Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid has been so keen that we have gone to a 0.5 system, meaning that a half point separates one seller from another. Only one scored tops in all categories: quality consignments, detailed descriptions, quick and inexpensive shipping, superior photography, expert grading, reasonable buyer’s premium and other value-added considerations. Not only is competition growing, our audience is too, surpassing 25,000 views.
Capitol Coin Auction features some of the best numismatic estate auctions on the portal. Unlike other houses, it does not run auctions every week or other week and so creates an event with key date coinage, holdered rarities and exquisite gold. Moreover, as we noted in this recent post, Brad Lisembee ranks among the best graders in the business with John Leonard of Leonard Auction, Larry Fuller of SilverTowne Auction and Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions.
Ranked ever so close behind at 24.5 each were Western, Leonard, SilverTowne, Key Date Coins and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency auctions. Returning to top-house status is Fox Valley Coins, which had dropped from our rankings because of infrequent Proxibid auctions. Its November auction was one of the highlights on the portal.
Essentially, you should have an exciting time in the spirit of traditional auctioneering bidding in any auction by these top-houses.
New on the list this month are Jackson’s Auction, Auction Orange, and Star Coin and Currency, all offering regular good consignments with expandable photography and other amenities. Star Coin, for instance, ships inexpensively and quickly.
Some houses fell in the ranking because of slow shipping; others, problem coins, poor grading and/or inadequate descriptions.
What surprises us about these monthly rankings is how little an auction house actually has to do to improve its online brand and competition. In some cases, it means taking a little more time with descriptions; in others, investing in a better camera; in several, focusing more on shipping.
We have been receiving emails and comments about slow shipping. One auction routinely takes 2-3 weeks; some, we have to cajole through Proxibid customer service to pack their wares and ship. One auctioneer, asked about a tardy delivery, simply replied: “Already shipped out.” That’s nice, but when did it ship out and what is the tracking number?
In our opinion, slow or outsourced shipping, poor photography and inadequate descriptions are signs that a house has not yet adapted–or is unwilling to adapt–to the Internet.
Online buyers expect:
- Rapid shipping with professional packing.
- Sharp, expandable photos of both sides of a coin.
- Accurate lot descriptions.
Given the convenience of flat-rate shipping with packages picked up at your door, we’re flummoxed when houses take 3-4 weeks to send out coins. If you cannot do basic photography with the type of enhanced, low-cost equipment at your disposal, including cell phones, then you are short-changing yourselves and your consignors. And you simply cannot schedule multiple coin auctions per month and then claim you are not a coin expert.
Bulletin: You are a coin dealer–so read up, go to coin shows, join your local coin club!
That said, our rankings are reviews of favorite houses based on our buying and/or selling experience and numismatic expertise. Your experience with our top houses may differ from ours. Our intent is to educate and praise whenever possible–to our own buying detriment, at times! We have seen when we showcase an auction house how bidding becomes more intense, often edging out our own bids.
Perhaps this is due to the rise in our viewership to an all-time high of 25,267. Half of that total came in the past six months, with the majority of those from the United States, Canada and India, as this graphic shows.
The favorite and most accessed page? “Boos and Booyahs.” The all-time most favorite post? “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which gets on average a dozen views per week from all over the world, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”
Moreover, we also surpassed 100 auction houses on our Honor Roll whose buyer premiums and customer service are appreciated.
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.
Silvertowne should not be listed as a top auction company in my opinion. They are using “Shill” starting bids that show up as “onsite”. Even though they claim that all other bidders fall under the onsite, you will not find coins, after adding in the 15% fee, sell for anything below average Ebay retail. (And many of the coins were also listed on eBay, and by some miracle, the onsite price was what they wanted on eBay. It is not a true auction when you use hidden reserves like this. I just watched the whole auction today, and saw it time and time again.
I cannot say what you write is true, Byran, concerning Silvertowne. I can say that I believe several auction houses do as you state, even ones with incredibly low BPs. Conversely, you’re getting at SilverTowne quality coins for the most part. I buy regularly from the house, especially timed auctions. Other plusses in SilverTowne’s favor include accurate grading especially by Larry Fuller who’s not afraid to label a coin flawed. Photography is good and shipping, among the best on the portal. And inexpensive, too. Also, SilverTowne does not see maximum bids.
