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The end of price craziness?


alexbq2
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It appears that the Russian stock markets have been struck hard by the recent financial turmoil. Would this also translate into a drop of Russian coin prices, or would this in fact divert more investors into this alternative capitalization medium? As I understand the 1998 default did cause a slight drop in the coin prices (which at that time were low anyhow).

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It appears that the Russian stock markets have been struck hard by the recent financial turmoil. Would this also translate into a drop of Russian coin prices, or would this in fact divert more investors into this alternative capitalization medium? As I understand the 1998 default did cause a slight drop in the coin prices (which at that time were low anyhow).

 

It's hard to say. I did notice that on one of Ebay's live auctions, a Siberian 10 Kopek coin from 1780 in XF+ condition, finished at $200. Six months ago that same coin probably would have sold for triple that price or more. Maybe the bidder just got lucky, or it could be as you said, because the world economy is hitting the skids, people are not investing as much. I guess only time will tell.

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The Russian economy is certainly taking a hit right now.

Russian Buyers of Numismatic investements are hoping that coins are less volatile than stocks etc.

Prices might be going up, not down. Look what is happening with gold yesterday and today (up up up)

 

I would hang on. Its gonna be a bumpy ride.

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I was watching the Heritage auction of Russian and other world coins from Long Beach online last night. For most of the early material, the estimates were getting crushed as usual, but some notable coins either went for much lower than estimate or did not meet the reserve. Examples were an AU 1804 ten roubles that failed to meet the $65000 reserve, and a rather scruffy 1836 Family rouble that went for much less than the $50000 estimate. So perhaps some sanity is creeping back into the market.

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I was watching the Heritage auction of Russian and other world coins from Long Beach online last night. For most of the early material, the estimates were getting crushed as usual, but some notable coins either went for much lower than estimate or did not meet the reserve. Examples were an AU 1804 ten roubles that failed to meet the $65000 reserve, and a rather scruffy 1836 Family rouble that went for much less than the $50000 estimate. So perhaps some sanity is creeping back into the market.

Of course, the question is whether people who can buy coins like this are affected by the current state of the market at all (I highly doubt it), or will pay whatever it takes to buy a coin they really like.

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Of course, the question is whether people who can buy coins like this are affected by the current state of the market at all (I highly doubt it), or will pay whatever it takes to buy a coin they really like.

I was also watching the Heritage auction. I see the usual trend - middle-of-the-road material does not sell well. Good coins sell pretty well. The 1804 most likely had problems, just like 1836. Take a look at 1912 'tron' commemorative - $80000 with comission ! Given that everyone is very cautious right now the auction went fairly well. IMHO.

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I was also watching the Heritage auction. I see the usual trend - middle-of-the-road material does not sell well. Good coins sell pretty well. The 1804 most likely had problems, just like 1836. Take a look at 1912 'tron' commemorative - $80000 with comission ! Given that everyone is very cautious right now the auction went fairly well. IMHO.

I mis-remembered the 1804 ten rouble - it was an "XF with abrasions", not AU, so not surprising it didn't meet the aggressive reserve. But an 1831 rouble graded NGC MS-64 failed to meet a $5500 reserve, which was something of a surprise. I think `cautious` is the right word - I could sense a fear of paying too much that was not in evidence previously.

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The first time I looked at the picture of that 1831 rouble, I felt that it was not uncirculated. I believe that NGC missed on that one. Of course, without the coin in hand, I can't be certain, but if one looks at the obverse, there is what looks to be wear on the eagle's claws on both feet, it's "knee" on the right foot (from the viewer's point of view), and on some of the interior wing featheres. Also, there seems to be wear visible on the left eagle's beak. On the reverse, the crown is either worn or very poorly struck. So I think the failure to sell this particular coin is not so much indicative of the cooling of the market, but of the over-graded nature of this offering. Condition sensitivity is not a new phenominon in the Russian area. Russians have demonstrated that, when a particularly choice coin is offered, they will abandon any semblance of reason to get a coin. A true 65, 66 or, g-d forgive me, 67 usually results in very strong prices. Case in point, the two 1896 coronation roubles, mint state 65 (est. 3000-4000) and 66 (est. 4000-5000), realized extremely strong prices, upwards of $6300 and $8000 respectively in the May Heritage auction. Those were strong estimates, but each was doubled. However in the just-completed September auction, a similar coin, graded unc/cleaned, estimated at $2000, did not sell. And these are "common" coins. So I agree with IgorS, and I don't believe I see a clear indication in this recent Heritage sale that the market for really exceptional or rare Russian coins is slackening, but perhaps the market for "so-so" coins is cooling. Only time will tell. I still think that there are lots of very wealthy Russians out there if an auction is marketed correctly.

