Best Coin Auction Award Coming Soon!

Promotion_Awards

We will post the overall Best Coin Auction winner on Monday …



Meanwhile we thank and applaud all of our TOP Award winners and Honorable Mentions.

We hope that these awards count for bidders looking to spend their online coin dollar wisely and auction houses looking to improve their sessions.

Viewers should accept our rankings and awards in such light as Proxiblog favorite sellers, very much like eBay; in other words, your experience may differ from ours. That said, we do hope the rankings and awards illustrate what we consider best practices, based on our national reputation in numismatics.

Stay tuned!

Five Star Wins … “Best New Auction”

7Best Coin Auction_New Auction

Five Star Auctions, operated by Hank Pulley of Arapahoe, Nebraska–one of our first newcomers to rise immediately to top-house rankings–has won the category of “Best New Auction,” based on excellent consignments, low buyer’s premium (12.5%), and no reserves on coins.

Five Star also takes good photos of coins, with multiple shots, as in this slabbed example:

fivestar1

Consignments include PCGS and NGC holdered coins in addition to rare gold and silver–again, sold to the highest bidder. Here’s a typical selection:

fivestar2

Also impressive is its shipping policy: “Buyers will pay actual shipping cost with no handling fee. Shipping will be within 2 business days of receipt of payment for item (items) purchased.”

Liberty Shops Auctions was a close second with Braxton Auctioneering and Back to the Past Collectibles–all honorable mentions–also in the running. All are worth a look … and a bid!

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 Wins … “Best Value Added”

Value Added

Leonard Auction, operated by John Leonard of Addison, Ill–yet another top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Value Added,” based on factors often overlooked by bidders, including superior grading, guarantees on authenticity, quality consignments and customer service.

To begin with, Leonard Auction “guarantees all items to be genuine (authentic) as to date and mint mark. If a successful bidder has questions as to the authenticity of a lot, the bidder must contact Leonard Auction, Inc. within three (3) calendar days of receipt of the lot.” This is from the company’s terms of service. We also have found John Leonard very responsive whenever we have made an email query. Typically he responds within one or two business days.

John Leonard is both numismatist and auctioneer. His onsite house has more than 8000 square feet of showroom and office space. As the picture below shows, it is a first-class facility for appraisals and lot inspection.

leonardauction

Moreover, Leonard Auction secures some of the best consignments because of its fee policy of 0% seller fee for lots that sell at $250 or higher. Better still, John has strict guidelines on reserves and has to agree with the seller on any reserve before placing it on a lot.

You can download his consignment form here.

Proxiblog has consigned coins with Leonard Auction in the past and so knows from experience that the auction house relies on advertising, marketing and onsite and floor competition to reach wholesale and often retail levels for lots in addition to sell-throughs.

Leonard uses full color catalogs, advertising and select mailing lists, Internet marketing and online/onsite auction previews.

A close second to Leonard Auction was Capitol Coin Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, which utilize many of the above features and methods. John Leonard’s expertise as both numismatist (known to coin dealers across the nation) and auctioneer (member of the Illinois State Auctioneers Association and the Certified Appraisers Guild of America) gave the slightest edge to his house.

In our opinion, Brad Lisembee of Capitol and Dave Weaver of Signature Coin and Currency have similar reputations.

Other houses with superior customer service and other amenities include Honorable Mentions Fox Valley Auction, Engstrom Auctions, Jewelry Exchange, Rolling M Auction, Star Coin and Currency, SilverTowne and Western Auction.

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.

SilverTowne Wins … “Best Timed Auction”

Best Timed

SilverTowne Auctions, operated by Rick Howard of Leipsic, Ohio, in partnership with SilverTowne Coins of Winchester, IN, began scheduling regular timed auctions in 2012 featuring rare and affordable coins and jewelry and winning our award for “Best Timed” sessions.

This was a very close competition with one house a mere point behind and other houses essentially tied for third place within two points of overtaking SilverTowne, which won because of the selection of rare coins and value-added considerations (shipping, descriptions, quality of consignments, etc.).

