‘Cyprus frightened a lot of Irish people’ says Dublin auctioneer

Gold coins and jewellery in big demand

Sat, Apr 20, 2013, 07:00

‘The current blip in the price of gold is just that, a blip” according to Dublin auctioneer John Weldon, who believes it will rise again in the coming weeks. Gold, which is priced in US dollars on the international market, was mid-week trading close to $1,300 (€993) per ounce, down about 20 per cent since the start of the year.

Nevertheless, continued nervousness about eurozone bank deposits and stock market volatility, means that gold continues to be regarded by some investors as a safe-haven.

Cyprus frightened a lot of Irish people” said Mr Weldon, and he has had “many calls from people who still have cash but are worried” about what would happen if Irish banks ever had to impose the kind of haircuts imposed on depositors in the Cypriot banks. They are willing, he said, to “put some of that cash into gold for safety”. He recounted the comment of one client this week who remarked “in ancient Rome it cost a man an ounce of gold to buy a good suit and shoes – toga and sandals, perhaps? – the same as it costs today if you go down to Louis Copeland”.

Weldon’s monthly auction next week includes gold coins which may appeal to both collectors and investors.

A pair of 22ct gold Pádraig Pearse medallions, with a total weight of approximately 188g, has a pre-sale estimate of €5,000-€7,000. The coins were made in 1966 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and are presented in the original fitted box from Worboys, the former Grafton Arcade jewellers.

It is not known how many of the gold coins were issued but they are thought to be quite rare and their value could rise significantly as the centenary of the Rising nears.

Similar coins in silver were also issued in 1966 but in huge numbers and are of considerably less value. Incidentally, like gold the price of silver has also been falling and earlier this week was trading internationally at around $23 (€18) an ounce, down from $35 (€27) last October. Is nothing safe?

The auction also includes a selection of South African Kruggerand gold coins and various gold chains, rings and necklaces.

Viewing begins at noon today in the saleroom at John Weldon Auctioneers, Cows Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin. Auction is on Tuesday, April 23rd at 2pm.