Competition for coin consignments is heating up, with more buyers looking to invest in coins to offset an uncertain economy and some 40-plus auction houses meeting our standards with more coin-selling companies coming on board via Proxibid.
And yet only a relative few companies provide these common consignment courtesies:
- Sending the consignor a contract or emailing a FAQ notifying sellers about fees, buy-backs and other auction house rules.
- Alerting the consignor that his or her package has arrived safely at the auction house.
- Providing the consignor with a list of coins being entered in a specific auction, and advising the seller if some lots had to be scheduled for a later auction, as is sometimes the case.
- Informing the consignor after the auction on how well her or his lots did, with a bill of sales minus any fees.
- Mailing the check within 7 days of the sale so that consignors can balance their own books.
- Thanking the consignor for placing coins with the auction house and inviting more business in the future.
Proxiblog has cautioned auctioneers in the past that meeting our selling standards will be requisite as more professional coin dealers sign up with Proxibid, iCollector and AuctionZip. Moreover, online auction houses are competing with major Internet coin-selling companies, including Heritage, Teletrade, and one of the best new sites in a decade, Great Collections, a venture by numismatist and auctioneer Ian Russell, whose customer service and professionalism are exceptional.
Rather, we have been seeing a few new and even long-time Proxibid auction houses handling consignments informally, which often require sellers to ask if their coins have arrived safely, how well they did in a sale, and when the check will be cut.
An auctioneer never wants to receive an email such as Proxiblog just sent, using USPS tracking service and asking the auctioneer to please go to the post office and pick up the consignment before it is returned. This particular auctioneer is doing many things right, but exercising common consignment courtesies is not one of them. (Note: Name of auction company whited out as common courtesy.)
Some of the best houses providing all of the above courtesies include Silvertowne, Weaver and Leonard Auction. Moreover, Silvertowne and Leonard Auction are after quality consignments–so much so, that often selling fees are waived if the coins fetch good hammer prices. We’ve featured Leonard Auction before in our Best Practices page.
Waving seller fees (except for buybacks) may be a sign of the future as the more competitive Proxibid houses vy for top coins, leaving the low-ball consignments for the rest.
Currently Proxiblog is consigning only with houses offering Leonard/Silvertown deals.
Here is an email Leonard Auction just sent, soliciting consignments. (Click to expand picture.) Note how the auctioneer has taken pains to provide an Internet worthy photo attached to his email blast with all the factual particulars clearly spelled out. In fact, almost one-half of the entire message is factual with tight concise writing–a surefire way to attract attention … and consignments.
In the end, common consignment courtesies mean return business so that auctioneers do not have to hunt after estate auctions or travel to shows to purchase lots for sale. Coins will come to them, along with more Proxibid business.
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.