Saturday, September 14, 2013

Weekly Market Watch

This market watch examines ebay CT sales for the week of September 8 thru 14. It was a moderately active week with 35 CTs sold. All of us, but one, missed a nice token.
     Just over half of the tokens sold for under $20 with fifteen more selling in the middle range below the $50 mark. There was one D token that brought spirited bidding to reach a hammer price of $82. It could have brought more in my opinion -- see below. Also, two more Croil tokens from Canada were sold bring the total of the grouping to about 30 pieces distributed in the past two months. About half of the CTs sold this week came from the near weekly offering from cobwrightforthishe: he sold 16 pieces on September 11th, including the D oval from Ayr.
     As before, these prices illustrate week after week how relatively inexpensive CT collecting can be. Ebay auctions and BIN stores seems to be the place to find a steady supply of tokens, plus occasional auctions like the one coming up from Simmons Gallery. Also, Steve Hayden -- the South Carolina exonumia dealer -- has a long list of tokens on his website (several from Burzinski's collection). But you have to know where to look, as I spotted a cut rectangle CT for sale in Coin World (September 16th) for over $100 -- every once in a while a common piece will be priced high because many folks do not know what they are and do not appreciate that many newer pieces are available for low bucks. In fact, some churches are still selling off old stashes of CTs (e.g., Balquidder & Cruden).
     As mentioned above, there was one D token sold this week: a very nice handcrafted oval from Kilmarnock in Ayr (B232). Nine bids from six bidders pushed the price over the $75 mark, earning this specimen the Desired designation. This piece was the plate specimen in Burzinski's catalog and came from his collection. It is a special CT in a number of other ways too. First off, it is a beautiful CT with a bold shark-toothed border -- it looks ready to bite (so hold it carefully). The oval shape appears narrow at 33x25mm but with oddly peaked curves on the top and bottom. But there is more ... .
     The CT is from the Associate Church and was produced at a time when neighboring AC congregations were using fairly standardized square tokens with the same toothed border and a single circle (sometimes oval) motif in the center. This practice was regional as well as limited to AC congregations. Furthermore, these Ayr-styled squares used a three-letter abbreviation for parish (K in this case) and denomination (A and C) -- these letters were placed along the rim on three sides at 3-, 9- and 12-o-clock. Both B230 and B231 reflect this style.
     So what is B232? It is an oval version of the same design. It has the same big teeth (bigger even), the same three letters in nearly the same locations, and the date (1818) is at the bottom right where it should be. It is single-sided too. Call it what you want: a transitional piece, a deliberate deviation ... either way, it is way cool! Keep in mind that the AC was using distinctly narrow ovals in many other areas of Scotland at this time, so maybe this was a copycat, but with the familiar elements mentioned above. In particular, I love how the letters were embedded in the jaws lined with teeth!
     I wish I had bid on it, but I missed it. Congrats to whoever got it -- it is a unique style among CTs!

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