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Aaron Berk's youtube podcast


Nerosmyfavorite68

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I was too tired to finish Aaron Berk's latest podcast - #033, but he goes into the two divergent ancient coin markets; the raw and slab worlds.  He channeled Jim Rome a bit, going in pretty hard on the respective buyers of a few overpriced slabbed coins in some auctions (he really aired the pejoratives in episode 32).

I do agree with his slab attitude and while I don't buy a lot of HJB coins (because I'm a budget buyer, I'm not really in their market), Mr. Berk's stock went up in my book.  He also pointed out that there was a new slab company because the established ones weren't really getting the grades right.  I noticed that, on the few slabs I have - I disagreed with about 70% of the grades and strongly disagreed with about 30% - I would have graded them a grade or two less.  He also added that slabbing is largely an 'investment strategy'.  One is banking on the slab's grade.  He also has a slide illustrating what features slab and raw sellers, respectively, value (at 29:04 of episode 33). 

All of my slabs are from birthday/Christmas presents, from the local coin shop. All would be freed, if I were less of a klutz.  I'm afraid of damaging the coins.  90% of my slabs are also the entry level NGC slab, lacking a lot of pertinent information.

This is not a jab in any way, shape, or form at anyone here, and I was therefore pretty measured about airing my personal slab/raw opinions.  I can understand why a couple of folks slab here, a rational financial decision (on the selling end).  Buying and selling are two very different animals.  Most of the most ardent anti-slabbers seem to be collectors. 

Aside from Classical Numismatics and TrachyEnjoyer, are there any frequent ancient coin youtube podcasts?  Did anyone here listen to the last couple of Berk podcasts?

 

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2 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

 

I was too tired to finish Aaron Berk's latest podcast - #033, but he goes into the two divergent ancient coin markets; the raw and slab worlds.  He channeled Jim Rome a bit, going in pretty hard on the respective buyers of a few overpriced slabbed coins in some auctions (he really aired the pejoratives in episode 32)

 

Lets not pretend HJB isnt as overpriced on many coins they sell as these slab hammers…🙈

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2 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Did anyone here listen to the last couple of Berk podcasts?

I have listened to all his podcasts, and there's  usually  something of interest to take away. From the comments sections on youtube there are a few  Numis Forum people watching too.  I find Mike Nottleman generally a good foil too.

Not to add much to the endless debate on slabs, but despite having bought a more powerful vice to help crack them  open,  I now find myself ignoring most slabs for the hassle of  opening  - or the hassle  of extra storage space for them if  I'm too idle  or incompetent (or both) to  open them.

 

 

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I enjoy the podcast greatly, specifically Aaron's experience and stories, Mike is fine.

I fell asleep last night about half way through it, will have to rewatch. 

I think slabbed coins make a great gift for new comers, and if they wanna pry it out, they can.

 

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I found the "How are they Sold?" section to be interesting.  Here's a transcript of the table he made, ranking the importance of each quality to the raw and slabbed market, respectively. 

 

 

Raw:

Supply/Demand

Artistic Merit

Rarity

Metal Quality

Grade

Slabbed:

Grade

Metal Quality

Supply/Demand

Artistic Merit

33:50 has a section about who sells them.

 

I suppose metal quality refers to the coin's surfaces?

As a buyer, I guess my ranking of criteria would be: artistic merit (does it look cool?), patina (if applicable), price, condition (which is different than assigned grades).  I usually don't care greatly if it's rare.  Assigned grade would be near the bottom.  There are times where condition is near the bottom if it's a great rarity or an expensive type which is a decrepit bargain. (The decrepit bargains aren't pictured).

