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.

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.

Proxibid Upgrades “My Items”


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We really like the photo upgrade to the “My Items” tab on Proxibid, letting bidders know what the status of their preferred lots are and how, if at all, maximums have changed. This is yet another feature that calls for good photography from sellers on the portal.

The “My Items” tab aligns nicely with the email notification that bidders receive. See a sample of that below. (Click to expand.)

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Once again, the portal is becoming more visual and competitive.

Jason Nielsen, senior VP for operations, says, ““Our goal is to offer an ecommerce experience similar to that which can be found at other leading online retailers. This new feature provides online buyers with a quick and easy way to check on their current bids, boosting consumer confidence in our online platform.”

We agree.

To master numismatic photography, see this post on 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.

Badges Regain Color


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Earlier this year, we asked Proxibid to revert to color badges. We’re happy to see that it has!

In a March 20, 2013 post, we made the observation that Proxibid drained the color and lost expansion of its badges.

“Badges symbolize honor, and color is important in that respect,” we wrote. “For instance, a blue ribbon in the United States means first place. A blue Proxibid ribbon means the house has a high degree of ethics and has formed a strategic partnership with company.”

Here’s what the badges looked like when we made that comment:

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Colors are important, we noted, because they symbolize different things in different countries. If Proxibid competitor iCollector, a Canadian firm, gave ribbons, the top color would be red for first place, blue for second place and white for third.

If you’re going to give merit badges, for Pete’s sake, we said, don’t use a boring grey scale. Someone at Proxibid must have heeded that advice! We’re happy to report that the badges have regained their hues.

Proxibid has yet to expand the badge when a client runs the mouse over the icon. Here’s how the expansion used to look on the computer or mobile screen:

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We have regained color. Alas, though, we still lack the expansion of the icon.

Some final thoughts on this topic: Maybe Proxibid expanded the badge initially to introduce it to the clientele and now the expansion is no longer needed. Or maybe Proxibid should expand the badge in addition to adding color for us near-sighted hobbyists who have ruined their eyesight grading coinage.

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.

Leonard Auction Shows Grading Prowess

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Leonard Auction remains one of the best graders on Proxibid. We’ve showcased that talent previously, as in this post, earning an A+ via PCGS-like standards. We can claim that because we have sent in raw coins that have graded the same or higher than John Leonard’s conservative grades. In this post, we we are touting how the Addison, Illinois, house deals with slabs by lower-tier holdering companies, taking several examples from Leonard’s upcoming July 20th Proxibid auction.


Bottom-tier and self-slabbed coins have plagued the Proxibid portal for years now. We’ve seen bidders waste thousands of dollars on such coins, occasionally hyped by auctioneers, some who know better and some who don’t. Check out this post in Coin Update News to learn more about the problem.

We’ve praised Leonard Auction before for taking the extra step and identifying bottom-tier holdered coins. Recently he has been assigning grades to them, impressing us enough to highlight his upcoming auction.

Here are some examples, with this first from National Numismatic Certification, a company that regularly inflates grades when judged against top standards as found on PCGS Photograde Online:

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The difference between an AU version of a 1921 Missouri commemorative and an MS65 version is significant, $400 for the lower grade and $2,800 for the higher one. Now imagine a Proxibidder paying $2,000, believing he got a good deal at the auction. When he sells his coin, or tries to, he gets the bad news … and likely stops collecting coins, a sad scenario we have seen too much of in our own numismatic dealings.

Leonard grades this Numistrust 1912 quarter dollar three points below the MS65 on the label. A 1912 at MS62 is worth about $300 retail. One graded MS65? $1,200.
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Leonard also grades coins in more respected holders, including PCI and ACG. Price difference is dramatic when condition rarity is considered, even when grades are close. He grades this 1925-D cent in a PCI holder as MS64RB (Red Brown) worth $400 retail rather than MS65R (Red) worth more than $4,500.
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The ACG 1919-S Red cent at MS65 is worth more than $2,600 retail by a top-grading firm like PCGS. However, an MS64RB cent is worth about $400. Once again, condition rarity is the reason, and that’s why Leonard’s grades are so important … and why we are showcasing his numismatic skills once again.

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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.