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  • Writer's picturesulla80

Who's bidding?

Have you ever asked yourself: who are the collectors that I am bidding against? A search in ACSearch turned up some interesting provenance for this coin. I purchased it in October of 2021 from Naville. Searching for "Valerian Eirene" in ACSearch I noticed a coin that I thought I recognized...sure enough it was my coin, but not from the auction where I purchased it.

Roman Egypt, Alexandria, Valerian I, AD 253-260, BI Tetradrachm (23.8mm, 10.44g, 12h), dated RY 3 (AD 255/256)

Obv: Laureate and cuirassed bust right

Rev: Eirene standing facing, head left, holding olive branch and scepter; L Γ (date) to left

Ref: Köln 2859; Dattari (Savio) 5150; K&G 88.17; Emmett 3708.3


An image search turned up a few more - none from the auction house that I purchased it from:

The varied scores (all matching the same coin) show how sensitive the algorithm is to different photos. These are all photos of the same coin and even the photo I searched with only shows 9.1 as the similarity score - that seems surprising - why not 100% - perhaps i used a different size image or something was lost or changed as I saved a jpeg?

For this coin - here's who was bidding for this coin 5 "collectors" owned my coin in the 30 months before me:

- Naville Auction 68, Lot 191 3-OCT-2021 (starting price 30 GPB, sold 95 GBP)

- Naville Auction 56 Lot 257 22-MAR-2020 starting price 25 GBP, this auction lists: Ex CNG E-sale 448, 2019, 339 and seems to ignore the sale or attempted sale at Savoca, no hammer price.

- Savoca Auction 4 Lot 635 12-JAN-2020 starting price 40 GBP no reference to prior owner, no hammer price.

- CNG eAuction 448 Lot 339 17-JUL-2019 starting price 60 USD no reference to Roman owner, no hammer price.

- Roma E-Sale 53 Lot 07-FEB-2019 starting price 48 GBP, no hammer price recorded.

- A private North American collection (not much revealed by this description)

In 31 months this coin had 6 owners. Note: I use the term "owner" lightly - it seems to have changed hands mostly between auction houses or perhaps one owner shopping multiple auction houses and failing to sell.


The weight listed fluctuated a bit from auction to auction: 10.47g, 10.44g, 10.50g, 10.92g - clearly someone wasn't measuring too carefully or scales not calibrated well. CNG got it right by my scale; 10.44g is what I weighed today. Diameter fluctuated between 23.5mm and 23mm between auctions - I measure it as 23.8mm.


The reference : Dattari (Savio) 5150 carried across all auction houses. The number of exchanges on this coin seems a little unusual and does suggest to me some pricing support from competitors attending each other's auctions or at least buying each other's unsold inventory.

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sulla80
sulla80
Aug 14, 2022

Thanks Curtis - it does seem to have been unsold - and good point thought that one seller may have gone from venue to venue....


Naville


Naville unsold

Savoca unsold

CNG unsold (although it is referenced by Naville as coming from CNG auction 448)

Roma unsold


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Curtis JJ
Curtis JJ
Aug 14, 2022

Interesting, that's a lot for a short period of time! Have you checked whether it went unsold (i.e., then purchased in aftersale or traded/ ) at the auctions or if there were bids? Seems like something interesting must have been going on, but hard to tell what. Also possible, if unsold, the same consignor could've been trying to sell it at multiple auctions.

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sulla80
sulla80
Aug 13, 2022

Thanks - I agree my photo is dark and not enough contrast with background.

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Alfred Kowsky
Alfred Kowsky
Aug 13, 2022

Sulla, This is an interesting & amusing article 😂. Why the coin would change hands so many times in such a short time-span begs the question, why🤔? The coin is very attractive but not rare. Instead of "collectors" submitting this coin to 4 different auction houses it seems more likely that the "auction houses" were buying from each other, which goes on all the time 😏. I noticed your diameter measurement was the largest & most likely the correct one. Working as a QC technician for many years, I learned the only correct diameter measurement for a round object is the largest one, & is critical when assembling in a factory setting 😉. I did notice one typo: "-none from…

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Alfred Kowsky
Alfred Kowsky
Aug 13, 2022
Replying to

One more suggestion. Although your photo has excellent detail I think it would look better on a lighter background. After playing around with a similar coin I used the light background for this coin.



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