Are some Nobel prize medals so special that they're worth orders of magnitude more than other identical medals? The medal discussed in an earlier E-Sylum article was sold by Heritage Auctions for over $2 million.
Alan V. Weinberg writes:
The latest online Coin World edition dated April 29 page 40 contains a half page ad from Copenhagen's Bruun Rasmussen , the same firm that auctioned a gold Nobel Prize medal last November 2012 for approximately. $30,000 Euros.
This Danish numismatic firm advertises now that they will be offering two separate gold Nobel Prize medals, awarded in 1975 and 1982 in their May 1 & 2, 2013 auction, each estimated at 27-32,500 Euros. These medals now being offered for auction were doubtless brought on by the high auction record another medal realized in November and before the Crick medal was sold.
So one wonders about the $2.275 million sale price of the DNA gold Nobel Prize Crick medal just sold at auction. Was this just a fluke that resulted from two determined enormously wealthy bidders engaged in a bidding battle? Or was the medal's DNA award subject such a distinguishing factor? The gold Nobel Prize medal is not a rare medal and one can virtually guarantee that 100% of those awarded over the decades still exist and were not melted down.
I confirmed the obvious - Alan doesn't own one of the medals he's questioning the market value and rarity of.
I think both factors he cites were involved: two deep-pocketed bidders, and the medal's pedigree. Crick’s discovery was the Unified Field Theory of biology – hugely important. Never woulda guessed $2M though. How about the medals for Jonas Salk or Albert Einstein? Or some deserving scientist most people have never heard of? For better or worse, I think there is a celebrity factor involved. It will be interesting to see future sale prices for Nobel medals in the post-Crick-sale world.
The $2.275 M price was silly and the medal itself is not at all rare with three others, aside from the Crick medal, on the block within a few months.
No, I do not own one & would not want to own one as it's too modern (post 1900), too common and rather bland aesthetically. I would in fact expect to see many more coming on the market in Europe (where most were issued) as word spreads of the Crick price... indeed as word spreads of the European auction with much lower prices which are still way in excess of gold value.
Silly or not, the new record now stands. Time will tell. Because of the celebrity factor I expect the next Nobels to sell for far less than the Crick, but still far above the mere gold value (which itself is considerable). Any rich idiot can buy gold. Few can earn a Nobel in science.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON NOBEL PRIZE MEDALS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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