Rankings stabilize; some houses dropped; views keep rising!

For the first time in our four-year history, no new auction house has been added to our rankings. But there has been movement. We have seen continual improvement in the past year in four houses in particular–Back to the Past Collectibles, Star Coin and Currency, A New Day Auctions, and Auctions by Wallace–breaking into the top 10. Other houses, not named here, have been dropped. We’ll share the reasons. Finally, our audience now exceeds 55,000 views worldwide!


We’ll begin with our consistent leaders–Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction and Capitol Coin Auction–which hold the top spots because of quality control across the spectrum, including photos, shipping, buyer’s premium, quality consignments and numismatic accuracy. In other words, when Dave Weaver or Brad Lisembee say a coin is gem, you can be relatively sure it is or is close to being so by PCGS standards, the toughest grading company in the business.

You may not know it, but Dave and Cheryl Weaver and Brad Lisembee worked with us early in Proxiblog’s existence to follow best practices. And then both not only adopted them but added to them and came up with innovations of their own.

Star Coin and Currency did the same thing about 1 1/2 years ago and now is an exceptional house. C. Scott Lovejoy of Back to the Past Collectibles not only embraced our best practices but worked with us on photography and now is a hair behind our top houses. With a few more choice consignments, this may be a front-runner soon. And Kendra Stevens and Sheena Wallace are following our best practices now, and you can clearly see it in photos, lot descriptions and much more.

You can find those best practices in our Amazon Kindle book, Online Coin Auctioneering for dealer, estate and eBay sellers.

Our other trusty stand-bys in the top tiers of our rankings continue to excite us every time they schedule an auction. A few still can improve, however. Jewelry Exchange, SilverTowne Auction (which has the best consignments on the portal), Rolling M. Auctions (the best marketing), and Kaufman Auction need to sharpen their photography one more notch to capture luster and clarity (so varieties can be discerned).

Charles Commander, owner of Midwest Coins, did something very praiseworthy during the summer in his auctions: He asked bidders how he could improve. As we’re also an occasional bidder in his auctions, and consider Charles a friend and fellow Iowan numismatist, we strongly encourage him to work a little more on photography.

We’ll give one example that can serve for our entire critique.

Deep mirror proof-like raw coins used to be difficult to photograph. Not really any more. Here’s an example from Rolling M.:

RollingM_Dmpl

Here’s a photo we took without a tripod or light box with our Samsung Galazy 4 smartphone:

dmpl_samsung

Which photo do you think would start a bidding war? Rolling M. in our view probably can claim the best realized prices on the portal. Mark Murphy is that good. But even in the best there is room for improvement.

Also, we are having a problem with some of our favorite houses. You know who you are. Here’s the issue at hand: We know coin dealers–not ones scheduling events on Proxibid–but ones sending consignments to houses on the portal. A few of our favorite houses are in danger of being dropped because they receive dipped, doctored and otherwise dealer rejects hyped in lot descriptions.

We encourage ANY Proxibid house to take care when accepting consignments from coin dealers. Why would they look to you to sell their coins when they own coin shops? Answer: They don’t want these damaged, cleaned, scratched, carbon-spotted coins in their display windows.

We dropped one house because of that this month.

We are also dropping houses that insist on calling counterfeit California plated brass replicas “gold,” “fractional gold,” “tokens,” etc. By the way, there are collectible gold tokens but ones with bears on the reverse are fake and genuine tokens difficult to identify without numismatic knowledge.

If you want to bone up on those small coins, read our most popular post tallying 100 views per week: California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake.

Standards during the summer on Proxibid fell rather than rose in our opinion. We’ll share the evidence in the next month or two. We are holding the portal responsible for not requiring auctioneers to change lots that are clearly misidentified. Here’s an example:

1889-S

This auction had at least three misidentified lots. The one above is not an 1889-S but an 1889, less rare. We used the “Report the Item” multiple times, and nothing was changed. We know mistakes happen. But Proxibid has an obligation to bidders to ensure that misidentified lots are corrected–not for the onsite crowd–but for the Internet ones.

We also saw counterfeits being sold. In one lot in particular a house warned bidders that a purported rare coin might be counterfeit. It was clearly a fake. We provided proof. We used the report the item button. The lot remained online and sold.

Don’t get us wrong: We promote Proxibid whenever we can. And the company has taken out full-page ads, very slick, in Coin World and other venues. But we also need to point out where the company can do better, and this is one area. When someone uses the “Report the Item,” it is your obligation not only to inform the auctioneer but to consider what is being said and to correct obvious errors or misrepresentations. By including the “Report the Item” as a Proxibid feature of trust, the company’s brand, you are now responsible to see these things through.

