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ATG columnist Richard Falkiner unveils the headline figure in his exclusive annual round-up of totals from the major salerooms which appears in this week's ATG.

Three additional auction houses join his table of major players this year: Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury, whose Foley collection of medals took £517,100 on October 16; Naville, newly established classical numismatic specialists in St James's, London, who recorded totals of £298,521; and Wilkes & Curtis, Islamic and Indian coins and medals specialists in Tonbridge, Kent, who have already taken £188,839.

Mr Falkiner has been producing his annual round-up for 21 years, but it is the gains achieved since 2005 that are most marked.

The emergence of the banknote market has helped boost sales significantly since 2009. Spink UK banknotes specialist Andrew Pattison says that the world banknote market in 2014 was mixed, but overall very good. Spink sold 7732 lots in its four London auctions during the year, bringing a total of £4.4m.

"Southeast Asia and the Middle East are leading the way, with Malaya and Egypt proving particularly strong," he told ATG. "Our top price this year, £41,000, was actually for an Egypt note. Buyers are clearly willing to pay for very rare or otherwise desirable notes, with Spink selling 46 notes at or above £10,000 in 2014, of which 11 were above £20,000."

However, Mr Pattison acknowledges that, as with many areas of collecting, the global recession is finally beginning to have an effect.

"As the average collector finds his money is stretched more thinly, it is the mid-range material that is suffering slightly."

He has noted a number of trends:

• British banknotes did very well in 2014 and the upwards trend should continue in 2015. The Scottish market and the English specimen market were particularly strong. Interest from overseas, particularly in early English notes, helped this.

• In an increasingly grade-conscious world, Third Party Grading/Authentication and encasement of banknotes is steadily on the rise. Prices are reflecting this trend, with higher totals often being reached for graded items.

• Hong Kong banknotes are currently excellent and improving, while Chinese material has steadied. 

• New Zealand has eclipsed Australia, with some superb prices for notes across the spectrum.

• High-grade British Commonwealth and French Colonial material is increasing in value year on year.

Looking at the numismatic market as a whole, the most significant development over the past ten years has been the launch of internet sales. Globally, coins and medals have proved so suited to the online platform that auctioneers in this field have been at the vanguard of internet sales through their individual websites as well as through auction platforms such as Germany's lotissimo and the-saleroom.com, ATG's sister operation.

Many other auction rooms across the UK now include small numbers of coins in their sales, but Mr Falkiner's table focuses on those who account for the overwhelming bulk of the market.

One of the most interesting aspects of the 2014 results is that although the value of sales has fallen by almost 6% in all, the number of lots has increased by 16%.

This is not because there is a great deal more material coming to the market, says Mr Falkiner. It merely reflects the trend of dividing coins into smaller lots and upgrading the cataloguing across the board as competition for consignments becomes fiercer.

"This results in more detailed sale catalogues, which contribute more to scholarship," he says.

Richard Falkiner's exclusive annual round-up of totals from the major salerooms appears in this week's ATG printed publication.