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How much extra would you pay for provenance coins?

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I wanted a Charles I piece from Brooker i.e. the actual coin pictured in the book - I got one a few months ago, hard to quantify how much extra I would have been prepared to pay at the auction but perhaps it was in the region of 10%

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No provenance ever harmed a coin's value, but doesn't necessarily produce a premium because everyone tries to acquire things as cheaply as possible and in any case must be related to the popularity of the sale on the day.

To my mind, the provenance/hoard/desirability issue is a small part of a greater circle. A collection of top quality coins is always likely to have more historical documentation for the simple reason that nothing happens in a vacuum. People often remember when the coin was last sold and the price paid. They are frequently aware of recent pieces that have come to market, the price they sold for and their grade together with any defects. All of this helps put a coin in context compared to its peers in respect of value and where it comes in the pecking order of available examples. So a good provenance is usually linked to a higher quality collection, and a higher quality coin is normally going to cost the buyer more in any case. It's actually very difficult to strip out any part of the price that is attributable to a specific provenance.

When you say books or papers, presumably you are then able to tie the coin into a specific collection? Are you including catalogues in this? If so there was precious little illustration prior to the late 19th century and what there was tended to be a little stylistic from wood carvings. Sometimes there was an attempt to be accurate even with wood carvings, e.g. the Pembroke plates (1746) tried to faithfully reproduce the shape of fragments, and the illustrations in Ruding (1819-41) were sufficiently accurate to be able to identify some pieces, such as the Tournai 1513 groat as being that example formerly in the BM.

I suppose you are mostly paying little, if anything for the name, but by happy coincidence and self evidently the best collections contain the best individual pieces, which typically sell for higher prices.

Edited by Rob
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So well put.

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It's a very interesting question. A vague comparison would be rare records. I recently updated my own 'collection' (mostly bought as music not as rarities!) and where a flexidisc was issued by a music paper, it's worth twice as much if the issuing edition is with the disc.

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thank you Rob for your opinion, always interesting!  When I wrote books and papers, to be honest, I was not thinking about catalogues but more one modern texts like English Coins by Stewartby, the volumes on the mint of Bury written by Robin Eaglen or the J.J. North's collection for examples and the articles that can be found on the publications like Numismatic Chronicle. In some cases, you can also discover the provenance but in others not... 

 

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Anyone writing a numismatic book will invariably use their own coins if suitable given the cost of procuring photographs from places like the BM. The days when it was performing a public service are long gone. 15 years ago they were charging £30 for a picture of a coin. By 2010 that had increased to £50 per side or £60 for both sides on one picture. God only knows how much it would be now.

It's always nice to use an image that features in a publication, but again, a collector specialising in a particular area will frequently have a smattering of the best examples - which are also the pieces that attract the most attention at auction. i.e. I refer you to my previous post. Any definitive tome on a subject will usually ensure the plate coins are sought after.

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I'm trawling through American auction catalogues to find the provenance of a Cromwell coin I own and came across, "Ralph Barker's Collection dd 1904". I was stunned to see full-colour plates in such an early catalogue, beautiful quality. The Newark siege half-crown looks particularly identifiable with the red wax identifiers, unless NGC have 'conserved' it that is.😂

202807757_RalphBarker1904.jpg.0b02c971aedb9b5dfc3a6296d4cd9084.jpg

 

 

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Close up

XXX.jpg.d3b8afe652bfaed9525609af7ed90036.jpg

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2 hours ago, Diaconis said:

I'm trawling through American auction catalogues to find the provenance of a Cromwell coin I own and came across, "Ralph Barker's Collection dd 1904". I was stunned to see full-colour plates in such an early catalogue, beautiful quality. The Newark siege half-crown looks particularly identifiable with the red wax identifiers, unless NGC have 'conserved' it that is.😂

202807757_RalphBarker1904.jpg.0b02c971aedb9b5dfc3a6296d4cd9084.jpg

 

 

A tantalizingly mouth watering assortment of coins imaged on that plate....

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Don’t be too influenced by the colours! In 1904 this would have been a black and white (or sepia) photo hand tinted for the catalogue.

Does look nice, though!

Jerry

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11 hours ago, jelida said:

Don’t be too influenced by the colours! In 1904 this would have been a black and white (or sepia) photo hand tinted for the catalogue.

Does look nice, though!

Jerry

They did have colour photography in the Edwardian era - but it was expensive and not common; that catalogue probably was tinted but I have to say it must have been an expert job as it doesn't show the usual tinting characteristics.

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On 6/30/2020 at 9:54 PM, Diaconis said:

I'm trawling through American auction catalogues to find the provenance of a Cromwell coin I own and came across, "Ralph Barker's Collection dd 1904". I was stunned to see full-colour plates in such an early catalogue, beautiful quality. The Newark siege half-crown looks particularly identifiable with the red wax identifiers, unless NGC have 'conserved' it that is.😂

202807757_RalphBarker1904.jpg.0b02c971aedb9b5dfc3a6296d4cd9084.jpg

 

 

For that era, they are incredibly high quality images. Looking at them, they could have been taken yesterday.

