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What is going on with Leu's fixed price list?!


Ursus
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To start, I have nothing against Leu. I sometimes bid at their auctions, have won a few coins now and then, and I have always been happy with my purchases. In my book, they are a reputable and reliable auction house.

Nonetheless, I was quite astonished when I saw the fixed price list that they posted on Biddr recently. Yes, there are some very (!) nice coins on it, but prices appear to be multiples of what they should be.

Take for or example this coin:

1315667118_Bildschirmfoto2023-01-15um19_03_38.png.318cfef359444bfd39c7d44923cd1b4b.png

It is certainly a nice coin with nice toning, but not a particularly rare type. For comaparison, I bought my example below for €70 before fees from Artemide, another reputable auction house, in December 2022. That's about fair, I'd say. I can see that Leu's coin might command twice or three times what I paid, but not twenty-one times as much...

1851540717_RomischeRepublikRRC3631dDenarL.CensorMarsyasundApollo.png.76291cc4b131fe522a0aedad87fed45b.png

Roman Republic, moneyer: L. Censor, AR denarius, 82 BC, Rome mint. Obv: Laureate head of Apollo r. Rev: L CENSOR; Marsyas, bald-headed, walking l., with r. arm raised and holding wine-skin over l. shoulder; behind, column bearing statue of Victory. 17.5mm, 4.04g. RRC 363/1d.

 

Or this medieval French gros:

2023003042_Bildschirmfoto2023-01-15um18_55_54.png.c71bb844c5d3c7ae5e28d62bf27b14ef.png

A common coin in good shape, albeit with the usual areas of weak strike. I bought mine, which admittedly has some deposits on the obverse, for €60 at retail in 2020:

1298369764_MAFrankreichPhilippIV.derSchoneTurnose12851314n_Chr.Duplessy213.png.d2f96f36dd3aeccaa7c71f3454135c78.png

Kingdom of France, under Philippe IV "le Bel" ("the Fair"), AR Gros Tournois à l’O Rond, 1285–1314 AD (struck 1295–1314 AD), Tours mint. Obv: +BHDICTV SIT HOME DHI nRI DEI IhV XPI/+ PhILIPPVS REX, cross pattée; 3-pellet stops. Rev:  +TVRONVS°CIVIS, châtel tournois; border of twelve lis.  26mm, 3.93g. Ref: Duplessy 213.

Is there maybe something I don't see, like hidden provenances or ultra rare varieties? Or is it just an attempt to fish for buyers who don't have to care about the money?

Edited by Ursus
typo
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They are asking 2,250€ for this Macedonian masterpiece (that I'm told is even more dazzling in hand), that I was out bid on last year for 550€!

00055q00.jpg.23205ea315938f51d4952cb05d7e9a6f.jpg

Did the pope kiss it or something in the interim?

Ps, if anyone needs ideas for Ryro's upcoming birthday present, hint, hint

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There was some discussion of these prices -- optimistic, to say the least! -- in the thread about this years NYINC. It does seem, from everything I've read (and according to the gossip I heard from several other dealers at NYINC!) that a lot of these are either recent auction purchases with the prices jacked up by large multiples, or coins from Leu's own previous auctions that went unsold.

It's certainly odd, given that I purchased a number of coins last year in Leu auctions, and didn't find the estimates or final sales prices to be out of line with other auctions.

People were also complaining in the Facebook ancient coins group about the prices in the new Nomos FPL, but on the whole I think they're considerably more reasonable.

Edited by DonnaML
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6 minutes ago, Ryro said:

They are asking 2,250€ for this Macedonian masterpiece (that I'm told is even more dazzling in hand), that I was out bid on last year for 550€!

00055q00.jpg.23205ea315938f51d4952cb05d7e9a6f.jpg

Did the pope kiss it or something in the interim?

Ps, if anyone needs ideas for Ryro's upcoming birthday present, hint, hint

That is a gorgeous coin, though.

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4 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

People were also complaining in the Facebook ancient coins group about the prices in the new Nomos FPL, but on the whole I think they're considerably more reasonable.

And it's your chance to pay the highest price ever paid for an antoninianus of Philip II with a weak strike and some porosity.

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16 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

That is a gorgeous coin, though.

Zeus be praised! It makes me wonder if I'd chased it how high they would've paid. 

