Proxiblog has received more emails about dropping from our lists all those auction houses that allow consignor- and maximum-bid viewing, in light of transparency notices (warnings) posted by the portal. We encourage all auctioneers that allow seller bidding and who view maximum bids to cease these practices, as nothing is more important than your integrity.
One of our top auctioneers sent this email:
I had an auctioneer tell me his sales dropped from 65% to 10% when he disclosed that he could see the pre-bids for his auctions. I am a staunch proponent of NOT seeing these bids and Proxibid has responded with new disclosures. Our company will not choose to see the pre-bids nor bid on behalf of the seller at our auctions. We have lost business because we don’t allow this activity, but overall we have survived.
Proxiblog also has been corresponding with top houses that allow one or both practices. We sent this email to one of the most progressive companies:
Recently Proxibid began putting up notices about allowing consignors to bid on coins. I noticed that you had such a notice. Nonetheless, I bid as soon as I saw your auction go up. Something made me suspicious that a consignor was running up my bids. Normally, I do not bid on currency. But in this case I bid on (three) lots. Within 30 minutes, those three lots–and no other currency–were bid up. I stopped bidding at that point.
If consignors bid on their wares, and they win the bids, they should end up paying the auction house and Proxibid. For instance, if I consign a coin to you and bid up a $75 Morgan to $100, you should charge me on both ends–10% online buyer’s fee and 5% consignor fee. Thus, a $75 Morgan bought back should cost me $115. Plus I lose the shipping money. And Proxibid still takes its cut.
We were gratified that the auction company took our advice and removed from its most current auction the practice of allowing consignors to bid up their wares.
Other auctioneers have complained about so-called “onsite” sales that are not sales at all but a method to take an item off the block without paying Proxibid fees. You’ll see those items re-listed in future auctions by the company.
We have been bidding on auctions that allow both dubious practices. But we bid less. We never bid more than Grey Sheet. And we’re patronizing other auctions that maintain the tradition of competition.
Finally, we see that other portals, such as iCollector, do not have transparency notices–at least ones we could find (correct us if we are wrong about this). So in the short term auctions that allow consignor- and maximum-bid viewing might feel more comfortable there. In the long term, though, we see Proxibid’s APN clearance, transparency notices and other company rules elevating the Omaha-based company to the highest echelons of online bidding.
And we’ll be there as well to help maintain standards, as we have on this issue from the get-go. See this previous articles on the topic:
Because we have advocated for fair play as well as for auctioneer integrity, we have grown as a site for bidders as well as companies, with more than 11,000 views in the past three months.
For the time being we will not change our policy of listing in rankings those houses that allow these questionable practices. We think Proxibid’s transparency notices, and our posts, will persuade houses that the best practice is the honest practice.
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.