The world coin market seems to be on fire so far in 2021! Even the relatively common certified pieces that I collect are fetching 3-4 times what similar pieces brought just a year ago. I may be spoiled, but it seems ridiculous to pay such a steep price hike for relatively common coins, and as such, I have been making fewer purchases. This is not all bad, as it has allowed me to focus my attention on acquiring high-quality or unique pieces that would have otherwise been more financially difficult to obtain. However, I shouldn't complain too much, as the recent hike in prices has also played to my advantage. I am now able to sell/trade my duplicates to fund more expensive endeavors. I have mixed albeit selfishly derived feelings about the recent uptick in the world coin market.
On any note, I do have a new addition to share with you all. I know many collectors are not particularly interested in the coin's provenance, but in this case, I assume most collectors would make an exception. As well as the others pictured, this piece was struck at the Soho Mint (click here for more information about the Soho Mint). Although Matthew Boulton was the sole owner of the Soho Mint until he died in 1809, the mint utilized the steam engines of James Watt (Boulton's close business partner) to strike coins, tokens, and medals. Upon Boulton's death, the mint fell under the direction of his son Matthew Robinson Boulton and his partner James Watt Jr. (the son of James Watt). From contemporary documents, we know that James Watt Jr. was an active coin collector, and the Soho pieces were often some of his more prized possessions.
My newest addition is an 1803 Madras Presidency 10 Cash piece from the James Watt Jr. collection. This particular piece has retained the original silver-lined brass shells and the inner and outer wrapper. The latter is labeled "Madras". Although not entirely definitive, it is thought that Watt Jr. penned the descriptions on the wrappers. James Watt Jr's coin collection was carefully curated in a carved oak box by his ancestors for nearly 200 years before it came to public auction in 2002. This coin was in a lot with five others, two of which are pictured here, which sold for a measly £440 nearly 20 years ago. Unfortunately, both holders look as though they were used as NHL regulation hockey pucks, which made photographing them very difficult, but they are both true gems. That said, you will have to use your imagination to see the coin without all of the scuffs on the plastic.
Perhaps for my next journal, I will provide a brief write-up on the Madras coinage and the role of the Soho Mint. Admittedly I spent very little time discussing this within my custom registry set, and it is an area that is deserving of a deeper dive.
Have you noticed any upticks in selling prices within your collecting area over the last year or so? If so, is it limited to the higher-end material, or has it also impacted the relatively common material? Has this impacted your collecting habits? Do you think prices will continue to rise or once again become stagnant? What do you think is driving these increases?