Roman Gold a Buying Opportunity? CNG’s Market Report Spring 2019

Los 72.
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=4]

Our goal with the CNG Market Report is to review the market on a regular basis and offer observations and recommendations to our clientele based on current trends. We intend to cover all fields within CNG’s purview: Ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins, Medieval European and Near Eastern coins, and British coins of all eras.

CNG 111, lot 64: Sicily, Leontini. Tetradrachm, circa 440-430 BC. Good VF, old cabinet tone. Pedigreed to 1882. Estimate: $5,000. Realized: $9,000.

Ancient Greek Coins

This market continues to be very strong due to the presence of several high-end buyers who have recently entered the field. Coins with solid provenances are bringing record prices. This is even true for coins that are not necessarily the finest known for their respective types. A good VF coin with a provenance going back 100 years to important collections is likely to sell for more than an EF coin of the same type, but without a long history of ownership. Now is truly a great time to consider bringing provenance coins to the market. In fact, many great coins and collections are coming to auction this year.

CNG 111, lot 80: Carthage. Stater, circa 350-320 BC, Carthage mint. Superb EF, lustrous, a little die wear. Estimate: $15,000. Realized: $17,230.

Interestingly, we see potential buying opportunities here as well. When great collections are brought to market they invariably include some coins of slightly lower quality or rarity than the rest of the group that in any other sale would be headliners, but in comparison seem lackluster. Because of the rush to sell in a strong market, we see plenty of truly impressive coins appearing in numbers not usually seen. With only so much money to be spent at any given time, some of these coins are bound to sell at levels below their true market value. In many cases, CNG is a buyer of this material, even if it is coming to the market via the auction route. We urge our customers to dive in and not sit on the sidelines during this great run on Greek coin prices. Diligently study the coins and bid to levels you are comfortable with. In a nutshell, there are tremendous opportunities for both buyers and sellers!

CNG 111, lot 686: Trajan, 98-117. Aureus, circa 112-113, Rome mint. Near EF. Estimate: $3,000. Realized: $7,000.

Ancient Roman Coins

In many ways, the state of Roman gold market is the opposite of the Greek. There are so few high-quality coins on offer and the customer base is always craving something good. For many years, Roman gold was seen as a safe haven among overseas collector/investors, while other markets roiled. This fervor seems to have cooled recently as other financial markets stabilized and foreign governments clamped down on outside exchange and investment. Thus Roman gold continues to be off from the market highs of 2010-2015. This is particularly true for the more common types. It seems the big money buyers are all chasing Greek right now.

Is this a Roman gold buying opportunity? We believe so. Expect to see prices rebound in this market over the next few years. Whatever the market might suggest at a given point, Roman gold is, on the whole, beautiful, finely crafted, historic, and rare. Roman history remains widely popular and we expect collectors of means to gravitate back to this field once they realize how affordable it has become, relative to five or six years ago.

Roman silver coins continue to hit record levels. This is the heart of the collector market and attractive coins are always in demand. Buying will be competitive and selling will be enjoyable, particularly for coins of the Republic, truly a collector-dominated market with many true connoisseurs who appreciate the artistry and history these coins offer. We have recently had the privilege of bringing two great Republican collections to market: the Andrew McCabe Collection, which is ongoing, and the Alan Harlan Collection. Both brought strong prices. We expect it will continue to be very easy to move high-quality Republican silver, even at higher prices. As always, the higher the grade the better. But, with Roman silver, one must always consider the style and artistry. Unlike gold, silver coins were issued in large quantities, with artistic renderings ranging from vibrant and masterful to amateurish and flat. Have patience – the artistic coins are out there. Now is an ideal time to consign top-notch Roman silver of either the Republican or Imperial periods.

Roman bronzes are also a bit soft, particularly for better middle bronzes and sesterii. There are some real bargains in this area and we strongly recommend these coins at current levels. Great bronzes are probably the most difficult of all for Roman coinage. They simply do not show up in high grade as often as silver and gold.

Medieval Coins

The collector-dominated medieval coin market is truly enjoyable. It’s a pleasure to compete with passionate long-term bidders, versus the investors who flit in and out of the ancient coin market. This area tends to be more of interest to academic collectors. For them, the greatest challenge is always to find coins to add to their collections. Consignments of medieval are always welcome.

British Coins

This market has been stirred lately by a new influx of relatively young, mostly American collectors with the means to acquire true rarities. Consequently, prices are moving up, in some cases sharply. This applies to hammered, milled, and struck coins from the Anglo-Saxon era up through the House of Hannover. Demand is strong for hammered pennies in exceptional condition, for silver crowns from the reign of Edward VI forward, and for any larger gold denominations in exceptional condition.

For more information on CNG go to the CNG website.

There you can also check the prices realized in CNG Auction 111.

When Michael Gasvoda acquirec CNG in 2018 we took the opportunity to interview him on his top agenda and his own collection. Here you can read our interview with Michael Gasvoda.