Proxibid vs. eBay, Part I: Two Weeks on eBay

This is the first-part in a five-part series on Proxibid vs. eBay. Our first post covers our initial bidding experience. The second post will compare shipping between the two portals. The third installment will cover IT functions and payment options. The fourth post covers consignments and lot descriptions. The last post discusses which is the best portal to bid on coins.

Almost uniformly, eBay sellers are amateurs and not auctioneers, with a smattering of coin dealers doing mega-business on the portal. Surprisingly, almost every seller has photographs superior to what normally is found on Proxibid. That’s due to eBay’s strict control over photo quality.

Summarized, each eBay listing must include a photo of the coin being sold. “Images that are dark, out of focus, edited, or might be misleading aren’t allowed. Also, stock photos aren’t allowed.”

If buyers are unsatisfied with photos, they can inform eBay quality control.

Expand the picture below to see how this seller promotes his lots via photography.

Concerning counterfeits, the company even provides a link to the Secret Service for more information about illustrations of coins.

I purposefully cut down on my Proxibid purchases and instead sought two types of coins on eBay: toned silver eagles and 1950s double mint sets. I chose these for a reason. Toned silver eagles often are lasered for color or otherwise doctored with chemical treatment. And double mint sets are particularly risky. Paper used by the US Mint naturally tones coin, tempting owners to extract the best rainbow coins and replace them with lesser ones.

I’ll report whether the toned silver eagles are chemically treated. Of the seven that I purchased from different dealers, I won’t be sending in four of them for slabbing because they were obviously artificially toned. I’ll be sending coins in on some of the mint sets, too, to see if circulated coins were put in place of desirable ones.

Some dealers were not selling double mint sets, although they were using that title in their eBay descriptions. Double mint sets include two of every mint, PDS (or 30 coins) in some years. Other sets without S mint marks total 20 coins. Sellers were displaying mint sets that had cherry coins removed, with lesser coins in the paper holders.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was how quickly all the winning lots shipped. I received each of a dozen or more packages within a few days. Clearly, when it comes to shipping, eBay has a big advantage over Proxibid.

Finally, bidding on eBay was fierce. It is difficult to win prime coins without approaching or surpassing retail. And many owners of prime lots opened bids above retail.

More to report on this in future weeks. …

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.

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