Click and expand the photo below to see how SilverTowne identifies flaws, overgrading and condition, which proved to be the winning factor.

SilverTowne_Timed

Star Coin and Currency offers similar quality timed auctions with good descriptions and inexpensive, quick shipping and came closing to winning the category, but has an 18% BP (as opposed to SilverTowne’s 15%) and uses PayPal rather than APN. (Many bidders dislike PayPal because it eventually forces them to use its services rather than a credit card, taking funds directly from a bank account and depriving users of reward points and budgetary control.)

We also recommend timed sessions by Meares Auction Group, Jewelry Exchange and Liberty Shops Auctions, our other Honorable Mentions with Star Coin in this category. Auctioneers of these companies promote customer service and also possess numismatic expertise.

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.

Capitol Coin Auction Wins … “Best Shipping”

4Best Shipping_Capitol

Capitol Coin Auction, which already won our “Best Descriptions” Award, chalks up another in the Shipping category.


Capitol Coin’s shipping policy is online-user-friendly:

    Shipping Instructions: The Buyer is responsible for the actual cost of shipping and insurance. If the item is heavy or if you wish to ship outside the USA, please contact us for an estimate of shipping costs to your location. Unlike other auction companies, we DO NOT charge our buyers a fee for handling or packing their purchases. All items are shipped within 2-3 business days following the auction.

Capitol Coin won this category because it uses numismatic packing with adequate insurance. Basically, the auction house does the work at the Post Office and sends you your coins securely and quickly. That is all most bidders want.

Capitol Coin and Honorable Mention houses–Engstrom Auctions, Key Date Coins, SilverTowne, Five Star Auction, Midwest Coins and Star Coin and Currency–have an eBay-like etiquette when it comes to shipping. They’re not afraid to specialize in it, knowing that online buyers need quick, inexpensive shipping so as to become return customers.

SilverTowne Auction, in particular, is the fastest shipping–sometimes within hours after a session. Key Date Coins updates you regularly about your shipment.

We bristle when we read shipping instructions like this from an unnamed auction house on the portal:

    PLEASE READ- NEW SHIPPING POLICIES: Items will be shipped by The UPS Store. The UPS Store will charge for Pick-Up, Packing and Shipping Items.If you want your items shipped, please contact The UPS Store within 24 hours after the auction ends with payment information. Per Proxibid regulations-We no longer have access to your payment information to transfer to The UPS Store. You can provide this information to them by phone, fax or email. Their information is XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you don’t contact them within 24 hours, you will incur a $1 [fee].

Compare that with the shipping terms of service from our Honorable Mention houses:

Engstrom Auctions

Coins and jewelry will be shipped via United States Postal Service to locations in the United States at a flat rate of $10 (shipping, and handling) for most orders, which will be added to your invoice. If you have purchased coin books or items that do not fit into a small flat rate box, we will charge a flat rate of $17.50. Our intentions are to ship the day after the auction. All packaging is done by Engstrom Auction employees. We double check your items against our packaging slip to ensure you get the correct items.


Five Star Auction

Shipping Instructions: All items will ship by USPS with postal insurance with the exception of firearms and ammo. … Buyers will pay actual shipping cost with no handling fee. Shipping will be within 2 business days of receipt of payment for item (items) purchased. Your credit card will be charged for shipping at this time. Multiple items will be combined to save shipping costs when applicable.


Key Date Coins

Shipping Instructions: Key Date Coin Auctions does charge a … $3.00 to $5.00 Handling Fee per Package. Bidders are responsible for these charges and will be charged using the credit card on file. If you have a preferred shipped please contact Auction House. Shipping time will be within 1-3 days after payment has been received. We always try to Ship your Items the next Day after the Auction.


SilverTowne

Shipping Instructions: Auction lots will be shipped via US Mail within two business days upon receipt of payment. Packages $10.00 – $1,000.00 will be shipped Insured US Mail. Packages $1,001.00 and over will be shipped UPS.


