Back on May 8, 2022 I asked, "So did everyone notice this in the Heritage May 3, 2022 Coin News?"
Important: All auctions until further notice will be online only. Take advantage of our high resolution images and videos to place bids up until the live event, and then continue to bid during the Heritage Live auction event, including live streaming audio and video.
In his Editor's Preface to the upcoming issue of the Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN),
Chris McDowell discusses the issue.
Before I discuss the contents of this issue, I want to discuss another topic. Something is missing from my numismatic life—the live, in-person coin auction. Do you remember it? I lament what I fear shall be the end of the age of the in-person coin auction. Nothing can compare to the thrill of being in a room with my fellow collectors bidding on colonial coins. The last vestige of the live numismatic auction may be the colonial coin auction. We are the only group that still attends such events with gusto. Rumor has it that the auction houses have determined that profits can be increased by eliminating these gatherings and turning them into computer-operated events robotically run out of the home office back in Kalamazoo or some other such place. This may seem like an improvement or progress to some, but with COVID, we have lost a sense of community and physical contact with our coin-collecting friends. Like so much else that I was initially told were temporary changes with this pandemic, the loss of the in-person auction in conjunction with a large coin show may now be a thing of the past. I already miss holding up my number and hearing Jeff Rock tell me that I'm bidding on the wrong lot again or,
you need to keep going.
At the Gleckler auction in November 2016, I had already accumulated 299
different Connecticut copper varieties. As the lots ticked by, I set my sights on lot number 5354, the 1787 Miller 56-XX. I determined that it would be my 300th Connecticut variety. Everyone around me knew what was going on. When the hammer came down, and I was the winner, I stood up, and everyone clapped. All my friends shook my hand, slapped me on the back, and congratulated me. A few weeks later, I received a package from Stack's; inside was a framed photograph of my 56-XX with
300 printed under it. How would this moment have been if, instead, I was at home by myself in front of my computer screen? I dare say, not the same; not nearly the same. Many of you must have similar memories. Let us hope that the rumors are untrue and that COVID has not snatched this great institution from us as it has so much else.
What do readers think? While the cost savings and efficiencies of online bidding are numerous, something is definitely lost without live, in-person bidding. The high-end fine art auction houses have long melded the two.
While every single auction may no longer merit in-person bidding, let's hope it doesn't disappear from the scene completely.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
THE FUTURE OF LIVE AUCTIONS
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM MAY 8, 2022
Wayne Homren, Editor
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