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The very 1st Royal Mint trial piece auction was held in Sep last year. Some pieces are resurfacing in March 2022. Many points you can use to argue trial pieces resurfaced, but this post only puts focus on how to understand trial pieces and trial pieces resurfaced.
Firstly, back to 2016 or soon later, trial of the Pyx was first known publicly without more related-information. Actually, it is an annual programme held jointly between the Gold Smith company and the Royal Mint on the purpose of inspecting coins made previous year. Secondly, back to 2021, trial piece auction was kicked off with many errors evolved, but getting improved bit by bit in 2nd time sales. These two auction sales lead to A). coins/trial pieces are relatively used, B). a procedure of making a coin from start to finish demonstrated by the British Royal Mint.
So, we move on a sample from the very 1st trial auction, lot 14. Lot 14 was a G10PD 5 oz Victoria Anniversary Gold Proof Coin. It has been slabbed by NGC PF70 UC (6318876-001). I am aware that the 3rd grading company is fully endorsed by the Royal Mint or other way round. You can check NGC marketing campaign for the 2nd time trial auction.
- Lot 14 G10PD Victoria Anniversary 5 oz Gold Proof Coin
Credit: NGC online data
PF70 UC!! Really??? The designation UC it has no doubt about it, but a trial piece can score a 70 mark. Really??? From this point, you can see how this UK market is doomed to fail later. First, a 70 mark is impossible in logic, because trial pieces are existed in advance for the Proclamation and pre-solve some technique issues during a mass production. Of course, the grader is going to make a strong defence for the coin slabbed to the customer, a happy customer. Secondly, you are going to find some interesting point on your own if you have a very close look at lot 14 and the slabbed trial piece. Most importantly, it is an investment coin that is not going to sell quickly (i.e., flip). This collection is not easy to form, like trial piece (1/1), a coin (1/500 for instance) and trial of the Pyx (1/9). Flipping a coin, in terms of a financial term, you are short selling your trial pieces. The lot-14 was at £14k mark (excl. BP) to buy originally and bid at £12K mark (excl. BP) to sell in a secondary market within a 6-month period. The trial piece’s value is devalued by this transaction and short-seller’s bet either internally or externally.
Based on results from the 2nd time auction, it looks good from the perspective of seller, but still need more to fill in and let buyer come in. If the Royal Mint is going to do auctions like the trial of the Pyx annually, it is really hard to gauge interests.