Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

I must impose a few more statistics on you because some of them are not readily available and they give a small indication of the commercial structure of a sale.

The total was £110,000 above the low estimate of the sale. There were 71 vendors and 249 buyers. This last statistic indicates, as if we had not guessed it, that material is being dispersed ever more thinly amongst the collecting population. This is great for now but in the long term definitive catalogues of a narrow speciality will tend to become rarer. This is probably a general trend and not only in coins.

The main event in this sale was the emphasis on Scottish coins and tokens. These accounted for £164,909 out of the total and in turn the main contribution was the Norman Brodie collection (£95,374). So enthusiastic were the Scots that many of them – about half the buyers – had come South to bid in person. It was hard to get a seat in the fairly large room. This tends to make for a good result because there is the element of rivalry and the “just one more” (often several more) bidding element.

Now to a few particulars. The first portrait, a likeness rather than an image, on coins of Scotland was introduced by James III (1488-1531). It demonstrates the sophistication of Scotland at the time. It is very hard to find an attractive example. In this sale there were two and aesthetically they left something to be desired.

One made £350 (estimate £200-250) and the following lot described as “cracked and repaired otherwise fine, portrait better” was estimated at just £60-80. It made £140.

Interesting coins need not cost real money. Whilst on portraits, I commend to your attention a slightly worn (most are) 1582, 20 shilling piece of the young James VI, later to be James I of England. Estimated at £450-550, it realised £600.