Add Signature to Packages $200 and Up

shipping

What is the best USPS shipping for coins won in auctions? The question was posed to us by one of our top houses. We provide the answer below.



One of our favorite auctioneers asks:


    “Recently we changed our shipping policies with signature required from $200 to $500.00. But here’s the rub, if someone says they did not receive their coins all we have to do to fight a charge back is show the tracking info showing it was delivered. However, just because I can show it was delivered doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stolen out of a mailbox, not actually delivered etc. We also don’t want to run off bidders because they don’t have time to run to the post office. But more importantly we want people to get their coins. Any advice?”

To which we replied:

    “Use signature required for all packages of $200 or more and send priority mail, flat rate. You’ll be insured for $100 with flat rate, have the signature in addition to the tracking. We consign coins all the time and this is what we do. Remember, consignors don’t want their coins delivered and then taken, perhaps, by someone in the auction house or even an employee, claiming the coins never arrived. When dealing with coins it always makes sense to take that extra step. Be sure to include this in your service terms.”

We probably send on average 300 packages per year and receive as many. USPS has on occasion sent the package to the wrong address, but has never in our experience lost a package with signature authority.

Do you agree with our recommendation? What has been your experience?

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.

Hyped Coins Taint Reputation

1928S_harsh

Look closely at the Peace dollar above. You’ll see it is harshly cleaned. How much would you pay over silver melt? $10? $30? How about $60,000? That’s what this Proxibid auction house suggests in its lot description.

Auctioneers who sell coins need to know how to cite value. PCGS values are high because its standards are among the most rigorous in the industry. NGC, also considered a top-tier company with high standards, commands premiums for its coins. However, its standards differ from those of PCGS, so it is also inappropriate to cite PCGS values for NGC coins.

ANACS and ICG are second-tier, mostly reliable grading companies. You should cite Red Book prices for them.

Here are the URLS:

Treat all other slabs, even PCI and Numistrust and so-called third-tier companies, with caution before stating any values.

In this case, we’re dealing with three levels of hype. Let’s start with how this coin appeared on Proxibid:

1928S_harsh1

The first hype is the slab itself, boasting that a harshly cleaned 1928-S is MS66. The second hype is the description that cites PCGS values at $60,000. The third hype is Proxibid’s lack of standards when it comes to values cited in lot descriptions.

As we have written in past posts, if you spot gross inaccuracies like the one above, report them to Proxibid and ask the company to alter the Unified User Agreement “4.4 Marketing and Accuracy of Materials” (OUR RECOMMENDATION IN ALL CAPS):

    Seller shall not knowingly misrepresent any items. VALUES OF ITEMS SHOULD BE BASED ON VALID APPRAISALS OR VERIFIABLE DATA. All catalog descriptions must accurately describe the items for sale, and all photos must be original. If Seller uses stock photos, Seller must disclose so in the catalog description as well as in the Special Terms of Sale for the auction.

Until Proxibid cracks down on these practices, as eBay has done, bidders will suffer, and so eventually will the reputation of auction houses that persist in these questionable practices.

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 is sponsored by …

Capitol Coin Auction


capitol

Check out Capitol Coin Auction’s upcoming auction slated Saturday, Oct. 25, on Proxibid. This is one of the finest Capitol auctions in recent memory. We’re bidding on multiple lots that have wide appeal.

Capitol Auctions, located in Evansville, Indiana, specializes in coin auctions. The company has more than 35 years’ experience in collecting, investing, and grading rare coins. Moreover, Capitol has numismatic quality photographs and accurate lot descriptions so that seller and bidder are informed transparently about value. Because Capitol relies in part on estate consignments, each Proxibid auction is an event, with top-quality silver and gold coins open for bidding.

Proxiblog has won lots from Capitol for the past three years, and its service is quick and professional. Raw coins purchased from Capitol, accurately described as grade-worthy, typically holder for us at PCGS. That said, bidding is always keen because of the desirability of the lots as well as the legwork that the company does for consignors, ensuring an audience and adding to the excitement online or onsite.

In addition to sharp photos and concise lot descriptions, Capitol publishes a catalog showcasing coins and informs bidders via an extensive mailing list. For large consignments, Capitol advertises in national periodicals like Coin World and Numismatic News.

Finally, Capitol Auctions is committed to providing a safe auction experience for buyers and sellers. It has a comprehensive privacy policy and its employees are trained to honor safeguard measures and the importance of confidentiality of personal information.

