Value of shipwreck coins?
I was thinking about bidding on a couple of shipwreck coins but was uncertain about trying to value the coins.
Obviously I am trying to use prior sales data but sometimes they are not particularly common dates so I was a bit unsure?
I assume that they would sell at a premium to non shipwreck coins with a similar grade/look. I started thinking that the answer might be similar to pricing any coin with low comps, thus the bidding war syndrome? I understand that there are many variables, grade, eye appeal, how many interested parties, which ship, etc?
The question I am asking is which metrics would help me better understand the range I need to pay? I already know how to buy a pig in a poke. It usually doesn't out particlularly well for this bidder.
You need to supply me information. Which ship wreck? Which denominations?
The more famous the wreck, the higher the face value of the coin, the better the condition, and the better the documentation = the more valuable coin.
An 8 reales from the SS Central America with papers is worth more than a 2 reales from the Capitana with no papers.
ANA 49 year/Life Member (now "Emeritus" because ANA can't count)
Silver or gold?
Sedwick auctions lots of shipwreck material. You might check their archives.
I don't pay any premium for shipwreck coins on purpose. I know I probably did when I bought an 1857-S double eagle in MS-65 as a type coin. But that's really the only way to get that type in high grade. The coins that stayed on dry land are almost all in the circulated conditions.
If a coin has sea water damage, I don't want it. I have only owned one such piece in my collecting and dealer career, and I let it go 40+ years ago. If memory serves, it was an 1844-O $5 gold piece. It had close to Mint State detail, but no luster because because of the seawater "sandpaper" effect.
Those damaged coins in the fancy boxes and certificates of authenticity have no allure for me.
It;s a general question about coins I have been outbid on in the past. Trying to determine what my max bid should be.
Let's say Double Eagles 1863-S $20 MS 61 (I own) and a Brother Jonathan 1862-S AU 58.
"Shipwreck effect" = environmental damage. No thanks.
You could start with auction prices completed and ebay sold items for a normal common date, and the shipwreck common date. Estimate a ratio of the two. Then apply that ratio to sold prices for the uncommon date.
People who collect shipwreck artifacts understand and expect environmental damage. They are not likely to be fixated on grade the way registry collectors are. More important than whatever environmental damage the coin has suffered will often be documentation tying the coin to a specific wreck.
Do most shipwreck coins suffer from enviromental damage? I've seen slabs marked environmental damage but I haven't seen much on graded shipwrecks.
Gold coins are not as affected as silver. All else equal, a coin with less environmental damage is preferred over one with more. Just about nobody who collects such coins expects that they can be had without some evidence of having been in the ocean for an extended period of time.
I checked the heritage archived pictures for environmental damage. Some of the coins looked beautiful. The coins didn't look at all like I pictured them to look. Now, I'm thinking that I should quit buying any more ship wrecked coins until I understand far more about spotting environmental damages?
I will say that I don't care about the coin having been in a shipwreck, in fact I cringe a little when I find out, I am with Bill Jones @BillJones on this, I bought this coin simply because it was a rather rare type coin is super nice condition. You just don't find these types in GEM+ much. I actually don't like the giant holder.
”Shipwreck coins” can range from noticeably environmentally damaged, to pristine/superb looking, high grade uncirculated. See a couple of examples below.
Some dates, such as the 1857-S $20 are relatively available, while others are known only in extremely low quantities. As a general rule, the higher the value of the coin, the lower the premium for the “shipwreck” provenance.
Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.
Virtually all shipwreck coins have been "curated" (called "cleaned" in other circles) and have some level of the "shipwreck effect" (called "environmental damage" in other circles). Mark's examples are excellent.
I’m not a collector with a large budget ( 😹my new kitty is laughing at me because she gets a kick out of watching her hooman explain himself). Ok, fair enough, it’s alright we are doing good and content with our station in this life 👍🏼
Anyway, here’s an example that lets the little guy enjoy a genuine shipwreck coin. 😺
“ fair well my buddy. Chewy 2002-2023.” My kitty collecting buddy and my best friend Aged 21 years- 3 months- 7 days 🙀
I'm a bit confused. In the case of the MS-67 I notice a pristine looking coin in the slab. I don't see any environmental damage? Thus, do all/most shipwrecks have environmental damage? Meaning, if the grading cos assigned a grade, should I take it that there is little to no damage?
I mentioned in my previous post that there’s a very wide range in the condition of “shipwreck coins”. Many of the 1857-s $20’s have deservedly been given high grade, straight-grades. They’re an exception. Gold coins are less subject to saltwater damage than silver ones, though some gold coins still exhibit significant effects and receive details-grades.
Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.
I have a couple of "foreign type used in the US" coins from early shipwrecks. I think it adds to the allure, adds historical context, and I'm not picky when it comes to this forever-expanding set. I have one US Federal coin just to illustrate the genre (USS Republic).
OK. I'm back to my original question.
let's say I wanted to offer my 1863-S $20 gold SS Republic coin for sale? I'll put up a scan a bit later when home.
What variables would someone use in order to determine the current price range someone would pay for that coin?
or let's say I was looking to buy an 1855-S $20 republic AU 55 coin? again... What criteria would I use to give me a pricing model? I understand subjectivity, desire to own, etc. Am I just looking to put a value on subjectivity?
