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Rev 5/S, Update #5
6th May 2013

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A rather unusual Charles I Gold Unite from 1630

Recently came across this gold unite on my travels in England. At first glance one could be forgiven for thinking that it is a very typical good quality example.    

Charles I unite 163002
Charles I unite 1630 closeup

It weighs in at 9.0 grammes and displays a full round flan. What is curious this coin it is the letter “N” on the reverse which is seen three times as a rather “mixed up” letter. It’s as if there was no letter “N” to hand when the die was being made, so a letter was made up to look like an “N” using other letters to hand. The fact that all three “N”s look the same makes it even more curious.
Since coming across this coin, I have seen more coins from this same issue but none have had this rather curious construction of the letter N.
Any unite collectors out there who are interested to acquire this piece should e-mail me directly.

You saw it first on CastleCoins ......

3-Dimensional Coin Images produced by

New from Castle Coins is a 3-D image of a coin produced using multiple images and Microsoft’s latest software. Now it is possible to tilt and rotate a coin to see the surface from angles and at different magnifications. As an example we took a very rare COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND crown dated 1651. Click here to view this coin as never seen before. Some day all coins on the internet might be viewed this way.

New Coins For Sale

This month we have exciting new additions to four sections - halfcrowns, hammered coins, pennies and halfpennies.

What Price - Customer Service ?

One of the most rewarding aspects of this operation is to hear back from customers after they receive their coins. Feedback on service helps improve this service going forward. Here are a couple of recent comments received .....

Received today one very nice James 1st sixpence, it took it's time but well worth waiting for, thank you for your communications regarding the coin and always getting back to me when necessary it was appreciated, my kindest regards S in England.

Received my token today. Very pleased and thank you so much for your excellent advice and service. You are definitely going on my list of favourite dealers. Best wishes, ST in Australia

More feedback can be seen on the ABOUT US web page.

An Update - We are back......

It’s been a very tough year after the loss of my wife Deborah. As many of you know she put up a brave fight against stomach cancer but nothing could be done to turn things around. A big thank you goes out to all of you who offered support over this very difficult period in my life especially Amy.

Now its time to start again. I will be loading new coins over the next week or so. Hammered, gold, and milled silver examples immediately come to mind but I will also be starting a new section - medals with a selection of Silver Shooting Medals from Switzerland from the 1900’s.

Also for customers in the USA we are pleased to announce a new auction service. If you have English coins to sell maybe even a whole collection you should definitely consider consigning your coins to us for auction in England. The market in England for English coins remains strong. We are happy to appraise and sell your coins at live auction in England. Internet listing before auction ensures an even wider international audience participation. The strength of international currencies is another reason to give this idea strong consideration in today’s market. The hammer prices will be in English pounds.   

An example of the outstanding workmanship  seen on Swiss Shooting medals.

SWITZERLAND. BASEL. BINNINGEN. Kantonalschutzenfest, 1893.

Silver, 45mm. Coat of Arms of Basel on a decorative shield superimposed on the cross of Switzerland surrounded by a wreath of oak and olive leaves. Rv. Armored warrior kneeling with multiple arrow wounds on the field of battle. Only 705 pieces minted. Martin 74. Uncirculated.

The metal markets have been very strong over the last year. This has spilled over into the coin market with record prices being attained at auction. As always this website will continue to offer coins at prices typically lower than those seen on the open auction market where so much of any price raised at auctions is related to commission costs which can be up to 25% of the selling price.

Coins continue to provide enjoyment to the serious collector and a serious return as an investment. Unlike shares or paper money a rare coin remains rare and is an opportunity to those who know what they hold in their hands. The price of gold is still out performing the Dow Jones Industrial Index over the last year. As I write gold is up $244 per ounce over the last year while the Dow is down 4%.


Highest Price Ever Achieved for English Coin at Auction - £460,000

Spink Numismatic, London - England’s first large gold coin, the Edward III (1341-1343) Double Leopard, came up for sale today at Spink in London.  The coin sold for a staggering £460,000 (US$841,800), against a pre-sale estimate of £100,000-150,000, making it the most expensive English Coin ever sold.

Click Here for full story

Keep the change -- literally

MANILA (Reuters) - Smugglers have tried to ship out millions of older one-peso coins from the Philippines, not for their face value of less than 2 U.S. cents each but for the copper and nickel content as metals prices soar. Click Here for full story


Gold on a bull run ?

Back in April on this Blog we advised that $700 would provide a major resistance level for gold in the short term. As we all know early May saw gold peak around $725. Since then gold has come off of its highs. The price retraced to it’s 200 day moving average around $550, before bouncing back strongly to a price of $660 per ounce today.

What’s changed in the meantime? The price of oil. We now have this major second commodity rising steeply in price. The world needs oil as a raw material to make much of what we use on a daily basis. The next leg up in the gold market is now somewhat difficult to predict. Rising oil price depresses world economic growth and with that could come a constraint on the rising price of gold.

