AUCTION HOUSES FOR CURRENCY - WHY?

When collectors own notes and go to sell, it is generally accepted that their best sales will occur at one of the top 3 auctions. Real buyers meet Real sellers, deals are done without hesitation, funds are exchanged for collectibles.

But is that the way it must be?
Isn't it the collectors that are selling and there are other collectors that are the buyers? Generally the Buy and Sell forums are low volume and perhaps not a seller's first choice by reputation for lingering, but why?

On two other hobby forums, both cars, the forums have added a Classifieds section and in just 4 years it is now the Got-To place for purchases. Dealers are attracted and charged a fee to be a member. Auctions are morphing into high end entertainment that saavy collectors enjoy watching, while real world collector-to-collector happen on the forums.

I don't see that in currency - is it an artifact that we are somewhat compartmentalized or the nature of security?

Comments

  • mbwizkidmbwizkid Posts: 284 ✭✭✭

    I somewhat agree, and have bought/sold some really nice notes on forum BST venues.

    The auction houses attract many more potential buyers than any BST I’m aware of, and they offer an added layer of security that collector-to-collector is typically unable to provide. The auction houses usually get much nicer examples and a larger variety.

    AKA Steve in Tampa

  • TookybanditTookybandit Posts: 3,331 ✭✭✭
    edited September 6, 2018 8:18AM

    Currency has a very small, but growing, collector base. For a sizable collection, waiting to find the right collector to buy each individual note could take multiple lifetimes. The Auction houses will always have a strong foothold with their ability to move large quantities of material efficiently. For consignors though, it's always a gamble on the end results.

    Seeing how small the hobby is now and knowing, in my mind, how big our hobby should be, has motivated me to put in some time and effort toward growing the hobby and overall collector base. A daunting task, but one that is well worth the effort.

    Shoot, there's got to be enough folks around to buy up my collection one day right!?! :smile:

  • 2ndCharter2ndCharter Posts: 1,193 ✭✭✭

    The auction houses attract many more potential buyers than any BST I’m aware of

    That's it in a nutshell. It may surprise some of the "real world" collectors on the forums but there are numerous wealthy collectors out there (I'm talking multi-millionaires) who don't like making transactions on a computer. These are folks who still like their hard copy catalogs, arrange for bidding through the auction house itself (like phone bidding), or hire a dealer to represent them at the auctions. These are collectors who have no problem spending six- and seven-figure sums at auctions but wouldn't be caught dead in a BST forum. Perhaps in another generation they will pass away and the next round of collectors will be all tech-savvy but it's not happening yet.

  • gnatgnat Posts: 545 ✭✭✭
    edited September 6, 2018 12:26PM

    Currency collecting (and sales) are not, even remotely, a single market. Think of collectors of Obsoletes from a particular state, Nationals from a certain county or town, etc., etc. Putting a note into the right hands (the person looking for a particular note and most likely to pay the most for it), is not a simple matter.

    And, as has been aptly pointed out above, currency collecting still has a relatively small (but growing) collector base (compared to coins or many other collectibles). And 2ndCharter raises an important point; even in 2018, there are serious collectors that prefer traditional ("analog") channels for their purchases (e.g., dealers and auctions).

    Unless one knows all of the potential interested parties for a particular note, in a "peer to peer" Internet transaction, you run the substantial risk of not connecting with one or more potential buyers who would either bid a note up, or pay strong money.

    Obviously, for more generic material (items that can be found without too much difficulty or a semi-regular basis), prices are more certain and dealing directly with a smaller, more tech savvy, group of collectors has little down side.

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