Theodore Bruce Coins, Medals and Scrap Auction May 30 2011

May 31, 2011

There are not too many coin auctions in Adelaide, we can recall just 3 in the last 7 years or so. Last night (30 May 2011), antique dealers Theodore Bruce held what they called the "Gold, Gold, Gold. Coins, Medallions and Scrap" auction in their premises on King William Street in Adelaide. There were 295 lots in the auction, of which about 85% were numismatic. The rest were sporting memorabilia or bags of scrap and broken jewellery. Australian sovereigns and half sovereigns dominated the lots and there was also a smattering of world gold and silver. World items of note included a couple of very nice Byzantine gold solidii, a lovely 1886 British Maundy set, and two lots of world silver coins that included some high grade coins for those willing to pick through the other rubbish.

We'd inspected the better grade Australian lots before the auction and the quality, was quite frankly, very poor. We doubt that 1 in 20 of the sovereigns was mint state, and not one of the half sovs we looked at was uncirculated. This was reflected in the prices realised with every sov fetching from $320 to $420. Halfs anywhere from $150-$220. Note that a 16.5% buyers premium applied on top of these prices so these bullion grade coins were hardly what we'd call bargains (you'd get most of them cheaper online if you looked around).

Items that did fetch some surprising prices included 3 holed and mounted Type 2 Adelaide Pounds in poor condition that got nearly $3000 each. The Great Britain 1886 maundy set fetched $500, probably double the expected price. And a 15ct gold racing trophy from 1936 (weighing 605 grams) saw some lively in-room and phone bidding and made the top price for an item at the auction at $17,000.

In conclusion the auction was quite entertaining and we're glad we attended and viewed the lots. Numismatically it was disappointing with few quality coins to be had. The bullion accumulator might have done well on some lots but our impression generally was that bullion grade coins were overpriced 10-20% compared with what the same items could be bought online. Still an enjoyable experience and we'll look forward to another auction by Theodore Bruce Antiques.

Posted by mnemtsas at May 31, 2011 12:44 PM
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