Next week sees Noble Numismatics hold their 106th numismatic auction, a sale that I believe is the biggest we’ve seen in Australia so far in 2014.
If catalogue weight is any guide to the size, scope and depth of a sale, this one is a whopper - I haven’t weighed it yet, however I reckon it is going to tip the scales at about 3 kilos.
The cover of the catalogue features an Indian Zodiacal mohur - an incredibly rare and desirable Indian coin that dates to the early 17th century. The market for Indian coins is reasonably hot at present, so this coin may well get away.
The catalogue description states that a similar coin sold for US$82,000 last year, further research that others have sold in recent years for upwards pf US$20,000. I’m not sure just how far the market has risen in the intervening months, however as this series is regarded as being one of the most desirable out of all coins struck for India, and India is a market with such potential, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this coin pushed along.
The rest of the catalogue is chockers with material as well. There’s a good range of pre-decimal varieties (with some treasures yet to be unearthed I’m sure), plenty of decimal gold proof coins, tradesman’s tokens, tokens from the Cocos-Keeling Islands, a good range of commemorative medallions, and some affordable 1930 pennies - this is just in the early parts of the first day!
The evening session includes two Holey Dollars - one appears to have a lot more detail than the other, yet they have a very similar estimates. This is either some gamesmanship on the part of the auctioneer (before you blush with shock at this bold statement, let me assure you that such behaviour is not entirely unheard of!), or there is going to be some real value on offer.
The market we’re in at the moment is such that some / many vendors are withdrawing from plans to sell - if they have confidence in the value their items have, and don’t particularly need to sell, we can hardly fault them for doing so.
That doesn’t cover all vendors though - a deceased estate sometimes has to be wound up within a particular timeframe, corporate liquidators need to sell assets in a timely manner, and all of us have had unavoidable bills at one stage or another.
This is where we’re going to see some bargains to be had - vendors of quality material that come to market at a time of soft demand. Just whether the Holey Dollar I’ve mentioned here is going to be among them remains to be seen.
The rest of the evening coin session includes more than a few coins that will be keenly watched by active collectors:
5 * 1813 Dumps 1 * Type I Adelaide Pound 4 * Type II Adelaide Pounds 2 * 1855 Half Sovereigns A decent range of gold sovereigns and half sovereigns Several Kangaroo Office patterns (not premium grade but incredibly rare nonetheless) Several specimen gold coins A decent number of rare proof pre-decimal coins, as well as A large quantity of (circulating) pre-decimal coins.
The next day is pretty much devoted to banknotes, and I understand a good portion of the material on offer there is being sold by the receivers of John Pettit Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s most experienced dealers in paper currency.
If you’re not already aware, John’s business went into voluntary administration in November 2012 - some 7 months before the Rare Coin Company went the same way. I won’t recount the details of that particular corporate demise again here, however it should be said that it’s taken the administrators some time to get to the stage where the inventory of the business is actually sold. As Australia’s pre-eminent dealer in rare currency, John had a numismatic inventory that would captivate anyone with even a passing interest in the series.
This sale apparently includes what was unsold at the time the administrators were called in, and it sure has a great range of items within it.
Some of the areas covered in this auction include:
A wide range of New Zealand specimen notes, many issues prior to 1934 (when the RBNZ was formed), others ranging up to the decimal era. There are many interesting world / foreign notes on offer, including many British Commonwealth notes. Even in this age of online bidding, I expect the room to be filled at that session.
The Australian note sessions include a lot of notes that were areas of keen personal interest for John:
Colonial currency Privately issued “shinplasters” Pre-Federation proof, specimen and issued notes
There is an incredibly rare and historic set of pre-decimal specimen notes (one that does not have a provenance tied directly to Mr Pettit), as well as some decimal specimen notes, and a good range of pre-decimal notes.
There are no less than 87 star replacement notes up for sale, and while that number includes both decimal and pre-decimal, that is an entirely unprecedented quantity in one sale, in anyone’s book.
Now that the inventory of the Rare Coin Company has been sold up and absorbed by the market, and the majority of the backlogged-supply from former consignment vendors of both the Rare Coin Company and John Pettit have entered the market, once the inventory in this sale has been absorbed, we could well be seeing something of an end to the most recent phase of uncertainty our market has been beset with.
I’m aware that a number of former clients of both of these two failed entities are yet to place their material on the market, however I believe that is going to happen at a far more gradual pace than we’ve seen. Portents of “a massive glut” of rare numismatic inventory have failed to come to pass, and while values in a number of areas have come off significantly in recent months, I am of the opinion we’re starting to see a bottom in where prices are at.
Notice I’ve said “we’re starting to see” - I’m going to hold off calling the bottom (now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d put into print) in prices until there’s some continuity in prices within a certain range. If items continue to get passed in, we could well drop a bit more. Much more? I doubt it, but it could happen.
Prices in some areas are already at levels we haven’t seen since the early 1990’s, which for some is incredible value.