AnonymousFollisClassA2-AEFollis-28mm12.25largechipat1oclockSB1813nice.jpg.9370501fa26369529b4094a5d1122378.jpg

Here's a recent example.  I was really wanting a LARGE A2 follis, but this rather small one was in the stock of a dealer whom I was ordering from.  The condition was great, probably VF+.  The chip?  Who cares? I'm not going to sell any of my coins.  I buy for my own pleasure.  hat being said, I don't normally buy coins with enormous chips. I believe this particular one came out of the mint looking that way (the chip is very old), and the weight as-is corresponds exactly with this particular variant.  The patina is pretty decent. Artistic merit isn't the best, Christ rather looks like I do after getting stuck behind a Captain Slow or worse, the accursed gravel trucks, on the highway.  However, I've seen worse.  The price; it was 60-something, which made it a no-brainer to add this one on to the order.

Phocas-602-610-AEFollis-Nikomedia(probably)36mm11.87gnicefromDavidConnors.jpg.9da218fcc0acd007bcd90909687abb27.jpg

This one: The huge flan and nice patina/highlighting had me hooked.  The price was pretty modest.  As Byzantine AE's go, the condition is also above average.  I can't even remember if the dealer included a grade.  That was irrelevant to me.  I had gone into that particular buy looking for an oversized Phocas.

GordianIIISestertiusglossyGreenpatinaRIC298a.JPG.78fe5a716b7f7c0c09b88473dbc3eaf0.JPG

This one was chosen purely because of the patina.  It didn't matter who the emperor was,  Condition, within reason, also didn't matter.

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I've always enjoyed Aaron's podcasts and I look forward to the new episodes. My collecting range is very narrow, but I appreciate his educational segments about other periods. The auction insights are interesting and he does a good job of not just focusing on the highlight coins. And yes, it's always fun to see the "doofus" purchases (I just hope it's never me). 

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12 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I found the "How are they Sold?" section to be interesting.  Here's a transcript of the table he made, ranking the importance of each quality to the raw and slabbed market, respectively. 

 

 

Raw:

Supply/Demand

Artistic Merit

Rarity

Metal Quality

Grade

Slabbed:

Grade

Metal Quality

Supply/Demand

Artistic Merit

33:50 has a section about who sells them.

 

I suppose metal quality refers to the coin's surfaces?

As a buyer, I guess my ranking of criteria would be: artistic merit (does it look cool?), patina (if applicable), price, condition (which is different than assigned grades).  I usually don't care greatly if it's rare.  Assigned grade would be near the bottom.  There are times where condition is near the bottom if it's a great rarity or an expensive type which is a decrepit bargain. (The decrepit bargains aren't pictured).

AnonymousFollisClassA2-AEFollis-28mm12.25largechipat1oclockSB1813nice.jpg.9370501fa26369529b4094a5d1122378.jpg

Here's a recent example.  I was really wanting a LARGE A2 follis, but this rather small one was in the stock of a dealer whom I was ordering from.  The condition was great, probably VF+.  The chip?  Who cares? I'm not going to sell any of my coins.  I buy for my own pleasure.  hat being said, I don't normally buy coins with enormous chips. I believe this particular one came out of the mint looking that way (the chip is very old), and the weight as-is corresponds exactly with this particular variant.  The patina is pretty decent. Artistic merit isn't the best, Christ rather looks like I do after getting stuck behind a Captain Slow or worse, the accursed gravel trucks, on the highway.  However, I've seen worse.  The price; it was 60-something, which made it a no-brainer to add this one on to the order.

Phocas-602-610-AEFollis-Nikomedia(probably)36mm11.87gnicefromDavidConnors.jpg.9da218fcc0acd007bcd90909687abb27.jpg

This one: The huge flan and nice patina/highlighting had me hooked.  The price was pretty modest.  As Byzantine AE's go, the condition is also above average.  I can't even remember if the dealer included a grade.  That was irrelevant to me.  I had gone into that particular buy looking for an oversized Phocas.

GordianIIISestertiusglossyGreenpatinaRIC298a.JPG.78fe5a716b7f7c0c09b88473dbc3eaf0.JPG

This one was chosen purely because of the patina.  It didn't matter who the emperor was,  Condition, within reason, also didn't matter.

