Saturday, November 2, 2013

Market Watch

This Market Watch reviews all ebay auctions between October 27 and November 2. It has been a busy week with many more listings than usual. As the weather cools and the sun retreats to the southern hemisphere, the CT market seems to be heating up -- or at least more sellers are bringing their tokens to the marketplace. At one point, we had nearly 400 ebay listings at one time -- a record in 2013.
     Overall, 110 CTs crossed the block in 95 sales (note: several pairs were sold together and a set of five was offered for "one money.") There were two HD CTs sold (those over $100), and two D CTs sold (those over $75). Four more sold for over $50. But do not let the high prices fool you, as this was a week for many great deals: 81 CTs crossed the block for less than $20, and many of these were very nice. Completing the tally, nine more CTs changed hands in the lower middle range ($20 to $49).
     Two big sales accounted for the increase in CTs sold this week. The week started with a large two-day auction by jamesdicksonbooks, a UK dealer who sells antiquarian theological books and ephemera. He offered 16 CTs on October 28, but that was just the warm-up act, as 38 more CTs crossed the block the following day. He has sold on ebay before but has not been present for awhile -- I have purchased from him and recommend this seller. The week closed with cobwrightfortishe offering 16 CTs on Friday. Several of them were rare, and all of them brought very strong prices (all the HD and D tokens were in this lot). There was something for everyone.
     The first auction attracted a small group of bidders -- many inexpensive lots were contested by two or three bidders. In particular, jamesdicksonbooks sold 50 CTs for under $20. There were some nice Glasgow squares in there that should have brought more money in my opinion (as you know that I like these tokens). At first glance, it appeared that the folks in bidder land were all asleep when the auction was going, but that is not true, as a few pieces attracted much attention and brought strong bids with more than a handful of bidders contesting -- as such, prices for three CTs were pushed into the mid-range ($42, $47 and $57). These prices and bidding action are telling of what is scarce and what is not. Still, I must admit that I was asleep on this one.
Here is BK384. The castle is quite
attractive to collectors. Pictorials
do not get any better than this!
     This brings us to the grand finale. As expected, cobwrightfortishe did not disappoint. Nearly 20 bidders were waiting. The top piece was the last of the series of Edinburgh castle CTs that he auctioned off about two weeks ago -- this one was dated 1795 with JG/DG on reverse (BK384). It was sharply detailed with some yellow and black toning that did not adversely impact its great eye appeal. Thirteen bids from 7 bidders vied for this one, but it came down to two collectors at the end with the under-bidder entering 7 bids within the last 45 minutes against a previously entered high dollar mark. The castle was hammered down at $159. All told, the five Edinburgh pieces (this one plus the four auctioned earlier) were dispersed into four collections. Here is the link: Edinburgh Castle Token BK384.
Going "Stag" anyone?
This one is not nearly as nice!
     The second big sale was also nabbed by the same bidder who had entered an early "high" bid. This piece, also from Edinburgh (more specifically, Canongate) depicted a stag within a shield and was dated 1764 on the reverse. Like the previous one, it is an iconic CT that is always popular (BK 388). Fourteen bids from 6 bidders competed with most of the action unfolding in the last few minutes. It was an evenly worn ("Fine" condition) piece with great patina and strong details -- much better than the one illustrated in Brook or the one sold in the Norweb collection. The hammer price? A whopping $154 -- big money, but for a worthy token that is hard to find nice. Here is the link: Canongate Stag CT.
     A round version of this stag token (BK387) had preceded the sale described above. It was a somewhat ruddy piece with some discoloration, but it attracted nine bids from 7 bidders to bring a strong price of $86. It was a round version of the square one and was dated 1727. The under-bidder on the one previously described got this one -- so hopefully, everyone was happy enough.
     Finally, another round CT from St. Cuthberts (also in Edinburgh) sold for $90 after five bidders entered twice as many bids to decide where this one was headed. It was a simple token with STC on the obverse (note: uppercase T) and 1776 on the reverse (BK385).
     Whew! Lots of action this week!

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