It’s now been a week since International Auction Galleries held their sale # 80, so it’s an opportune time to review the action as it went down.
If you reviewed the catalogue before the sale, you would have seen that the early part of the catalogue inclued a good range of interesting coins from far-flung parts of the world. These were from a collection formed in the 1970’s, so included a few crowns that are very seldom seen in our auctions these days. They attracted some solid attention as a result - the bidding was quite brisk in sections.
The proclamation coins and cheaper Pre-decimal coins attracted good bids via the internet before the sale began, so mostly sold via the house.
That section led into the pre-federation notes, an area of the market that is under no small amount of scrutiny at the moment. There probably wasn’t the volume here that has been seen in other sales recently, however there was a decent mix of specimen, proof and issued notes. I didn’t think prices were as strong as they were in Sydney, this may have been due to different bidders attending the Noble sale, and not the IAG sale. Be that as it may, most of the notes sold, albeit not at prices the vendors would have been delighted with.
The sole Hay Internment note listed didn’t sell, showing the weakness in that market at present. The pre-decimal notes were on the block next, and while the clearance rate wasn’t 100%, and the prices weren’t great, there was no real news here for the market. Pre-decimal notes really need to be extremely cheap to have any chance of moving at the moment, anything that hasn’t been conservatively graded and priced is left alone.
There were some hammered and milled British coins up next, while these coins aren’t on everyone’s shopping list, they remain in demand with dealers and collectors around the world, so all moved on.
It was unfortunate that not one of the 9 pre-decimal star notes offered up actually sold, each was passed in. It’s interesting to contemplate just where that market is going - I know that Uncirculated decimal star notes remain in demand with dedicated collectors (albeit at a price level reflecting the current market), however as Uncirculated pre-decimal notes nearly all are worth $10,000+, the price levels prevent a lot of the opportunistic buyers from getting on board.
The better decimal star notes all got away, showing there is still life in that market at present.
The Australian gold coins were up next, and they were a bit of a mixed bag. While Gem Uncirculated coins that have been PCGS graded are all the rage at present, there is still solid demand across the board. Soveriegn collectors are pretty much a counter-cyclical bunch, which means if it ain’t a bargain it won’t sell. The lots that didn’t sell pretty much all fall into that category, there were a few more that I was surprised didnt’ sell to boot. Quirky decimal error / variety notes, as well as first and last prefixes, all seem to be chased no matter what mayhem is going on elsewhere.
There were 2 dumps and a Holey Dollar up on offer, while the prices didn’t set any records, they did all sell - good news for a market finding it’s feet. The pre-decimal proofs did have some patchy results - some sold and others didn’t. What is seemingly the story of the rest of the market applies here also - if it’s great quality or if it’s cheap, it’ll sell (and preferably both). The coins that were left alone had tiny considerations to their grade, enough to keep spooked buyers away.
Sales of the better pre-decimal coins that were listed next were brisk, the clearance rate was quite good (I thought anyway), and while no record prices, were set, that was probably because the coins on offer weren’t quite what the most active registry set collectors need at present.
The sale was rounded out with a few really attractive medals and medallions - as values for these are solely set by what buyers on the day are prepared to pay, and balanced out by what vendors are prepared to take, it isn’t “managed” as much as other segments of the market. That said, all of the medals here found new homes, not surprising given their rarity, history and grade.
The total turnover of IAG’s 80th won’t have set any records, however the clearance rate was OK, and it shows that liquidity is clearly out there. As has been the case so often in recent months and years, items need to be graded and priced conservatively if they are to sell.