Pet Peeve of the Week: No reverse image

tipofweek

It seems new coin auctions on Proxibid have to be reminded to take photos of both sides of the coin. This is especially important with Franklin halves because the reverse in many years determines the value of the lot.

Franklin halves are notorious for weak strikes in certain years, such as the 1953-S. One way to determine the strike is to look at the reverse and see if the lines on the liberty bell are distinct.

The abbreviated designation “FBL,” or “full bell lines,” pertains to a strong strike so that the two lines on the bottom of the bell run unbroken to the crack. Rick Tomaska, author of A Guide Book of Franklin & Kennedy Half Dollars and a top expert on the topic, defines FBL more specifically on this link.

Here is a photo of what FBL looks like:

fbl

Franklin halves with FBL can fetch hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, depending on the condition of the coin. Unfortunately, in this new coin auction on Proxibid, there is no way to tell the worth of this lot without a reverse photo.

When we first launched Proxiblog in 2011, more than half of the coin auctions on the portal only showed the obverse of coins. That has changed dramatically. Nevertheless, we feel the need to remind newbie online auctioneers not to take shortcuts by cutting back on photography–namely, the reverse of coins.

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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Avoid Houses that Charge Per-Lot Shipping


“SHIPPING: We will use the best service possible. We charge a minimal fee for our staff to pack and wrap your items. $5 per lot for coins and jewelry or small items.”


Look closely. This auction house charges $5 per coin. What’s the purpose of this besides making a profit on easily shipped items, especially when shippers like USPS or UPS pick up packages and/or provide mailers for free? The shipping policy also works against the auction house, which should give a discount for more bought lots … rather than an extra charge!

The danger of patronizing houses like this is the chance of ending up with an inexpensive coin worth $5-10. Add shipping, handling, etc., and you’re triple-overpaying for the lot.

We recommend that bidders closely read terms of service for shipping before deciding whether to bid with a house.


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.

More Hyped Lots on Proxibid

We grow so weary of auctioneers new to Proxibid coming in with all the issues we complain about and try to correct–in this case, a grossly exaggerated price for a common Morgan dollar.

Bidders who believe the hype, and there are many, are shortchanged literally and won’t see a return on their investment for several generations. To check the retail price of an NGC or PCGS coin, go to their respective sites and type the certification number.

Click to expand photo for details.

peeved

In the above case we went to NGC’s home page, typed in the certification number 1830074-009, and came up with the retail price of $68.40, more than $200 over retail. Add buyer’s premium of 15% plus third-party shipping (which we never recommend), and you have a grossly inflated price.

If you ever see this type of gimmick, as we did with this company, we immediately cross off the house for future bidding. We recommend that you do the same. Either the auctioneer knows nothing about coins and believes the consignor, or knows about coins and allows the hype, which in both cases is bad for bidding.

The way to stop the hype is not to believe it. Unfortunately, there are ignorant bidders with hefty credit cards (we could provide their initials, but won’t) buying all manner of silver and especially gold coins at double or more retail prices.

Smart bidders know Proxiblog is looking out for them. Smarter auctioneers know that trust is the key for return business. See our favorite sellers in the right sidebar.

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 Lose Color?

badge1

It’s a small thing, and we considered not posting about it for weeks, when we just couldn’t hold back any longer. Why has Proxibid drained the color and lost expansion of its badges?

Badges symbolize honor, and color is important in that respect. 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. Second place color is red, and third place yellow in the United States.

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.

Colors are important. They symbolize different things in different countries. But dull grey is just that–boring! And the icons are smaller now and, to be honest, easy to overlook if you do not know what they are because you’re a newcomer to Proxibid.

Here’s how Proxibid ribbons used to look when a bidder ran the cursor over the icon:

badge_mini1

Here’s how it looks now:

badge_mini

No color, no expansion of the icon.

It’s a small thing. As far as tech glitches go, we’re happy that Proxibid has kept its promise about the ability to see the lots that you won in the “My Proxibid” window, as we reported yesterday in this post.

If you noticed the loss of color and icon expansion, shoot us a comment. We just may be too picky on this one. Just saying, “If you’re going to give a badge, why let it lose its online luster?”

