What Makes a Present-Day Coin Valuable?

Coin collecting is a popular hobby, but for those looking to turn their interest in coins into a serious pursuit, learning the ins and outs of what determines a coin’s value may seem daunting. There is a lot to know about why a particular flaw or mint mark might make one coin more costly than another. However, there are general principles that can help you understand what makes a collectible coin more expensive. Here are some of the elements that influence a coin’s value:

Rarity: If a coin that is otherwise in demand is also rare, that scarcity of supply will drive up its price. Perhaps only a few examples of that coin were ever made, such as the 1943 copper wheat penny, of which only 40 were struck. Perhaps there were once many examples of that coin in circulation, but they’ve been removed due to wear and damage. Many valuable modern coins are actually the result of mistakes in minting that produce unintended effects on a small subset of a particular coin, such as the 2005 “In God We Rust” Kansas state quarter. Whatever the reason, when there aren’t enough for every collector who might like a particular coin, prices climb.

Condition: A coin that has been in circulation for a long time accumulates abrasions from use. Although this type of wear is expected, the worse the condition of a coin, the lower its value. The ideal state for a collectible coin to be in is uncirculated, which means it was never put into the regular money supply. Such a coin may have nicks or flaws from the production process, but as long as it exhibits a uniform, undamaged luster across all of its surfaces, it is considered uncirculated.

Demand: As with any other type of collectible, the tastes of collectors can raise or lower the price of a particular coin based on what is of interest in the market. Certain types of coins, such as Lincoln pennies or the 50 States quarter series, are quite popular with collectors, which means that there are more interested parties out there vying for available coins. Because this is such a subjective factor, you should probably not try to anticipate demand—rather, collect the coins that are interesting to you, because it is likely that at some point tastes will change and values will shift.

Meltdown Value: Coins made of highly valuable metals such as silver, gold, or platinum will appraise for more than coins made of base metal alloys due to the inherent value of their materials. While some ordinary U.S. coins were once made of valuable metals, nowadays only bullion or collector’s coins are minted from precious metals.

At AuctionKing.com, we search the world for high-quality collectibles, artwork, fine jewelry and more to bring to our clients. Every item is triple-checked for authenticity so that you can bid with confidence using our secure proprietary bidding platform. Our selection is continually updated with our latest finds, with bids starting as low as $1. Register for a free online account today to find your next treasure.

The 5 Most Expensive Pieces of Fine Art

In the world of fine art, competition is often fierce for rare and extraordinary works by acknowledged masters. In recent years, auction prices for these artworks have soared into the stratosphere, with wealthy collectors from around the globe bidding against one another for ownership. Of course, many of the world’s most valuable artworks reside in museums, and we can only guess at what a masterwork like the Mona Lisa or Starry Night might sell for today. Among paintings still in private hands, here are the top 5 most expensive pieces:

1. Salvator Mundi – Leonardo da Vinci – $450.3 million

This painting was generally believed to have been destroyed before it was rediscovered in 2005. It depicts Jesus Christ in Renaissance dress with his right hand raised in benediction (the Latin title means “Savior of the World”). Although some scholars still debate its attribution, that didn’t prevent it from smashing previous auction records when it was sold in 2017.

2. Interchange – Willem de Kooning – $300 million

This abstract work holds the record for the most expensive contemporary painting ever sold. Completed in 1955, it was one of de Kooning’s first abstract landscapes. The painting was purchased by Kenneth C. Griffin along with number 5 on this list for a total of $500 million in 2015.

3. The Card Players, 1892/1893 – Paul Cezanne – $269.4 million

In the early 1890s, Cezanne painted a series of five works depicting men playing cards in various groupings. This painting, one of three in the series depicting only two players intently focused on their game, is the last privately held painting in the series. It was sold to the royal family of Qatar in 2011.

4. Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry) – Paul Gauguin – $210 million

This painting, one of many Gauguin composed based on his experiences in Tahiti, features two native women, one dressed in traditional garb and the other, seated behind her, in Western dress. Although this and his other Tahitian paintings failed to attract interest during the artists’ lifetime, his talent gained recognition after his death in 1903.

