The latest Downie's auction wrapped up last week, and the results look reasonably solid. The clearance rate (based on the published prices realised) was around 79%, and the total sold was $1.236 million. This of course means that 4 out of every 5 of the 3,400 lots sold, with an average value of the sold lots sitting at around $450. Keep in mind these figures will alter as the post-auction sales continue to take place.
From what I could see, the decimal coins (Perth Mint and RAM products) remained reasonably competitive, with a good level of activity in the scarcer varieties etc that dedicated collectors are always chasing. The UNC 1966 Wavy baseline made just over $2,200 nett, which reflects the rarity of this key decimal coin, and the strong demand it remains in. Although I've seen retail figures higher than this in the past few years, this was a good result. Other scarce decimal varieties that were listed (either NCLT or coins issued for circulation) were similarly strong.
There wasn't a lot of Australian gold (ie sovereigns and half sovereigns) in this auction, and although the prices "looked" quiet, the clearance rate for this section was still up around the 80% mark. It may be telling that most of the coins that were fully priced for the grade were passed in.
There were only two pre-1955 proof coins listed - a 1927 Canberra florin and a 1937 crown. The prices realized indicate that many buyers could have been put off by the descriptions given to them by the auctioneer (they both had imperfections evident), as thy were quite low relative to their catalogue values.
There was a lot of QEII predecimal proofs in this auction, some 112 lots, which is the most seen on the market for quite some time. The clearance rate was 100% all the way through this section, indicating that they were offered unreserved. The wide variation in prices here indicates that just identifying a coin as proof is not the only effort that a budding collector has to put into their decision making when it comes to these coins. As an example - lots 1475 through 1478 were 1963 copper pairs (including both penny and halfpenny struck by the Perth Mint that year)- the first was described as being in FDC condition, the others were simply "a FDC" . This subtle distinction was matched by their relative prices realised - the better pair made $1,300 hammer, while the cheapest of the others made just $350! The rest of this section yielded similar results, and shows two things (or one thing two different ways if you'd rather be pedantic) - that a signficant premium is paid for QEII proofs in pristine condition, while coins that are toned, spotted or impaired in any way are discounted significantly by the majority of the collector market.
Having said that, the key QEII proofs (1955 Perth copper pair and 1956 Perth copper penny) all made strong prices.
As for the Commonwealth coins, the copper seemed to be more active than the silver this time around, commemorative coins in premium grade were particularly strong. Clearance rates for the pre-decimal notes were comparable (if not slightly better!) to the rest of the sale at 85% sold - some bargains were to be had however. That the notes on the front cover (a consecutive trio of R10 10/- notes) sold for their estimate of $50,000 shows that there certainly are collectors prepared to wager significant sums of money on rare and desirable pre-decimal notes.