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Auction Exhaustion


KenDorney

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Anyone else out there experiencing auction exhaustion?  I know, it's that time of year for lots of auctions but with the market so strong and with so many new dealers there seems to be an auction just about every day now since the beginning of the year.  I just cant keep up.  And with prices so strong I get halfway through an auction without winning anything and I just give up and abandon the auction.  My interests are with Roman bronzes primarily, and there just isn't much out there priced reasonably.  So far this year I've only bought two, these below.  I only list the prices for the Otacilia as I found it interesting to see the price variation (in my mind I paid exactly what it was worth retail after commissions).  Also interesting to note that Heritage did not include all of the provenance for the Postumus (I think there is more, I had found this exact coin before in a couple other auctions but lost my notes).  This is interesting only to current discussions and illustrates how a cataloger finds one thing important and others not.  

Otacilia Severa, ex CNG 532, Lot 618, $130, ex Pars, $795, ex Kirk Davis, $425.  

Postumus, ex private purchase, ex Heritage 232237, Lot 63312, ex CNG 73, Lot 679, ex Tom Cederlind 121, Lot 282.

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6 minutes ago, KenDorney said:

Anyone else out there experiencing auction exhaustion?  I know, it's that time of year for lots of auctions but with the market so strong and with so many new dealers there seems to be an auction just about every day now since the beginning of the year.  I just cant keep up.  And with prices so strong I get halfway through an auction without winning anything and I just give up and abandon the auction.  My interests are with Roman bronzes primarily, and there just isn't much out there priced reasonably.  So far this year I've only bought two, these below.  I only list the prices for the Otacilia as I found it interesting to see the price variation (in my mind I paid exactly what it was worth retail after commissions).  Also interesting to note that Heritage did not include all of the provenance for the Postumus (I think there is more, I had found this exact coin before in a couple other auctions but lost my notes).  This is interesting only to current discussions and illustrates how a cataloger finds one thing important and others not.  

 

I can tell you this - the market is moving and settling into two classes.

Poor to medium quality and/or non-rare coins.
Here, the desire to buy tends to go downwards. Coins of poor or just acceptable quality are becoming more and more difficult to get rid of and I am already observing many colleagues cautiously adjusting their prices downwards on an almost weekly basis. Even coins that are available in large quantities are corrected downwards very slightly because they are less in demand. I sell coins around 50-150 euros much less than I did in 2022.

My theory is - firstly, that the market here (with many new dealers and a lot of new mass-produced goods) is slowly becoming saturated in terms of choice. Secondly, the buyers in the budget 50-150 euro coins also often have a certain budget privately and the money is not so loose here. But this clientele has to save precisely because of inflation and therefore buys less (while the somewhat richer people have enough or even more money - which brings me to the next point).

Coins with very good quality and/or rare and/or special representation.
Here the propensity to buy goes up. The people who have more budget / money available - spend even more money than before. The flight of money into "material assets" continues. Coins are seen as part of a way (like silver and gold) to park or invest it elsewhere. But in order to park the money in (antique) coins with a reasonably stable value and to get it back later - one must not put the money into mass-produced or bad goods. That is why the "run" on exceptional coins (rare, conservation, pedigree, preservation etc.) is still continuing or even increasing. 

"Exceptional" coins - and it doesn't matter whether it's a 300 euro exceptional coin - or 500 euros, or 1000 euros or 2000 euros - go like "cut bread". For capital flight, it is not always necessary to take a coin for 10,000 euros. Again - the important thing is - the coin is special in its own way. Then it sells faster than you can think.

And the coins you show here are not mass-produced goods - but coins that attract other buyers.

And as long as there is still uncertainty on the financial markets (inflation, bank failures, etc.) - the trend towards special coins (no matter what price range) will continue.

 

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1 hour ago, KenDorney said:

Anyone else out there experiencing auction exhaustion?

Yes!

1 hour ago, KenDorney said:

And with prices so strong I get halfway through an auction without winning anything and I just give up and abandon the auction.

Yes!

Neat coins though! 🙂

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16 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

Anyone else in this situation?

MattFoley.jpg.855ca31363432d272e2b7119243de823.jpg

Hey, my van is chock full of sweet coins!

What I'm suffering exhaustion from is the lack of consistency from the various auction houses. It's like they are in competition to see who can charge the most on buyers fees and shipping. And they keep raising the prices higher than a hippy in a helicopter!

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Auction exhaustion is a good term to describe what economists call the diminishing marginal utility. Coin collecting is a misnomer in my view. Instead it should be called coin hunting. However, if there is too much game around this takes the fun out of the hunting.

