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Brisk bidding in international stamp and coin auctions

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The weekend’s international stamp and coin auctions saw brisk bidding both at the downtown Wellington venue and online, realising over one million dollars in sales.

It was the first time that both auction events had live online bidding available, and auctioneer John Mowbray of Mowbray Collectables says "whilst the online aspect has now become an integral part of these auction events, the showing of people in the room demonstrates that some of the keen bidders still prefer to have the advantage of being able to closely inspect what they’re buying".

Almost 600 lots of coins, banknotes and medals were on offer on day one and 769 lots of stamps were auctioned on the second day.

Mowbray’s Director of Coins, Banknotes and Medals, David Galt noticed strong interest in New Zealand military badges: "some of the hard-to-get military badges were sold for up to four times their pre-auction estimate" he says. One of New Zealand’s five dollar notes issued in the weeks following the change to decimal currency in the winter of 1967 sold for $380. "Our sale of the day would have to be the 1939 South African 8-coin proof set - one of just 30 produced - it went to an overseas bidder for $32,700, about 70% above its pre-auction estimate" David Galt says.

Prior to the stamp auction John Mowbray had estimated the value of one of the examples of New Zealand’s first postage stamps at around $8000 - on the day that particular stamp, produced in 1855, was sold for $11,300. "And the special one penny stamp issued for the 1906 Christchurch Exhibition achieved over $13,000 and we sold some early New Zealand specimen stamps for over twice their pre-auction estimated value" he says.

John Mowbray has noticed a very positive effect of Covid conditions has had on the collectables market that he has worked in since 1965. "I think, quite simply, people have spent much more time at home over the last two years and they’ve ‘gone through the attic’ and had some time to re-kindle interest in their old collecting hobbies". Enquiries about valuations on the whole spectrum of collectable items have surged as a result. "The weekend’s auctions show the diversity of prices which can be paid, and the advent of online bidding has enhanced the immediacy of our auctions and widened the international market potential for anything collectable, so seeking a professional valuation is the key here " John Mowbray says.

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