Proxibid auctioneers enjoy an unacknowledged benefit reaping profits that have little to do with buying and shipping fees or even auctioneer reputation. It’s a bidding war, and like real ones, they can spill across borders (or auction houses) and ring up cash in your tills.
Auctioneers welcome bidding wars. In fact, their rapid voices ticking bids ever higher is geared to spark them. But those happen onsite in one auction at a given place and time. A victorious bidder usually pays exorbitantly for ownership of a specific lot.
When wars ignite on Proxibid, they usually don’t just end when the hammer falls or even the session ends. If combatants are sufficiently irked, and the “whales” (high rollers) often are, they go after each other in other auctions where a rival’s name appears as high bidder. After all, whales not only know each other by their Proxibid handle, but also other bidders’ preferences and buying habits. Like a country gathering intelligence on neighbors, one may strike the other without warning.
Wars usually happen because of two reasons:
- A newbie continues to pay retail or higher prices for coins. These are Proxibidders who keep raising bids–no matter how high a rival takes them–until they win the coin. Often they don’t know the value of specific lots. In the coin world, they’re typically Carson City GSA hoarders or maybe VAM addicts. A whale might want an occasional GSA or VAM, gets agitated, and seeks out the newbie Proxibidder name across auction houses, raising bids unmercifully until the newbie runs out of cash.
- A whale outbids another whale during a live session. They could be two bidders after the same coin type, denomination, mint mark or gold piece. Usually these are not collectors but sellers. Using Proxibid’s new bidder application, often to steal coins from each other, one whale may decide not to allow the other to own the lot. This is similar to what happens in onsite auctions. Only now, because the loser of the lot knows who has bid against him–and that person’s Proxibid name appears on lots across auction houses (or worse, can track back to an eBay store [security, folks, security!])–the vanquished may decide to go on the offensive.
That’s when things get interesting.
The losing whale leaves the live auction where the winning counterpart is still engaged, visiting other houses selling coins and looking for the rival’s name. Bids are increased on each lot just one fraction higher than maximum. By the time the rival leaves the live auction and checks email, she or he may see a hundred or more Proxibid alerts. Each time the rival checks who has outbid him or her, you guessed it!, up pops the angry whale’s Proxibidding handle.
Then that person has to rebid the coins to reclaim most of the losses but now must pay higher prices, no longer getting coins on discount but near retail.
If that whale decides to go after the culprit who caused the situation–doing unto his rival as has been done to him or her–things can really get dicey. The war can continue, until someone cries numismatic “Uncle,” or the cleverer whale lets above-retail bids stand, instilling a lesson.
Bidding wars are done for reasons. They inform newbies and deflate whales, eventually creating an even playing field. One whale respects the other, and the newbie learns about numismatic values.
In the end, Proxibidding wars, like real ones, may not be all that ethical. They are profitable … and another reason to do business on Proxibid.
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.