Finally, a few notes about rankings:

  • Consignments typically are key to our rankings. Any house scoring 24.5 points practices and/or exceeds our Honor Roll standards.
  • Regularly scheduled events on Proxibid play into rankings. Some of our best houses are dropping in the ratings because they have not scheduled a recent coin auction.
  • Our favorite houses are just that–ours. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we keep growing. We drew more than 13,500 viewers in the past year–with one strange demographic: Brazil has overtaken Britain as our third most popular country after the USA and Canada. Maybe it was the World Cup and all those fans gathering this summer in that country.

newviews

Our all-time views now total 55,177!

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We are on hiatus at the moment but post every weekday during September-June. We do this for educational purposes, informing viewers about numismatics as well as funding scholarships for Iowa State University students.

Fortunately, we have several of our top houses donating funds to our scholarship account. You can also buy our new work, Online Coin Auctioneering or Basic Coin Design on Kindle. We are extremely grateful. Won’t you consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Iowa State Foundation so that we can continue publishing? Thank you for your consideration!

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.


Proxiblog to begin posting Sept. 2

realdmpl

We wish to thank our tens of thousands of viewers all around the globe for visiting our site during our summer hiatus. We will resume publishing weekdays, Monday through Friday, beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 2. The new rankings will be posted on Sunday, Aug. 31. We will be reviewing coin auction issues, shout-outs, boos and booyahs that happened in July and August. It’s been an eventful time on Proxibid.

Stay tuned.

New Rankings; 18-Month Views Exceed 40,000 Worldwide!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category added one new auction in the past month, EBW Coins, which features good photography, numismatic lot descriptions and zero percent buyer’s premium (with Greysheet opening bids, however). The big news is that Proxiblog’s audience continues to grow with more than 40,000 views in the past 18 months, raising total views to 55,000 since its inception three years ago.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction continues to hold the top spot again this month. The duo of Dave and Cheryl Weaver are doing everything right. Lot descriptions are accurate. Photos expandable. Shipping and customer service just fine.

Our other trusty stand-bys continue to excite us every time they schedule an auction: Capitol Coin Auction, SilverTowne, Leonard Auction, Meares Auction, and Fox Valley Coins.

The big news in our ratings concerns Back to the Past Collectibles and Star Coin and Currency. C. Scott Lovejoy and Jim Haver, respectively, continue to improve consignments, elevating their rankings. Back to the Past, in particular, with its 10% buyer’s fee will challenge any top house in our rankings with more and rarer consignments.

Leonard, Capitol, Meares and Fox Valley all boast great photos, consignments, service and descriptions.

Other houses to watch are A New Day Auction and Auctions by Wallace. Like Lovejoy and Haver, Kendra Stevens of A New Day and Sheena Wallace are continuously improving their events. Now they need top consignments.

Our advice to them is to place a classified ad in local newspapers seeking consignments or offering to buy collections. You’ll be surprised at how far that last recommendation goes, especially when estates are transferred.

Consignments typically are key to our rankings. Any house scoring 24.5 points practices and/or exceeds our Honor Roll standards.

Also keep in mind that our favorite houses are just that–ours. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we keep growing. We are in the process of upgrading our site (we hope you like the cleaner look). As the map below shows, we are reaching more viewers in Canada, England and India. Once again, the most accessed post was California Gold, real, replica and fake. That post averages between 400+ views per month.

sixmonths

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We are on hiatus at the moment but post every weekday during September-June. We do this for educational purposes, informing viewers about numismatics as well as funding scholarships for Iowa State University students.

Fortunately, we have several of our top houses donating funds to our scholarship account. You can also buy our new work, Online Coin Auctioneering or Basic Coin Design on Kindle. We are extremely grateful. Won’t you consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Iowa State Foundation so that we can continue publishing? Thank you for your consideration!

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.


Proxiblog on Hiatus

Just a reminder that we’re currently on hiatus during the summer. But we’re analyzing coin auctions every day and, beginning in September, plan to showcase high- and low-lights that occurred in July and August on the portal. We also will continue to post new monthly rankings. Meanwhile, we send our warmest regards to our viewers and auctioneers.