Midwest Coins

Shipping Instructions: Winning bidders will be billed for all shipping, handling, and insurance charges. We do all packaging and shipping in-house and ship USPS with insurance in the amount of your invoice with $10.00 FLAT RATE for Shipping/Insurance. We will plan to ship your purchases within 3 BUSINESS days of auction payment being received. $10 FLAT RATE only applies to US purchases of coins.


Star Coin and Currency

Shipping Instructions: We provide fast low cost shipping to our bidders. We ship most items for $4 or less for all items won. Sometimes additional postal services or insurance may be added to the invoice if need, based upon value, weight, size and destination.


We congratulate Capitol Coin Auction and our Honorable Mention houses for their emphasis on shipping inexpensively, quickly and securely.

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.

Western Auction Wins … “Best Consignment”

3Best Consignments_Western

Western Auction, operated by Dave Zwonitzer of Cheyenne, Wyoming–yet another top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Consignments,” based not only on the caliber of rarities but also on raw coins that actually grade as described with PCGS.

Competition for best consignments was keen as anticipated, with Western Auction just nudging out Leonard Auction, which offered a rare raw shifted eagle 1901 Morgan dollar, which also made the cut at PCGS.

Other honorable mentions were Capitol Coin Auction, Fox Valley Coins, Kaufman Realty and Auctions, SilverTowne Auction, and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.

Western Auction also won the category in 2012, tying with James Peterson Auction.

To give you an example of a coin offered raw that holdered as described by PCGS, take a look at this beauty, which rated a coveted MS65 deep mirror prooflike from the toughest grading company on the planet.

western_dmpl

Here are other coins from that same auction in September:

western_array

You just don’t see coins like this being regularly offered by auction houses, including many of our top-ranked ones. We should mention that excluded from consideration were high-dollar rarity auctions with near retail or above retail opening bids. Also, several coin auctions had superior lots but also allowed maximum-bid and ghost-bidding. No auction house permitting those latter questionable practices qualified for any of our awards.

Of all the coin auctions on Proxibid, in our nearly three-year bidding experience, none more than Western actually crossed over without dipping, alteration, cleaning or other flaws. Western, like Leonard Auction, schedules regular consignment and appraisal sessions with the local community, a surefire way to attract hitherto unseen estate collections.

And cherry coins can be had regularly in our Honorable Mention houses: Capitol Coin Auction (look for Morgans here), Fox Valley Coins (incredibly large selections across denominations), Kaufman Realty and Auctions (offering more NGC and PCGS coins), SilverTowne Auction (one of the best sites for rarities and hard to find coins such as California Fractional Gold), and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction (for seldom-seen rarities such as PCGS Regency-Holdered 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.

Key Date Coins Wins … “Best Photography”

2Best Photography

Key Date Coin Auctions, operated by Eddie Caven of Oklahoma City–a top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Photography,” based on capturing the coin’s true condition and using as many shots as possible to make that happen.

Once again, this was a vigorously contested category with Capitol Coin Auction, Leonard Auction, Manor Auction, Matthew Bullock Auctioneering, McKee Coins, Weaver Coin and Currency, and Western Auction all vying for top honors. The deciding factor was Caven’s use of photography to augment his descriptions, showing VAMS, DMPLs and flaws with sharp, expandable pictures.

Last year Weaver Signature Coin Auction and Matthew Bullock Auctioneering tied for the best photo category honors.

As we mentioned last year, we are flummoxed that so many auctioneers on Proxibid, as competitive as you might anticipate NAA members to be, take shortcuts on photos, sometimes only displaying only obverse, sometimes depicting only a box or an album, sometimes neglecting to note key date coins, sometimes forgetting about lighting, and sometimes just blurring the whole shebang.

Check out this article for tips about digital photography.

To give you an example of why auction houses with the best photography almost always boast the best consignments and top ratings, check out these examples from winner Eddie Caven of Key Date Coins and our Honorable Mentions:

Key Date Coins

Key dateKeydate1Keydate2


Capitol Coin Auction

capitol


Leonard Auction

leonard


Manor Auction

Manor


Matthew Bullock Auctioneering

bullock


McKee Coins

mckee


Weaver Coin and Currency

weaver


Western Auction

western

Please do not take shortcuts on photography if you are paying Proxibid fees whose technology is programmed to share the onsite excitement of an auction with your Internet clientele. Proxibid has enhanced photo-expansion capabilities with a mere mouse-over in the bidding window. Nothing sells a coin with high bids as sharp, expandable photography.

