Mystery Lots Spark Bidding

Black and Gold Auction and Southwest Bullion are using an old auctioneering ploy to great advantage in online sessions, sparking bidder curiosity and ever higher bids. We applaud these houses for understanding what motivates bidders, and that is easily expressed in one word: a bargain!

Black and Gold Auction recently displayed a large bag of “cull” coins. The term “cull” simply means coins that are damaged and pulled (or culled) from a consignment or roll because of defects. We love that the auctioneer wrote: “Feel like taking a chance?” See the picture below.

Of course, a large bag like this could have silver melt value. (We think we see some silver in the far right middle section of the bag.) Wonderful!

Southwest Bullion has been innovating all summer, first by lowering its buyer’s premium to ZERO with APN clearance and flat-rate shipping, and now by offering mystery lots. In this lot below, the company sparks bidder curiosity by stating there are 50 slabbed coins worth $500-$600. What a temptation!

Of course, mystery lots are a gimmick and should only be used sparingly, perhaps one or two per auction. But they certainly enhance an auction by playing on the motivating factor of bargain-hunting. The more auctioneers understand that bidders want a bargain, the more bidders they will attract, ensuring that the consignor (and not the bidder) gets the better of the bargain.

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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