BLOG: In for a penny, in for a pound...

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Top tips from Oliver Miler, expert auctioneer and valuer

In my career I have come across some truly obscure, weird and wonderful collections, from a Victorian explorer's collection from Australia and Fiji picked up while the explorer was sailing around the world to an Edwardian Engineer's collection of Asian bronzes. Yet for me, coins are fascinating items to collect. I enjoy the thought of someone 300, 400 or 500 years ago purchasing goods and trading with these fantastic little objects - it's actually quite magical. The workmanship in all coins whether they are just two decades old or 2000 years old tells a story and holds a meaning. In fact it's key not to play down the importance of the aesthetics of a coin; beauty and design are highly sought-after attributes of coin collecting. In some cases, collectors classify beauty as luster and perfection, while others seek to purchase coins for their layout or artwork.  Serious collectors would normally select the field they are collecting carefully. In my experience, I find that people start by buying a few random coins but as time ticks by the collection gets far more sophisticated and becomes specialised in one area, be that the era of the coin or country of its origin.  Coins of high grade should not be touched to avoid damage, the USA market believes in placing them in capsules but this hasn’t really caught on over here. In the UK we like to keep them in high-quality coin cabinets with soft linings in order to keep the coins in a good condition.  

WHAT'S HOT: The demand for coins overall is on the up with a very, very strong demand in all aspects whether ancient or modern. 

WHAT'S NOT: Crowns from the mid to late 20th Century are flooding the market and most coins of this type really struggle at auction. 

TOP TIP: My advice to people looking to make the jump into serious coin collecting would be to buy quality items and not quantity. Also if you have a collection which you would like to sell, get it valued as now could be the time to sell!  

Earlier this year we held our specialist Military, Coins, Scientific and Maritime Sale and we had over 300 coins of all different types and varieties. We sold a George III Guinea (1773) for £700, which was in superb condition, hence fetching its high price. However, my highlight of this Sale was an Archbishop of Canterbury, Plegmund, Penny, (890-895AD) which sold for £350 - it wasn’t the most valuable lot in the auction but it was my favourite due to its age and the provenance of this tiny item.   

We hold valuation days in the region across the year which are informal 'Antiques Roadshow' type events and a great opportunity for me to offer my expert opinion and a free, no-obligation valuation on any range of items you bring along. I can offer advice on a wide variety of objects from coins to vintage toy collections, and everything in between.