I must say I cant relate to the list, from the perspective of my collecting preferences. Maybe because the 'raw' list is a sort of 'anti-slab' list, and maybe because it mainly applies to the higher end collectors (also because of the prices of the examples of coins he uses in the presentation).

My list would basically be: do I like it and can I pay for it. The reason I got into collecting (mainly) Roman coins is because they provide a solid, hand held window to the past, and for some reason Im really interested in our 'ancient' Roman history. And I don't want that window to be in a plastic tomb, nor I am looking for a profit when it comes to my interest (although I wont deny that when I sell a coin, or think about my heirs, I do hope for at least a break-even, or even a little profit). My interest doesn't care about a star, or something being 'choice', and even if I had the money, I still wouldn't join the slabpeople, who only collect because of what some third party guy says about grade, thinking only about the profit they might gain. So empty, so sad. 

I think that many 'raw' collectors are like this. So why Berk doesn't mention this, puzzles me. To me, its the main difference between the collector, and investor, and, the slab/no-slab issue shows that difference. So, is it just me? Or is Berk not really in touch with some of the 'raw' collectors out there? 

And I really love that Gordian sestertius, fantastic patina! 

And your original question; I also enjoy listening to other podcast or videos or whatever, on youtube, about ancient and Roman history. E.g., told in stone, episodes from the series Time Team on bbc, and anything from Mary Beard. Also, a fantastic series of videos on ancient Egypt, but I cant seem to find it at the moment. 

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21 hours ago, Limes said:

 

My list would basically be: do I like it and can I pay for it.

My buying strategy basically boils down to the above.

I've only listened to episodes 31-33.  I'll have to continue through the back catalog.

I'm not terribly interested by the auction spotlight.  I prefer the 'dufus buy' section and the educational section.

Mr. Berk mentions that he frequently gives a junk box coin to kids, which is pretty cool.  I believe there were three pick bin tiers in the 90's. The top one was $30, I believe.  I fished out what I believe to be (a really decrepit) Menander tetradrachm from one of those bins.

I wonder what's in the $20 pick bin nowadays (is there one tier now)?

I have only one post-2000 HJB purchase, but customer service was top notch.

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He had it for quite a while from very early too, then there were some comments  it was offensive or something so  it took a back seat (!) but it's back. Last episode was a Julius  Caesar elephant coin  that went for $12k at  Heritage that was apparently worth a lot less. They were definitely there early - someone  comments on episode 5 asking why  there wasn't  one then for example which means they were there before.

I think he even said  his  own purchase - for a client at least-  of that  $4m  Greek gold could be seen  as  one in some lights.

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Out of 1400+ coins, I've bought two in slabs.

image.png.ebe2661952b8033544bd8f4027b8fe15.png

 

image.png.47b26ff5e4d3fcfe723ad2f424e03403.png

image.png.3f1a46b78bbfafa20bfae2b2e2d67f06.png

The aureus is still in the slab, but only because I really collect bronze and it doesn't fit in with the rest of my collection. In this case the slab devalued the coin by almost $3K. It had sold raw a year earlier from an obscure auction house for almost 6K with fees, and I bought it slabbed from Heritage for $3K with fees. Not sure why the flipper thought slabbing a coin like this was a good idea - not exactly what your typical slabbed customer is looking for with 1/5 surfaces and holed. The NGC label is entirely useless - doesn't even mention it's an unlisted type for Constantine.

 

Edited by Heliodromus
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  • 1 month later...

I noticed the same thing.  I had just chalked it up to a dodgy eye and me being tired.

The dufus buy is about 90% of the reason to tune into the podcast. 

Anyway, it was nice to have a coin podcast to listen to.  There aren't many regular ancient coin/ancient history podcasts.  Classical Numismatics and Maiorianus, and a couple of military history ones. 

 

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  • 5 months later...

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