Large estate, mammoth auction?


One of our top auction houses has secured a large consignment nearly triple his regular auction, with another large consignment coming in at the same time. He asks, “What are the bidders’ perspective on this? I could definitely do two marathon auctions but I don’t want to have to worry about people dropping off if that’s the case.

Marathon auctions come with risks to both the onsite and online crowd. It’s difficult to keep the onsite crowd in a room for 8-10 hours. But it’s more difficult to keep the Internet crowd on Proxibid that long, too. And there are other more technical issues with those long sessions, with Proxibid’s technology signing out bidders if they wait too long for a desired lot.

We have seen Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction parse out large auctions into two-day affairs. Other auctions, such as Silver Trades, regularly schedules several sessions associated with a numismatic event featuring lots from that coin show, for instance.

We invite others reading this to answer our auctioneer’s question about marathon sessions.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Divide the lots into denominations. You can schedule copper lots on one day, for instance, and silver lots on another. Many bidders collect Lincoln cents and Morgans, for instance. Target your audience by scheduling two sessions.
  • Divide lots into rare and popular/common auctions. Assemble all your slabbed or ultra rare coins in one highly publicized auction with other, lesser lots into another.
  • Consider a mix of live and timed auctions. Some auctioneers, such as Jewelry Exchange and SilverTowne, schedule live auctions for the rarer lots and timed for the lesser ones with several highly desired coins to attract a crowd there, too.

There is another technical issue associated with long-session Proxibid auctions, live or timed. The technology signs you out if you are waiting too long for a desired lot. In the past, there was no notice that this was occurring, and many bidders, including Proxiblog, thought the onsite auctioneer was ignoring bids on lots scheduled later in the auction. We didn’t know that the technology signed us out.

Now, we believe, that glitch has been fixed and a notice appears that you have to sign in again. At least we saw that in the latest McKee Auctions, which routinely schedule marathon auctions. We like and admire Owen McKee, but we often grow weary waiting for desired lots to come on the block. Add to that the technology glitches, and we just cannot recommend marathon sessions.

Do you as an auctioneer or as a bidder have some advice? Do you agree with us? Do you have better suggestions–which we welcome, of course! Please comment!

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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