In past posts we discussed the value of Proxibid audio. Here we make a pitch for accurate coin descriptions.
May we ask auctioneers to follow all Proxibid instructions when listing coins, especially titles? Here’s why: When a user places a bid on a coin, that bid is automatically listed under the tab “My Lots.” If auctioneers fail to list the numismatic details in the lot description title, they stand to lose bids, even if they take care to describe the coin accurately.
Below are two examples of a house that takes time with titles of descriptions and one that doesn’t. (Note: Click each picture to expand it. In the proper listing, you will see lots 24-26 describing rolls of half dollars and silver nickels. In the improper listing, you’ll just see the word “currency.”)
If a user has placed several bids with different houses, as is typical on Proxibid, he or she will click the tab “My Lots” to see if maximum bids are still viable. If all the bidder sees is “Morgan” rather than “1888-S Morgan, NGC MS62” for instance, that requires a click on that item, which takes the user to the coin auction in question, and then two additional clicks to return to specifics of the “My Lots” tab … only to continue the above process for each title-less entry.
Some users won’t take the trouble to continue with all those clicks. Worse, if another bidder places a higher maximum before the auction, all he will see in an email alert is this:
- You have been outbid on lot #53 in the following auction (Name of Auction): Lot #53, Cent
Had the auctioneer filled out the lot description title, the email would have read:
- You have been outbid on lot #53 in the following auction (Name of Auction): Lot #53, Indian Cent 1879 CH Proof
The second example might provide the incentive to rebid, so why not enter titles with specific numismatic descriptions?
Proxiblog finds all manner of lot description errors, some of which fall under the category of “numismatic numskullduggery.” Here’s a short list:
- Auctioneer doesn’t know where to find mint mark on coin. Example: He lists a “1902 Morgan silver dollar” that is really a 1902-O silver dollar. In one auction last spring, another auctioneer with the same problem listed 1908 and 1909 Indian head cents without realizing that each bore the mint mark “S.” A 1909-S cent is typically worth hundreds of dollars; a 1909, not so much. Possible result? Someone will steal his coins.
- Auctioneer uses lot description to announce his inexperience. Examples: “Condition as shown” and “We are not coin experts!” Possible result? Scammers, self-slabbers and counterfeit sellers may send him consignments, cheating his bidders and losing return customers.
- Auctioneer does not know the correct numismatic term and/or cannot spell it. Examples: “1880 S Morgan Silver Dollar Coin with tonning,” one auctioneer writes. (He means “toning.”) Anther auctioneer says his coins are “bricked.” (He means “slabbed” or “holdered.”) Possible result? More evidence the auctioneer doesn’t know what he is selling, inviting doctored consignments and losing return customers.
- Auctioneers cannot tell the difference between coins and rounds. Examples: One writes that he is selling a “1987 Peace Dollar.” (Peace dollars ceased production in 1935; these are silver rounds.) Another auctioneer says he is selling 1971 rounds. (He is selling 2001 buffalo head commemoratives, worth four times as much.) Possible result? Someone will steal their coins.
In closing, we update a previous report about an auctioneer who continues to hype self-slabbed coins–see this post. He is also doing so now with NGC coins and writes that an 1886-O Morgan in almost uncirculated condition is extremely rare and worth $600. (Here’s the exact coin and the NGC value, which anyone can check for free: click here.)
Possible result? Someone (not Proxiblog) will report this, and that can have repercussions not only on Proxibid but also with the NAA, if the auctioneer is a member.
Moral? Proxibid lot descriptions are there for a reason: They will help you sell coins. If you write accurate titles and descriptions, you’ll reap the rewards and avoid the pitfalls.
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.