Going forward there is still pressure for gold prices to rise. The resistance level at around $700 is still to be watched but after that the sky could be the limit. Holding physical gold is still very attractive to many investors. For more data and information Click Here.


Moneypenny in New York - April 12th

In the next few days, New Yorkers might be taking a closer look at the pennies in their loose change. The odds are long, but one of those lowly pennies might be worth more than $1,000.

Scott Travers is going around Manhattan this week making a few routine purchases and deliberately spending three rare 1-cent coins. Travers is serious about coins: He collects them, writes about them and is a former vice president of the American Numismatic Association. He hopes that the sharp-eyed people who find one of the three coins will be caught up in what he calls “the magic of coin collecting.”

“I’m planting a seed, and I hope that a new generation of people will come to appreciate the history that coins represent,” said Travers, who is 44.

The three pennies that Travers is sprinkling around – to coincide with National Coin Week which starts Sunday – are among the most coveted by collectors. For more details Click Here for full story.


Where is reality these days ?

Having already written about pricing in some recent auctions my thoughts drifted to thinking about where reality is these days. We are living in a fast changing world. Books, fairs, public auctions are very much representative of the old world where books were re-printed and sold again and again like yearly catalogues. Essentially out of date before they reached you. How often do you hear these days about numismatic circulars taking ages to reach subscribers? Talking to one dealer recently the point was made about how printed lists are expensive and take time to reach the four corners of the globe. If you live far away you receive your list last of course.

This has all changed now in the new world of the high speed internet. As I write this blog today I do it in the full realisation that I am just one key press away from making it available instantly worldwide.

Likewise lists, pictures and commercial auctions can be conducted in a similar way, paper free in an instant. There are risks of course but when you know the key players in this business you minimise risk.

So how does this impact coin collectors you may say. Well for one thing the world is now connected like never before. Any auction in Sydney or Los Angeles can be viewed in the comfort of your home as it happens, you can bid or simply watch. Coins around the world as a result are within everyone's reach as the worldwide web permeates further and further into people’s homes. More people are becoming involved in buying and selling coins.

What about those reference books like the Spink Coin Catalogue and the like ? It's almost time to question their relevance in the real world we now live in. Printed on paper, not good, Printed in advance of release, not good. Coin collectors still love to refer to them but what is the real value? The data is always historical, some of it must be guess work because within a year not every coin is sold in this world of ours.

Do they have any value then you may say? Well yes there could be value but again it's historical, and as such this data can only be used as a guide going forward. For example if we assume that all the volumes of Spink printed so far have the same degree of accuracy whatever that is, we can compare trends in coin values. Taking 1964, 1984 and 2004 this has been done for a variety of coins and is shown below.

Changing Values

Note - a full size copy can be viewed or downloaded CLICK HERE

For each year the coins picked were valued from each Spink Coin Catalogue and totaled. It was then possible to express each coin type as a percentage of the total in each year. So for example in 1964 we see the most expensive coin was a Charles II 5 guinea piece valued at around 31% of the total value of the portfolio of coins. In 1984 the relative value of this coin in the portfolio had fallen to 15% and 12% in 2004. Other coin types did not follow this trend, so we have a very diverse / mixed picture which is what makes coin collecting more interesting.  

Going forward I suspect there will be more surprises in pricing not less as the global market participates in coin collecting. The market distortion of the internet has only just started and will no doubt continue as the internet becomes more and more our way of life. So next time you buy a book you may want to think about it's real value to you.


Gold hits $600 - where to now ?

Many talked about it but now it's finally happened, we are back up to $600 per ounce for gold - CLICK HERE   Not everyone knows as I found out when I casually mentioned it to a friend this week. Surprise was his response. Commodities seem to be on a tear right now which is having it's effect on moving coin prices of course since most old coins are gold or silver. Some said $500 would be tops based on $500 being a key resistance level in the past. Check the chart below and you will see the next key resistance level could be $700 last seen around 25 years ago !

The price of Gold from 1975 to today's price.


The Samuel Mills Damon Estate recently auctioned at Doyles New York.

 DOYLE AUCTION - The Estate of Samuel Mills Damon - March 23rd 2006, New York

     Highlights included important United States, World and Hawaiian items acquired by the prominent banker, Samuel, Mills Damon ( 1845 - 1924 ) of Honolulu. Aside from the above examples of fine English hammered the centre piece of this sale was a magnificent boxed fourteen piece proof set from 1876, the centennial year of the USA. The hammer price was $475,000 which translated to a street price of $595,950 after the addition of auction commission and local tax. This was a very well run auction with excellent viewing opportunities at shows over the last three months, full facilities for telephone and fax bidding which when tested worked very well.


Baltimore Coin Show - 2006 - 400 dealers show coins from around the world.

View of the exhibition halls at this years Baltimore Coin Show.

Baltimore Coin Show - March 17 - 19th 2006.

