New Rankings, 51,000 Views; Proxiblog Takes Hiatus

Top six houses profiled here all offer something special to the coin buyer on Proxibid. Proxiblog, which continues to gain viewers worldwide, will be on hiatus to return Sept. 1, 2014. If you believe we are offering a valuable free service, posting every weekday–more than 700 posts since our inception, with 10,000+ photos–then please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund.


Capitol Coin Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction tie for first place in our rankings. They do everything right, from accurate numismatic descriptions to vivid photography.

Look at the care that Capitol takes with each lot description, this one showcasing a collection in which every coin therein is graded by auctioneer Brad Lisembee (click to expand photo):

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Same holds for Dave Weaver who accurately describes condition of each lot in his auctions. Here’s an example:

weavershoutout

John Leonard of Leonard Auction upholds the same standards as Lisembee and Weaver, providing excellent photos and descriptions. In our view he ranks among the most knowledgeable auctioneers on the Proxibid portal. A screenshot from his most recent auction:

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For sheer number of auctions on Proxibid and the vast array of consignments–you’re apt to find almost any type coin here–few rival SilverTowne Auctions. From rare gold to tokens to slabbed coins and rarities, SilverTowne has it covered:

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Best service terms on Proxibid, in addition to sharp photos and low low low buyer’s premium, goes to Meares Auction. Darron Meares is an experienced auctioneer who strives for superior customer service in all of his dealings. Take a look:

meares_terms

Most improved is Back to the Past auction. C. Scott Lovejoy worked with us for weeks to perfect photography. Take a look at this half dollar reverse in which full bell lines are easily seen. Can your auction provide the same detailed digital photography? Would that several on Proxibid could. See the evidence:

backtothepast

Our rankings this month featured most of our old standbys. Several of our favorite houses–Southwest Bullion, Western Auction, Krueger and Krueger–are low in our rankings only because they have not offered an online Proxibid session in the recent past. We value their operations so very much. Also this month one house was dropped because of sale of replica California gold. Two houses were added, A New Day Auction and Allen and Marshall Auctioneers. Concerning the latter, we were impressed with this lot description on bottom-tier holders:

allen and Marshall shoutout

As we always note, our rankings are just that–ours. These are favorite houses. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxibid, we surpassed 50,000 views last month. We approached 15,000 views in the past year. The map below shows our global reach.

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We will be reconfiguring and updating our website during the summer. We also are in the process of kindling a new numismatic book, available soon on our site, for online coin auctions, featuring best practices for selling on Proxibid and eBay. We hope you will download a copy when it becomes available. We hope that you find our site helpful.

If so, please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund, which is why we share our numismatic knowledge with Proxibid auctioneers and buyers, helping defray student debt to ensure the next generation of auction bidders.

Thank you for visiting our site.

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.


Consign to Leonard Auction

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Leonard Auction and Appraisers is one of the best venues for consignors. Owner John Leonard is always seeking holdered and raw gold and silver coins and rarities. Read about John Leonard’s evaluation and consignment policies–among the most professional in the business–by clicking here.

Leonard Auction, located in Addison, Ill., is a premiere Chicago auction house and estate liquidation firm that does just about everything right. You will be working with an auction house that puts customer service first, gets great consignments, describes lots numismatically and depicts them brilliantly for the Internet bidder.

Leonard Auction also has detailed consignment policies that secure some of the best coin lots on the Proxibid portal. The company not only knows numismatics but also protects buyers, as this post illustrates, noting the Leonard policy on coin authenticity and emphasizing why Leonard Auction ranks among the most trusted on Proxibid.

Leonard Auction has a reputation for experience, integrity, and superior technology–core values of founder and appraiser John Leonard–that propelled his house to the top echelon of auctioneering. As far as numismatics go, Leonard Auction is the only house we have reviewed to earn an A+ for conservatively grading raw coins. See this post for proof.

John Leonard conducts a series of auctions each month, generally on the third weekend. His Friday night Coin & Currency auction features 300-400 lots of high-end collectible coins, currency, gold, silver, platinum and stamps.

The company’s 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

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

We thank Leonard Auction for contributing to Proxiblog’s scholarship fund to help ease student debt and create the next generation of auction-house bidders!

Consign to Leonard Auction

leonardauction

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT LEONARD AUCTION’S SUNDAY, MAY 18th, SESSION ON PROXIBID–Several Key Date and Rare Slabbed Coins!

Leonard Auction and Appraisers is one of the best venues for consignors. Owner John Leonard is always seeking holdered and raw gold and silver coins and rarities. Read about John Leonard’s evaluation and consignment policies–among the most professional in the business–by clicking here.

Leonard Auction, located in Addison, Ill., is a premiere Chicago auction house and estate liquidation firm that does just about everything right. You will be working with an auction house that puts customer service first, gets great consignments, describes lots numismatically and depicts them brilliantly for the Internet bidder.

Leonard Auction also has detailed consignment policies that secure some of the best coin lots on the Proxibid portal. The company not only knows numismatics but also protects buyers, as this post illustrates, noting the Leonard policy on coin authenticity and emphasizing why Leonard Auction ranks among the most trusted on Proxibid.