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3 minutes ago, 1949threepence said:

For that era, they are incredibly high quality images. Looking at them, they could have been taken yesterday.

The collotype images used up to the mid 1920s were much higher quality than the subsequent images. It is quite possible to see minute specks of wax on images which helps to confirm or disprove a provenance. The problem was the cost of a catalogue. The Bruun catalogue for the sale in 1925 (142 pages and 24 plates) cost a guinea! That's a huge cost when put into context - e.g. lot 128 sold for £1 and comprised 4 Aethelred short cross pennies in VF (2 Norwich and 2 Salisbury). The price had escalated from 2s6d pre-WW1 for a similar size volume.

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37 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

They did have colour photography in the Edwardian era - but it was expensive and not common; that catalogue probably was tinted but I have to say it must have been an expert job as it doesn't show the usual tinting characteristics.

True, indeed experimentally from the mid nineteenth century though specialised equipment such as triple colour projectors and special screen viewers was needed to view it. It seems that the first commercially successful method of colour photography was the product Lumiere Autochrome in 1907, which could be printed but was still very expensive compared to Black and White.

As I said, the 1904 catalogue will have been tinted; but it does seem to be high quality photography of real coins, rather than of plaster-casts or line drawings more usually seen in publications at that time (when illustrated at all) and is exactly the sort of material needed to confirm provenance. Would I pay more for a well provenanced coin? I would still buy the coin rather than the name, but might go 10% higher than without.

Jerry

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14 hours ago, Rob said:

The collotype images used up to the mid 1920s were much higher quality than the subsequent images. It is quite possible to see minute specks of wax on images which helps to confirm or disprove a provenance. The problem was the cost of a catalogue. The Bruun catalogue for the sale in 1925 (142 pages and 24 plates) cost a guinea! That's a huge cost when put into context - e.g. lot 128 sold for £1 and comprised 4 Aethelred short cross pennies in VF (2 Norwich and 2 Salisbury). The price had escalated from 2s6d pre-WW1 for a similar size volume.

Re: catalogue cost

plates.jpg.ded3469f67d96aa12a95e37093026b57.jpg

This handwritten calculation was entered in the sale catalogue along with names of buyers.

2012592571_Barkersale.jpg.de85bfdd092ad594ab876327f2e907dc.jpg

Cost of printing was not insignificant

 

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Posted (edited)
On 11/10/2019 at 11:42 AM, oldcopper said:

It's worth checking on provenances (ie comparing photo from the original source if available) sometimes because even the most reputable sellers can get it wrong.

I bought an 1806 proof penny at auction a few years ago, couldn't tell whether it was bronzed or not so I sold it on. I had traced it previously through a couple of earlier sales (as it had distinctive marks so was easy to identify), but never was any provenance given. Anyway, it then turned up at LCA a few months later which said "vendor states ex Boulton" then later it was in the Copthorne collection where this had turned into a definitive "ex Boulton". 

If it was difficult to tell whether bronzed or not, then it was probably a Taylor restrike which are passable to notoriously blotchy in their toning. You never see the even bronzing achieved at Soho, which is also darker than Taylor's.

There are a good number of ex Boulton pieces in the market now. Obviously MPWB had a good number made of quite a few types which were retained by him and passed to his descendants. They have been coming out in dribs and drabs for the past 15 years or more through a multitude of channels. The one you mentioned in Heritage will have come through the guy who runs the Copper Corner, as he acquired a good number of them. They were also sold through various dealers in this country. I bought some that were listed in the Circular in 2007, which were all ex-Boulton too though not listed as such.

Edited by Rob

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Rob said:

If it was difficult to tell whether bronzed or not, then it was probably a Taylor restrike which are passable to notoriously blotchy in their toning. You never see the even bronzing achieved at Soho, which is also darker than Taylor's.

There are a good number of ex Boulton pieces in the market now. Obviously MPWB had a good number made of quite a few types which were retained by him and passed to his descendants. They have been coming out in dribs and drabs for the past 15 years or more through a multitude of channels. The one you mentioned in Heritage will have come through the guy who runs the Copper Corner, as he acquired a good number of them. They were also sold through various dealers in this country. I bought some that were listed in the Circular in 2007, which were all ex-Boulton too though not listed as such.

I should have mentioned that it had an engrailed edge, so was an original, but though of even colour, it didn't quite seem to have the chocolate richness of Soho bronzing. So to see that it was suddenly ex-Boulton after I sold it (and I had an idea of whom subsequently bought it and thus I was less surprised at this "marketing technique") was a reach to say the least.

Edited by oldcopper

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That puts a different complexion on things, though it isn't impossible that originals were also retained by the family. The Watt side of the partnership certainly retained Soho originals, but the Boulton side muddied the waters due to the restrikes with which MPWB appears to be deeply involved and retained in considerable numbers.

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Wasn't sure where to ask this question but as it is related to provenance research this is as good a place as any I suppose.  It's a long shot, but does anyone currently have access to the Gale Cengage Eighteenth Century Collections Online database? And if so would you be willing to access/download a document for me?

thx

Paul

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