Proxiblog to begin posting Sept. 2

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We wish to thank our tens of thousands of viewers all around the globe for visiting our site during our summer hiatus. We will resume publishing weekdays, Monday through Friday, beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 2. The new rankings will be posted on Sunday, Aug. 31. We will be reviewing coin auction issues, shout-outs, boos and booyahs that happened in July and August. It’s been an eventful time on Proxibid.

Stay tuned.

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An Auction House that Read the Unified User Agreement!

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Auction Wholesales, Inc., deserves its Proxibid gold ribbon badge for the highest standards of ethics. Its policies are aligned with Proxibid’s Unified User Agreement concerning counterfeit, doctored or misrepresented items.

Unlike many other Proxibid houses that maintain, often in all caps–ALL SALES FINAL; NO RETURNS!–Auction Wholesalers reiterates the Unified User Agreement in one concise sentence:

    We only give returns if a product is fake, counterfeit, defective or inaccurately described items.


To read more about the Unified User Agreement, see this post.

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.

Hidden Treasure on Engstrom

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As an auctioneer, ever wonder why a seemingly common coin goes for hundreds more dollars than it is worth? Could be you have a hidden treasure? We spotted and bid on one last week in Engstrom Auction. (Click to expand photos.)



Pictured above are three common 2008 Silver Eagles. Why did they sell for more than $400 with buyer’s fee?

Answer: One of them was the rare 2008 reverse of 2007 Silver Eagle, pictured below:

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We entered a small bidding war with the winner, but let him take it as the coin reached retail.

The 2008 reverse of 2007 Eagle has a “U” in “United that differs from the “U” in common 2008 coins. You can read more about how to spot one by clicking here.

This is an example about why auctioneers should read Proxiblog and Coingrader Capsule on Coin Update News. We will tell you how to spot similar treasure in your own consignments.

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.

California Fractional Gold: Weaver Shows How It’s Done

This shoutout goes to Dave Weaver of Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, our top-ranked house, not only properly identifying California Fractional Gold but also describing its condition with a sharp photo underscoring his numismatic knowledge. Would that all auctioneers did the same on Proxibid! CLICK PHOTO BELOW TO EXPAND.



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Specifically, Weaver notes:

  • The correct BG number of the coin. “BG” stands for Breen and Gillio, last names of the authors of this must-have catalog of pioneer gold.
  • The correct fraction of the gold: 50 cents.
  • The condition and flaws: BU with uneven strike, hairlines (not grade-worthy but neat to own).

What good does that do? Could it mean that Weaver is undermining the value of the lot? Here’s what that does: It showcases Weaver’s numismatic knowledge. It builds trust. It brings return customers.

What harm does calling fake California gold do for auctioneers misidentifying them as “tokens” or “authentic”? It denigrates their numismatic knowledge. That harbors distrust. It makes buyers skeptical so they do not bid with confidence.

Some coin dealers and auctioneers have been hawking fake gold for more than a century. We’re glad to see fewer instances of this on the Proxibid portal, due in part to this Proxiblog post that has enjoyed more than 2000 views ion the past two years.

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.

Use “replica” when selling fake California gold

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We continue our fight against fake California fractional coins, especially when they are described as 19th century gold. The above replica is not from California and not minted in 1853. Calling it a “token” without the qualifier “replica” is inaccurate. As such, this lot is a SNAD (“significantly not as described”).

The replica above was described as “1853 CA Gold Token, 1/2, BU.” These replicas have been plaguing numismatics since the 19th century when the U.S. government began to crack down on them. California gold replicas are plentiful today, and the temptation is to offer them as authentic. When we spotted this one on Proxibid, the bid already was at $22. See photo below.

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That bid is about $20 more than the replica is worth.

Conversely, John Leonard at Leonard Auction–one of the most ethical auctioneers on the portal–knows how to describe these offerings. See screenshot below (click to expand):

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Leonard calls them replica tokens worth about $1-2 each. He is selling them as one lot and provides a clear photo of the reverse, showing the dreaded “bear” (which signifies a replica or counterfeit).

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We advise not to offer these fakes. Don’t obfuscate the matter, either, by calling them gold tokens or gold souvenirs. Using the word “gold” without testing the lot for the metal also is spurious. Most of these are brass or brass with gold plate. If you test for gold, note the karat.

For more information about real, replica and fake California gold, click on the most popular Proxibid post viewed more than 1000 times since 2012.

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.