5. Number 17A – Jackson Pollock – $200 million

Jackson Pollock was a major contributor to the abstract expressionist movement, known for his unique style of composing his work through dripping and splattering paint on a canvas until he felt the work was complete. This example of that period of his work, completed in 1948, sold together with number 3 on this list to a billionaire collector.

Of course, those of us without millions to spend can still enjoy fine art. At AuctionKing.com, we search out notable originals, prints, serigraphs, lithographs, giclees, and etchings from all over the world. We triple-check the authenticity of every item so that you can bid with confidence. Bidding starts as low as $1! Register today for a free online account to start bidding and start winning.

Is There a Best Time to Buy a Rolex?

Even for those who don’t know anything about luxury watches, the Rolex name is iconic. Their watches have long been a favorite of those who appreciate a high-end timepiece with a combination of style and craftsmanship that ensures it will hold its value over time. Of course, this level of quality doesn’t come cheap, so savvy consumers often look for ways to score a Rolex below retail price. However, some of the tricks that work well for finding other types of goods at bargain rates aren’t so useful when you’re shopping for a Rolex.

While online forums of watch aficionados have considered the topic of timing your purchase, the reality is that some of the very features that make Rolexes desirable make it unlikely that buying at a particular time will result in a much lower price from a retail outlet. Rolex watches are made in a time-consuming manufacturing process that requires an exacting attention to detail. This attention to precision design is the reason that Rolexes can last for a lifetime. In addition, unlike fashion brands that might change their entire line annually, Rolex’s designs remain consistent.

What does this mean for consumers? First, it means that retailers are unlikely to offer steep discounts based on the calendar. For example, while some goods might be discounted after Christmas to move them off the shelf, you should not expect that a Rolex Submariner or Datejust will make that list. A Rolex that doesn’t sell in December is not going to go out of style, so retailers have little incentive to accept a low price just to make a quicker sale. It’s also generally agreed that authorized Rolex dealers are forbidden from advertising discounts, and that to get one you’ll probably have to be a star customer willing to do significant haggling. The most frequent advice you’ll find among experienced luxury watch buyers on the best time to buy a Rolex is “when you can afford it.”

This state of affairs also offers buyers an opportunity. Previously owned Rolex watches are often resold for much less than brand-new Rolexes. Rather than spending top dollar, you can get one of equal quality and nearly identical style for thousands less simply by purchasing one used. Of course, as with any high-end luxury item, the resale market for Rolexes attracts its share of fakes, so you need to work with a trusted source to verify that the watch you’re getting is authentic.

The best time to buy a Rolex is when it’s right for you—when you’re celebrating a success, ready to up your style, or simply wanting to own the finer things in life. Shopping at AuctionKing.com can bring that time more quickly than you might think. We regularly stock an array of top-quality luxury watches, including Rolexes, at far below market rates. We triple-check the authenticity of every item so you can bid with confidence. Register today for a free online account to get started.

How to Preserve Antique Silver and Bronze Pieces

Whether they’re heirlooms or treasures you’ve found at auction, antique metal pieces have a special beauty that can lend distinction to your décor. Preserving the beauty and value of silver or bronze requires knowing what state the metal should be in and how best to clean and maintain it. Both neglect and improper cleaning can damage antique metals, so it’s important to educate yourself before you make an irreversible mistake with a prized object.

Silver is known for its bright finish, but anyone who owns silver flatware or display pieces knows that finish can be quickly dulled by tarnish. As counterintuitive as it might seem, tarnish is not harmful to silver. However, harsh cleaning methods can be. Silver is vulnerable to scratching and denting, so your antique items should be handled with care. Also, polishing silver actually removes a small amount of silver every time you do it, so you want to do it as infrequently as possible. Prevention is key to minimizing the amount of tarnish that develops on your silver.

If you are storing your silver, you need to avoid areas of high humidity and high heat, both of which make silver tarnish more rapidly. When you put it away, you should wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or undyed cotton or linen cloth, which will help prevent scratching and reduce tarnishing. You can also purchase special cloth or bags that are treated with silver nitrate or other chemicals that slow down tarnishing. Storing silver in plastic bags is not recommended, because while it might keep out the sulfur that causes tarnish, it can also trap damaging moisture.

