Coin News

Volume 44, Number 4, April 2007

On the increase!

Volume 44, Number 4, April 2007

THANKS once again to the Antiques Trade Gazette and Richard Falkiner, their numismatics correspondent, for their kind permission to reproduce the table that looks at the performance (in Coin and Medal terms) of all the major London Auction Houses in the last year. As you will see DNW are once again pre-eminent with a turnover of £7.5 million and a market share of nearly 29 per cent—although this is largely down to their phenomenal success with their wonderful sales of Orders, Decorations and Medals, of which the £2 million plus sale of September 2006 being the undoubted highlight. That said their medal turnover hasn’t actually increased that much at only 4.5 per cent whereas the coins side has been racing along with a increase of over a fifth on last year. Spink have continued to do exceptionally well with coins (and banknotes) with their total of just over £5 million being almost as large a total as their next two coin rivals (DNW and Baldwins) combined. Undoubtedly this was boosted by their record breaking sale of the Edward II double leopard, although in percentage terms they were down very slightly on last year. Morton and Eden lost a little on the coin front but again their exceptional sales of medals—namely the collection of the American Numismatic Society—has boosted their overall figures by nearly 72 per cent and their medal total by a staggering 500+ per cent! Baldwins have been on something of a roll too recently and whilst their medal sales have slipped a little they were never huge to begin with and their coin sales, with a very respectable increase of over 70 per cent, continue to do very well, giving them a very healthy “fourth” place on the table. On the coin front, in percentage terms at least, Bonhams (Glendinings) figures look particularly rosy with the magnificent Clarendon collection sales enabling them to increase their coin turnover by more than 200 per cent, they lost a little on the medal side but overall they still managed to increase by nearly 110 per cent—the biggest percentage rise of all the major houses. London Coins Auctions, who wobbled a little last year when they lost nearly 30 per cent have rallied well and have passed the million pound mark with an increase in turnover of 25 per cent. These figures and the company’s “recovery” from last year will make heartening reading for St James and Bloomsbury both of whom have posted a decreased turnover similar to that of London Coins last year—but as both companies are still relatively new these figures are difficult to read—both auction houses had good years last year due to the novelty of them being in the market place; a decrease this year does not mean anything more than a need for them to continue to establish their place amongst the “big boys”. The most important figures in this table are, of course, not for the individual auction houses at all but rather the overall figures that show the strength of the market—and once again we can see that people are still happy to buy coins, with an increase in coin sales turnover of nearly 10 per cent. Interestingly though the number of lots consigned is actually pretty stagnant with less than 1 per cent increase—which just shows that as always it isn’t quantity but quality that is enduringly popular. So there we have it—another year of continued growth, true 2005 had seen an increase of over 36 per cent in coin turnover and we haven’t reached that this year, but with the economy wobbling, interest rates and other “necessary” bills going up and uncertainty abounding, the fact that we are able to show an increase at all is not to be sneezed at—there are many market sectors that would kill for an increase of nearly 10 per cent—and don’t forget this is just London, with more and more people selling in provincial houses or on-line there can be no doubt that it’s still a strong market. Let’s hope it stays that way.

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