Proxibid awards badges for best practices, which we applaud; but its sales team ought to go over what constitutes an auction from an online shopping site, in this case, opening bids just under or exceeding retail prices.
We’re always on the lookout for Carson City Morgan dollars, as are many bidders using Proxibid’s search engine to identify auctions with the coins. We were surprised to see this seller (badges pending) with high opening bids. Here’s the lot that caused us to stop looking. (Click photos to expand.)
CoinFacts Data: average auction prices for holdered coins by PCGS and NGC
PCGS Retail Price for MS63 1882-CC Silver Dollar
No reverse image provided by auction company
We can’t tell from photo is coin has been dipped
When an auction company makes its debut like this, both the auctioneer and Proxibid eventually may wish the appearance made a better first impression. Increasingly, knowing buyers are flocking to Proxibid coin auctions, in part because of Proxibid customer service and quality control, with help from our coverage and citation in numismatic publications and other venues such as coin shows. Those big-time buyers will spot warning signs like these immediately. And because this auction has coins targeted at big spenders, rather than hobbyists, we feel bad for the auction company. Those high-bid opening prices might not be met.
We remind the sales team that signing up companies is one thing. Ensuring their success, quite another.
Prepare a best practices sheet for each new client, not only touting badges, but also explaining what an auction is, how to draw a crowd online, and what the best bidders and regulars look for. Maybe the sales team is doing this, and newbie online auctioneers are not listening.
In any case, this particular auction house had magnificent coins. But opening bids to ensure against a loss is not the best way to win bidders’ hearts and minds.
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.
Here are a couple of things I have experienced recently that have caused me to be less enthusiastic about proxibid coin auctions and have caused me to
say that I, too, won’t be participating in this auction company’s auctions again:
1. One of the auction companies who is listed in the top 15 of your current
rankings had a recent auction. I spent a great deal of time previewing their catalog, researching coin values, and determining and placing my maximum bids. After the live auction started, I noticed that a very high percentage of
the lots were being won by onsite bidders. About halfway through the auction
I calculated that roughly 85% of the lots had been won by the onsite bidders so I sent a message to the system operator asking if there was a buyers premium for onsite bidders. The reply was that onsite bidders who paid by
cash or check had a 0% buyers premium, 5% for credit card payers. The buyer’s premium for proxibid online bidders was 15%.
I believe the difference in premiums based on location should be disclosed
in the terms and conditions at proxibid. There is another auction coming up
in the next couple of weeks with another firm listed in your current rankings where the onsite buyers will pay a 10% premium and proxibid online bidders a 15% premium. I found this out from a brochure they sent me in the mail.
A difference of 5% will not prevent me from participating, but a difference of 15% will.
2. In this same auction there was a coin that I thought I had a good chance
of winning. I placed a maximum bid of $110. Before the live auction started I was the high bidder at $70 iirc. The coin ended up selling for $110 – to an
On several other occasions my bids were overlooked and coins were sold
to onsite buyers at the same price I was willing to pay. This leads me to believe that either the auctioneers aren’t being very careful about paying attention to their proxibid customers or they are favoring the onsite bidders for some reason (perhaps to avoid paying fees to proxibid, I don’t know but it
does make one wonder what is going on).
I would appreciate your thoughts on these situations or perhaps they could be the subject of a blog article in the future.
I agree with you. Keep in mind that the coin auctions in the top rankings to the right are ones that I purchased from and can describe with some degree of accuracy. I think too many of those are using the Internet audience to bid up the onsite audience. And then we’re charged 15-20% on the leftovers. I also have written several times about the costs of setting up onsite and why onsite audience should pay premiums at least as high or low as online bidders. Also, there are numerous ways that auctioneers are circumventing losing any money on coins, including ghost bidding and ghost buying (claiming someone on site purchased the coins).
That said, eBay is awful for coin buying. Bidders there think their coins are priceless. And dealers charge way too much. As such, problems with Proxibid aside, it still is the best place to buy coins with research and experience. Without those, you can lose lots of money on Proxibid. Bid with care rather than with confidence!
I agree completely concerning ebay. In addition to the problems you mentioned, I had several experiences where I felt the seller tried to
scam me and stopped participating there a long time ago.
But I have had some excellent experiences and have made what I felt to
be good buys on coins in both the Great Collections
and Teletrade Tuesday no reserve auctions. I recently won lots at
both of these auction houses that I am very pleased with and I have
never yet participated in one of their auctions where I went away afterwards wondering about what was going on in the bidding as I have on a number of occasions with the proxibid coin auctions I have participated in.
Concerning the comment I had left earlier, I want to clarify by saying that I understand that auction houses may feel they have valid reasons for
charging a higher buyers premium to proxibid customers than to their
onsite customers and I don’t object to them doing so. But I do feel that they should disclose this difference up front.
If I feel a coin is worth $100 to me and that is my bid limit and it is the
only coin in the auction that I want to buy, I will probably only bid $80
after I take into account a 15% buyers premium and the cost of shipping.
If there is no premium for an onsite buyer and they also feel the coin
is worth $100 and that is their bid limit, then obviously they will win every time and I will eventually quit bidding there and move on to another venue where I feel the playing field is more level.