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World Coin Market – 2016 Demand for Quality British Coins Increasing

Charles I (1625-49), Shilling, Tower Mint under Parliament. mint mark ‘eye’ both sides (1645). When you own this piece of ART you have distinguished owners before you: Dr.Carter, Fitch, Murdoch, Montagu, Webb, Shepherd – and that only takes you back to 1885!

By Geoffrey CopePetitioncrown.com ……..

Art & Eye Appeal

The questions I have received over the last several months from those interested in the investment potential of numismatics–questions about the direction of the British collector’s market–have required more time to consider, but I can say that British Numismatics has started off strong in 2016. As an alternative investment, it has really differentiated itself from the more popular areas of Equities, Bonds and low-yield instruments that currently demonstrate such volatility.

However, the habits of collectors and investors in the UK, which used to run in parallel, have increasingly polarized.

The Auction scene has provided us with a good guide as to direction of the market. Spink and Son in London is still the best indicator of market prices, attracting the widest interest from collectors of general and specific material. We also have a good number of other London and provincial auctions that attract numismatic material of note.

This has allowed me to observe support levels and the number of people bidding at the high end.

The prices realized on middle- to low-quality material have softened on my estimation by 30%, with some areas falling back to the prices of early 2002 or even lower. Coins with good provenance have not been hit as hard.

Rare mints in the Anglo-Saxon period attract collectors irrespective of condition, reaching higher prices than previously. Collectors are changing their habits – the search is on for higher-grade coins as they understand that quality material is not as susceptible to price volatility.

These choice pieces account for less than 0.5% of the available material.

A consistently weak area had been early copper half-pennies, until Spinks offered a number of high-quality pieces in auction recently with touches of original mint lustre. These pieces defied gravity with the hammer prices.



William III (1694-1702), Halfpenny, 1699, laureate and cuirassed bust right, rev. Britannia seated left (Peck 687; S.3554), extremely fine, scarce.

This now invites the question: What about the investment market? British Numismatics has a wide range of collectors that support the market worldwide; for the majority, they are long-term buyers as they build their collections over periods of 20 years and more.

There is a synergy between quality and price. Buyers who bought low quality carried out little research of what is in the market and might possibly be available in the future. Caveat Emptor or “buyer beware” is as applicable now as it ever was…

There is a correlation that I have been writing about for the last 20+ years in that coins are miniature ART forms. This statement in itself tells you there is a link between ART and EYE APPEAL. In 2002 the Slaney Collection came on the market after 40+ years; it was a collection that had 30%+ super quality pieces.

The market goes crazy when an old collection with quality pieces comes along. Post auction, these quality pieces have continued to rise in price.

My estimate for 2016 for hammered and early milled coinage is for 2016 is +12% overall.



Henry VIII (1509-47), third coinage 1544-47, Sovereign, 12.87g, Tower mint

Over 100 years ago in 1906, an article in the Italian Numismatic Journal wrote about one amazing sale: “…[P]revailing absolutely the modern theory that conservation not only goes on to everything, but the only element of judgment.”

You have with coins, as with all collectables, the best and the rest. Collectors and investors will pay more than most expect for high quality.

It happened recently with copper halfpennies, where even the auctioneer reminded the bidders that the coins were not gold. Nevertheless, the reminder of the coins continued to push prices higher.

These pieces always find a home and are sought generation after generation – the Giaconda’s of numismatics have always been this way.

Geoffrey Cope

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