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.

Won lots lose interactivity–what gives Proxibid?

petpeeve

Proxibid usually enhances technology when updating programs, but this “new” feature is a step backwards for bidders–loss of interactivity on winnings, preventing you from viewing pictures of what you won or determining which auctioneer offered best consignments in the past.

Heritage does it. Teletrade does it. Even eBay does it–allowing bidders to see past lots won. Proxibid used to do it, but has eliminated that feature, adding more data–such as Internet premium–but losing interactivity, the best advertisement for auction houses. Now bidders must go to the site of each auction and delve into the archives, searching for a photo. Some bidders need that photo to ensure that they get the lots that they won.

But Proxibid has done away with that. (Click on photo below to expand.)

proxibid_bidding

We’re flummoxed. How could this possibly be a safety concern? Why take away interactivity when it provides a detailed record of each sale? Look at all the information that Teletrade gives its bidders. (Click on photo below to expand.)

teletrade_bidding

We hope that Proxibid or blue-ribbon badge auctioneers realize how loss of interactivity in an interactive world takes away from the company’s reputation as being tech-savvy, and sets it back about a decade when other auction portals didn’t allow bid winners to keep track of their purchased lots.

We realize that large-size photos such as many of our top houses use in sales take up a lot of space, but we’re advocating for thumbnails still available in the archives.

Let’s restore that function!

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.

New Year’s Resolutions for Bidders

new year

In this post we proclaim 10 bidding resolutions for 2013. Tomorrow we will post 10 auctioneer resolutions.


Think twice about bidding …

  1. … in an auction that hypes self-slabbed coins as being worth thousands, citing the Redbook, Coin World Values or PCGS Price Guide. (These coins are almost always cleaned, marked, altered or otherwise damaged; and yet the grade will be MS66 or MS67.)
  2. … in an auction that only photographs one side of a coin. (Would you buy a car if the seller only showed half of the vehicle?)
  3. … in an auction that posts blurry, tinted or small photos. (If the auctioneer cannot photograph a coin properly, he won’t be agreeable when you try to return it for flaws those photographs obscured.)
  4. … on uncirculated coins whose photos cannot capture the luster or color of the metal. (Chances are, the coin has been dipped.)
  5. … in an auction that outsources shipping so that the bidder has to make calls and arrangements with a third-party. (Once the coins go to the shipper, you no longer are dealing with Proxibid but with the shipper’s terms of service.)
  6. … higher and higher–not for the coin–but to bid up others, especially during an auction. (As Confucius states, those who seek revenge should dig two graves.)
  7. … in an auction that opens with high reserves approaching retail values of coins when buyer’s premium and shipping are added. (Patronize your local coin dealer who might give you a better bargain.)
  8. … in an auction that lacks APN or PayPal and requires you to give your credit card information over the phone, including expiration dates and other codes. (You’re trusting the auction house and its employees with direct access to your bank.)
  9. … in an auction that posts transparency notices for maximum-bid and ghost-bidding (unless you really need that coin and are willing to pay retail for it).
  10. … in a timed auction that sees maximum bids. (There just isn’t any need for that unless someone is ghost-bidding.)

What other bidding resolutions should we have listed? What are some of your own?

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.

Pet Peeve of the Week



Click the photo above to expand and see why we’re peeved. This Proxibid auction house charges onsite bidders 0% buyer’s premiums and 20% online premiums.

There are onsite set-up fees for auctions that can surpass that of Internet bidding through Proxibid. Yet auctioneers do not seem to complain about that; they reserve complaints about Proxibid and APN fees.

Intended or not, all these houses typically end up doing is using the online audience to bid up the onsite ones.

And another warning to the Proxibid sales team: It is one thing to sign up a client, and another to maximize earnings from that partner in your very own business: ONLINE auctioneering. Please advise these folks without relying on posts like this to point things out. In our experience, auction companies that charge 0% BP to the onsite are the loudest complainers about Proxibid.

Too bad, especially when our top-ranked companies to the right on our list know that Internet pays well and spurs fair competition. That’s what auctions are supposed to be about!