This year I have lost thousands of dollars in certain houses, also on the top-ranked list, because the auctioneers did not understand grading, dipped coins, alternations and the like, and provided poor photography. I have stopped bidding there. But they are still on the top-ranked lists because, alas, there are far, far worse coin auctions on Proxibid. Take a look at today’s post: https://proxiblog.org/2012/12/06/why-we-wont-bid-in-this-auction/
More concerning to me than the onsite/passed problem that may exist in auctions on the portal are those who see maximum bids or allow ghost bidding. I have asked Proxibid on numerous occasions to monitor timed auctions that have disclaimer notices on these sessions. Why would any auctioneer in a timed auction even need to see maximum bids or allow shill bidding? I also believe any house that sees maximum bids but purported does not allow auctioneer bidding is suspect, period. If an auctioneer wants to see maximum bids, that house should have both disclaimers. It’s just too tempting to bid up a lot and get away with it because Proxibid doesn’t have the resources to monitor that.
That said, I continue to bid regularly on Proxibid because it is, in my opinion, the only place where you can get coins at greysheet. And that includes eBay and its ridiculous PayPal policies. APN is lightyears better.
I am not sure I agree with getting the best price there either. In speaking with a Gentleman from MN who knows James Peterson, he claims that that Jim says “just put anything on proxibid and it will sell”. Add to that, the no return policy and every disclaimer on Earth about how they will not take anything back unless God steps in, and you will most likely lose money in the long run.
The 15-20% add on also will sneak up and whack you. Now add the 10-20 or more dollar shipping charge that almost all of them have and you are totally dead. I will return with an example from todays auction shortly.
I no longer bid in the auction that you mention.
OK, in todays Silvertowne Auction, lot 270, 1998-S ICG MS63, sold $360.00, 15%=54.00, $10.00 shipping, (if you are lucky), for a total of $424.00.
The last PCGS, same coin, same grade on eBay sold for $450.00 shipped for free, 14 days no questions asked return.
At $360 for an ICG you got screwed bad, but at $424.00……..you are going to the poor house in a real big hurry.
This is only one of the couple that I looked at today to possibly buy, but not for full PCGS price for Heaven Sakes.
Now, when I bought on Proxibid 2 1/2 years ago, I was stealing coins left and right. Even the garbage sold by Silver Trades, overgraded by 5 points, went cheap enough to at least melt it down a year later. Tonight he is in action, and I see some cleaned coins on there as usual, many self over graded coins as usual. I can’t subscribe to the good deal part here, sorry.
Are you the same person who has that blog, bought DMPL from this Joker, and everyone came back not? Cheers!
Concerning Silver Trades, yes, I would be he 😦
Cool, I love your columns by the way!! We could share crossover stories all day and night long by the way!
Thank you, Bryan. I found that cracking out rainbow coins and sending to PCGS usually results in “Questionable Color.” So I have been sending those in PCI and second- and third-tier slabs and getting some good PCGS grades.
The next Coin Update News column is going to be risky. The crossovers are ones PCGS typically doesn’t like: ICG.
Stay tuned, and thanks for all your commentary here!
I have recently sent a bunch of coins to ICG and I truly think they are as strick as PCGS. It is an onging experiment but I think they are predisposed that everyone is sending in problem coins. They also are very much affraid to give a coin the 1 point bump that might make it jump a grand or more because of the guarantee.
You know, this makes sense, Bryan. I got back those grades for the current column. Let’s say that I did pretty well. One coin I thought would cross didn’t. The others, I called. More later. Thanks for your comments, and the ones on rainbows, too!
As far as color, YES. I have now crossed and stashed about 75 or so really nice rainbow morgans. The day is coming when they will be impossible to find in PCGS because of how good the doctors are getting. That is when I will pull those baby back out to sell!
Where is your new column on the ICG cross coins? I am looking forward to reading it.
Hi, Brian. I filed it about two weeks ago. Send Michael Zielinski a note at Coin Update. It should post soon!
And happy holidays, too.
Thanks, same back!
You should see the sweet crossover run I had this week. a 1922-D MS64 came back 65+, and a 1925 MS-65 came back 66. Both Peace dollars and from old Fatty’s.
I also sent a comment at Coin Update.
WOW. That’s impressive. A 66 from PCGS is rare!
Tell me about it!! It must make it a 67 all day long with how things have been over there lately.
I was right in my assessments of how PCGS would grade my coins; it disappointed me in one. Yes, yours must be a 67!