Coin Update published a nice interview with Chris Webb of the London coin firn Dix Noonan Webb. Here are some excerpts.
News of record-breaking prices realized for coins and even banknotes continues to make mainstream headlines. Michael Alexander of the London banknote and Monetary Research Centre speaks to Chris Webb, one third of the well-known and respected Auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb in London and learns just what's behind the trends behind such headline-making sales results.
It's a pleasure speaking to you today, first, for those of our readers who aren't familiar with Dix Noonan Webb, can you tell them a little bit about the company and what you do, especially as your own name is part of the company's name, who are the other principals and when was the company formed?
Dix Noonan and Webb was founded by our present managing director Nimrod Dix in 1991, we're just off Piccadilly in central London. My other partners are Pierce Noonan and Robin Greville. Nimrod and Pierce are military medal experts and Robin is the IT director so, our staff is actually 12 and a half people, and this includes my daughter Danielle who is the half, as she's a mother and works as a part time photographer and sale clerk. Dix Noonan and Webb also have seven specialist consultants and thirteen agents in this country and around the world. We hold on average four British and world coin sales, one ancient coin sale, four military medal sales and one militaria. In all, about ten thousand lots pass through our offices totaling between 6 to 8 million pounds a year. This year , we anticipate that total increasing by around another million…
What is your specialty at DNW?
I don't have one really, we're lucky to have the likes of Peter Preston Morley, Jim Brown, Michael Sharp, Peter Mitchell, Douglas Saville and Italo Vecci who are the real specialists in their field. I enjoy meeting the clients and all the other aspects of auctioneering, so for me, every day is different.
I think there's a real misconception about auctions with a lot of coin and banknote collectors, insomuch as it's thought that only the rich, the famous or big institutions can buy items from auctions. Why do you think that is?
You're right, there is a real misconception about this especially as 95% of our lots are under £1,000 which means we see collectors from every walk of life. If you have a look at our catalogue for this Wednesday's auction of coins from the late Alfred Bole, (29th September 2010) there's an excellent selection of coins dating from George III to George V and many of those lots are under £200. In this regard, we cater for most pockets and budgets and the internet in particular has really changed the face of auctions and we ourselves have a database of over 15,000 interested buyers and sellers.
You have plenty of competition not only in London but internationally. Is it important to go to an auction house that has a specialty or is reputation and longevity more important?
That's true, there are seven coin auctioneers in London alone which might appear to be too many but they all seem to be producing catalogues, they see good numbers attending the sales and are getting the results. I think reputation has everything to do with securing consignments, after all, clients are handing over their valued possessions to us. I think they need to feel comfortable and secure in the knowledge that their entire collection or single item will be handled correctly. You know, next year is our 20th year in business and with almost one hundred sales under our belts and a combined expert knowledge totaling over two hundred years, this I believe speaks for itself!
Can you tell our readers some of the most surprising items which have passed through in terms of realizing a price or rarity?
Oh sure, one of the most unusual coins that passed through our hands was a silver Hogarth three pence coin from Australia. It was brought in to us when we held a valuation day in Dublin in 2003. A rare coin indeed, but what made it so unusual was how it ended up in our hands, the coin was consigned in Dublin, the vendor, or seller was from Chile and it was sold in London and bought by an Australian, the coin had virtually traveled around the world before it found a good home for £9,800!
To read the complete article, see:
Interview with Chris Webb of Dix Noonan Webb
Wayne Homren, Editor
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