NAC wins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Andrew McCabe, Jun 25, 2021.

  1. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Four great rarities for me, at modest prices. Thought prices pretty reasonable at least all these sold to me close to estimate image00384.jpg
    This coin amazed me. Theres only been a single known example of the type sold in last 20 years, the RBW, similar condition, which hammered at CHF 1900 in 2011. Its Cr 222/1 with note "two torches" and described in RRC. Type was correctly described by NAC except they didn't explain that it was a RRC footnoted rarity nor that only 1 example has appeared in auction in decades. Very pleased


    Had agent inspect all these carefully - Martina Dieterle - and I highly strongly recommend all serious collectors get an agent. They cost 5%. They save 25% in terms of adjusting bids to reflect problems or beauty not visible in pictures. They also have a massive competitive edge. Internet bidders who only bid online don't realise how much of an advantage the in room person has. They can do cut bids. They can stare down opponents in the room. The auctioneer is liable to hammer faster to a room bid. Anyway one of my coins was bought on a cut bid at just 20 francs above internet. Which saved me. I asked Martina to check this because I suspected surface issues and she confirmed surfaces looked fine in hand apart from visible circulation scratches (ie not corroded)

    Egnatia one of the toughest types. Third of these Ive owned. Slightly worn dies but pretty fully struck up for type. Very rare

    Those who know my coins will know that this is an upgrade and the coin it replaced is leaving my collection shortly (wink). Vibias are all flat, but it's great to get such magnificent obverse portrait and complete if slightly flat reverse. Ex Huntington who stopped collecting before 1913 so a great provenance too. Huntington's are under valued by the market not only for their provenance but they all have terrific surfaces and patina
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Very, very nice, @Andrew McCabe! Those stag-biga coins are typically struck on dumpy, undersized flans and usually key features of the design are off the flan. I still need to acquire one for my collection. I only have the similar goat-biga type.

    C. Renius, 138 BC.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.84 g, 16.3 mm, 1 h.
    Rome, 138 BC.
    Obv: Helmeted head of Roma, right; X behind.
    Rev: Juno in a biga of goats, right, wearing diadem and holding scepter and reins in left hand and whip in right hand; C·RENI below; ROMA in exergue.
    Refs: Crawford (RRC) 231/1; RSC Renia 1; Sydenham (CRR) 432; Sear (RCV) 108.
  4. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    What's next, do they also get a gun out in the lunch break and threaten others to stay away?

    Is 20 chf really a big deal for you!? What was the bidding step 200? Shame on the auctioneer for accepting this.
    Douglas Ross likes this.
  5. Restitutor

    Restitutor Well-Known Member

    Great pickups! But gotta say, if the above quoted part isn’t said in jest, then pardon my French cause that’s fucked up. And no shade meant to you, it’s a “hate the game not the player” comment from me here.
  6. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Cut bids is a privilege that only room or telephone bidders have, and there are (legal) rules around it. The online bidding platforms don't generally allow cut bids (I recall one platform does) but it's been a feature of room auctions for centuries, so it's not gonna go away. And about hammer speed, it's not so much about wait time differing, but the internet is just much slower. So if you wait three seconds on the internet the coin is gone because the button to bid again probably took a few seconds to appear. The in-room person can still bid again (even with a cut) until the number is completely spoken by the auctioneer by which time the online bid button is gone (although if there is another bid of course bidding reopens).

    And there are personal dynamics in the room - an in-room bidder can see when someone else is gonna give up by their body language (eg they put down their card or turn away) and then knows to press on. They also will know whether the competition is in the room (serious players) or online (might or might not be serious players) whereas online bidders often don't know. Other stuffs too - they'll be aware when a serious bidder has left the room to go for a comfort break or catch a last plane. Is it any wonder there are often bargains in the late evening sessions of high end auctions?

