June 27, 2008

New Spink Smythe sale catalog available

I just received Spink Smythe's newest sale catalog, The Frederick Forbes Angus Collection including other fine numismatic properties. This catalog is primarily an offering for paper money. However, there are around 230 lots of corporate stocks and bonds, both domestic and foreign. Of that number, 28 lots are rail-related.

Even though this is a minimal stock and bond sale, it marks the first under the new rules of management brought by Spink. Some are pluses; some are not.

First, this marks the first where stocks and bonds are represented throughout the sale in full color. Smythe often had a small color section in the front of its catalogs and black and white elsewhere. Full color represents a welcome step up to the model of auction catalogs pioneered by major coin houses and the major European stock and bond dealers. Not all of the certificates are represented with photos, and that simply represents the reality that stocks and bonds are not going to realize big money. Average certificates cannot pay for themselves in a slick catalog.

The second major change is the commission structure. Smythe's previous commission was 15% on all hammer prices. Some of us reasoned that with today's production costs, 15% commissions in U.S. auctions were not going to last much longer. Spink Smythe has moved to a commission of 20% on the first $2000 and 15% on amounts above that. As I have always advised, it does not matter what commission rates are as long as buyers factor them in and bid accordingly.

There are two other changes that I am under-thrilled with.

It seems Spink Smythe abandoned the catalog numbering system that stretched back for 279 sales to the old NASCA days. The company has moved to a verbal system of naming sales catalogs like Christie's and Stack's.

I hope the other change is merely an oversight. I could not find a spot anywhere in the catalog, nor anywhere on the web site, where minimum bids are discussed.

For a copy of this catalog, or for clarification on minimum bids, call 800-622-1880 or email info@spinksmythe.com. The sale will take place July 16 and 17 in New York.

June 23, 2008

BIG RANT! Inadequate packaging.

My correspondants and I are really getting tired of inadequate packaging - and not just with eBay sellers. I do not have time to word this with great delicacy and politeness.

Personally, I don't think receiving damaged goods deserves politeness!

Get with the program. If you are selling certificates, then use rigid mailers. NEVER use padded envelopes or bubble envelopes.

Rigid mailers are readily available at the sellers listed below plus many more . They generally sell under the name of "Stay-Flat Mailers", "No-Bend Mailers", or "Rigid Photo Mailers."

Yes, they will cost between 60¢ and $1.50 each, depending on the size. But let me ask you which you would rather do - spend 75¢ on a mailer? Or replace a damaged certificate AND lose future business in the bargain? Besides, you can pass on the cost of the mailer to your buyer.

Here is a quick rundown on suppliers, with links to their web sites:

Uline - look for "Stay Flat Mailers"
Calumet Carton - look for "Stay Flat Mailers"
Packaging Supplies Co - look for "Stay Flat Mailers"
ShippingSupply.com - look for "No-Bend Mailers"
Associated Bag Co. - look for "No-Bend Mailers"
Argrov Box - look for "Stay Flat Mailers"
Amazon.com - look for "Rigid Photo Mailers"

June 20, 2008

June newsletter available

The June newsletter is ready for download.

In this issue, I continue the discussion about the relationship of rarity and price. The point I want make is that "desire" has a direct effect on price. Rarity is affects desire, but it is only one of many variables. Rarity, therefore, has an indirect effect on price.

My main article this time discusses where to find "new" certificates. With prices so very low, both here and in Europe, now is an excellent time to discover and acquire "new" certificates at terrific prices. Low prices will NOT last forever.

June 17, 2008

Working on another newsletter

I will probably have the June newspetter ready by the end of the week. If you are not already on my subscription list, let me know if you want to be notified when it ready for downloading from my newsletters page.

In the June issue, I will continue talking about the effect of rarity on prices as well as where you can go to find "new" certificates.

Why another newsletter so soon after sending one at the end of April? I just felt like it.

June 10, 2008

ABN Plates in Stack's Auctions

Although the catalog will not be available for a few weeks, there are more ABN plates are slated to appear in Stack's sale planned for July 27-28.

The sale of plates from the American Bank Note Company archives began under American Numismatic Rarities and then continued under Stack's. All the sales have contained a good selection of plates on a wide variety of subjects. There is a little bit of everything there to satisfy just about any collecting interest.

So far, prices for these historic artifacts have proven very strong. If you're interested in acquiring any of these, make sure you do your homework. Don't go in with a lowball bid and expect to win anything.

To date, plates have appeared in two ANR sales and five Stacks sales. You can research prices by looking through Stack's auction archives. Each sale offered about 150-160 plates. Full color images and prices realized are still available online for all lots sold. See my special page on sales of the American Bank Note Company archives for a complete list of all Stack's and ANR auctions that contained plates.

June 05, 2008

New SpinkSmythe Auction Catalog Online

I just checked back with SpinkSmythe and found its upcoming June 18 autograph auction (#280) now online.

As expected there are a few autographs related to stocks, bonds, and railroads. They include signatures from Jay Gould (lots 120 and 121), Collis Huntington (lot 144), Mahone (lot 168), and J.P. Morgan (lots 177 and 178). One of the sleepers, from my point here in Colorado, is the Henry Teller autographed certificate (lot 240).

Teller was a heavy-duty lawyer who moved to Central City when gold was flowing out of the mountains like water. A fair amount of it stuck in his trousers and he somehow managed to build a fortune, an opera house, and a Senate seat. In return, the grateful citizens of this fair state pinned his name to a large county.

In trying to discover his autograph, you may find that Spink's web page mavens have been working overly long hours somewhere on the planet adding new goo-gahs, paint and varnish to the house of Smythe.

If you get to the page pertinent to Autograph Auction 280, you may encounter a minor road bump when the page tells you that you need to accept "cookies." Here's the simple fix...

Depending on which browser you use, simply go to the top menubar and find the part that deals with privacy. Typically, click something like Tools > Options > Privacy. Merely set your privacy settings to "low", refresh the SpinkSmythe web page, and then set your privacy back to where you had it. Once you have Spink's "cookie" on your system, you can browse all auctions.

June 03, 2008

New LaBarre Catalog Available

I just received George LaBarre's newest catalog, Wholesale & Rarities Sale 8. As always, George's catalogs are dramatic, full-color works of art printed on high quality paper. This latest one is 82 pages, with 62 pages dedicated to stocks and bonds. Contact George H. LaBarre Galleries, Inc. Email: collect@glabarre.com. 800-717-9529.

June 02, 2008

New Hollins List Available

Clinton Hollins' latest list just arrived here in Colorado today. For those of you not already on Clinton's list, his unillustrated lists contains hundreds of certificates and come out very frequently. You can view lots online at http://www.clintonhollins.com/. If you are an active buyer on eBay, then you owe it to yourself to check out Clinton's prices.