Proxiblog has tested several auctions that have transparency notices for maximum-bid viewing and auctioneer/consignor bidding. As anticipated, some houses jumped to maximums and others sold at retail. But one house in particular stood out from the rest. It not only featured a 10% buyer’s fee but also consistently sold under our maximums and, often, at wholesale–Auctions Unlimited of Shreveport, La.
First, some background: We bid more than 25 coins at high retail in select auctions during the past week, seeing whether houses bearing Proxibid transparency notices would sell below our maximums. Three houses sold close to or at our maximums; but Auctions Unlimited did not. In fact, it disregarded maximums and sold eight of eleven lots at or below wholesale.
To give you an example of the test, we bid $100 on this common but high mint state 1921 Morgan. Auctions Unlimited sold it for $50. We know other houses that would have jumped to our maximum.
Debra Johnson, Auctions Unlimited main auctioneer, is a member of the Louisiana Auctioneer’s Association and the National Auctioneer’s Association. In a telephone conversation, she disclosed that the company didn’t even look at the maximum bids as the onsite crowd kept callers too busy for that.
If this was the case, I replied, she might rethink whether she really needed to see maximum bids. And if so, perhaps she might explain why in her terms of service so that folks could bid with confidence.
She thought this was a good idea.
We remain baffled at why some auctions with 18%++ buyer’s fees and high opening bids and reserves–whose owners know coins, no less–still want to see maximum bids and/or raise bids themselves. When you open above Grey Sheet and charge a steep online buyer’s premium, what could the auctioneer possibly be trying to avoid–other than Proxibid fees?
In any case, we encourage all of our bidders to give Auctions Unlimited a try. You can bet that we will be online during the live auction ready to give you a run for your money in the auctioneering tradition of competition, which Debra Johnson upholds.
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.