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TOPIC: An analysis of DNW's QSA data from 1991

An analysis of DNW's QSA data from 1991 1 year 1 week ago #61455

  • djb
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I have been analysing the data about QSAs to investigate the trends since 1991 using DNW's archive .

I would like to thank Oliver of DNW for his support of this work.

It has taken a while to wrangle the data into a form that can be analysed numerically and statistically. The dataset that has been created includes QSAs that have been offered for sale by DNW since they started trading. As such it represents a UK-centric view of prices and availability which probably does not fully reflect the international picture. That said, the dataset is large and does provide many interesting insights. If anyone has tabular data (eg in Excel) of QSAs prices and would be willing to share these, please let me know.

Within the dataset, I have excluded family groups, defective medals, miniatures, bronze medals (for the moment), ribbon bars of QSA recipients and those lots where two or more QSAs are grouped together in the same lot. The QSA dataset contains 11,692 records including the lot description, estimates, hammer prices, calculated actual cost and a list of clasps. While the dataset has been extensively cleaned, I am aware that it still contains some errors but these are not thought to have more than a minor effect on the analysis. One of my current tasks is to separate the naming on the QSA into its component parts (ie number, rank, name and regiment) and if anyone has created programmatic regular expressions to achieve this please let me know as the lack of a discernible pattern in the naming is making algorithmic analysis challenging.

Here is the initial, descriptive analysis ..

To start, here is a plot showing the number of QSAs offered for sale, by year, since 1991.



This bars show the number of QSAs offered each year (as singles or in groups) and the red line shows the trend. Since 1998, possibly linked the centenary, the number of QSAs offered by DNW has shown a step change in availability. For the last decade, other than in 2009 and 2015, this trend has been consistent year on year. The data for 2018 is not yet complete as it excludes the QSAs to be sold in the auction next week.

During this period, 98.6% of the QSAs offered for sale are sold.

There have been a number of notable QSA collections sold by DNW in the last decade so whether this trend will continue into the future in uncertain. I have not analysed the number of QSAs as a proportion of total lots but this would be interesting and quite quick to do.
Dr David Biggins
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An analysis of DNW's QSA data from 1991 1 year 1 week ago #61456

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The next plot shows the mean and median prices for QSAs (as singles and in groups) since 1991,



The mean is the average price for all QSAs sold in the year. One of the shortcomings of the mean is that it is very susceptible to outliers (for example, very expensive groups containing a QSA). For this reason, the median or middle value when prices are ranked from cheapest to most expensive can give a 'better' average for QSA prices in a year. That the median is lower than the mean shows that the price distribution has a positive skew and that there are many expensive QSAs in the tail of the distribution to the right of the centre of the distribution.

It is interesting to note how the median value has only increased gradually over time. This year's results have been affected by the number of individual, colonial and IY, QSAa offered for sale. But this year is also not yet complete.

In case you are wondering what caused the peaks in the means, 2015 saw the sale of the VC group to 3105 Dvr. F. G. Bradley, 69th Bty. R.F.A. and 2012 the VC group to 2332 Serjt. W. B. Traynor, W. York Regt. The Magersfontein Victoria Cross group to Sergeant J. D. F. Shaul, Highland Light Infantry, was sold in 2006.

This analysis suggests the current, average price for a QSA (single or group) is £ 204, R 3600, Au $ 355, Can $ 350 or US $ 260.
Dr David Biggins
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An analysis of DNW's QSA data from 1991 1 year 1 week ago #61457

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Interesting scenario David

I would like to see a study of Colonial as opposed to Imperial QSA's sold. In particular what the prices realised look like.

This is of interest to a SA-collector with primarily Colonial-based recipients like myself. Who knows - should I want to "offload" some of mine what would they realise in a British auction.

Regards

Rory

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An analysis of DNW's QSA data from 1991 1 year 1 week ago #61458

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Rory,

I would like to look at that. I have started to separate the regiment from the QSA naming but this is going take quite a while to complete accurately.
Dr David Biggins

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An analysis of DNW's QSA data from 1991 1 year 1 week ago #61459

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The most common number of clasps per QSA is 3.

Dr David Biggins
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An analysis of DNW's QSA data from 1991 1 year 1 week ago #61460

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A look at QSAs (singles and groups) containing a Defence clasp.



This shows that the average cost of DoL QSAs has slightly declined in the last 5 years, that DoK QSAs has slightly increased and that DoM QSAs has shown a sharp rise.

As examples, the 4 DoM single QSAs sold this year hammered at £1,600, £1,700 and 2 at £3,000 giving a mean actual cost of £ 2,790.

Defence clasps by frequency:

Dr David Biggins
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