Proxiblog Publishes New Book on Coin Auctioneering

Click book cover to place order

Online Coin Auctioneering:
for dealers, estate and eBay sellers

cover_coinauctioneering

This book is intended for estate auctioneers considering or already selling on a portal such as AuctionZip, iCollector or Proxibid. The advice in this new work also pertains to eBay and coin dealer auctions. No matter if you are a mega-seller or beginner, you’ll soon learn that the largest and littlest online coin auctions have these things in common:

    1. They secure top consignments of the most desirable coins.
    2. They secure those consignments with no or minimal seller fees.
    3. They feature sharp, expandable photos of all lots.
    4. They fill out lot descriptions completely and accurately.
    5. They understand numismatics and do not exaggerate condition or worth.
    6. They have safe venues for use of credit cards or PayPal to make online buying secure and convenient.
    7. They have low or NO opening bids or reserves.
    8. They ship cheaply, safely and quickly.
    9. They accept returns on counterfeit and doctored coins.
    10. They focus on customer satisfaction and resolve disputes amicably.

If you’re going to sell coins online, you have to understand Internet and other considerations that you must master to vend lots via a global platform. You also must become a numismatist rather than a hobbyist or estate auctioneer because you’re selling U.S. Mint and world mint products in raw condition or perhaps holdered by any number of companies. You must know how to grade, how to price, and how to describe lots. More important, you must master digital photography—the chief component of successful online sales. Finally, you have to know the business, from fake coins to dispute resolution.

This book covers it all. Written by nationally known numismatist Michael Bugeja, who writes for Coin World, reports for Coin Update News and is a member of the Citizen Coinage Advisory Committee of the US Mint, Online Coin Auctioneering is an indispensable guide. Download a copy from Amazon Kindle today!

July 2014 Rankings Posted; Proxiblog on Hiatus in Summer

Our top houses profiled here all offer something special to the coin buyer on Proxibid. Proxiblog, which continues to gain viewers worldwide, will be on hiatus to return Sept. 1, 2014. If you believe we are offering a valuable free service, posting every weekday–more than 700 posts since our inception, with 10,000+ photos–then please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund.


Capitol Coin Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction tie for first place in our rankings. They do everything right, from accurate numismatic descriptions to vivid photography. We placed Weaver at the top of the rankings this week because of great consignments and terrific customer service.

That said, Capitol Coin Auction remains a top contender in all categories. Look at the care that Capitol takes with each lot description, this one showcasing a collection in which every coin therein is graded by auctioneer Brad Lisembee (click to expand photo):

capitol_shoutout

Same holds for Dave Weaver who accurately describes condition of each lot in his auctions. Here’s an example:

weavershoutout

John Leonard of Leonard Auction upholds the same standards as Lisembee and Weaver, providing excellent photos and descriptions. In our view he ranks among the most knowledgeable auctioneers on the Proxibid portal. A screenshot from his most recent auction:

leonardshoutout

For sheer number of auctions on Proxibid and the vast array of consignments–you’re apt to find almost any type coin here–few rival SilverTowne Auctions. From rare gold to tokens to slabbed coins and rarities, SilverTowne has it covered:

silvertowne_selection

Best service terms on Proxibid, in addition to sharp photos and low low low buyer’s premium, goes to Meares Auction. Darron Meares is an experienced auctioneer who strives for superior customer service in all of his dealings. Take a look:

meares_terms

Most improved is Back to the Past auction. C. Scott Lovejoy worked with us for weeks to perfect photography. Take a look at this half dollar reverse in which full bell lines are easily seen. Can your auction provide the same detailed digital photography? Would that several on Proxibid could. See the evidence:

backtothepast

Our rankings this month featured most of our old standbys. However, several of our favorite houses have been dropped from our rankings only because they have not offered an online Proxibid session in the recent past. We value their operations so very much. As soon as we see a new event on Proxibid, they will return.

We remain impressed with A New Day Auction and its desire to continuously improve. Kendra Stevens, A New Day’s auctioneer, focuses on bidders as well as consignors in the great tradition of expert auctioneering. Sheena Wallace embodies the same admirable traits. Sheena is improving photography, as this example illustrates, showcasing an error cent (difficult to capture):

wallace

As we always note, our rankings are just that–ours. These are favorite houses. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxibid, we are enroute to 55,000 views. We approached 15,000 views in the past year. The map below shows our global reach.

proxiblog_yearworld

We will be reconfiguring and updating our website during the summer. We also are in the process of kindling a new numismatic book, available soon on our site, for online coin auctions, featuring best practices for selling on Proxibid and eBay. We hope you will download a copy when it becomes available. We hope that you find our site helpful.

If so, please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund, which is why we share our numismatic knowledge with Proxibid auctioneers and buyers, helping defray student debt to ensure the next generation of auction bidders.

Thank you for visiting our site.

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.