Sunday, October 27, 2013

Market Watch

This Market Watch reviews all ebay auctions between October 20 and October 26. It has been a busy week with some interesting sales to report. In fact, CTs made of stone, tin and plastic sold this week. Also, an unfinished CT in lead with casting sprue attached crossed the block. It was an unusual week indeed.
     Overall, 42 CTs traded hands in the past seven days. Actually, the number was a bit higher than that since a few pairs were sold together. There was one CT(?) that sold for over $100 (what I call the Highly Desired category), whereas no other pieces sold above $75 (what I call Desired category). However, four CTs brought over $50, and the middle-range ($20 to $49) was filled with nine CTs. But of course, most sales involved much fewer dollars with 28 tokens selling for less than $20.
A pebble for your thoughts?
     The auction of 11 CTs held by cobwrightfortishe on October 11 produced the strongest prices for the week. This offering included some wonderful tokens from the Andrew Macmillan collection including a nice set of Edinburgh "castle" CTs (sold individually of course) that spanned most of the date range described by Brook. But the star of the show was an etched stone of unknown origin that sold for $152.
     The stone or pebble was a smoothly-shaped, rather oval piece at 35x24mm, with a crudely cut inscription AK on the obverse and a cross on the reverse. The piece was attributed to Athelstane in East Lothians based on an undocumented communication between Andrew Macmillan and the late Reverend William Cattanach D.D. (a church historian who ministered at St. George's West in Edinburgh). Is this piece a true CT from the early era? Or, was it used for a special event? This question deserves a longer posting in the near future. Suffice to say that pebbles have been used in the church since Roman times (sometimes called tesserae). Nonetheless, five bidders wanted this one, casting eight bids overall with most of the action unfolding in the last hour or so of the auction when the price soared from $50 to threefold. Here is the link: Athelstane early CT stone.
Three listings from Brook.
     The series of Edinburgh CTs offered collectors a chance to get a representative example of these early pieces with the attractive castle pictorial. Cobwrightfortishe offered four examples dated: 1754, 1766, 1781, 1795. Brook shows an earlier one dated 1718 (BK380) with the others numbered in succession, but he does not show one dated 1781 -- it is included in his listings however (we can just squeeze it in: BK382A). This group brought active bidding with five to seven bidders clamoring for each piece. All of these CTs are on the rare side, so the hammer prices were governed by condition: the 1795 (with the most pleasing light gray surfaces) bringing the most dollars at $66 and the 1766 (with mottled gray and brown surfaces) bringing only $39. All told, the four CTs were dispersed into three different collections -- I believe that one of them is headed to Virginia.
     An oddity deserves mention: a "concoction" CT dated 1571 with the legends: YE OLD TIN KIRK and THI SI AFR AUD (This is a fraud) brought a single bid, but with a high opening, selling for $49. It was a hand-snipped octagon. It was a curious piece that reminds us that CTs have been around for a long time and have been the subject of all sorts of wit, mischief and fakery.
     Also of note. An oval CT with casting sprue attached sold for $60 with six bidders contesting. Finally, a set of four plastic, uniface CT replicas sold for $22 with four bidders contesting. In summary, it was a good week for collecting. I would be remiss to not remark that several nice CTs sold cheaply in the lowest price category! Good stuff is out there, so keep looking.

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