Leonard Auction has a reputation for experience, integrity, and superior technology–core values of founder and appraiser John Leonard–that propelled his house to the top echelon of auctioneering. As far as numismatics go, Leonard Auction is the only house we have reviewed to earn an A+ for conservatively grading raw coins. See this post for proof.

John Leonard conducts a series of auctions each month, generally on the third weekend. His Friday night Coin & Currency auction features 300-400 lots of high-end collectible coins, currency, gold, silver, platinum and stamps.

The company’s 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

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

We thank Leonard Auction for contributing to Proxiblog’s scholarship fund to help ease student debt and create the next generation of auction-house bidders!

Charge Consignors for Reserves

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One of our top-ranked auctioneers recently held a session on Proxibid, offering coins slabbed by ICG–a good, but not the best–holdering company. Reserves were set at PCGS levels. We knew the result. Those coins were not going to sell and auctioneer Darren Meares was going to have to foot the bill.


In this case, we’ll let email correspondence speak for itself:

PROXIBLOG: APRIL 23, 2:35 p.m.

Just a note for your consignor with high reserves on ICG coins. Typically, ICG coins grade down two notches, sometimes one, rarely crossover, with PCGS. The result of the reserves is I stopped bidding. Cases in point: On your mercury dimes graded ms67FB, I bid $35 and did not meet the reserve. Bidders do take chances on ICG coins. But here’s the reality: an MS66 or MS66FB ranges from $25-35. So bidders like me look at the coins and decide the chances of crossover. This, for example, is a horrendous ICG coin. The reverse looks stained:

icg


MEARES: APRIL 23, 2:35 p.m.

I am in agreement… that is one reason I put the disclaimer on the lot prior to all of the graded coins. He is one of our larger consignors and I have done my best to tell him about buying from these non-traditional grading companies. I will be dropping the reserves on these lots – I do hate reserves, but sometimes you get stuck with them to keep consignors.


PROXIBLOG: MAY 1, 8:45 a.m. I admire the note you put on your auction yesterday about top holdering companies. I also see that your consignor had 37 passed and about 10 sold. I know how hard auctioneers like you work on behalf of your consignors. Your consignor in this case is a fortunate man.



MEARES, MAY 1, 8:57 a.m.
: I am rewriting my terms for consignors in the next few weeks. One of the main points is no reserves on coins from ‘other than major graders’. They will all be sold to the highest bidder. … I’m thinking of also adding a no-sale fee for the ones that do have reserves attached.


We concur. Consignors who insist on high reserves should be held via contract to pay fees for items that do not sell. As Darron puts it, “It takes the same amount of time and effort to sell a coin as it does to try and meet a reserve price.”

We think an 8% of value fee is fair for lots with reserves that do not sell.

What do you think?

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.

EARLY WARNING: eBay shipping has it all over Proxibid

For the past several months Proxiblog, a major buyer on Proxibid for more than four years, has been bidding more on eBay and less on Proxibid. We analyzed the reasons, and they affect everyone–including our favorite sellers who know if you want to sell on Internet, you have to provide service, from APN clearance to shipping.



Auctioneers who only recently made the belated decision to sell on Internet (because that’s where the coin-buying business is heading) have had it their own way onsite for so many years they just can’t understand the point of catering to the online crowd.

  • ALL SALES FINAL, they scream in their service terms.
  • SEND US YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION, they demand.
  • SHIPPING IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, they yell.
  • WE CHARGE HANDLING FEES FOR SHIPPING, they retort.

In sum, they want the same power on Internet that they have in their hometowns.

And Proxibid is allowing this in its own service terms without realizing how it will begin to erode business in the long term. If a dedicated buyer like Proxiblog (which formerly hated eBay which in turn led to the discovery of Proxibid) is stating this, it’s time to take a hard look at Proxibid’s future in the coin business.

If you’re one of our favorite sellers in the right sidebar, you are a veteran understanding how to sell to the digital audience. But this affects you, too.

Here’s why: Major coin buyers (k***n, M***5, T***R, S***O, etc., and there are about a dozen more) increasingly are bidding for the same coins, competing against each other with the discipline to stop bidding beyond their researched maximums. Moreover, returning to eBay, they find that company has made great gains in customer service, requiring important courtesies and rules for online bidding.

Shipping is mostly free or nominal on eBay. There are rules for replicas, counterfeits, hype, etc. eBay bans seller shill bidding. Mostly, however, eBay is not dealing with the arrogance of tardy onsite auctioneers who had it their way for so long they believe they can impose their will online.

Think again.

When veteran Proxibidders, including yours truly, bid on eBay, we also deplete our numismatic budget there with less to spend on Proxibid.

We hate PayPal, but we deal with it on eBay because too many Proxibid houses refuse to subscribe to APN.

We preferred Proxibid to eBay because of Proxibid’s exemplary customer service department; but eBay has made vast improvements, even there.

In the past 30 days, 65% of our bidding budget went to eBay over Proxibid, and that should sound an alert in the Omaha company.

