I doubt it .. also you set your max bid and didn't go higher.. if you were at a real time auction and you got a little over heated and overspent your budget I could see the remorse setting in.

    I think you should enjoy the coin and the win!
    ominus1 and AussieCollector like this.
  9. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin, in my book also a bargain in that quality, I think the hole kept it a reasonable price. Congratulations on a fantastic pick up.
    ominus1 and AussieCollector like this.
  10. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Firstly, thanks for your comments.

    Secondly, in re to this question: "other than understanding if you are happy with the "discount" you received for the coin being holed?" - yes, that is exactly what my question comes down to. Was the "discount" appropriate for the hole? Or was the price artificially driven up because of the way in which I bid?

    It sounds like the answer is "we don't know", but also, I should be happy with the coin for the price. Which honestly, I am (provided I wasn't taken to the cleaners).
    ominus1 and furryfrog02 like this.
  11. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Nice quality coin. I would say the price is ok. One without a hole probably will cost 2-3 times the price.

    I am also looking for an ancient gold coin to add into my collection. The Alexander gold stater seems to be the best choice for a budget collector. Good art style and rich history.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  12. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Yes, I think you're right. At least double the cost.

    As an alternative to Phillip II and Alexander III, you may wish to consider Mithridates VI - the only question is whether or not you think Pontus was Greek enough. I thought probably, but as you say, the history is richer with an Alexander III.
    happy_collector likes this.
  13. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    I remember there was a thread with such complaints about this auction company.

    Looking at the intrinsic value of gold content in this coin, I would say the metal is worth 350-400 USD.

    Looking in CNG recent esales you can find a few gold staters if Alexander or successors which are not holed for 1700-2000 USD.

    Should this have been a modern gold imitation for jewellery I don't think you would have paid less than 700-800usd

    This exact coin was sold by the same auctioneers for 950 about 6 months earlier than you got it.

    So did you get screwed? Probably yes although not big time in my opinion.

    IMHO the inherent issue was that you placed a strict limit (1500) and you might have been impatient to get one. These are not rare at all so if you waited enough you could get a better coin for the money you gave.

    For various reasons which I intend to explain in a future post, I am stopping collecting. If you need any advice when screening your future purchases please feel free to send me a PM. I would be happy to provide my opinion and I will certainly not have a conflict of interest. Same goes for all in this forum.
    DonnaML, PeteB and AussieCollector like this.
  14. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    You have picked up on everything I feared.

    I agree that one of the issues was that I may have been impatient, particularly with my "fixed budget". Worse so, with this particular auction house (and yes I did see the previous sale price 6 months prior, but I find that odd too).

    I would say however the non-holed offerings for 1700 USD or so are not as fine as the coin above. Yes, it's holed, but it's VF and well centred.
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  15. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    Price is very fair and it's a nice coin.

    Holes don't really bother me that much on a coin with fine style as yours.
    AussieCollector likes this.
  16. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Thank you, good to hear your view.

    So broadly, is it fair to say, that even though the price may (but maybe not) have been inflated, it was probably a fair price (or close to fair price) for what it is?
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  17. Rich Beale

    Rich Beale Well-Known Member

    CHF 1500 for an Alexander stater (even with a hole) is good value in my view. This example was ridiculously underestimated at CHF 350 by the auction house in question (their standard practice).
    AussieCollector likes this.
  18. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    I can't weigh in on the shill issue, but regardless that is a really beautiful coin with excellent style.
    AussieCollector likes this.
  19. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    You had several VF kyzikene in your past esales in the range 1200-1800 pounds. These are much rarer (even with the recent hoard getting dispersed) twice as heavier and IMHO would be colossal bargains compared to a holed stater of Alexander sold for 1500CHF.... And I have to say that I never felt like getting shill bids against me in your auctions.
  20. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    I would have been happy to pay that for such a well-preserved and finely styled coin. Price at auctions can be so random that I don't think it pays to obsess over it too much.

    I would enjoy looking at that coin for the next 50 years.

    DonnaML and AussieCollector like this.
  21. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Thanks John, you make good points.
    Theodosius likes this.
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