If you’re keeping your silver out on display, you can slow the development of tarnish by putting camphor blocks or special anti-tarnish cloth or paper in the display cabinet with your items. When your items do need cleaning, take care to dust them thoroughly and use a gentle non-abrasive cleaner specifically for silver, following the product directions carefully. If you have any concern that inexperienced cleaning will reduce the value of your item, take it to a professional for treatment.

Bronze is a different story. Unless it has been lacquered, bronze develops a dark or greenish brown patina over time. This finish is highly desirable and should not be removed. This doesn’t mean you can simply ignore your bronze piece, though. Exposure to chloride can cause a corrosive tarnish that will pit the metal, and chemical reactions with different materials (including the acids from your skin when you handle bronze) can result in an uneven patina. Keep your bronze in as dry an environment as possible and wear clean cotton gloves when handling it.

To preserve your bronze, you should dust it regularly (but gently) with a soft brush or lint-free cloth. If the piece is in a state where you are tempted to try a more thorough cleaning, you should probably take it to a professional to see what, if any, further steps are warranted. Altering the original patina of a piece can drastically reduce its value, so it’s best not to take chances.

Knowing how to care for your antique silver and bronze pieces will help to bring you years of enjoyment from your treasures. At AuctionKing.com, we gather notable authenticated finds from all over the world to bring to our clients. From fine art and collectibles to high-end jewelry, we bring you quality and value in the convenience and comfort of your own home. Register for a free online account today to start bidding and start winning.

Who Is Norman Rockwell and Why Are His Paintings So Famous?

There’s a short list of artists whose work is so iconic that it becomes an indelible part of the culture, with enduring images that are familiar even to those who don’t know the artwork’s background. Norman Rockwell is one such artist. His paintings of ordinary life are still celebrated for capturing the spirit of small-town America and illustrating core American values. He’s best known for the cover illustrations he created for The Saturday Evening Post from 1916 to 1963.

Born in New York in 1894, Rockwell dedicated himself to his artwork early, leaving high school to study art full-time when he was only 15. His early works appeared in magazines geared for youth, such as Boys’ Life, where he became the art editor at age 19. Rockwell’s long relationship with The Saturday Evening Post was launched in May 1916 with the cover image “Mother’s Day Off.” He created eight cover images for the Post within that first year and went on to paint more than 300 cover images for the magazine.

Rockwell was a hugely prolific artist, producing over 4,000 original works during the course of his career. He produced covers and illustrations for many magazines of the time, including Life, the Country Gentleman, and the Literary Digest. His paintings combined meticulous detail and execution with a warmth and charm that lent grace to the everyday subjects he generally portrayed. While critics of the day dismissed his work as overly sentimental, his audiences appreciated the empathy he showed in the way he chose to depict his subjects and the powerful storytelling conveyed in his choice of scenes.

The artist also used his stature and popularity to address important issues of his time. For example, inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt “Four Freedoms” speech, Rockwell created four paintings in 1943: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Originally published in The Saturday Evening Post, the images became widely popular, and the paintings themselves were used to boost the war bond effort through a national tour. In the 1960s, he addressed social issues such as racism in paintings like The Problem We All Live With.

Norman Rockwell passed away in 1978, but the appeal of his artwork has not faded. In 2013 his 1951 painting Saying Grace, which depicts a woman and a young boy bowing their heads in prayer before a meal at a diner while inquisitive youths look on, sold at auction for a record $46 million. Studies (works he created in the process of developing a finished painting) for Triple Self Portrait and Tough Call sold for $1.3 million and $1.6 million respectively in 2017, making it clear that the market for his work is hotter than ever in the 21st century.

If you’re looking for fine art at prices you won’t find in a gallery, AuctionKing.com is your source for prints, lithographs, giclees, serigraphs, etchings, and more. With bids starting as low as $1 on authenticated pieces, we give collectors the opportunity to bid and win from the comfort of their own home. To get started, register today for a free online account.