    You can overcome all these in-room advantages by keeping on pressing the bid button, but the one thing the internet doesn't allow is hesitation. You gotta keep pressing the button, fast. As a result, when internet bidders do win, they have often overpaid since there's less thinking time than the person in the room.

    If you are serious about collecting higher end coins, get an agent in the room. That's how it is. The agent adds a huge amount of value through viewing. That's the main thing. They'll tell you how the surfaces look and if there's anything strange with the edge and all sorts of stuff you cannot see from a photograph that could be worth multiple bid increments. You gotta pay for the service. It's well worth it indeed a huge bargain for any serious collector.

    Be in the room (or via agent or telephone). Every serious collector knows that.

    It's how it is.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
  7. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Yeah the "stare down" comment was in jest, but the comments on my last post were not - being able to observe the body language of opposing bidders tells a lot about how strong they will bid, and that's invisible on the internet. They are watching you too. One time I realised two Russian bidders were always outbidding me since they realised if Andrew McCabe saw value, then going one above me would be worth it. I could see them talking about and noting my bids and following them. So at that point I discreetly asked someone else (in the room) to bid for me.

    There is an Official of the Swiss Auction Regulator (whatever that's called) in the room at all Swiss auctions to make sure rules are followed and at some points the auctioneer may consult that person for example when bidding needs to be reopened on a lot due to an error (someone bid by mistake for example). But in-room dynamics and the time lag on the internet which reduces time available for internet bidders cannot be overcome. When a room bid is made, someone has to physically type in that bid on a PC and publish it to enable the internet to respond. That takes time from the internet and cannot be overcome.

    The main thing is: Agents add a huge amount of value through viewing and comments on the coins. High end collectors dont usually buy from photos only, no matter how good the photos. They seek personal views on the coins. And they get an agent or travel to the auctions themselves.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
  8. IMP Shogun

    IMP Shogun Well-Known Member

    I know it's taboo discussing upcoming auctions but your selection at the next Roma has several very nice pieces - as are these.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Restitutor and Andrew McCabe like this.
  9. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Great coins, congrats!
    Your thoughts on having a live representative at auctions is appreciated.
    Andrew McCabe and Restitutor like this.
  10. Restitutor

    Restitutor Well-Known Member

    I definitely didn’t mean to imply in any way I felt it was illegal. More that I think it’s messed up that cut bids are not extended to online bidding if they are available in person. As to the matter of speed, I suppose that is inevitable with internet delays. I thought you were saying the auction house makes a conscientious effort to reduce time between bid and hammer if the bid comes from a person physically there.

    I appreciate the insight!
    Andrew McCabe likes this.
  11. Restitutor

    Restitutor Well-Known Member

    I would purposefully bid up trash coins then and leave them high and dry :hilarious::cigar:
  12. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Did think of doing that
  13. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Yeah, the Internet delays aren't due to speed of Internet but to speed of humans who input the live bids.

    The auction house pace keeps up same as ever and doesn't wait for the new tech. So you've much less time (between when the live bid is published and the point at which the person running the internet auction marks as closed) than room bidders. But this is just one of many advantages, the main being viewing and ability to 'read the room' that in the end means room bidders get better value for their Swiss Franc. There's a reason I fly to auctions and its naiive to think that a person behind a PC in Omaha who doesn't see the coins, can't read the room, and has less split second time as well as inability to cut, has the same value as someone in Zurich.

    Get an agent. Martina Dieterle, Shanna Schmidt, Ed Waddell best I know
    Carl Wilmont and PeteB like this.
  14. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Of course anyone is free to do whatever they want but I wouldn't advise anyone to get an agent. If they physically attend auctions they attract negative attention, for example someone seeing them aggressively bidding jumps in believing that there's something very special about the coin. They also attend only a few auctions and what's the added value of having them bidding on the phone if they can't check the coins as you say.

    NAC is supposed to be the most prestigious auctioneer and the owners are top experts themselves. Why do you need an agent to check the coins again? If you don't trust them don't buy from them. Whenever I had a doubt for a coin in CNG, I asked their numismatist and he always provided me with an objective description.

