Prox-realities

Buying raw coins on Proxibid requires keen numismatic skills if you are purchasing for clients or investment. To give you an example, we purchased two dozen coins from one of our top-ranked houses known for good grading and sharp photos. Here are the results.

When we received the shipment, we were disappointed because only 13 coins out of 24 were fair enough to submit to PCGS. The rest were dipped, representing a $645 loss outright for those coins because the auctioneer’s flash or camera didn’t pick up the minuscule pock marks. We sent the remaining acceptable Morgan dollars to the slabbing company.

We paid:

  • $224 for an 1878 8 TF Morgan, which came back on the money at MS64, worth $525.
  • $88.5 for an 1879 Morgan, which came in at MS63, worth $73.
  • $413 for an 1879-O, which came back as MS63, worth $220.
  • $100 for an 1880-S, which came back as an 1880/9-S overdate, worth $275.
  • $129 for another 1880-S, which back as MS62, worth $52.
  • $212 for an 1886-O, which came back cleaned, worth $65 net graded.
  • $141 for an 1890-O, which came back MS63, worth $120.
  • $247 for an 1891, which came back as AU58, worth $46.
  • $247 for an 1891-O, which came back as MS62, worth $195.
  • $153 for an 1892, which came back as AU55, worth $80.
  • $141 for an 1897-S, which came back as MS63 $120.
  • $271 for an 1897-S DMPL, which came back as MS61PL, worth $75.
  • $100 for an 1926-D, which came back as AU55, worth $46.

Keep in mind the PCGS coins are figured at retailed prices, meaning this is how much you could expect to pay at a coin dealer, rather than at auction, where one hopes to get bargains. Also keep in mind that we purchase and sell coins for our scholarship fund, so every dollar lost is precious and represents what we cannot bid in the next Proxibid auction.

Realized Prices for all lots: $-3165
Coin shop payment for 13 dipped coins $+345
SUBTOTAL: $-2820

Realized Prices for the 13 Coins: $-2820
Retail Prices in PCGS holders: $+1892
SUBTOTAL: $-928

Payment to PCGS for holdering: -298

Net Loss on Coins: $-1226

Refer to this column before bidding in your next Proxibid auction. We had going for us expert numismatic knowledge, a top-ranked house with good photos, and still lost $928 in part because the auctioneer didn’t acknowledge dipping–which strips a layer of metal from the coin, giving it a mint state appearance that soon turns pale dull golden and/or pock marked.

Had the auctioneer acknowledged dipping, we probably would have come out slightly ahead. That margin might have added $100 to the scholarship account. Instead, we’re in the hole, a six-month setback for Proxiblog.

This is why we demand that auctioneers selling coins regularly take numismatic courses so at least they understand what they are selling. This is also why we are grading auction companies to see how their lots square up with our previous buying experiences.

Watch for an expanded article on this experience in Coin Update News.

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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