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15 minutes ago, Ryro said:

Hey, my van is chock full of sweet coins!

What I'm suffering exhaustion from is the lack of consistency from the various auction houses. It's like they are in competition to see who can charge the most on buyers fees and shipping. And they keep raising the prices higher than a hippy in a helicopter!

Yeah, I just received my Savoca invoice and it was 60 Euros for shipping!

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3 hours ago, KenDorney said:

Anyone else out there experiencing auction exhaustion?  I know, it's that time of year for lots of auctions but with the market so strong and with so many new dealers there seems to be an auction just about every day now since the beginning of the year.  I just cant keep up.  And with prices so strong I get halfway through an auction without winning anything and I just give up and abandon the auction.  My interests are with Roman bronzes primarily, and there just isn't much out there priced reasonably.  So far this year I've only bought two, these below.  I only list the prices for the Otacilia as I found it interesting to see the price variation (in my mind I paid exactly what it was worth retail after commissions).  Also interesting to note that Heritage did not include all of the provenance for the Postumus (I think there is more, I had found this exact coin before in a couple other auctions but lost my notes).  This is interesting only to current discussions and illustrates how a cataloger finds one thing important and others not.  

Otacilia Severa, ex CNG 532, Lot 618, $130, ex Pars, $795, ex Kirk Davis, $425.  

Postumus, ex private purchase, ex Heritage 232237, Lot 63312, ex CNG 73, Lot 679, ex Tom Cederlind 121, Lot 282.

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The two coins you posted sold at bargain prices, especially the Otacilia sestertius ($156.00 including the buyers premium). I remember the Postumus bronze because I was outbid on that coin, but I did win a Tetricus I barbarous radiate at that auction. I have put the brakes on buying anymore coins this year but will look closely at most of the end of year auctions. I've been working on a large submission of coins to NGC for slabbing & will probably sell a number of them just to recoup some of the slabbing expense that has gotten crazy. I think the market is still strong for "high grade" coins regardless of rarity. There are many young collectors creating new markets for all kinds of collectables that baffle me. I faithfully watch the Antiques Roadshow on PBS & am dumbfounded at the crap many people are spending good money on at the same time quality antiques are dropping in price 🙄.

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I don't know if I can call it auction exhaustion, but I decreased the number of coins I buy. 

As some of you know, I am not a big fan of extraordinary condition. A coin in true XF condition might have a great eye appeal, but if it has what I call a standard reverse I lose almost all my interest for it. I strongly prefer a coin in F-VF but with an uncommon reverse or a certain historical or mythological importance. 
And it looks like I manage to get coins I like for good prices as people don't like worn coins. As long as the design is still intact and the attribution is possible without doubts, and of course, if I like the coin, I don't mind them at all. 

On a long term this means I will not get much profit, but since I do not intend to sell anything, I am not concerned. 

Although my ancient coins collection is relatively small compared to others (404 coins, including a small number of medievals), I felt I fulfilled 90% of my goals. So, as I said, I don't know if I can call it exhaustion but there is a limited number of coins I still want. There are a lot of emperors missing from my collection, but I reached that stage where I don't feel that adding a new name is satisfactory, for the price I need to pay. Basically it would mean adding a very modest coin for 300 euros (best case scenario) and since for me this is not a small sum, even if I can afford a coin like this, I wonder if it's worth it. For the moment the answer is no. 

I don't think I will stop buying coins, but I will try (and for a few months, I am doing this) to get just coins that are very important and remain in a strict budget. I can call them bargains. It starts to get more and more difficult, as in February I had 3 auctions where I managed to get a total of 0 coins, and I wasn't expecting this. 

A few months ago I was watching the live auctions with great interest, buying snacks, I started to get read of this habit as sometimes 5 snacks mean the budget for an important coin. 

And yes, I am starting to get very annoyed with expensive shipping .... and SLOW shipping.
Tomorrow I should finally get a package I paid 1 month ago. Expensive shipping. I said OK, from what i understand from T&C, it should be DHL Express (that delivers in 48 hours). Nope. It took them a week to ship - which is the limit for my tastes - and they used normal, cheap, post. This left a bad taste in my mouth as I just think they are using cheap tactics to get easy extra money. My answer is simple - will not buy from them anymore. 

Another auction win from a week ago - they haven't even shipped yet. I might ask too much (but I wonder how other houses send the packages the next day after the auction and use decent, fast  and cheap shipping methods) but in my book, these are large cons that make me buy less and less. 

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52 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

Yeah, I just received my Savoca invoice and it was 60 Euros for shipping!

