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Downie's Auction 326 and the Temporal Landmark Factor

I had a new term revealed to me earlier this year - “temporal landmark”, which refers to the landmarks we declare in the passage of time, whether that be the start to a new year, a birthday, anniversary or even a work-week or something as simple as lunchtime.

It turns out that these landmark events (close of business; last day of the work week or a birthday) can often be used to set the start or halt of some habit or pattern of behaviour, such as giving up smoking or starting regular exercise. A number of authors have determined that we human beings will hold off making certain changes to our behaviour until these temporal landmark events have passed.

I mention this because the Australian numismatic market can often take a kick up in the new year, often for no logical reason at all!

The number of days between September 1st and December 1st is largely the same as that between November 1st and February 1st, however there’s no doubt that after a reasonable break in activity over the New Year period, us collectors can take back to normal business with a zest that wasn’t around just a few short months ago. It can be due to impatient vendors that have been waiting across the break; sheer boredom or cash burning a hole in the pockets of buyers, however this theory will be put to the test when Downie’s Auction 326 takes place in late February.

Just shy of 4,000 lots are included, it looks to be an active sale.

The featured items on the cover include a pattern Goose dollar in gold, as well as some rarer pre-decimal proof coins.

A range of slightly more interesting decimal coins (errors and varieties) are included on the first day, whereas the older and more historic coins and notes are lined up across Wednesday.

An interesting dump; Adelaide Ingot electrotype and several appealing Sydney Mint half sovereigns are included, followed shortly by some quite scarce pre-decimal proof coins. The pre-decimal coins don’t appear to have too many lots that will jump out at potential buyers, however there is enough there to keep many a collector happy.

The pre-federation banknote section holds more notes than we’ve seen in a number of recent Downie sales, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare - the few prefed specimen notes that have been in previous Downie sales have sold relatively strongly.

There are a number of pre-decimal notes that have been described as being exceptional quality, and although they aren’t the rarest notes getting around, they are still quite scarce and collectible in top grade.

The British coin section appears to have the most depth out of any session in the sale, as there are a number of really attractive items included. Demand for such coins is quite strong in the UK at present, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare.

Downie’s are renown (notorious?) for having a vast range of collectible “junque” in each sale, and this auction is no exception. There are hundreds of lots of cigarette cards, militaria and even stage memorabilia, all compelling in their own way. Whether the small lot of North Korean badges draws some interest in the current geopolitical climate remains to be seen!

I don’t see anything in this sale that jumps out at me as being incredible value or an exceptional opportunity, however as you need to be in it to win it, I expect I’ll head along.

I’ll then see if the temporal landmark theory holds any water - this is the first major numismatic sale for 2018 after all.

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