And to be clear, Leu is one of my very favorite spots. Some of my very favorites come from Leu.

thumb-02142q00.jpg.56a31bfe5cca545a697f0c52a03b4e46.jpg

P. Nerva, 113-112 BC. Denarius (Silver, 17 mm, 3.77 g, 6 h), Rome. Helmeted bust of Roma to left, holding spear over right shoulder and shield decorated with a horseman on left; to left, star. Rev. P NERVA Three citizens voting on comitium: one voter receives ballot from attendant below, another voter places ballot in cista; P on tablet above bar. Babelon (Licinia) 7. Crawford 292/1. Sydenham 548. Nicely toned. Some graffiti and banker's marks, otherwise, fine. 
Purchased from Leu Numismatiks Aug 2021

1091709618_2061107_1626948257.l(1).jpg.0b2c5471edb6df83839083dc311d9e66.jpg

Demetrios I Poliorketes, 306-283 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 29 mm, 16.59 g, 3 h), Chalkis, circa 291-290. Diademed and horned head of Demetrios I to right. Rev. ΔHMHTPIOY - BAΣIΛEΩΣ Poseidon, nude, standing left, his right foot set on a rock, holding a trident in his left hand and resting his right on his right thigh; to outer left, monogram; to lower left, dolphin downward. Newell 146. SNG Alpha Bank -. SNG München -. Very rare. Test cut on the edge and with numerous light scratches, otherwise, fine. Purchased from Leu Numismatiks Aug 2021

2061972_1626949413.l.jpg

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1 hour ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

Come on everybody; stop complaining about the prices. Leu just hired a new Director for the USA branch, a former CNG manager. They have to pay the guy for his new responsibilities ! 🤑

No reason to complain, I am quite enthusiastic about this, for my first "fixed price list" - this coin will start at CHF 25'000, while there are others of this type available, this coin is the only known example of this coin.

781213256_L.MarciusCensorinus.jpg.ce6fb49dd8c3102c6f9a6028f251f104.jpg

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1 hour ago, Sulla80 said:

No reason to complain, I am quite enthusiastic about this, for my first "fixed price list" - this coin will start at CHF 25'000, while there are others of this type available, this coin is the only known example of this coin.

781213256_L.MarciusCensorinus.jpg.ce6fb49dd8c3102c6f9a6028f251f104.jpg

Charge double for the toning!!!

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4 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

You're not imagining things. I couldn't believe someone paid 750 CHF for an EF but otherwise unremarkable denarius of Antoninus Pius.

face born - 7029797120

Well, you failed to mention that the coin was once a part of Mazzini collection. Some people value such a pedigree quite enough.

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5 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

And it's your chance to pay the highest price ever paid for an antoninianus of Philip II with a weak strike and some porosity.

I think I singled that one out as rather astonishing!

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On the earlier thread on this subject I highlighted a Magna Graecia coin that was listed at 3 times the price of a VERY recent sale of an almost "identical" one (at a fair  price in my view) and used it as an example of  the insane  prices. I just looked at the coin again - so I could highlight  it here - only to find......it  had SOLD! I am amazed. Leu seem to  have pulled it off. 

I understand that the superrich may not  care about prices (though I suspect many actually do and that they don't all have the Sheik's mentality) but I would  have thought they could afford advice.  It's baffling.

(Unless  Leu advised them!)

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Thanks for the thoughts and explanations. I hadn't seen the earlier discussion in the NYINC thread – living on the other side of the Atlantic, I skipped reading that one.

Leu's fixed prices, like every other dealer's, include three things: (a) the coin itself, (b) the service they provide, and (c) their reputation. Leu's staff is deeply knowledgeable and can correctly assess a coin's market value, but I think they overestimate the value of their service and reputation and thus try to charge way too much for it.

Their fixed price list reflects that. Looking at the (now closed) list, all of the Roman Republican coins remain unsold. Only two of the medieval and nine of the world coins found buyers. 87 of 98 offered Greek coins were not sold, and most of the eleven sold coins either belong to the about reasonably priced exceptions on the list, are great rarities (lot 71) or have special provenances (lot 92). Most people apparently weren't willing to pay what Leu asked for.

Only the Roman Imperial section gives a slightly different impression. I have no idea why...

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My thought was that they're simply "trying it on".

Never underestimate the value of "guaranteed getting it now", vs. "maybe at a better price at an auction".

As Ursus stated above "Leu's fixed prices, like every other dealer's, include three things: (a) the coin itself, (b) the service they provide, and (c) their reputation"

They now have a good steer on b and c. Perhaps the next offering will be more reasonable, but perhaps not.

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Probably not a lot of incentive for them to offer more reasonable fixed prices when they were able to sell quite a number from this list. If someone will pay it, they'll keep listing it at that level. It doesn't really matter how unreasonable it looks to most buyers.