Wait, WTF just happened? 

I didn't even notice that on the last invoice (maybe two) that I already paid, they now charge a % on top of their usual $21 (fastest shipping in the biz).

Ouch!

... though she's on her way, with friends:

 

 

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3829445_1677253086.l-removebg-preview.png

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19 minutes ago, Ryro said:

Wait, WTF just happened? 

I didn't even notice that on the last invoice (maybe two) that I already paid, they now charge a % on top of their usual $21 (fastest shipping in the biz).

Ouch!

Looking at my past invoices, it looks like they only increased fees moderately. 
Over $1k appears to be 1% + 60 Euros. That's up from 55 Euros from an order two years ago.
Under $1k appears to be 1% + 25 Euros. That doesn't appear to have changed.

I'll probably skip their next auction as there's only one coin I'd really want, and it's easy to obtain elsewhere.

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The value of good coins always goes up. I started collecting seriously as an adult in the 90's, and the value of many of those coins has doubled or tripled since then. It doesn't matter to me if I overspend on a coin (within reason of course), because I'm willing to play the long game. If I acquire something below market value, of course I'll look to make a quick profit. But the majority of my stock comes from consignors, and consignments are great because you don't have to invest any of your own capital to earn your salary. I'm also in the position where I have a full-time job that pays all the bills and I don't need a consistent income from coin sales - it's a hobby.

All that being said, yes, I can relate to the OP's auction frustrations. The message I receive most often throughout the day is that I've been outbid.

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Funny on the topic of 'snacks' mentioned above.

Just a year ago, it was common to grab a few 'snacks' in order to make the shipping worth it. Lately, when I'm done with my targets at auction, I just close the browser because I've done enough damage.

Almost all of my snacks were Roman coins, but I haven't purchased a single one this year...

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13 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

Funny on the topic of 'snacks' mentioned above.

Just a year ago, it was common to grab a few 'snacks' in order to make the shipping worth it. Lately, when I'm done with my targets at auction, I just close the browser because I've done enough damage.

Almost all of my snacks were Roman coins, but I haven't purchased a single one this year...

That's how I've been doing it too. I used to be more aggressive in pursuing other low-cost coins to help dilute shipping costs, but anymore I just look at it as more money spent, not saved.

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I've been keeping the old horse blinders on when it comes to auctions.  I just can't handle too much information - old age, cognitive overload and a brain with burnt out valves barely sputtering along with lots of white smoke coming out the ears and nostrils. 

So I've limited the auctions over recent years to CNG (only occasionally), Roma (much more frequently, but that may change), and Naumann (only once so far).  My fixed income is also a limiter.  eBay has been an important source for my eccentric interest in imitative owls and other stuff.  That's pretty much it, beside my very limited purchases from my local coin dealer.  

My issue, that will become more central as I head off to la la land, is disposing the collection.  I'm just one of those folks who hates to part with things, something deeply rooted, but that's another story.

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To me, what some of you call auction exhaustion or the diminishing marginal utility as coins of a certain quality have spiked in prices is not really an issue. For almost a year now I only buy from two auctioneers and if my current interest, which is provincial Romans, becomes stale or (unlikely) scarce, I'll just move to another interest and start climbing that awesome knowledge ladder in that domain. I have done this before with Constantinian coins (which was my first field of interest decades ago), then general late Romans, then general medieval Europeans, then the particular coinage of the denier tournois, then post-1204 Byzantines and now provincial Romans. And I am not very alarmed about prices neither. The area I was browsing on biddr pre-pandemic and pre-war is still there at basically the same nominal prices, even though inflation pretty much moved everything up by a lot and the overall cost of just living has probably gone up by 20-40%. The coins that I am looking at have not gone up a single red cent. And as another colleague noted above, I am also not looking at investments in any material and financial way so any and all pressure regarding that does not exist. I approach coins as purely historical and aesthetic (sometimes, even the ugly ones) objects that are available to buy for a few Euros practically everywhere. So I just don't bother with the hassle of browsing auctions that I don't intend to be bidding in and invoices with exaggerated s&h prices etc. I just go to two places and make a few picks every month, pay a median of 10Eur per s&h and always have interesting coins to research and admire. That also leaves some room for other interests like bladed weapons and Nike Air Max sneakers. 

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On 3/14/2023 at 1:46 PM, YOTHR said:

I can tell you this - the market is moving and settling into two classes.

Poor to medium quality and/or non-rare coins.
Here, the desire to buy tends to go downwards. Coins of poor or just acceptable quality are becoming more and more difficult to get rid of and I am already observing many colleagues cautiously adjusting their prices downwards on an almost weekly basis. Even coins that are available in large quantities are corrected downwards very slightly because they are less in demand. I sell coins around 50-150 euros much less than I did in 2022.