We thank Brad Lisembee and Capitol Coin Auctions for sponsoring Proxiblog’s scholarship fund to help ease student debt and create the next generation of auction-house bidders! If you would like to sponsor a week’s worth of Proxiblog, email mjbugeja@yahoo.com

To spot a fake

1893-S1

Can you spot a fake 1893-S Morgan dollar, one of the most counterfeited coins? This article explains how.



Compare the photo above of a probable fake 1893-S with the genuine article below, offered by Jewelry Exchange.

1893S_Jewelryexchange

They look almost identical, an indication of how good counterfeit coins coming into this country from China are being manufactured.

There is one particular diagnostic, however, that counterfeiters often fail to get right, and that is the date. Compare the dates of the two coins:

1893-S2

The number “1” of the date must sit squarely over the denticle below. The “1” on the left does not, indicating it is a fake. The “1” on the right is square over the denticle. Also, there is a difference here in the number “3.”

If you are an auctioneer getting an 1893-S Morgan in a consignment, which can bring thousands, it pays if you can identify whether the coin is authentic. This can save you time and trouble if a bidder files a complaint.

Concerning “ALL SALES FINAL,” keep in mind that selling a counterfeit coin is a violation of the US Hobby Protection Act. As we have advocated for many years now, auctioneers should create policies that make the consignor and not the bidder liable for counterfeit coins.

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.

Note Retoned vs. Toned

weaver_retoning

Dave Weaver of Weaver Auction uses the correct word in describing the 1881 Morgan dollar above: “retoning.” That has specific meaning in numismatics. It depicts a coin that has been cleaned and then retoned over several years. Do not call a coin like this “toned.” You would be misrepresenting the lot if you did.


Genuine rainbow toning is not washed out like the Weaver example. Colors that retone typically come in shades of dull blues, reds and purples that have a bleached look to them. Colors blend rather than bleed into each other or seem painted on artificially, as in this silver eagle below:

weaver_toning

A true toned coin features glossy colors that blend into each other in a rainbow array, as in this lot:

weaver_toned

Auctioneers and bidders alike need to distinguish among these three examples. Retoned and artificially toned coins can possess beauty and may be worth bidding on. But naturally toned coins that develop patina overtime without cleaning really are spectacular and demand premiums.

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.

Not using APN? Explain your payment system thoroughly

alternatePay

Proxiblog has supported the Auction Payment Network for years now because of its excellent security, especially important in the numismatic trade. If you don’t subscribe to the service, or use PayPal, then you have to explain your payment system and let bidders know that it is secure.



Several auctions on Proxibid ask that you call in your credit card numbers. We recommend that you do not. You don’t know who is taking those numbers or how they will be stored, perhaps in a company computer that may be hacked in the future, undermining your credit.

We think such practices are irresponsible. We never bid in those auctions. However, we would consider bidding in Numisphere Auction because it has spelled out its credit system, providing a link to a secure payment network.

We also like the 3% discount on its already low 10% buyer’s premium for bidders who prefer to send checks to the company.

If you don’t use APN or PayPal and lack a secure payment system, you are doing your bidders a disservice. No matter what your payment protocol, you need to explain it thoroughly in your service terms.

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.

Top consignors rely on sharp photography

dmpl

It baffles us. Auctioneers usually will go the extra mile to earn an extra dollar, except when it comes to coin photography. Don’t they know that top consignors partner with houses that have mastered coin photography?

Compare the luster of the 1883-CC Deep Mirror Prooflike, which we won from Fox Valley Auctions, with the photo below of an Isabella Commemorative Quarter that a Proxibid auctioneer describes as having “great luster”:

greatluster_note

The Fox Valley Coin boasts sharp numismatic photography. The Isabella quarter does not. Both are worth about the same in uncirculated condition with prooflike mirrors. Which do you think will draw the most bids?

Now look at the photo below. We dropped this otherwise successful Proxibid house (as well as several others) from our rankings because it has refused to upgrade photography. The auctioneer claims this 1889-S Morgan is proof-like, but the photography is dull, showing no luster whatsoever:

greatluster1

Digital cameras have never been better in capturing luster. We photographed this below with a Samsung smartphone. We didn’t use a camera stand or any special lighting, and we uploaded the photo in seconds to the web:
dmpl_samsung

For a few hundred dollars auctioneers can buy a professional coin photography kit consisting of a tripod, two light sources, a light box and special bulb.

Invest time and funds in photography, and the caliber of your consignments will rise (along with your profits).

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.