What’s the difference between constructive and instructive criticism of Proxibid? The former concerns issues Proxibid may be aware of and has not yet addressed or may not address. The latter concerns issues the portal may not be fully aware of. We’ll discuss both below.
In addition to touting Proxibid as a preferred numismatic portal, Proxiblog also is a major buyer and reseller of coins, as are several of the big spenders whose names most auctioneers recognize as we bid on just about every rare coin or precious metal. Proxiblog has had on occasion more than 1000 individual bids across several auction houses. We retract, too, when the price of precious metals drops or when we reach our buying quotas or when we find better deals on the same coins from trusted auctioneers (more on those later).
Proxibid sent out a message to us recently warning us about bid retractions with possible punishment being banned from the site. We’ve had these discussions with Proxibid before, noting that retractions serve their purpose, especially when auction houses lack adequate photography or APN clearance or sell doctored coins or try to earn retail prices with high opening bids and steep reserves.
Proxibid’s message concerning bid retractions is to make the buying experience more palatable for the average customer. We get that. Our message is that it keeps auctioneers on their numismatic toes. We can agree to disagree about that, but Proxiblog now must change its buying habits after a week in which we lost thousands of dollars because we patronized houses that hyped the condition of coins, that lack APN clearance, and that provide inadequate photos of lots.
Proxibid needs to do the following if it is serious about a more palatable buying experience:
- Note specifically that an auction house lacks APN clearance. Buyers of coins cannot afford to risk security by giving out credit card numbers. Nor can we wait weeks to send in checks or take calls from auction houses at work, home and school. We need badges, banners and more to identify houses with or without APN clearance so that bidders can make the choice to patronize them or not.
- Require clear photos of obverse and reverse of coins that expand more than 200% from the lot picture (not the thumbnail).
- Charge auctioneers who routinely abuse the Proxibid system by setting high opening bids with steep buying fees on top of that. That indicates the auction house cannot compete in the numismatic world, is desperate or just plain greedy. It kills the auction experience and abuses the portal because the auctioneer uses Proxibid resources as a showcase for an online coin shop. Go to eBay if that’s your goal.
- Be more transparent about how Proxibid works to resolve bidder complaints. We’re making ours public. We know a lot more about auctioneer abuses than we typically state in our regular “Boos and Booyah” features. Or even here.
We can add to this list, but we’ll stop here for the moment and explain how we plan to operate in the future to lessen bid retractions and patronize only those houses we trust.
- We no longer will be buying from houses with high opening bids or reserves. We’ve even seen auctioneers open with high bids only to retract those offers because they wanted more money for the coins. This is ridiculous. These houses should be booted off the portal.
- We no longer will buy from auction houses that lack adequate, sharp, clear and expandable photography, even if the buyer’s fee is 15% or lower.
- We no longer will patronize auction houses that hype coins or lack numismatic knowledge. Stop the exaggeration and get some education if you sell coins regularly on the portal. Your notices about all sales being final no matter what you state about the coins, from grade to potential investment, is, frankly, an abuse and a lie.
- From the majority of houses with 15% or lower buying fees, we will only purchase slabbed coins by PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG. Unlike eBay, Proxibid does not require auctioneers to identify self-slabbers posing as grading companies who place inferior coins with houses that lack (or turn a blind eye to) this potentially fraudulent practice.
- We no longer will patronize any house lacking APN clearance. Here’s the problem with Proxibid not identifying these houses prominently on the portal. If burned once by this practice, we will not buy from that auctioneer again, even though the house may change its policy and get such clearance without our knowing it.
- Whenever we question a house’s standards and practices, we will discontinue our patronage altogether.
- We will continue to buy from auction houses with high numismatic standards. We cannot list all of the houses here, especially since a few do not specialize in coins or have yet to establish a track record selling on Proxibid. But here are a handful of our Proxibid favorites: Weaver Signature Coin Auction, Silvertowne Auctions, Western Auction, Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, Scott Auctions, and Leonard Auctions.
- We will buy fewer coins on Proxibid until these standards are met and more coins from Teletrade’s Tuesday auctions which in our view qualify as the best in the business. At least we know what we are buying there–slabbed coins from the top companies–and the buying fee is 0%.
Over the past few months Proxiblog feels that is has raised numismatic standards on Proxibid. We know some of our suggestions have been taken seriously by the company, and we applaud its customer service and sales team for the excellent work that both do to promote best practices and high standards. One of the reasons we patronized Proxibid so much is the customer service and the ability to retract coins. But if Proxiblog keeps losing thousands of dollars, especially given our numismatic knowledge, we can only wonder how much other bidders are losing–knowingly or unknowingly–by buying coins on the portal from the typical auction house.
We hope that the above is constructive as well as instructive, not only to Proxibid but also to the 4500 viewers of this blog.
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.