Saturday, 12 March 2016

A Size Big Enough to Matter

Dealers play down the size of the market for ancient artefacts.

Today you will find 138,230 Ancient coins, US coins and World coins valued at $29,433,929 from 146 dealers on VCoins That is an average of 212 dollars a coin. There are many European and Asian dealers not in V-coins.

On eBay at the moment there are 31,530 listings of ancient coins, including 19,361 Roman coins , 7,858 Greek coins, 156 Seleucid coins listings, Is125lamic coins (in ancient coins section). In the medieval section (3,930 listings), it turns out that the vast majority of objects on the market (3,089 listed) are Islamic coins from the Middle East and North Africa area. How did all those MENA coins get to North American and European sellers?

That is this week some 35000 ancient and medieval coins sold in one auction portal. Even if we suggest the average value is half that of the V-coins site, and that only a half of those offered (let us say) are sold the first time they are offered, that would come to 1,750,000 dollars a week, just in dugup coins and just on one site. That is some 91million dollars a year.

Gill notes the annual antiquities sales of two auction houses are worth 25 million dollars.

A rough estimate of Randall Hixenbaugh's current stock (some 'prices on request') would suggest its about half a million dollars. That is just one New York Dealer.

I do not think one can see this as a "small" market. I do not see how Randall Hixenbaugh assessing the entire global antiquities market comes to a figure of just "200 million dollars".

Vignette: when "size matters"

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