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On 1/16/2023 at 7:41 AM, Furryfrog02 said:

I received their fixed price email, and though I am not the caliber of customer that Leu is selling to...I thought the prices were absolutely ridiculous. I guess the more money you have, the less sense you have. 

Either that, or once you reach a certain level of wealth, it is arguably rational to just overpay by $1,000 or $2,000 USD to get what you want than to spend hours diligently trolling Numisbids and Biddr for every new auction to find a better deal like the rest of us do... 

Ah, that'd be nice wouldn't it? Maybe one day...

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2 minutes ago, jfp7375 said:

Either that, or once you reach a certain level of wealth, it is arguably rational to just overpay by $1,000 or $2,000 USD to get what you want than to spend hours diligently trolling Numisbids and Biddr for every new auction to find a better deal like the rest of us do... 

Ah, that'd be nice wouldn't it? Maybe one day...

Although isn't that the point of collecting? Otherwise, you just buy it all on day one. Done. What do I do now?

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20 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Although isn't that the point of collecting? Otherwise, you just buy it all on day one. Done. What do I do now?

Well you still have to look around and wait for certain coins to become available. All I mean is that your focus would no longer be on shopping for price, you'd just be hunting for what you want. 

And to answer your question no, I don't think the sole aim of collecting is to accumulate coins; studying and enjoying the history of the coins is half the fun for me 

Edited by jfp7375
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We can whine all we want, and I agree that the prices of many of the coins appears excessive, but the truth is Leu has already sold many of the coins in this list, so I guess they get the last laugh.

I do find it amusing, though, that they have a coin for 58 times the price of a not much worse copy that I purchased this week (and mine is a rarer year). Of course, that one hasn't sold yet.

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Speaking of Leu, some of you may be tempted by the position advertised in this email I received today. You don't even have to move to Switzerland! If I had the requisite "extensive experience as a numismatist in the coin trade," and had the requisite knowledge of non-Roman coins, I'd certainly be intrigued!

 
36966df5-fa5d-4e8f-a9b8-a1ab7b0956d6.jpg
ae19e695-c0ea-5651-20de-6de7354236b4.png

 

We are looking for a numismatist
(Full-time or part-time and working entirely from home or at our office in Winterthur)
––


We are looking for a dedicated numismatist to help us identify and catalogue coins for our floor and web auctions.
 
In order to fill this full-time or part-time position, you do not necessarily need to move to Switzerland, but can work from the comfort of your own home!
 

What do we require:

  • English as mother tongue or second language. We will only consider applicants with excellent command of English
  • Access to a numismatic library with all the important works on ancient coins
  • Extensive experience as a numismatist in the coin trade
  • Very good knowledge in the areas of Celtic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and, if need be, Islamic and early Medieval coins
  • Good computer skills (description database accessible via website)
  • Accurate determination and linguistically correct description of coins of the ancient world (Celtic, Greek, Roman Provincial, Roman Republic & Imperatorial, Roman Imperial, Byzantine, and, if need be, Islamic and early Medieval)
  • Scientifically correct research and work
  • Adherence to deadlines
  • Commitment and resilience in stressful situations
  • Ability to communicate and work in a team

What do we offer:
  • Work done entirely from home or at our office in Winterthur
  • Complete flexibility of working hours
  • Full-time or part-time work
  • Remuneration per coin described
  • Working in a dedicated team
  • Engagement with many exciting coins!

 
Are you interested? We are looking forward to receiving your application.


Numismatically yours,
Your Leu Numismatik Team
 

 

 

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Wow! I should apply!

  • English as mother tongue or second language. We will only consider applicants with excellent command of English

Check

  • Access to a numismatic library with all the important works on ancient coins

The internet, duh!

  • Extensive experience as a numismatist in the coin trade

I have a whopping two years of experience

  • Very good knowledge in the areas of Celtic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and, if need be, Islamic and early Medieval coins

I know a lot more about these than most of my friends

  • Good computer skills (description database accessible via website)

I've been in software engineering for >25 years

  • Accurate determination and linguistically correct description of coins of the ancient world (Celtic, Greek, Roman Provincial, Roman Republic & Imperatorial, Roman Imperial, Byzantine, and, if need be, Islamic and early Medieval)

Sure

  • Scientifically correct research and work

I like science

  • Adherence to deadlines

Look how fast I wrote this

  • Commitment and resilience in stressful situations

I have a wife and two teenagers. Three cats live in my house right now that aren't mine.

  • Ability to communicate and work in a team

Yup

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