Sticker Shock: tagging coins for auction

Auctioneers and their assistants are used to tagging items by lot numbers. But where you place that sticker matters when it comes to coins.


Here are top auctioneer sins tagging coins for Proxibid auctions:

  1. Placing stickers on the flip or holder so that some of the coin’s surface is hidden. Most Proxibid auctioneers make this honest mistake which, in the numismatic world, is an unethical practice of hiding flaws on coins. See this post concerning one such coin whose flaw seemed purposely concealed by a sticker.
  2. Gluing paper stickers to coin holders or using heavy-duty labels equally as difficult to peal off after a sale. The best stickers and easiest to remove are made of recycled paper on sale at Wal-Mart, Target, et. al.
  3. Placing labels on US Mint boxes and, especially, GSA Carson City Dollar boxes–or any such box housing rare coins–damaging the cardboard container, which, itself, is often a collectible.
  4. Affixing labels over the certification number of NGC and PCGS coins, both of which offer free authenticity checks online (click here for NGC and here for PCGS). Proxibid coin buyers are meticulous in checking certification numbers–not only to verify authenticity (see this post)–but also to establish relative worth.

Here is the correct way to tag a holdered coin, using a recycled small label in a place that also doesn’t obscure any part of the coin–especially the certification number.

Most Proxiblog top coin auctions identify lots without using stickers. There are several ways do this:

  • Create a set of cardboard lot numbers (so that stickers no longer are required) and photograph the sticker next to an item.
  • Create a list by denomination, date and mint mark beginning with half-cents and cents and continuing through US silver and various gold dollars. Then continue with US currency and world coins and end with exonumia (medals, tokens and the like).
  • Create a list by consignment sheets, which also has the added benefit of knowing how much you owe sellers after the auction.

How you tag an item is a function of your own reputation. Would you buy a used car from a dealer who obscured the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)? Same goes for 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.

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