The Top Gemstones That Are Always in Style

Like any other fashion item, jewelry can be subject to the whims of what is popular at the moment. Every year arbiters of taste will proclaim the latest trends in gemstones, often directing attention to lesser-known gemstones or promoting interest in gems that might have once been coveted but have since fallen out of favor. However, fine jewelry isn’t subject to all the same rules as other fashion items, because unlike a dress or a pair of shoes, a well-made piece of quality jewelry can last generations. Because of this factor, some gemstones simply transcend the fads of the moment, remaining perennially in style. Which stones fall into this category?

Birthstones: Every month has at least one designated birthstone, and part of the charm of wearing a piece of jewelry that incorporates your own birthstone is the personal association. According to the American Gem Society, the traditional birthstones are:

January: Garnet

February: Amethyst

March: Aquamarine or bloodstone

April: Diamond

May: Emerald

June: Pearl or alexandrite or moonstone

July: Ruby

August: Peridot or sardonyx or spinel

September: Sapphire

October: Opal or tourmaline

November: Topaz or citrine

December: Zircon or turquoise or tanzanite

Wearing your birthstone transforms any piece of jewelry into a potential conversation piece. Many who choose to wear a certain stone for that reason often enjoy delving into the history and lore associated with it as well for added interest.

The big three: Emeralds, sapphires, and rubies are classic gems, and probably among the first that come to mind when you think of colored gemstones. They have been favorites in cultures around the world for thousands of years as much for their value as for their beauty. The finest examples of each of these stones can be more expensive than diamonds on a per-carat basis. The enduring popularity of these stones means that you can find intriguing vintage pieces incorporating them, giving you the choice between contemporary styles and traditional looks.

Diamonds: These brilliant gems have as long a history as the big three, even though the custom of proposing with a diamond ring is a relatively recent development in the stone’s history. Before the nineteenth century, diamonds tended to be associated with royalty, and India was thought to be the sole source of the stone. The discovery of diamonds in South Africa increased supply at the same time as improved cutting and polishing techniques were helping to bring out the stone’s true beauty. As the hardest of all gemstones, diamonds are perfect for everyday wear, a distinction few other stones can match. They also pair well with any color, making them easy to match with any item in your wardrobe.

At AuctionKing.com, we maintain an extensive selection of rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and pendants featuring a wide range of gemstones, from trendy to classic. Bid on authenticated pieces easily from the comfort of your own home on our secure proprietary bidding platform. We bring the value and excitement of the live auction experience to you! Register for a free online account today to find your next treasure.

Most Expensive Movie Memorabilia

Any field that has a devoted fan following can inspire a market for memorabilia. Movies are a prime example—costumes, props, scripts, and other items from popular movies are coveted treasures for those looking to own an item associated with a favorite film or star. Here are some iconic mementos that top the list for most expensive movie memorabilia:

Robby the Robot, Forbidden Planet – $5.375 million (2017) – This seven-foot-tall robot from the 1956 is considered the most expensive movie prop ever auctioned. The lot also included a Jeep Robby drove on the planet Altair IV, an auxiliary control panel, and original packing crates from MGM.

Marilyn Monroe’s white dress, The Seven-Year Itch – $4.6 million (2011) – The famous scene where an updraft from a subway grate blows up Marilyn Monroe’s skirt made this dress one of the most instantly recognizable costumes in movie history. The final auction price vastly exceeded the $2 million expected.

James Bond’s Aston Martin, Goldfinger and Thunderball – $4.6 million (2010) – An Ohio collector purchased this 1964 Aston Martin DB5, which was one of two cars driven by Sean Connery as the famed spy 007. The other car used in the films was reported stolen in 1997.

Maltese falcon statue, The Maltese Falcon – $4.1 million (2013) – Although two identical statues were made for use in the film, the filmmaker verified that this one was the statue that actually appeared on screen.

Upright piano, Casablanca – $3.4 million (2014) – At Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca, Sam played the song “As Time Goes By,” the unforgettable leitmotif of the movie, on this piano, making it one of the most famous pianos in the world. It was modified for the movie so that Rick could open the lid from the rear to hide important papers.

