Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on the marketing of hoards, inspired by the
Samuel H. Black inquiry in the last issue. Thanks. -Editor
No problem selling coins whenever a hoard of similar items are discovered. With known prices and
large demand the price can remain fairly stable. Most any dealer can market coin hoards. Not so
with medals. Supply and demand is the operative term, it certainly applies here.
The recent discussion in The E-Sylum of the National Medallion Plaque (the large version)
made by electrolysis by Samuel H. Black in 1859 comes to mind. New York token and medal dealers
Rossa and Tannenbaum discovered a hoard of these which had remained intact for over a century. At a
New York City flea market they acquired the entire hoard, some twenty pieces or so. Had they
publicized the fact they had that many for sale the price would have dropped dramatically.
The two dealers wisely eased these into the collectors' market. Never showing more than one
at a time at shows or revealing the number they had on hand. It probably took them a decade or so
to sell them all but they were able to maintain a stable price. Previous owners of the piece did
not observe a drop in "current market value" to use an appraisers' term.
Medals are sold one at a time generally to topic collectors. A gradual increase in value can be
expected over time but this is upset when a large supply is available with a somewhat limited
demand. Collectors are very savvy and sense this. They often detect when a large supply still
There is a name for this, a vocabulary word of the week: OVERHANG. When overhang exists and
collectors are aware of this the price does not rise, and often drops.
I can cite many examples of this. The Ohio Sesquicentennial Medal of 1953 is one for instance. I
am often asked if the Medallic Art Company would buy back any medal they made and the answer is NO.
The company does not deal in past issues.
If an organization has a quantity of unsold medals they should NOT shop around. Offer it to one
dealer who is the best prospect. Offer the entire quantity. Do NOT split it up, selling it to more
than one dealer. Do NOT publicize in any way the quantity sold, who acquired it, or even the
quantity existed at all. Allow that dealer to sell one piece at a time, not to disturbed the market
value, even if it takes him a decade to do so.
Even hoards of regular-issue coins can require delicate marketing. The John Beck
collection included about half the entire mintage of 1856 Flying Eagle Cents, and these were
dispersed to the market over many years. Can anyone share a story of another hoard that was handled
as Dick describes? -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: OCTOBER 26,
2014 : Query: Samuel H. Black Electrotype Plate (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n44a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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