    Coming to the recent NAC auctions, I noticed a repaired Greek coin sell for 20k. The repair was not mentioned in the description so the options are either NAC didn't notice or they did notice but didn't say. On the buyer side, if the buyer used an agent, then the agent is no expert. If the buyer didn't use an expert then he shouldn't have trusted NAC. The repair was actually announced by Nomos when they sold the coin some years ago. So I come to my usual conclusion that you should hardly trust anyone but yourself.
    Carl Wilmont, Roma, galba68 and 3 others like this.
  15. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    What is a cut bid? I've never heard this term before.
    DonnaML likes this.
  16. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    I agree with all your reasons to use an agent (some that I have never considered). I've used Victor England in the past and have always felt the 5% was well worth it, especially if there are a large number of lots that are of interest, but a limit to what you can spend. All of the coins that he won for me are among the finest in my collection and advice to bypass some of the earlier lots proved fruitful. In retrospect the extra 5% is not a factor. I don't know if Victor is still doing this in semi-retirement, but those others you mention are highly trusted.
  17. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    You can make an offer of a reduced bid increment a single time only on a given coin. For example if bidding is 2000 and next increment is 2200 you can either call out 2100 or slice your hand horizontally thru the air. At auctioneers discretion whether to accept. And you can also offer a lower increment eg 2050. Once you make a cut bid, and if then overbid, for example if someone bids 2200 (it reverts to the prior increments) then you can't use this technique again on this lot (and some auctioneers wont allow you to bid at any level on this lot again). So usually done when your sense of how the room is going is that there's no more bids. Or if you are maxxed anyway.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
    Carl Wilmont, DonnaML and Broucheion like this.
  18. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Disagree with most of this from decades attending live auctions, starting about 1990. Agents save money mostly by their viewing and comments on the coins (which I keep emphasising) but in the room they can be anything from deliberately visible to deliberately invisible (the raised eyebrow). The worst place to be is the internet which everyone in the room endeavours to outbid.

    Phone bids- its normal that the agent will have reviewed the coin in person prior the auction
  19. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    First of all congratulations with your win at NAC. I did not end up winning a single object in the auction due to severe competition.

    Basing yourself on internet pictures alone can be compared to playing 'Russian Roulette', often the coin what you receive by mail is in the hand a bit different from the picture. Sometimes better, but it can also turn out to be worse.
    This means that a coin what you are not bidding on because the picture has a bad quality might be in fact 'that great missing opportunity', the coin which you would love to add to your collection if you could have had eyes on the floor.

    The numerous advantages of an agent are evident
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
    rrdenarius likes this.
  20. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    If the smart money is in-room, then why would they want to out-dumb the dumb money ?!

    The only case this might make *any* sense is if you think the coin in-hand reveals a higher value than you hope the internet bidder might be aware of, but if you've already reached your informed max bid, then why would you increase it to outbid an assumed uninformed bidder ?!
  21. kirispupis

    kirispupis Supporter! Supporter

    I think where there may be some confusion here, is that Andrew's suggestions/observations really apply to the high-end auctions. Had I a $100k+ budget for an auction like NAC, I would certainly hire an agent.

    While I've never spent anything remotely near this, some years ago I did used to participate in foreclosure auctions. Even though we personally attended the auctions and knew what we were doing, we still had a representative who bid for us. While I won't get into details, I will say that those foolish enough to show up without representation or with the wrong representation were destroyed.

    So, yes, if you're dealing with those kind of coins/cash, then it pays to have an agent.

    That being said, many of us aren't in that league. Most of the auctions I participate in don't have a floor option. I'm also buying based on history, and not so much the condition of the coin. I'd rather have a VF coin that is recognizable than pay several times that amount for an EF. When I bid, I put in my max amount either early or right before the end. If there is a floor auction and someone there beats my bid, then they can have it.
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