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The Sixbid Archive – What It Is and Why You Need It

Sixbid has launched a new service: the Sixbid Archive. What makes this archive different from all the other numismatic databases out there? Is it really one of the most important numismatic projects of this century? Is it worth the €66 price tag? And for whom might it be worthwhile to purchase the €666 gold subscription?


Those who were accustomed to using the Sixbid archive as a free and anonymous alternative to Coin Archives will have experienced a bitter disappointment in recent months: Sixbid, too, has introduced a registration barrier and a paywall. At the moment, registered customers without subscription can only see the coins that have been offered in Sixbid auctions in the last twelve months. This is still a lot as Sixbid is a market leader and none of the major auction houses wants to do without it. As a result, 180 coin dealers from all over the world list their auctions on Sixbid every year, which means that by now around one million lots are being added to the platform on a yearly basis. This is impressive and should be enough for most users. However, if we keep in mind that the archive contained a total of about ten million lots in April 2024, it becomes clear that users without a subscription can only see a fraction of the entire material. For all those who want to study prices and numismatic issues in detail, this is not enough.

The Silver Subscription

This is why coin dealers, serious coin collectors and academics should invest the 66 euros that the Silver Subscription currently costs per year. It provides users with ALL the data on coins auctioned off since 2000. As Sixbid was the first platform on which renowned auction houses offered their auctions online, the wealth of information in the Sixbid archive is unparalleled!

However, the service provided by the Silver Subscription is also available from other providers (although some of them are significantly more expensive).

The Gold Subscription

The Gold Subscription, on the other hand, breaks completely new ground. It includes access to pre-2000 auction catalogues, i.e., the very works that are essential for provenance research. No other archive out there offers a similar service! For 666 euros, users of Sixbid Classical Archives have access to all catalogues from the 19th and 20th centuries that have already been scanned – and not just as a text search, but as individual records in the usual Sixbid form.

Provenance Research? Or Why Is the Gold Subscription Worth the Money?

Some may wonder why they should pay €666 for the Gold Subscription when they can see all prices and descriptions with the €66 Silver Subscription, too. Those who ask themselves this question are probably unaware of the fact that prices of ancient coins with excellent provenances in particular have soared in recent years. The same coin can fetch many times more if it can be associated with a high-quality provenance. The longer this provenances can be traced back, the higher the price of the coin. The reason for this is that proof of provenance going back as far as possible helps to avoid any discussions regarding cultural property issues. Malicious tongues sometimes claim that people today buy provenances rather than coins. Of course, this is a little exaggerated. But if you have to choose between a coin with a provenance and one without, you will always choose the one with a provenance.

Unfortunately, it is only in the last few decades that people have started to pay attention to a coin’s provenance. This means that many originally known provenances have been lost. Reconstructing these provenances is the ultimate goal of the Sixbid Classical Archive ‘Gold’.

The Project of a Century

The Sixbid Classical Archive ‘Gold’ was initiated and devised by Ulf Künker, CEO of Sixbid and the Hess-Divo auction house. He comments: “I used to get annoyed when I had to go through dozens of auction catalogues because a client hadn’t recorded the provenance of his coins. I was left with an old collection, knowing perfectly well that the customer had bought his pieces from the best auction houses of his time. So I began my search. I had to go through every single auction catalogue page by page to find the pieces. It was time-consuming and there was always the risk of missing something. The Sixbid Classical Archive ‘Gold’ makes such a search child’s play. All you have to do is enter the name of the minting authority and perhaps the face value, and the search will list all the pieces in the catalogues that have already been added to the archive. This saves an infinite amount of work for anyone looking for a the provenance of a coin.”

In fact, the search is just as easy as described. If you are looking for a specific piece and enter the respective data into an easy-to-use search mask, you will be provided with a list of all the coins that are currently being sold, as well as all the coins that were auctioned off since 2000 and – last but not least, you just have to click one button to show these results – all coins that were offered before the digitalisation of the coin market.

Sixbid is constantly expanding its archive of scanned catalogues. There are now 172 catalogues in the archive, and the number grows every month. As the work of adding new catalogues to the archive cannot be automated and involves a lot of additional human effort, new catalogues will be added one at a time. Therefore, Gold Subscribers who activate their subscription now will be supporting the project and the expansion of the database.

The Gold Plus Subscription

Scanning all the old auction catalogues and making them available to the coin market is a project that goes beyond the means of any single company – no matter how successful. Therefore, Sixbid has created the Gold Plus Subscription. Ulf Künker explains: “Once we have included all the auction catalogues, it will be easy to get new subscribers. After all, everyone who has anything to do with coins will appreciate the advantages of the Sixbid Classical Archive. However, as long as our database does not yet contain a substantial amount of auction catalogues, we will have to go through a lean period. I have always found the coin market to be a community of people who appreciate and support good initiatives. We hope to find that support with the Gold Plus Subscription. Those who pay €1,111 a year for their subscription will have a say in which catalogues are included next. I hope that many companies use this option to ensure that their own auction catalogues are available on the platform. But collectors who pay great attention to well-founded provenance research can support us. The Sixbid Classical Archive of old auction catalogues is the project of a century that can only succeed if we all work together.”

Yes, It Is Worth It

Actually, there is nothing that needs to be added to this. The subscription is worth it – whether users choose the Silver, Gold or the Gold Plus Subscription. They all get access to a wealth of material at a reasonable price, and can feel good about supporting a project that will have a lasting impact on the coin trade with their subscription fees.

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