Australian Coin Auctions

April 20, 2011

Earlier this week we were lucky enough to be able to talk to Chris Meallin, the general manager of Australian Coin Auctions (ACA). Chris kindly gave us half an hour of his time in the ACA offices downstairs from the Downies store in Melbourne's Block Arcade. Please note that we've paraphrased what Chris had to say and we hope we haven't taken liberties with what he told us.

How and when did Australian Coin Auctions start?

Australian Coin Auctions is a separate entity to Downies and was founded in 1993 with the first Auction being held in 1994. Chris helped to found ACA and all auctions prior to this time were part of the Downies business. Chris strived to make the ACA auctions a source for fresh material rather than a means for dealers to market their stock in a different way.

What sort of material does Australian Coin Auctions handle?

ACA handles numismatic material and other collectables. About 25% of lots are non-numismatic. 85% of lots are entered into the auction by the general public with only a handful of dealers making up the rest of the lots. Chris mentioned that lots come in from the public in a number of ways. This includes people walking into the ACA offices in Melbourne, others who mail their lots in, and in some cases the ACA staff will visit potential vendors and even take a truck along to bring material back to their offices!

What was the strangest lot Australian Coin Auctions handled?

Chris chuckled when we asked this question and answered without hesitation "a shrunken human head". This artifact from New Guinea posed a dilemma to the ACA staff and it was decided not to include the head in the auction. It was gifted to Chris and now takes pride of place at his residence.

What impact do you think online auction sites such as eBay have had on public auctions?

Chris surprised us with his answer here. He believes that online auctions have helped clearance rates and that room auctions are the cheapest way for online resellers to obtain mint products at prices often below issue price or well below catalogue values. Clearance rates in the decimal section of the auctions run at 100% with many online resellers sourcing their products from Australian Coin Auctions.

What interesting items are planned for the next auction (Auction #308)?

A couple of things of interest in the next auction are a high grade 1918 penny which Chris says is the best he's seen and a very rare "You are the Star" box which houses a 1934/5 Melbourne Centenary Florin.

Thanks to Chris Meallin for taking the time to speak with us. Anyone wishing to submit coins, stamps or collectables in these public auctions can contact the Australian Coin Auctions team via their website or by telephone on (03) 8677 8800.

Posted by mnemtsas at April 20, 2011 11:59 AM
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