On the up!
Volume 43, Number 4, April 2006
Last month I wrote in this Editorial how the hobby of numismatics has been enjoying something a boom in recent years when other hobbies have been feeling the pinch. That assertion is borne out in the latest sales figures for the London auction houses which show that the market has increased overall by over a third to £22 million whilst the number of lots consigned increased by nearly 15%. This month we are once again able, with the kind permission of the Antiques Trade Gazette (ATG) and Richard Falkiner, to reproduce the sales performance table that appeared in the ATG of March 4 and as you can see the figures make interesting reading. As one might expect Dix Noonan Webb and Spink come out “on top” with DNW taking the honours for the fourth year in a row in London whilst Spink would have been pre-eminent if their Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Banknote sales had been included in the results. DNW’s position is mainly due to their excellent Orders, Decorations and Medal sales (up again this year by nearly a fifth) whilst Spink’s strength continues to lie with their coin and banknote auctions (an increase of nearly 50% in 2005). Morton and Eden have increased their coin turnover dramatically even though the number of lots consigned to them was actually down, a situation reflected by quite a few of the “big players”, many of whom saw a drop in the number of items they were able to sell. Not that that seemed to affect their results ¬¬- a sure sign that whilst there may be fewer items coming in to some salesrooms, the quality of what does come in remains high (and of course the prices continue to rise!). St James’ and Bloomsbury continue on the ascendant with huge rises in turnover and large increases in the number of lots sold, a reflection of the fact that these “new kids on the block” are now firmly established. The other houses remain steady with modest increases (although Bonhams’ orders and medals figures increased significantly, which brought their overall total up by more than a quarter); only London Coin Auctions had a fall turnover despite the number of lots being consigned increasing – there seems no logic to this and we’re sure it’s just a blip in the statistics! Whilst no statistics are perfect indicators of market trends or movements there can be no doubt that our hobby is still “on the up”; there can also be no doubt that this coming year will certainly be one to watch with some interesting developments certain to cause a few changes in next year’s table. Already DNW are gearing up for a huge banknote sale and Spink’s calendar is full, but behind the “big two” there are others snapping at their heels, with the influx of new personnel and new money into Baldwin sure to make a difference and the two sales of the massive Clarendon collection to be held by Bonhams in March and October certain to increase their “coin” turnover quite considerably. And it must not be forgotten these figures are for London based auctioneers only, those who ignore the vast increases in lots consigned and turnover in the “provincial” auction houses do so at their peril.
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