Cowardly lion costume, The Wizard of Oz – $3 million (2014) – The original costume worn by Bert Lahr as one of Dorothy’s companions in her journey down the yellow brick road had been left in an old MGM building before it was rescued by a junk dealer and subsequently auctioned off.

Costumes worn for “Do-Re-Mi,” The Sound of Music – $1.56 million (2013) – The costumes worn by the Von Trapp children and by Maria (Julie Andrews) in the scene where she first teaches them to sing sold in a lot including other costumes from this beloved musical in a Hollywood auction.

Unfortunately, as with other kinds of memorabilia where prices are high and authenticity is key, movie memorabilia can attract counterfeiters or invite misrepresentation. Recently two movie props slated to go up for auction—a lightsaber purportedly used by Mark Hamill in the filming of Star Wars: A New Hope and a Walther pistol that supposedly appeared in the opening scenes of the 1962 James Bond film Dr. No—were withdrawn due to disputes over their authenticity. Collectors interested in purchasing any kind of memorabilia should be careful to purchase only from scrupulous dealers who will guarantee the provenance of the items they sell.

At AuctionKing.com, our clients find great values on memorabilia and collectibles every day. We triple-check the authenticity of every item so that you can bid with confidence. Our secure bidding platform gives you the excitement of live bidding with the convenience of online shopping. To start bidding and start winning, register for a free online account today.

Jewelry to Pair with Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year

Since 2000, Pantone has announced its Color of the Year annually, analyzing trends across all segments of global society to select a color that captures the zeitgeist of the year ahead. For 2019 they have chosen Living Coral, “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.”

In choosing this color, the selection committee noted that given the increasing role of technology in modern life, people seek authentic connection and intimacy. The Pantone Color Institute selected the vibrant hue as a “fusion of modern life” because it “is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.” The color is intended to represent optimism, joy, and playfulness.

For those looking to incorporate this spirited shade into their jewelry choices, there are a couple ways to go. Precious coral has been polished for use as an opaque gemstone since ancient times, and was especially popular during the Victorian Era. Its use in jewelry has declined in recent years, in part due to concerns over the environmental impact of harvesting slow-growing coral to meet consumer demand. If you like the look but love the ocean, shop for vintage coral earrings, rings, or beads, which won’t harm today’s reefs.

If you prefer coral color in a clear gemstone, morganite is a great option. The peachy-pink stone has the warm tones of Pantone’s selection for 2019, and is readily available in large carat sizes perfect for cocktail rings or stunning pendants. Even though it has become quite sought after, morganite remains relatively affordable in larger sizes. This gemstone is frequently paired with rose gold, which amplifies its golden tones.

On the other hand, if you’re wearing a coral ensemble, you may not want to match the hue in your jewelry. In that case, consider creamy pearls, which offer a lovely neutral counterpoint and also evoke the oceanic origins of coral. White opals can offer a similar neutral choice with a fiery twist. For an eye-catching pop of contrast instead, green gems such as emerald, peridot, or jade evoke a sustaining connection to nature, although they by no means represent all the colored gemstone choices that would look attractive with this shade. Whatever gemstone you choose, yellow and rose gold will harmonize most effectively with the warm undertones of Living Coral, so look for settings in those precious metals.

At AuctionKing.com, our selection of fine necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings, and loose stones give you a rainbow of colors to choose from every day, whether you’re setting a trend or making a unique style statement. Every piece is triple-checked for authenticity so you can bid knowing that what you see is exactly what you’ll get. We seek out unusual and precious pieces so our customers around the globe can enjoy top-quality fine jewelry at below-retail prices every day. To start bidding and start winning, register for a free online account today.

Accessorize Your Holiday Outfit with Jewelry from Auction King

The end of the year is full of gatherings, bringing us together with family and friends as we celebrate the holidays. From office get-togethers to family parties to New Year’s Eve flings, the holiday season can seem like a whirlwind of merriment. Getting dressed up is a great way to get yourself into the spirit, and if you’re looking for the right piece of jewelry to make your outfit complete, Auction King is the place to find high-quality items at budget-friendly prices.