Huge east coast USA Coin Show, around 400 dealers this year with tables spread over an enlarged show area of three halls of the Baltimore Convention Centre. Billed as the ” new larger super convention”  attendance was  excellent with positive comments being made about the recent upsurge in interest in coin collecting from the younger generations. This is attributed to the recent introduction of the ”state”  quarters which many youngsters are now eager to collect.


EBAY CHINA hits the wall ...... free listings for all

Graph showing the daily reach of Ebay USA and Ebay China per million  surfers.

Data showing the daily reach of EbayChina ( blue line ) compared to Ebay USA ( red line )

Wouldn’t you like free listings for things you want to sell on the world’s favourite auction site? Well in China that is exactly how it is now. Competition from local competitors has forced the chinese unit of   Ebay to scrap all basic sellers’ transaction fees. This however this is not yet a global policy. As fees fell in China this year where competition is tough, some fees elsewhere in the world were reported to have risen by 9%, for example in the USA. Analysts say “Cutting most of the fees is a sure sign the company is struggling in Asia” LINK


English Hammered Group vote for best auction site......

Englishhammered, a Yahoo group, recently conducted a poll amongst the group to find out who is their favourite auction site. The results were interesting and came in as follows -

     Ebay On-line Auctions                                        50%
     Classical Numismatic Group                               26.92%
     Dix Noonan Webb                                            11.54%
     Spink                                                                11.54%
     Morton & Eden                                                    0%
     Noble                                                                  0%                                                    


    Ever wonder how the value of coins change over the years ?

    Portfolio Value of a diverse group of English coins both hammered and milled.

    Out of interest we took 15 milled coins in VF condition, 3 gold pieces, 3 silver crowns, 3 silver halfcrowns, 3 shillings and 3 copper pieces, nothing special, just very average coins, in average condition. Dates  ranged from 1675 up to 1847. Using an 1886 guide to the value of coins, these pieces collectively were valued at just 13 pounds back in 1886. From 1964 to 2006 we have taken values from the Spink Coin Catalogue for each year and plotted the value of these same coins over the last 40 years to see the trend in the market. By 2006 these same coins were valued at 10,825 pounds.


    If you collect English hammered coins, there's a very good chat group on Yahoo that you might want to consider joining:


    This group trades tips and advice and also does a good job of tracking Ebay auctions to alert members to potential scams,  replicas and fakes. Greater numbers of replica  coins are being offered for sale as the market for good examples of old coins tightens. Unfortunately some of those selling replicas bill them as the real thing or try to lure the gullible by offering a replica and suggesting it comes  from Granddad’s collection.


    On-line  fraud - sometimes called - click fraud - continues to be a major trading concern  for internet users.  How does one trade safely on the internet which gives collectors a global opportunity to buy coins at good prices from the comfort of  your armchair? Here are six tips for safe trading on the internet.
    *    Deal with websites which have excellent display pictures – blurry pictures can cover up a multitude  of sins including replica markings.
    *    Initially contact the  website diectly using website e-mail.
    *    Complete the exchange of details off-line by phone or letter – for instance, you can send your address  when you mail a check for the coin instead of sending it over the internet.
    *    In first-time dealings look for society membership because they can step in to help you if you run into trouble or products that aren’t what they were billed as. Castle Coins is a member of the
    *    Poor communication is often a warning sign to the purchaser.
    *    Check to see that the seller has a good return policy.


    Specialist Auctions opened up for business at the end of last year, with a no nonsense 3% on-line auction commission website (lower rates than Ebay). Now  it’s about to launch a new service under the banner -
    Plans call for this new on-line website to have a new secure on-line payment system Secure2Pay
    as an alternative to PayPal. Both these new services are slated to go live in the very near future.

    Let us know what you think about what's going on in the coin world. Write to us at    

Coin views on this page -

King Charles I, 1625-1649, Gold double crown, 1629-30  - see HAMMERED
Queen Victoria Double Florin of 1889 - see DOUBLE FLORINS
Queen Victoria Halfcrown of 1849 - see HALFCROWNS
King Edward VII Silver Florin of 1902 - see FLORINS
Queen Victoria Half Farthing of 1843 - see OTHERS
Queen Victoria Silver Shilling of 1839 - see SHILLINGS
King George II Silver Sixpence of 1758 - see SIXPENCES
King George V Silver Threepence of 1936 - see THREEPENCES
Queen Victoria Twopence of 1880 - see TWOPENCES
King George III Penny of 1806 - see PENNIES
Queen Victoria Bun Head Head Halfpenny of 1838 - see HALFPENNIES
King Edward VII Maundy Set of 1905 - see MAUNDY
Queen Victoria Gothic Silver Crown of 1847 - see CROWNS
Queen Victoria Shield Back Sovereign of 1884M - see GOLD
King Charles II Silver Groat of 1684 - see GROATS
Queen Victoria Farthing of 1883 - see FARTHINGS
Coventry Token of 1797 - see TOKENS
Featured Coins - see FEATURED
Australia King Edward VII Silver Sixpence of 1910 - see WORLD COINS