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A new addition!




The world coin market seems to be on fire so far in 2021! Even the relatively common certified pieces that I collect are fetching 3-4 times what similar pieces brought just a year ago. I may be spoiled, but it seems ridiculous to pay such a steep price hike for relatively common coins, and as such, I have been making fewer purchases. This is not all bad, as it has allowed me to focus my attention on acquiring high-quality or unique pieces that would have otherwise been more financially difficult to obtain. However, I shouldn't complain too much, as the recent hike in prices has also played to my advantage. I am now able to sell/trade my duplicates to fund more expensive endeavors. I have mixed albeit selfishly derived feelings about the recent uptick in the world coin market.

On any note, I do have a new addition to share with you all. I know many collectors are not particularly interested in the coin's provenance, but in this case, I assume most collectors would make an exception. As well as the others pictured, this piece was struck at the Soho Mint (click here for more information about the Soho Mint). Although Matthew Boulton was the sole owner of the Soho Mint until he died in 1809, the mint utilized the steam engines of James Watt (Boulton's close business partner) to strike coins, tokens, and medals. Upon Boulton's death, the mint fell under the direction of his son Matthew Robinson Boulton and his partner James Watt Jr. (the son of James Watt). From contemporary documents, we know that James Watt Jr. was an active coin collector, and the Soho pieces were often some of his more prized possessions.

My newest addition is an 1803 Madras Presidency 10 Cash piece from the James Watt Jr. collection. This particular piece has retained the original silver-lined brass shells and the inner and outer wrapper. The latter is labeled "Madras". Although not entirely definitive, it is thought that Watt Jr. penned the descriptions on the wrappers. James Watt Jr's coin collection was carefully curated in a carved oak box by his ancestors for nearly 200 years before it came to public auction in 2002. This coin was in a lot with five others, two of which are pictured here, which sold for a measly £440 nearly 20 years ago. Unfortunately, both holders look as though they were used as NHL regulation hockey pucks, which made photographing them very difficult, but they are both true gems. That said, you will have to use your imagination to see the coin without all of the scuffs on the plastic.


Perhaps for my next journal, I will provide a brief write-up on the Madras coinage and the role of the Soho Mint. Admittedly I spent very little time discussing this within my custom registry set, and it is an area that is deserving of a deeper dive.

Have you noticed any upticks in selling prices within your collecting area over the last year or so? If so, is it limited to the higher-end material, or has it also impacted the relatively common material? Has this impacted your collecting habits? Do you think prices will continue to rise or once again become stagnant? What do you think is driving these increases?



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Part of what I'm seeing is that the gold coins I've been wanting to buy lately are usually treated and sold as bullion with somewhat higher premiums - usually spot +20-30% - and they float up or down with spot. However, when the pandemic hit spot prices dropped and premiums exploded. Even when spot came back up the premiums never fully went back down, and a year plus later you still get much higher premiums on even new NCLT and that has also jacked up the premiums on the older gold coins.

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Thanks for sharing this. I don’t collect foreign coins but anything with a direct connection to James Watt would definately catch my interest (I’m a retired Mechanical Engineer).  

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That was a great lot and the provenance amazing!

Everything seems to be up 2x - 3x across the board for me as well. Currently selling off items of little interest, I would classify it as low end material (modern NCLT under $500 a piece). Have only purchased 1 coin this year, waiting/saving now until the right coin/note comes around and/or prices drop in my areas. Rising spot, bullion craze, elections, people at home "shopping", rejuvenation of hobbies, moving money/investing in general the pandemic seems to be the main factor, I'm anticipating a decrease (at least hoping) in the coming year/s. 

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Great coins, as my username is based on my interest in British Colonial issues the history of the EIC is fascinating.

Quality British colonial prices have been going up for a while and are now silly, banknotes are even worse. Top grade Napoleonic coinage is the same - I missed out on a coin recently that I was prepared to break the bank for at £3K which was a bit above current catalogue prices (even put some lots into auction to help cover it) and it went for over £10K :whatthe: I wonder who bought it and why?

I am currently looking at some of my low grade sets to see if it is possible to put a series of good examples together for less then £500 per coin - probably means no gold and no crowns and needs to be a short set. It may have to be a 'on paper' set xD

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@Revenant, this is a point that I likely would not have stumbled upon as I primarily collect copper. I assume this will eventually settle back down after some time?

It seems like you and I are taking similar approaches @Fenntucky Mike other than a few very inexpensive coins to hone my photography skills, I have only purchased two pieces this year. I am so excited to share my most recent addition as it is ripe with interesting history, but I have much research left to do on it. As luck would have it, the progress on that project is likely to be suspended for some time as I finally got the green light on my dissertation project. Now it is time to focus all of my attention on my dissertation, my other academic research projects, and my teaching responsibilities. Hence my very delayed response to this post. For now, I am also pairing down some of the "stuff" that I have accumulated over the years that don't fit within my collection anymore to raise funds for future purchases. I may not have the time to write about and research coins, but it takes little to no time to place a bid or two. :bigsmile:

@ColonialCoinsUK yikes! I had a similar situation with a coin I wanted in an Australian Auction. The high estimate was $4000 AUD (~ $3100 USD), and I sold a bunch of "stuff" to raise funds. I was outbid within about 10 seconds and the lot sold for $30,000 AUD (~ $31,000 USD). I knew it was a longshot, but I raised enough money to nearly double the high estimate, but it was not enough. In hindsight, I should have used better judgment, but my dreams were bigger than my wallet. On the flip side, most of the money found its way into a savings account after I bought a few lovely pieces to help heal my wounds. It may not interest you, but I have found the William III copper coinage to be undervalued relative to its scarcity. Although it would be challenging to find super nice examples at any price range, you could easily build a typeset of the significant designs for well within the amount stated. 

@CBC, I love it when these comments come up! I have had so many interesting conversations with engineers over the years about James Watt. A couple of years ago, I met a James Watt history guru. I swear that man knew everything there was to know about James Watt, likely down to his shoe size! 

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