Reputation Is Everything

Last week a few Proxibidders wrote us about what they perceived to be ethical shortcuts in some coin auctions on the portal. Each said he would not patronize those houses again. We understand that sentiment. We wonder whether some auctioneers do.

When we receive harsh criticism about a house, we do not print the company’s name. There are good reasons for this. We cannot always be sure what prompted an auction to do a certain action, and we want our blog to be educational rather than overly critical.

One complaint last week concerned an underbidder getting the coin rather than a Proxibidder with a high bid. That happened to us last month, and the auctioneer said he didn’t see the Proxibid maximum because he was moving too fast. The phrase, “Gotta go!,” may work in online text, but auctions need Internet spotters just as they have in onsite sessions. In any case, the reader of our blog said he is unsure if he will ever bid in the company’s auctions again because of what he perceives as an ethical infraction.

On that particular day, we had a similar experience–only we got our coins, all with maximum bids–in a timed auction that for some reason is allowed to view maximum bids. There is absolutely no reason for this, and Proxibid should ban the practice. It is one thing to post a transparency notice in a live auction, and quite another to do so in a timed one. Upon inquiring with the company, we were told that seeing maximums helps bidders who make mistakes, such as “times the money,” when offering more than one coin in a lot.

We’re not sold on that explanation.

We have encountered auctions selling junk, counterfeits, coins with exaggerated descriptions, and problem lots. Or auctions with high shipping. Or houses demanding credit card information. Our list is long.

We do not bid in those auctions, even when we see improvements, because once reputation is lost, companies lose bidders.

It’s hard to make a comeback in those cases.

So lose the maximum-bid viewing. Stop the ghost-bidding. Sell to the highest bidder. Be honest in your lot descriptions. Improve your photography. And invest in APN or similar services so that buyers can bid with confidence.

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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