California Fractional Gold: Some learn, some persist on Proxibid

When eBay banned replicas from its site, we started seeing copies turn up on Proxibid, especially fake California gold coins. We report the items. Sometimes auctioneers take down lots. Sometimes we get them to admit these are plated tokens. They are not; they are replicas. Coin dealers have been calling them tokens for decades, and they should know better. Here are recent fake lots from last week on the portal, with shout-outs for Munda and Janzen auctions.


This is a prime example of a fake California gold replica being sold on Proxibid without the auctioneer showing the reverse of the lot, which is how one distinguishes real California gold with use of a monetary amount (25 cents, 50 cents, Dollar, Dol., D., etc.). Click to expand photos.

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Here are more fakes on Proxibid. You are almost assured of a fake if you see a bear on the reverse, as depicted below.

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Bottom-tier slabs do not guarantee an authentic coin. This is a plated base metal piece that appeared in a Proxibid event by an auctioneer who knows better, especially when we report it and call him out by name in our “Report this Item” warning.

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That said, we are making progress with this issue. And some auctioneers understand how these fakes have harmed the hobby since the 19th century when the Secret Service began cracking down on token-makers. Here is how Munda Auctions described the fakes as (“fantasy, not genuine”):

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Here is how Janzen Auction correctly described the replica:

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To learn more about this pervasive issue in online auctions, 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.

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TIP OF THE WEEK: Redfield vs. Paramount

Auctioneers often confuse Redfield dollars–one of the most sought after pedigrees–with Paramount dollars. They are not the same. Paramount purchased the Redfield hoard and marketed the coins in the red holder, if they were uncirculated, and in a black holder, if they were circulated. Redfield dollars usually carry a premium. Paramount dollars not so much.


This is a very common coin description error. Unless the holder says “from the Redfield Collection,” it should not be described using the word “Redfield.”

Here are two thumbnails of Morgan dollars. The first below was labeled “Redfield” in a Proxibid auction when it should have been labeled “Paramount.” The second is a genuine “Redfield” holder. Click to expand the photos.

Paramount Morgan

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Redfield Morgan

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Paramount sold Redfield dollars, which became very popular. The company then began putting their own dollars in similar red or black holders.

True Redfields came from the hoard of investor LaVere Redfield. His estate was valued over $100 million and contained a huge hoard of Morgan and Peace dollars.

One more tip: Don’t go by the grade on the holder. There were only two grades when Paramount began holdering those dollars: MS60 and MS65. An MS62 today would be labeled MS60; an MS63 would be labeled MS65.

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.

TIP OF THE WEEK!

Be Careful About Look-Alike Slabs!


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These are technically not counterfeit or illegal but nevertheless easily mistaken for the top-grading company in the world, PCGS.

If you see a lot with a slab like this and the auctioneer states PCGS, use the “Report This Item” link on Proxibid to alert the auction company. You also might contact PCGS, which takes the case of look-alike slabs seriously.

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.

Don’t Hide Certs Because You Could Be Selling a Counterfeit

Auctioneers love stickers, especially on holdered coins. We can’t tell you how frustrating it is for savvy online bidders, looking for rare and pricey coins, when auctioneers cover the certification number on a slab by PCGS or NGC. We can’t bid because we can’t check for counterfeits. The photo below shows a counterfeit PCGS slab next to an authentic one. Other photos show what’s been going on in Proxibid auctions.


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We have been writing about stickers and fake slabs for years now. See this post.

We will NOT bid on any coin whose certification number is obscured or hidden by a sticker. We advise all bidders reading Proxiblog to do the same as the number of Chinese counterfeits in fake slabs continues to grow. The problem of fake slabs has been afflicting the online market since 2008. See this post about the problem.

And yet we see lots like this King of the Morgans, often counterfeited, an 1893-S–with a sticker over the cert number.

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Here’s another recent example.

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All auctioneers should keep in mind that the Unified User Agreement states that you cannot sell counterfeit coins, no matter what your service terms state about all sales being final.

See this clause:

    If, within a reasonable amount of time, Buyer gives notice in writing to Seller that the lot so sold is a counterfeit and after such notice the Buyer returns the lot to Seller in the same condition as when sold, and establishes to the satisfaction of Seller that the returned lot is in fact a counterfeit, Seller as agent for the consignor will rescind the sale and refund the purchase price.

We have purchased six counterfeit coins in the past three years on Proxibid. In each case, sometimes with some cajoling, we were able to cite the Unified User Agreement to get a refund for the fake lot.

As such, the recommendation today is not only for bidders but for auctioneers, too. See this post to learn how to identify counterfeit coins.

Final tip to auctioneers: If you are presented with evidence of a fake coin, do not punish the buyer. Create a consignor agreement form that puts the liability on the seller. All sales are NOT final and you can be held liable if a complaint is made to the Secret Service that you are selling fake coins and then providing an email trail stating that you will not refund the purchase. The Hobby Protection Act even covers replicas sold as originals.

Moreover, with Proxibid’s new “Report this Item” button, you will have buyers like Proxiblog looking for and reporting counterfeits and replicas in your auction. Start with the sticker as a best practice, and do not obscure it in your photography.

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.

TIP OF THE WEEK!


other_report

Help Proxibid auctioneers by using the “Report This Item” link to alert them to mistakes in listings.

If you type in and format hundreds of lots, you’re bound to make a mistake or two. When a bidder sees one, as with this listing for an 1903-S (not 1893-S King of the Morgan Dollars), it’s only appropriate to let the house know so that it can fix the problem before the Proxibid auction. The photo below show how it’s done. (Click to expand.)

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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.

TIP OF THE WEEK

update email

Garrison Auctioneers sends potential bidders several messages in this neat online blast, reminding them to add the new email in their address books and enhancing interaction with bidders. Click to expand screenshot.

Also note the social media buttons and the physical address at the bottom of the blast. Garrison fits all this into one screen so that folks with mobile phones can read it without distortion.

Our tip: Remember that the online audience is as important as the onsite one, and do everything you can to give them a pleasurable experience, be it sharp photography, accurate lot descriptions, quick and inexpensive shipping, or low buyer’s premiums. When you add those components to Proxibid technology, you have a winning combination for your next auction and your next prospective bidder.

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.

Redfield vs. Paramount Dollars

Redfield silver dollars are desirable and sell for a high premium in Proxibid auctions. But did you know that some coins described as coming from “The Redfield Hoard” actually did not?

This is a very common coin description error. Unless the holder says “from the Redfield Collection,” it should not be described using the word “Redfield.”

Here are two thumbnails of Morgan dollars. The first below was labeled “Redfield” in a Proxibid auction when it should have been labeled “Paramount.” The second is a genuine “Redfield” holder. Click to expand the photos.

Paramount Morgan

notredfield

Redfield Morgan

redfield

Paramount sold Redfield dollars, which became very popular. The company then began putting their own dollars in similar red or black holders.

True Redfields came from the hoard of investor LaVere Redfield. His estate was valued over $100 million and contained a huge hoard of Morgan and Peace dollars.

One more tip: Don’t go by the grade on the holder. There were only two grades when Paramount began holdering those dollars: MS60 and MS65. An MS62 today would be labeled MS60; an MS63 would be labeled MS65.

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.