Auction 32 coming in May, to close June 6th

The family firm of Allan, Marnie, and Lief Davisson is currently finishing work on their 32nd printed auction, due to close on June 6th, 2013. Print copies will be in the mail in early May, and the sale will be posted online at that time.

Auction 32 is made up of over 400 lots, including classic gold, Greek and Roman, a major offering of high quality British, rare and superb quality Conder tokens, a mix of colonial and early US coins and tokens, along with a section of unusual and high quality world coins.

The opening gold section covers the gamut of the sale: Roman, hammered and milled British, and US 19th century gold are all present. An exceptional Marcus Aurelius aureus is the first lot followed by several lots of Roman and Byzantine gold. The British section is strong with several hammered Stuart issues—James I and Charles I. A choice Commonwealth unite marks the end of English gold, and a gold issue of James VI of Scotland ends the hammered section. PCGS graded Type I and Type II U.S. gold dollars end the section.

The ancient section emphasizes quality and rarity and consists of an offering of over 100 ancient Greek and Roman republican and imperial coins, including rare and difficult issues, high grade and attractive Greek silver coins including popular and choice examples of shekels of Tyre and Athenian owls, pieces from the 12 Caesars (including Julius Caesar), other rare first century Roman coinage, a group of choice Probus antoninianii with marvelous varied reverse and bust types, other choice third century coins, and much more. The hammered coinage section of the sale offers coins ranging from Anglo Saxon times to a choice example of Thomas Simon's first shilling of Charles II that marks the end of hammered coinage in England. Several hammered crowns provide collectors a good opportunity to acquire pleasing Very Fine examples of these large silver pieces. High quality examples of many of the regular issues fill out this section. The milled coins of England are nicely represented as well, with denominations from crowns to twopence offered from the 450 year period of British milled coinage. Two full Maundy sets with presentation pouches from Elizabeth II end this section.

“Conder” tokens, the complex and colorful token series that covered the period from 1787 to just after 1800, are represented by two major groups. One consignment of Scottish coins includes several of the dramatic rarities, such as the penny showing Mary Queen of Scots as a washerwoman escaping from imprisonment. Adam Smith is there, as is William Wallace. Several of the pieces in this section are extremely rare and the collector emphasized acquiring the finest condition. The first half of his collection sold in Davissons’ last auction for prices that went well above estimates.

A small hoard of the rare Birchall issue along with a copy of Birchall's 1796 publication is presented along with a discussion of this early cataloger and his personal token. This unusual and fascinating bit of token and British history is represented by a small hoard of tokens originally from the Birmingham area. Simon Birchall was so enthusiastic about the tokens that were circulating in his time that he published one of the first major catalogs of the series in 1796 and he issued his own token. Twenty two of his tokens, three varieties, all of which are rare, seem to have been put away soon after they were struck. They range from fully brilliant to somewhat tarnished with time. Along with these issues, a superb white metal piece of Tom Paine hanging from a tree, one of the rarities in the series that has a strong American connection, and three white metal royalist pennies finish out this group. The catalog includes an essay on the material and an overview of the Birchall’s work (as well as an original copy of his publication). The sale ends with several interesting pieces: three Spanish American 8 reales countermarked for use in Scotland, a couple of pieces of Swedish plate money, a pattern coin of Paraguay overstruck on an Argentinian coin—coins selected for interest as well as condition. A run of American colonial coins ranging from a pine tree shilling to copper issues is followed by a section of early U.S. type. Few of the coins are slabbed. Nor are many mint state. They reflect a philosophy of collecting that emphasizes attractiveness and appeal at more affordable levels than possible with high mint state numbers on early U.S. coins.

Davissons Ltd launched a new website in the fall of 2012 that enables bidders to view and take part in the sale right up until the final lot closes. Lots will begin closing on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at 10 a.m. using a “soft close” structure. A soft close is meant to imitate a floor sale, where the auctioneer takes bids as long as people want to place them. For this auction, every lot is given 40 seconds to close, but if any bids are placed on the lot that is closing then the timer is reset to 40 seconds. This is meant to discourage the practice of “sniping,” or bidding on a coin at the last second to deny other bidders time to react. This allows all bidders time to think and respond, and there should be no one left frustrated after watching the sale only to be outbid at the last second on the lots they are interested in. Once 40 seconds have passed without a bid the lot is closed, and the next lot begins closing.

Many coin firms have invested heavily in their online presence, and while Davissons Ltd has done likewise they also aim to continue serving their paper and ink clients in the same manner as they have for the last 40 years. A high quality printed copy of Auction 32 will be mailed to all current active clients, and available to anyone upon request. Bids will be accepted via mail, email, fax, phone, in addition to instant online bidding through the website. There is no fee regardless of how bids are placed.

There continues to be no buyer’s fee for this or any other Davissons Ltd sale, something rare in the current marketplace.

For inquiries please contact Davissons Ltd at, phone (320) 685-3835, fax (320) 685-8636, PO Box 323, Cold Spring MN 56320. You may bid by phone, fax, email or US mail. After the sale is posted in early May, you may read descriptions, view high quality photos, and place bids online at

Saturday, April 6, 2013


How Bidding Works


Davissons Ltd uses a soft close for its auctions, which means no lot closes until everyone is done bidding. Every time a bid is placed within the final 40 seconds of a lot closing, the timer is reset to 40 seconds. This continues until no bids are placed for 40 seconds, at which point the lot closes. There will never be more than one lot closing at once, as the next lot is not allowed to begin closing until the current lot closes.

To bid: enter your maximum bid into the text box, and click submit. Only round dollar amounts are accepted. You are then required to confirm your bid. Once confirmed, all bids are final. If you have placed a bid in error you must call during office hours and speak to one of us. If you are the current high bidder then it will display “Current High Bidder: YOU” If you are not the high bidder, or if you are not logged in, then the current high bidder will be identified by their 5 digit client ID. You may find your client ID under the Account tab.

Bids are reduced automatically, so feel free to bid your maximum and it will be reduced to one increment over the current high bid. If a user places a bid that is higher than necessary to be the current high bidder on the lot, the displayed bid will reflect one advance over the next lower bid. For example, if a user "A" places a bid of $120 on a lot which opens at $100, "A" will be winning that lot at $100. If another user "B" bids $110, the winning bidder will be "A" at $120, one advance over the supporting bid of $110. If user "B" in this example instead placed a bid at $120, then user "A" will still be winning at $120 because they placed that maximum bid value first.

Increments can be viewed here. The next bid will always be on the next increment, so if a user is winning a lot at $100, or $105, or $109, the next bid will still always be $110.

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