My theory is - firstly, that the market here (with many new dealers and a lot of new mass-produced goods) is slowly becoming saturated in terms of choice. Secondly, the buyers in the budget 50-150 euro coins also often have a certain budget privately and the money is not so loose here. But this clientele has to save precisely because of inflation and therefore buys less (while the somewhat richer people have enough or even more money - which brings me to the next point).

I consider myself to be in the first category.  While my budget has risen to mostly buying $150-$300 coins, inflation hasn't been so bad for these.  I buy for personal enjoyment and many of my buys are opportunistic. Probably about 70% of the time I have no set goals, I just buy what appeals to me and is reasonably priced. I buy more than I did in the past. I'm also buying mostly from European dealers, something which I also didn't do in the past; 70% of my European buys coming from either Savoca or LAC.

The inevitable financial collapse (what goes up must go down) will perhaps reset the market.

Gold has become pretty much unaffordable.  There's no way I'm going to spend $800 for a common Heraclius issue.  One can still find $600-700 gold, but those are the exceptions.  In 2009 I was buying at $400-500.

 

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39 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

The inevitable financial collapse (what goes up must go down) will perhaps reset the market.

Some things go up over a long period of time - there are always dips but the whole way is up. See investment gold as an example.

I think (and you can already tell a little bit) - the generally high prices (even for not so good coins) were very high the last few months, so there were a lot of people who wanted to make a buck. Like a carcass full of potential profits, it has attracted some vultures. And so there are currently (too many new) traders and too many mass-produced goods. Here the market will - I think - clean up.

But inflation will not disappear overnight. Energy will remain an expensive issue for a long time - until the market is finally ready for clean and cheap energy. And when energy is expensive - not only your energy bill becomes expensive - expensive energy makes everything more expensive! Food, services, goods in production. And so long inflation will stay there. Add to that uncertain real estate, uncertainties in the interest rate market and uncertainties in "bad banks". And all this will not be resolved in a few months!

As long as this is the case - part of the money will continue to be invested in real assets. And that includes coins. But these will then be seen as an investment (often less as a collector's item). 

And these expensive rare special coins will therefore continue to be sought after and continue to rise in price. And this can be - as written - an exceptional coin for 500 euros or one for 5,000 euros. But everything that is not mass-produced and has something special - these prices will at least remain stable or rise.

 

You may call me Cassandra 😄 

I did not feel like logging into the account now ....
Prieure de Sion / YOTHR...

 

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It's both funny and not, but in my case what seems to be happening lately is:

  • I watch the auction and a bunch of intriguing coins come up, but they're not on my list so I don't bid
  • Most go for very reasonable prices and I think "wow. Whoever bought that did pretty well."
  • Then my coin comes up and KABOOM! Everyone and their cat wants it. And I collect mostly obscure coins, so these aren't your flashy tets that everyone covets. 
  • I then either lose the coin or I end up the winner but then wince at what I had to pay

So, I'm not sure what's going on, but it almost seems like some copies of me from another metaverse stopped by and have the exact same lists.

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11 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

So, I'm not sure what's going on, but it almost seems like some copies of me from another metaverse stopped by and have the exact same lists.

Clearly - you are trapped in a parallel space dimension. Many "I's" of yourself in different parallel universes are bidding on the coin at the same time!
Morpheus says - you have to decide for the blue or red pill....

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24 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

It's both funny and not, but in my case what seems to be happening lately is:

  • I watch the auction and a bunch of intriguing coins come up, but they're not on my list so I don't bid
  • Most go for very reasonable prices and I think "wow. Whoever bought that did pretty well."
  • Then my coin comes up and KABOOM! Everyone and their cat wants it. And I collect mostly obscure coins, so these aren't your flashy tets that everyone covets. 
  • I then either lose the coin or I end up the winner but then wince at what I had to pay

So, I'm not sure what's going on, but it almost seems like some copies of me from another metaverse stopped by and have the exact same lists.

This is a well-known axiom of the coin trade. It's a bear market when I'm selling, and a bull market when I'm buying. 😡

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Tried my hand today at a few coins on Roma. I am continuously reminded whenever I try and win a coin there, why I hate bidding on their platform. 3 coins today I had the winning bid, it hammered, then it flipped to a 1 increment higher bid and I lost. Even though I had a cushion between my winning bid and my max. I know it has something to do with the site refreshing but I am sooooo over it. /rant 

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