Overall, we have seen better photos across the portal. Perhaps auctioneering competition is at the root of that. In any case, our hat’s off to Key Date Coins for its visual expertise as well as to our Honorable Mention houses.

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.

Capitol Coin Auction Wins … “Best Descriptions”

1Best Descriptions

Capitol Coin Auction, operated by Brad Lisembee of Evansville, Indiana–a top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Descriptions,” based on numismatic knowledge–especially the ability to identify flaws and rarities in consignments.

Once again, this was a close competition, as you will see in the Honorable Mentions category, with eight houses named whose auctioneers also are experienced numismatists. Last year’s winner was SilverTowne Auction (Honorable Mention this year) which still enjoys veteran numismatist Larry Fuller calling coins as he sees them.

Other Honorable Mentions are Key Date Coins, Leonard Auction, Liberty Shops, McKee Coin Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Weaver Auction. (Key Date, Leonard and Weaver were Honorable Mentions last year, along with Capitol Coin.)

Click and expand the picture below to see how Brad Lisembee describes and adds to uncommon Civil War tokens slabbed by a top company.

Capitol

To give you an idea of how much information Capitol packs in its descriptions, click and expand the photo below.

Capitol1

As noted previously, several Honorable Mention houses gave Lisembee a run for his “money,” literally. SilverTowne’s Larry Fuller was present most of the year with his snappy descriptions; Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions remains one of the most meticulous graders on Proxibid; John Leonard of Leonard Auction is a conservative and respected numismatist; Owen McKee is sharing more of his numismatic knowledge; and Eddie Caven of Key Date Coins continues to describe flaws and VAMs with honesty and precision along with Dave Weaver of Weaver Auction and Jim Haver of Star Coin and Currency.

Moreover, all of the auctioneer-numismatists named above put a high premium on customer service and return customers. That’s why we’re delighted to honor Brad Lisembee with our Best Description Award and the above houses as Honorable Mentions in that category.

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.

Rolling M Auction Wins … “Most Improved”

1A_Most Improved

Rolling M Auction, an Ohio house, has been named “most improved” on Proxiblog, with owner Mark Murphy securing ever stronger consignments and improving photos and descriptions (with a little more to go on both).

Rolling M Auction won the award over four close Honorable Mentions, named later in this post.

Rolling M was an honorable mention in this category in 2012, as was Meares Auction Group.

Last year’s winner was Key Date Coins and owner Eddie Caven whose house continues to make strides in part, as Eddie mentioned last year, due to the recognition of Proxiblog. Watch for more on Key Date in upcoming awards.

Mark Murphy improved photography in the past year. This 1923 Peace Dollar was photographed in his Jan. 1, 2012 auction (click to expand):

1923_2011

Compare it to this year’s 1923 Peace Dollar up for bid on Jan. 1, 2013:

1923

The MS66 NGC grade is an indicator of the kinds of consignments Rolling M is offering.

Rolling M marketing efforts are superlative, including brochures mailed to previous bidders in addition to email blasts and other advertising. In this respect, his consignors must be truly happy with his promotions as they bring in both onsite and online bidders.

However, if Mark Murphy is to follow the same trajectory as Eddie Caven, he needs to continue improving photography (he’s having trouble capturing luster and details like VAM-like varieties) and should spend more time identifying flaws in coins in his descriptions (he catches what he can but misses some, too). With more effort in both categories, Rolling M would be in contention next year for an overall top coin auction on Proxibid.

We applaud Mark Murphy in winning this award. As mentioned previously, he had stiff competition from our Honorable Mention houses in this category, which include Back to the Past Collectibles, Engstrom Auctions, Liberty Shops Auction and Meares Auction Group–all with zero to low buyer’s premiums and excellent customer service.

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.