Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by savitale, May 1, 2022.
That is crazy. Too bad you weren't the only one who spotted the mistake!
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Anyway, one day I may "bite the bullet" and buy an ancient coin.
If I do go significantly above estimate, either the estimate was comically low, or the auctioneer didn't understand what was being auctioned.
One that comes immediately to mind is this lot
Sold at SARC, it was given a comically low estimate of $200 for 100 Gadhaiya ($4-5 each is the typical low end, with $10 being average). I had already lost on two lots from the same hoard, so I doubled down on this one and bid $1200; won it for $800. Still an excellent deal in my mind, as all but one coin in the lot was one of four totally new and unpublished types.
Similarly, Roma has a tendency to just slap a £100 estimate on most large lots, regardless of what's in them...
3x Nero, Vitellius, Germanicus and a Galerius Antoninus for £100? Not in your wildest dreams. £440 is still probably on the low side, but that's what it hammered for.
A perfect example, Estimate 150 Euros. Placed a pre bid of 1500 Euros
10 days before the auction. 3 days before the auction started, I was told
that I was outbid. Oh well. Sold for 2100 Euros earlier today before the
juice. Oh well. This example has the "sideways 7" in the date. Less than
This is an absolutely incredible coin - worth putting a second mortgage on the house! I do not think I have seen a nicer example! I know that for some reason it is bad form on this site to put in the cost of coins, but I am curious about the estimate and cost. Whatever was paid was worth it.
I have been thinking about buying some Alexandrian imperial drachms - just an utterly fascinating series.
I think that auction houses use estimates, like everything else, as a tool to leverage the highest sale prices possible. If they believe that an item might fly under the radar, then they'll inflate the estimate to convey the idea that it is special. If an item's value is readily apparent to everyone (famous coin or something), then they lowball the estimate in order to bolster their reputation for having reasonable estimates.
I've honestly gotten pretty good a blocking estimates out of my mind, so I don't know what my maximum multiple has been. I determine what -> I <- am willing to pay for a coin and then bid that amount. If that amount was ever affected by an estimate, then I've successfully been manipulated.
Just FYI, almost any coin sold in a well-known auction can be researched and found on ACSEARCH. It's free, although it costs extra to get the hammer price, but especially if you're considering bidding on these types of coins, the information is well worth the subscription price.
Thanks! While I don't normally share prices, it is worth highlighting for the purpose of this thread.
The coin was originally estimated at 500 Euro and I ended up paying 13K Euro hammer. It didn't have a meaningful pedigree until my dealer unearthed one which added a considerable amount of value to me as well.
Alexandrian drachms are available at a much lower price-point but this is a particularly popular type. It isn't horribly rare but it is tough to find in a high grade.
To arrive at a price, I used a few comparable examples:
This coin sold in 2011 for $13K hammer and then re-sold in 2017 for $9500 hammer. The surfaces, detail, and style aren't nearly as nice as the one I purchased but it was still listed as "The finest to appear on the market in recent memory. Several grades better than the best piece located in Coin Archives."
I hate the modern coin squabbles between MS66 and MS67 but in the case of provincial bronze, a relatively small difference in metal or strike can indeed make a significant different in price. Personally, this coin feels overpriced and others seem to agree as it sold for a loss after 6 years.
Another example sold in 2018 for $6K hammer with a great pedigree but with green deposits that I personally found distracting in-hand so I didn't bid. The reverse strike is excellent though but the overall metal isn't particularly smooth.
Here's the auction house image of the coin I purchased:
It shows nicer surfaces and style but I wasn't 100% confident in the coin until an in-hand viewing by my dealer as well as a video of the coin. The video thankfully looked much closer to what the coin looks like in reality. When placing the images next to each other, it's interesting to see how much of a difference a slight variance in lighting can produce.
So, to me, when considering metal quality, style, and strike, I felt that the Kunker coin was worth 3x+ the first piece and at least 2-3x the second (which seemed under-priced when it sold).
All that said, it is entirely possible to buy a very attractive example of the type for ~$200-300 which will have exactly the same history and carry with it the same level of enjoyment. I'm fortunate to be able to afford expensive coins but this type was on my list long before I could buy an example in this condition. The satisfaction of holding history doesn't increase with the pricetag.
I hope this helps!
The number of these that are available in this grade is probably in the single digits - such a beautiful coin
An independent estimate, where there is no vested interest, would be a lot more meaningful.
Or, the customer can simply research past sales to see typical hammer prices for the coin.
Talking about research, even that will not always help. i noticed this particular coin offered by Leu. The coin was estimated at 750 chf, while in its previois sale it was sold at 800 EUR. Fair estimate right? With your research done, would you have bid 7500 chf for this coin?
Well, it’s a great portrait of Vespasian. Probably the best. 7500CHF worth of greatness? Absolutely not.
The hammer price difference between “excellent” and “the best” can be an order of magnitude - as is the case here. But it’s a speculative investment and there’s no certainty that its value will hold with its next appearance in an auction. It could plausibly re-sell for only 750CHF.
I’d rather pay reasonable prices for coins with reasonable hope that I will at least break even when it comes time to sell.
That is an interesting case. It is a really great coin and I don't think the price is that far out of line in the current market. The previous sale price of 800 CHF seems ridiculously low to me. Someone hit the lottery.
Thanks for the replies! Interestingly, it seems to come down to what a coin is worth to you. Prior prices or realised prices for comparable specimens can be a guidline and help you determine what a coin is worth. From the perspective of someone who want's a good investment, the 7500 CHF is crazy. But from the perspective of someone who has searched a long time for this coin in this quality, it's a great decision.
Interesting discussion about this coin in particular -- for those of you like me who don't like to click to another image, here it is:
My own collecting perspective on this coin is that its quality is stellar and I personally would have no problem justifying the hammer price if that's the coin I wanted. I don't think I've seen many, if any, better-struck Vespasian denarii. The previous auction price of 800 EUR was a steal (IMO) and it probably just flew under the radar of collectors of high-quality 12 Caesars denarii at that auction.
On the other hand, while I wouldn't characterize CHF 7500 as a "crazy" price for this coin as an investment, I wouldn't expect to sell it for a profit within the next few months either...
Flaws like that make it hardly collectable. I'd have to wait for a better one.
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