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I was focusing on the Chinese coins, so I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the Russian material. But to grade a coin with easily visible wear "MS-64" is quite a miss! Another dealer friend said to me today: "Why would I want to send a coin out for grading to have it graded honestly? I can grade it honestly myself."

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Don't be too quick to judge NGC; I can't be absolutely sure about the 1831 - just my opinion based solely on the pictures. That's why it's very important to see the coin before bidding. I'm just trying to find a reason why the coin may not have sold. It's also possible that the bidders there already had a nice wings down rouble or had their sights set on some of the other coins. Every auction is a unique experience. Obviously, the more interest that is generated, the more chances there are to sell the coins, but it's very hard to make market judgements based on one or two auctions.

 

With respect to your remark about slabbing, apart from the preservation aspects which could also be obtained by several other methods, slabbing is of use primarily as a marketing tool; it allows the coin to appeal to a wider spectrum of buyer; it gives the impression that there is a consensus of opinion about the condition and the authenticity of the coin thereby reassuring the buyer that he/she can turn around and market the coin to the largest number of buyers when the time comes to sell. It's really only particularly useful for top-end coins: coins that are somewhat to very valuable, although there is still some effect even for lower-end coins until the cost of the grading equals or surpasses the value of the coin. In many ways, third party grading of coins is analogous to third party grading of precious gems. Most of us wouldn't buy an expensive diamond without a GIA certificate since most of us are not experts at grading diamonds, nor would most of us buy a new house without a home inspection since most home buyers are not construction experts.

 

One of the dangers of third party grading is the tendency for inexperienced buyers to associate high value with high grade absent any other criteria. That's why it's very important to, as they say, buy the book before the coin. An MS70 1825 bust half dollar would be an astounding rarity; but I would venture to say that an MS70 2008 proof commemorative half dollar would be of little interest to most knowledgeable numismatists.

Marv Finnley

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...With respect to your remark about slabbing, apart from the preservation aspects which could also be obtained by several other methods, slabbing is of use primarily as a marketing tool; it allows the coin to appeal to a wider spectrum of buyer; it gives the impression that there is a consensus of opinion about the condition and the authenticity of the coin thereby reassuring the buyer that he/she can turn around and market the coin to the largest number of buyers when the time comes to sell. It's really only particularly useful for top-end coins: coins that are somewhat to very valuable, although there is still some effect even for lower-end coins until the cost of the grading equals or surpasses the value of the coin. In many ways, third party grading of coins is analogous to third party grading of precious gems. Most of us wouldn't buy an expensive diamond without a GIA certificate since most of us are not experts at grading diamonds, nor would most of us buy a new house without a home inspection since most home buyers are not construction experts.

 

One of the dangers of third party grading is the tendency for inexperienced buyers to associate high value with high grade absent any other criteria. That's why it's very important to, as they say, buy the book before the coin. An MS70 1825 bust half dollar would be an astounding rarity; but I would venture to say that an MS70 2008 proof commemorative half dollar would be of little interest to most knowledgeable numismatists.

 

Well said! :ninja:

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:ninja:

 

1831 ms64 sold out for $6325 after action...

 

My Opinion good-scarce-rare-even some common high grade coins always can find the buyer.

 

;)

 

How about this: 1891 rouble - scratches and minor rim nicks, EF and somewhat prooflike - estimate £200-£250, realized £1900!!.

Another: 1883 DS rouble, listed as scarce by Julian - EF with light gray tone estimate £200-£250, realized £2800!

 

These are both from the Baldwins auction 57 of September 23-24 just completed, on Sixbid.com.

 

More data points. Is the demand for Russian coins cooling?

 

Marv Finnley

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Perhaps it is not well phrased. However, seeing coins that sold for 30 dollars only a few shaort years ago sell for 10 times as much these days, did bring that colloquialism to my mind.

 

Perhaps some inexperienced collectors think, that because high-end Russian coins are experiencing huge run-ups, that lower-end coins will have the same increase. I'm not sure that applies. In the US market, while some high-end coins have shown spectacular increases, many of the lower end, more common coins haven't done much in years. I have some US coins that I collected in the 50's that aren't worth much more than they were then. Of course, although in percentage terms, going from $1.00 to $5.00 is a huge increase, inflation over 50-odd years has negated much of that.

 

Marv Finnley

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  • 2 weeks later...
So you think Russians will start selling coins back to us? I think not. The dollar is devalued and stock market is weak, they will buy more coins because other investments are bleak at best. Just an opinion.

 

Not only oligarchs buy coins. I do not know the feeling on Russian streets, but if this continues the effects will surely "trickle down" on wider populous, and most likely not just in Russia. At that point coins will not be the first things on collectors minds.

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