Brisbane is a great place to be in October, it's certainly easier to get around than Melbourne is in July anyway. The results for the most recent Roxbury's auction perhaps weren't to expectations however.
As usual, there sure were plenty of people in the room when the sale kicked off. The first mainstream items to be sold in this sale were the Australian predecimal coins. They were fairly hard going - make no mistake, there were indeed some nice coins in amongst them, however it seems items in this area of the market need to be either cheap or really special if they're to get away. There was the odd item in the British, world and decimal sessions that drew attention, as well as in the world notes.
The New Zealand specimen notes were the clear exception to that rule. This area was the domain of a few Australian dealers that are no longer in business, and it seems many of the buyers active up to about 2012 were relying mainly on the fact the notes were apparently quite rare. That is the case, but for prices to rise they buyers can't be rarer than the notes themselves, and that has been the case for the past few years now.
Out of the dozen or so lots offered, just one lot sold. Nowhere near enough interest if you're a vendor looking to sell, however this is what can happen in sections of the collectibles market from time to time. The Australian gold coins fared far better - quality items were keenly sought, items priced to sell got away also.
The evening session included a few higher valued items, and unfortunately they were hard work also. When I review the stats and see that out of the entire sale, only 2 lots out of the 1,200 sold were valued at more than $10,000. The rubber hit the road when it came ot the specimen notes however. 9 of the 10 lots sold, although the prices realised were qute shocking for some of the bidders in the room! I have little doubt confidence will return in time - the estimates for similar lots listed for sale in the coming Downie and Noble auctions don't seem to have taken any apparent softness into account.
If I told you the clearance rate for the pre federation notes in this sale was just 28%, you'd be forgiven for thinking the interest was quite limited. There were no less than 37 offered up however, which means that the number sold (11 notes), was still quite respectable. As with the decimal specimen notes, I thought some of these prefed notes sold at crazy cheap prices - prices the market hasn't seen in decades. I think (scratch that, I know!) they're getting to the stage now where collectors that haven't paid them any heed in the past, are now regarding them as an area they'd like to get into.
Given the average unit value these notes have (anywhere from $500 right up to about $15,000 at the moment, depending on whether we're talking about proofs, specimens or issued notes), this is no small proposition. That said, there are a number of other numismatic market segments that have that kind of an entry fee, so it's not unreasonable to think a resolute collector will be able to forge their own way in this historic area, and lock in some great value for the years to come.
Activity in the Australian predecimal notes was pretty par for the course - some sold rather cheaply, other items I thought fetched far more than they were worth, while others fell in between. No news there at all!
All up, with a total turnover slightly less than $500,000, only 2 lots above $10,000 sold, an average lot value of $400 and a clearance rate of 70%, Roxbury's 95 certainly didn't set the world on fire.
Status International 319 Review
A backlog of work in the S&C office meant I wasn't able to attend this sale myself, but I did get some mail bids in.
Without doing an empirical study on the subject, I reckon Status covers more lots per hour than any other Australian numismatic auctioneer - their sales generally run from 12pm until about 5pm, with a modest break half way through. Sale 319 had about 3,300 numismatic lots in it, which works out to be (get ready for this!) around 668 lots per hour, 11 lots per minute, and one lot every 5 seconds or so!
Now, to be sure, towards the end of the sale they do cover lots in batches to ensure everyone gets out before the cleaners arrive, however make no mistake, you don't want to turn up to a Status auction in an unclear state of mind.
The results of this sale show Status got more than half a million dollars in value away in that relatively short space of time, not to be sneezed at! The clearance rate was just 28% however, so as you might think, the average lot value was slightly higher than at other sales, and came in at about $500 / lot.
That said, there were only 3 items in that section of the sale that made more than $10,000 - each were Australian gold coins in attractive grade which was interesting, as that area of the market isn't the first one people think of as being robust at auction.
Aside from those, the items that drew the attention of multiple bidders were pretty much across the board - gold, pre-decimal proofs, pre-decimal coins, decimal gold coins, and tradesmans tokens. The results for the notes weren't as strong - the clearance rate was much lower, and there were far fewer lots valued in the thousands that sold.
While Status may not have ahd the hype that other sales have had in recent months, the results suggest it was just as active.