We shudder every time we hear that an auctioneer is using United Parcel Service to ship coins. Patronize whomever you like, of course, and this is only our opinion, but it is an informed opinion as a numismatist with 50 years experience. The United States Post Office has never, NEVER, lost one of our parcels for coins for decades. During that time, two insured shipments were lost; we filed only on tracking number, and found them in a day.
Shipping matters. We patronize two auction houses regularly that take weeks to package and ship coins using UPS. One of those auctions concluded on Sept. 22, and we still haven’t received the shipment. That’s unacceptable, and shipping considerations will be included in our next rankings.
If you want to learn about the benefits of shipping, and how it can bring you more customers, contact Eddie Caven at Key Date Coins or Rick Howard at SilverTowne. They advertise sending coins in 2 business days, but they typically send in one with receipts and tracking numbers and updates. And they use USPS and not (drop the parcel on your front porch or give to a neighbor or just mark delivered and go on your way) carriers.
Anyone charging over 15% buyer’s premium and taking weeks to send coins using carriers other than USPS should really revisit their business plans. You are costing bidders money and services.
And as for Proxibid, a shipping badge is fine. Quick shipping is even better. USPS shipping more so. When it comes to shipping, eBay has it all over Proxibid because eBay has a feedback loop and all Proxibidders have is this blog and our rankings, which are more informative to numismatists and hobbyists about the real work and value of certain houses.
Shipping is important, the last contractual obligation you have in a typical sale. First impressions count: that’s the catalog. But last impressions, shipping, counts more.
Pay heed or pay the piper.
To be blunt… UPS sucks, in general. We have used them to ship our online auctions – not just coins, but pottery, small items, etc. We have received more complaints about boxes left in the rain, in the snow, tossed over gates than ANY other service.
We use USPS on EVERY coin shipment we have. We got burned with Parcel Post – trying to save the bidders a few dollars – when the packages got lost and were not able to be found. So, now we ship First Class for small lots or Priority Mail for remainder.
Insurance is a must – if nothing else, the auctioneer should add delivery confirmation as a backup to make sure the package did indeed arrive where it was supposed to.
We ship day of auction or the next day – we are constantly rotating our gallery, so we do our best to get the items out as quickly as possible. Thus limiting liability for a coin inadvertently moved to another auction.
This verifies my own experience. Thank you for your own expertise. It’s important that you read this blog, Darron, and contribute to auctioneering in general. We look to you for leadership.