By Thomas Michael
The crew at Stephen Album Rare Coins wrapped up their seventh online auction on May 4. I’ve been following SARC’s move into the online auction area since their second sale and have greatly enjoyed the diversity of their offerings and simplicity of their online bidding system. With the cancellation of almost every coin show in the world through the spring of 2020 due to our planetary pandemic, online auctions have provided a great outlet for hobbyists still looking to collect coins in their various areas of interest.
In Online Auction 7, SARC has put together a fine selection of coins from Iran. I noticed a string of gold coins that went well above their estimates. With Iranian gold, you will often see signs of mounting and that was true with many of these examples, however, the infrequency of appearance for sale on some of these types made these detractions quite acceptable to bidders. For instance, a decent hammered gold toman of Nasir al-Din Shah grading Fine, but with mount removed, realized $714 with fees included on what I would have thought a reasonable high-end estimate of $400. It’s time to update the database in this area when coins are selling 50 percent above previous catalog value.
Similarly, the sale presented a pair of milled gold toman coins of the KM-937 single date type, which realized final prices of $892.50 and $714, respectively, in VF-EF and VF conditions. The second coin had a partial date, lacking the last two digits. These two I would say were about 50 percent over their catalog values and even more over their estimates than that. A long run of Ahmad Shah milled gold 2,000 and 5,000 dinars were also offered in this sale, with varied results. These pieces crossover between 19th and 20th-century dates and catalog listings are pretty generic, with only the beginnings of ideas on date rarity for these long date run types. Most of these gold 2,000 and 5,000 dinar lots in this sale sold for what one would expect, however, the late date AH1335 and AH1337 pieces offered brought over 60 percent more than estimate or catalog value. Both were EF-AU grade and attractive, so the result in catalog value will be increased values by 50 percent in XF and 100 percent in uncirculated. There was also a date error example, missing the last numeral of the date, so only AH133. This piece sold for nearly three times its estimate at $238.
I continue to be extremely impressed with the prices SARC is getting for the counter stamped peso pieces from Guatemala. These coins were countermarked by the mint in 1894 using half-reale dies to make them legitimate circulating coins of Guatemala. This was done because a vast quantity of crown sized silver coins from Chile and Peru, as well as a few other South and Central American countries, were already circulating there and the government wanted to authorize their presence in daily exchange. Years ago these pieces were plentiful and inexpensive, however, when they appear for sale these days they are bringing two to three times catalog value or auction estimate. In this sale the three examples sold in a range from $350 to $475 each. The odd host coin countries for this series, like Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala itself, are much more unusual to find and quite rare.
Other highlights from SARC Online 7 included a pair of Columbian patterns, some great early Turkish and Indian types, and finally another fine selection of the coins of Nepal. Here again, as in previous sales, the Kathmandu and Patan issues received the most attention with what I presume is a highly knowledgeable base of bidders. Many of these sold for two to three times their estimate. However, for the beginning collector, there were many opportunities to acquire nice pieces from other kingdoms or lesser types from the two hot areas for under estimate. If you are interested in starting a collection of Nepal or Iran, now is the time and SARC is the place.
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