Sunday, January 12, 2014

Market Watch

This Market Watch reviews ebay auctions & sales for January 5 through January 11. It appears that most of the vendors returned from vacation and pulled back the curtains on their stalls, as it was busy week with 111 sales (two of them including lots of three and seven tokens each).
     The week started with a bang. On Sunday, history in coins offered a heart from Airth, in Stirling. This is a rare piece, and it brought out the serious bidders. A few hours later, cobwrightfortishe offered a nice grouping of 16 pieces that had bidders bumping shoulders to get into the action. Both of these dealers are highly recommended by me. As the week progressed, a few mid- to late-week offerings pushed the number of sales higher with the block crowded on Saturday with auctions by tavytavy and jamesdicksonbooks -- also recommended.
     The tally: 73 tokens sold in the C range (including a lot of seven) whereas another 28 tokens brought B money and seven more sold in the BB range. There were a couple of A (over $75) and one AA (over &100) CTs that crossed the block.
     The star of the show, or should I say, the heartthrob of the show, was the selling of a rare Airth CT (B311) for $128. This is big CT money, but compared with rare tokens in any other specialty, it was cheap -- a deal! Only four bids were cast -- all on the last day -- with three bidders competing.
This is a primitive piece indeed!
How many are available?
Not many.
     Airth hearts come in two varieties (probably produced at the same time for a single communion service); there are no other hearts available from this parish. Both varieties are undated with rudely etched letters: AK. The lettering is different on each variety. This CT is a small (14x12mm), simple piece and likely to be early, as half of all Scottish hearts date before 1750 with none made after 1792 (unless you count Skye's commemorative piece of 1900).
     Hey, I just remembered that some time back I promised to post an exploration into the heart of the matter. This would be a good topic for February (with Valentines Day and all). In the meantime, here is a teaser: Can you name the eleven Scottish shires that have a heart? And did you know that only 5 hearts sold on ebay in 2013 (and one of those was from England) -- not many to be had.
     Also sold by history in coins was an Irish CT from Limavady in Londonderry (B5285). This oval piece only attracted one bid at the start price of $79. It was in interesting piece with a decorative edge on one side giving it a platter-look; the letters N LY were centered in low relief. A single letter T was on the reverse; it was formed from a curious assemblage of blocks -- check the link to see what I mean: Limavady CT from Ireland.
     A BIN sale produced a high price for a rectangle dated 1797 from Cromarty in Inverness (B1676). This was top dollar, as some others have sold in the BB range; this one appeared to be in VF condition. There are several varieties of this piece that differ in size and placement of the letters and numbers. It is an interesting CT for its script style that nearly runs off the borderless flan. Here is the link: Cromarty CT.
     Another CT at the top end of the bidding was a small round piece from Halkirk in Caithness (BK505). This one was alluring for its slightly out-of-roundness and for the bold, handcrafted, and somewhat goal-post styled H centered in bold relief. Four bidders vied for it, casting eight bids, to produce a hammer price of $74. Here is the link: Halkirk CT.
     Curiously, the trio of round CTs from London Crown Court were offered (again!) by the same dealer that sold them on December 3. They were profiled in the MW with a hammer price of $251 for all three (a silver CT plus two of white metal). In any case, the lot attracted 17 bids the second time around with the underbidder in the previous auction taking home the prize at $202 (or about $67 a piece). See the MW from December 8 for more info on these CTs.
     I would be remiss not to mention all the good deals in the C to BB ranges this week. Here are some examples. First, bidders had two chances to get an attractive 1811 square from Largs in Ayr (a tidy piece with Glasgow-square styling mixed with the sharp teeth of Ayr) -- both went for under $20. Second, two small rectangles from Fife, one from Crich and the other from Cupar (dated 1706 and 1772 respectively) provided bidders with a chance to get early and late specimens of this popular regional type (characterized by wee size with bold borders and crisp lettering -- same maker?) for under $40. Third, a well-worn pentagon-shaped CT from Wigtown sold at a BIN price of $58 -- there are only three pentagons in the Scottish series (the shires of Angus and Banff claim the other two).
     All in all, a good trading week in all price ranges at the marketplace.

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