I am not talking Central AM 1857-S' or Brother John 1865-S DE's where a vast amount of pricing data is available.
I paid details-type prices for the few I have, but they aren't the popular shipwreck coins, some didn't show the provenance at all. For the popular coins, auction records should be out there.
I would never pay a premium for shipwreck coins... Just have no interest in that pedigree... I agree totally with @BillJones. I have looked for gold coins on southern beaches, and would have been thrilled to find one - but just not interested in paying for such things, above the coin value. Cheers, RickO
TY all for you kind advice. You have crystallized my thoughts that the shipwrecked coins (graded gold) really sell for the underlying price of the coin plus some premium ascribed to the novelty/historical nature of the coin. Clearly some ships seem to sell for a bit more and I'm attributing that to the inventory brought up from the vessel and the notoriety of the find?
The answer to my question seems to lie in the subjective decision of how much to pay for the historical artifact? Part of the reason for the premium is that the coins appeal to non coin buyers as well. As to coin purists, "ricko" and bill jones and most on the boards, they seem to be interested in the coin more than the historical legend so they have little interest in the story?.
I will say that if the coins sold for no premium then almost everyone would buy the shipwrecked coin versus not? Thus, as I understand it, the judgement is assigning a value to the shipwreck and I'll use my own judgement.
This issue also leads me to the premium paid for a "hoard" or "collection". Maybe it's the marketing? Maybe, it dates back to the historical significance of the find? I will assume that the same valuation re: shipwrecks will be determined by the marketplace and data needs to be crunched?
Finding coins on the beaches rather than paying a premium? Ten years ago I caught the bug and wanted to buy a 1700's silver dollar. As usual, my technique is to buy the coin (with a little research) and after the purchase decide if I had enough?
If I beat myself up out of annoyance, I'm done with that genre.
Needless to say, I overpaid (or is it paid my dues?) and started complaining to a friend of mine (non coin collector). I asked him, how much does he think the coin is worth? He looked at it, paused, and said," it says $1 on the label so I believe them".
So.. each to his own.
People who would never pay a premium for a shipwreck coin are probably not the best source of value information. As noted above, provenance and COAs do add value in the opinion of those who collect such coins.
As @MasonG said...."...provenance and COAs do add value in the opinion of those who collect such coins." Those who collect will pay the premiums... As in all aspects of collecting, be it art, beanie babies or thimbles. Cheers, RickO
Most of the double eagles I bought over the years, were generics, that were bought a very slight premium to the gold price. I looked at those paying premiums for coins as collectors no different than those that bought art, beanie babies or thimbles.
You asked about shipwreck coins and people have explained there are those who do value them based on various criteria. The fact that not everybody values these coins the same makes them pretty much like any other coin in that respect. Ask someone who collects thimbles if they'll pay $1000 for a penny and they'll probably laugh, too.
Here's a couple shipwrecked coins the acquired about a year ago.
NGC has each of these valued at $160. I believe the (C) & (D) indicates the shipwreck effect of the coins determined by NGC,
According to NGC - A - Minimal Surface disturbance
B - Above ave. eye appeal
C - Ave. eye appeal with moderate surface disturbance
USN & USAF retired 1971-1993
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The story of the shipwreck interests me, but no enough to buy an ugly coin for a big price.
I did misspeak the other day when I said I had only one shipwreck coin. I do have some others. Some people say that virtually all of the Spanish cobs that have survived are from shipwrecks. I have a few of those. Here is one. I bought this because it has a decent look and a readable date.
I like them a lot, but I also focus predominantly on chopmarked coins; it's more about historical context than condition for me. If that context is particularly interesting, I'll have no problem coughing up a major premium for the coin.
I've only owned one shipwreck coin. I don't own it any more. It was a high grade, 18th Century French gold coin recovered from the wreck of the Le Chameau, a ship that went down off Nova Scotia in 1725 while en route to the French Colonies of North America. The recovery team enlisted the services of John Ford to attribute the coins, and compensated him by letting him keep the best of them for his own collection. My coin was the highest graded coin of its type in the Ford sale.
So, just like any coin, a shipwreck coin can appeal to someone for many reasons. High grade, 18th Century gold...there are three good reasons. The interesting story and the direct connection to early America...two more good reasons. Any one of these reasons might be enough to convince the right collector to buy a shipwreck coin.
I paid around $500 each for ss republic half dollars years ago.
Wanted to own 1 of each from the three big wrecks.
Almost all 8 reales from named ships will bring $100ish despite the $18 worth of silver. And that includes very pitted examples. This thread is another case of bad advice from people who don't want to collect something.
Some people just don't understand the difference between "market value" and "personal worth". That's why I sometimes find the BST suggestion to be laughable. Are they sure the higher buyer is on this forum? God forbid you pay the 20% juice to an auction company to get you to the higher buyer.
The lowest priced Cazador example I found with a quick search ended at $91 with 26 bids from 10 different bidders. 8 reales from this wreck are quite common, BTW.
edited to add... anybody got any of these they want to sell for melt? I'm buying.
edited to add, one more time... the most expensive Cazador example in my search sold for $999. Obviously, it's in much better condition than the one pictured here, but it was still in the ocean for over 200 years.