Back to the Past Collectibles Enhances Photography

We are as happy as the auctioneer when numismatic photography is enhanced at some of our favorite houses so that we can see varieties or devices clearly before placing our bids. Today we praise auctioneer C. Scott Lovejoy of “Back to the Past Collectibles” for working diligently to provide sharp, expandable photos for Proxibid viewers.



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The dual photo above of similar quality 1924 Buffalo nickels shows a before and after effect of enhanced photography. The photo on the left was taken last month, and Lovejoy has labored to perfect his lighting and camera selection over the past several weeks, continuously experimenting until he found the right combination.

“There are so many guides out there about macro photography and in particular about coins,” Lovejoy says. “We just kept at it, looking for the right combination of camera settings and lighting to make it work for us. Took three cameras, three different equipment setups and four different lighting setups before we settled on the current state, and we’re still watching for ways to improve.”

The sharper the photographs, the higher the bids, especially if you have cherry consignments. Some of our favorite auctions have not learned that lesson. (We bid mainly on holdered coins there because of that, as we cannot trust raw ones photographed improperly.)

Here is an example illustrating how photos play a role in bidding:

Hobbyists look for full bell lines that add a handsome premium for Franklins. The abbreviated designation “FBL” indicates a strong strike especially on the reverse of a Franklin Half so that the two lines on the bottom of the bell run unbroken to the crack. (To learn more about that topic, click here.)

Take a look at this photograph of the reverse of a Franklin half from one of Proxibid’s “top sellers.” (Click to expand all photos in this post.)

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It is impossible to tell full bell lines.

Take a look at these two Franklin half reverses in Back to the Past’s March 8 auction on Proxibid; to see how sharp photography enhances the bidding experience.

Despite its glowing luster, which conceals flaws and devices when photographed poorly (not the case here!), this lot does not contain full bell lines:

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This one does:

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Without the enhanced photography, buyers would not fight for this lot in a bidding war.

Lovejoy understands the value of that. “The primary lesson learned, as far as I am concerned, is how important it is to not only seek industry expert feedback, but also remain open to the criticism and keep looking for the best result. People I respect (like you!) had some not kind things to say about poor photos as we worked out the kinks, but we’re far the better for the honesty.

“When I think about how far we’ve come since we started doing coins on Proxibid, it’s pretty amazing.”

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.

Seller Rating System Improves Proxibid


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Our viewers know that we prefer to buy coins on Proxibid than on eBay. Now that the portal has established a seller rating system, we endorse the company even more.

The seller rating system is easy to access. Buyers who have completed a transaction with a seller can rate and provide feedback on their experience. In a news release, Proxibid states, “Seven days after the transaction, buyers will be notified via email of items awaiting feedback in MyProxibid.” Buyers in MyProxibid can rate their experience with the following five questions:

  • Did you receive your item in a timely manner?
  • How reasonable were the Seller’s shipping charges?
  • Did the Seller’s online listing accurately describe the item?
  • How reasonable were the Seller’s fees? (fees other than shipping)
  • Please rate the Seller’s customer service.

See photo below for a sample, clicking to expand:

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Buyers are given a one-time opportunity to rate their experience and submit feedback on each purchase. Feedback must be submitted within 60 days of purchase.

The news release continues:

    Proxibid will collect information from buyers and share with Sellers as it is collected. Once enough information is collected, the ratings will display to buyers on the website. Written feedback will not be displayed publicly on the website. MyProxibid homepage displays an additional count of “Items I’ve Purchased” and link to all items awaiting feedback.

We tested the system today. It works flawlessly. We have a few suggestions, though. The “Return to my Items” link returns the browser to the top of the purchased list, meaning you have to continuously scroll down to continue to leave feedback. If you use the “Back” button of your browser, it returns you to the item where you left off. That’s an easy but essential fix technologically.

Buyers in the Coins and Currency category often purchase multiple lots, especially in bullion. It took us 15 minutes to leave feedback for our recently purchased items. We suggest a small blank, check-mark-able box beside each item so that the buyer can leave one feedback for the entire shipment. That should be optional, though, as some lots are better described than others. That’s why we recommend the check-able box, another easy fix technologically.

Finally, we think the new seller rating system will make our own site more essential. We bristle at what we have been seeing with some newcomers to the portal, charging way above retail and hyping lots. Proxiblog will continue to evaluate the rating system. As for now, we applaud Proxibid and look forward to promoting the portal and our top auction houses to our growing audience!

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.