With twinkling lights and glowing candles all around, it’s natural to want to don a little sparkle ourselves. Auction King stocks a wide variety of gemstones and types of jewelry, making it easy to find something to exactly fit your taste and the occasion. Bids start as low as $1, giving you an unmatched opportunity to purchase top-quality fine jewelry for below-market prices.

Looking for something to coordinate with your dress for a gala soiree? A cocktail ring with a colored center stone can be just the thing to either match your gown or accessorize with a contrasting accent color. Our selection of rings includes exquisite examples featuring rubies, emeralds, tanzanite, opals, amethyst, alexandrite, Tahitian pearls, and more.

Want to liven up a little black dress? A glimmering pair of statement earrings or a necklace of brilliant stones will give your ensemble the zing that transforms a classic look into something head-turning. Whether you want to give a shout-out to Christmas hues with rubies or emeralds, evoke a Hanukkah spirit with sapphire or tanzanite, or embrace a general winter vibe with aquamarines or diamonds, we’ve got you covered.

Are your holiday plans going to keep you at more intimate, understated affairs? That’s no reason to pass up the opportunity to add a little bling to your wardrobe. A diamond solitaire necklace, a string of pearls, or your favorite gemstone set in a pendant will be lovely at close quarters without seeming overwhelming. A pair of diamond stud earrings or a bangle or tennis bracelet are also great choices when you want just a hint of dazzle in your attire.

At Auction King, we seek out beautiful, finely made pieces from all over the world so that we can offer our bidders a truly breathtaking array of jewelry to choose from. We triple-check the authenticity of all of our pieces so you can bid with confidence, knowing that the quality of what you get will match your expectations. Our convenient online platform allows you to bid from the comfort of your own home on our secure proprietary platform—getting the right jewelry to complete your holiday look may be the easiest thing to check off your to-do list this year! Register today for a free online account to start bidding and start winning.

The Hottest Contemporary Art up for Grabs

When people think of fine art, they often call to mind the names of masters of the past like Van Gogh, Monet, or da Vinci. However, the field of contemporary art is just as full of names worth knowing. The recent auction of David Hockney’s painting “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” for $90.3 million smashed the previous record for an auction sale by a living artist, previously held by Jeff Koons’ sculpture “Balloon Dog (Orange),” which sold for $58.4 million in 2013. The painting highlights two of the themes Hockney’s work from the 1960s and ’70s is known for—emotionally complex double portraits and swimming pool landscapes—and its sale generated considerable buzz in the contemporary art world.

Although its price was considerably less, the drama surrounding the auction of Banksy’s painting “Girl with Balloon” at Sotheby’s, in which the iconic painting was half-shredded moments after the gavel fell also generated much discussion. Fortunately for the buyer, who elected to keep the transformed work at the auction price of $1.4 million, experts believe that the work’s new provenance as a piece of conceptual art will only increase its value.

Contemporary art doesn’t offer the certainty that one might find in collecting already-established masters. After all, it’s hard to know which of today’s up-and-coming artists might gain the popularity (or notoriety) of Hockney, Koons, or Banksy. However, it is not difficult to find articles and lists noting rising or influential artists currently working in the field. For example, W Magazine suggests that portraitist Nathanial Mary Quinn and painters Eliza Douglas and Christina Quarles are among up-and-coming artists to take note of.

As with older art, when a contemporary artist becomes well-known, their work is often priced out of reach of all but the wealthiest collectors. Along with those of Koons and Hockney, the works of Jasper Johns, Christopher Wool, Brice Marden, Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman, and Cecily Brown, among many others, have been known to command staggering prices at auction. The groundbreaking work of such artists often receives acclaim because it influences the work of others, producing thought-provoking shifts in artistic expression.

However, it’s not necessary to possess a multimillion-dollar masterpiece, whether it is contemporary or classic, to enjoy having artwork. Auction King gives you the opportunity to own striking pieces in a variety of mediums and styles at a fraction of what you might pay at a gallery. As with all of the items available on our site, our artwork is triple-checked for authenticity so you can bid with confidence. Our online format makes it easy and convenient to bid wherever you are, so geography is no limit to obtaining the artwork that speaks to you. Register for a free online account and start bidding today.