Take a look at some shipping service terms from new sellers on Proxibid:

  • After you have successfully complete your purchase, you will need to make arrangements for pickup or delivery for your parcel.
  • Shipping Instructions: [We] do not have a shipping department. If you are in need of a shipper in order to receive your purchases, we have two shippers in our area. … Contact them directly to obtain quotes for the packaging and delivery of your items, or make your own arrangements. Payment for shipping is due directly to the shipper. Please notify us of the shipper you will be using. …
  • Shipping Instructions: Shipping cost is the sole responsibility of the buyer. … [H]andling fee of 9.50 will be charged (per boxed item or items) … this is to cover the wrappers wage, bubble, box, tape etc. plus Ins and the shipping cost.
  • [We] will not handle payments for shipping. Any special shipping requests must be made directly to The UPS Store. Any claims for damaged or lost items are to be handled through the shipping service, as all sales are final. Please allow up to 10 business days after receipt of full payment, and verification of the receipt of funds, for your purchases to ship.

We can find several more examples in the 30 or so sellers who vend coins on Proxibid at any one time.

This is an early warning post to Proxibid. We have advised them in the past–to the point of establishing a coin and currency category–an indication of how long we have bought on the portal. If it wants to compete with eBay in this category, it has to revise its Unified User Agreement to protect bidders.

  • Mandate in-house shipping in a timely manner and hold auctioneers accountable if items are lost en route.
  • Ban auctioneer shill bidding. Those transparency disclosures aren’t helping.
  • Stop the hype and require sellers to validate value in their lot descriptions from reputable sources.
  • Require APN, PayPal or other secure credit-card company for online purchases.
  • All sales are NOT final; so demand that auctioneers adhere to the Unified User Agreement in their published service terms, especially as this relates to counterfeit or altered coins.

eBay offers all of the above.

Perhaps when Proxibid starts publishing buyer feedback, it will stop the migration to eBay. We’ll see. We’ll report. We’ll recommend. We want a strong and secure Proxibid coin and currency category.

We trust you do, too.

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.

Learn Basic Coin Design–Sell More Lots!

By learning basic coin design, and the numismatic terms associated with it, you will appreciate your collection more and be able to describe consignments with insight and eloquence. Price is only $7.99 through Amazon KINDLE. With each purchase, you will be contributing to the scholarship fund at Iowa State University.

basic_coin_esign

Michael Bugeja, columnist for Coin World and reporter for Coin Update News, shares results of a comprehensive study of all U.S. Mint circulating coinage. Dr. Bugeja is a member of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Citizen Coinage Advisory Committee and works with other appointees in determining coin design for the U.S. Mint. His study does not represent the views of the U.S. Mint. They are his own.

Dr. Bugeja uses empirical methods to identify the placement and artistic effect of dates, denominations, legends, mottos, symbols and other devices of all circulating coinage, from the 1792 half disme made from Martha Washington’s silverware to 2011 modern commemorative coinage. View sample datasheets below, clicking to expand.

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datasheet1

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The result is a startlingly helpful analysis of basic design questions, such as “How to Tell Heads from Tails” (difficult on some coins) or “Why the Morgan dollar is the most popular collected coin.” The book has two sections, one devoted to the study and the other a detailed discussion of basic design elements, such as the privy mark or the three-sided canvas of a coin (obverse, reverse, edge). Learn coin design from a top numismatic writer and enjoy the hobby of collecting from an entirely different and enlightened perspective.

Better still, author Michael Bugeja will donate out of every sale to his Media Ethics Scholarship Fund at Iowa State University, which will underwrite scholarships for the next generation of bidders.

CLICK HERE FOR PURCHASE

New Rankings, 2000 Views per Month

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category did not add any new auctions to our favorite sellers list; however, a half dozen or so improved so that a full 16 houses earned a 24.5 out of 25, showing continuing improvement.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction takes the top spot again this month with SilverTowne a close second, thanks to a dazzling array of quality rarities. Both Weaver Auction and SilverTowne provide good descriptions, quick shipping, and regular auctions.

Weaver has slightly better photos, earning that house the sole 25-point best ranking.

Leonard, Capitol, Meares and Fox Valley all boast great photos, consignments, service and descriptions. In most cases, houses failed to score a full 25 points because of problems with photos or higher than average buyer’s premiums.

Rounding out the top 10 are Back to the Past, Star Coin and Currency, Certified Rare Coin Auctions and Five Star Auction.

It should be noted that some of our favorite houses are not offering as many auctions on Proxibid. Those are dropping in the rankings because of that. But we’re always on the lookout for their return.

Also keep in mind that our favorite houses are just that–ours. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 50,000 page views. In the past month, we surpassed 1820 views worldwide. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines. Once again, the most accessed post was California Gold, real, replica and fake. That post averages between 50-100 views per month.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We post every weekday and do this for educational purposes, informing viewers about numismatics as well as funding scholarships for Iowa State University students.

Fortunately, we have several of our top houses donating funds to our scholarship account. You can also buy our Basic Coin Design book on Kindle. We are extremely grateful. Won’t you consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Iowa State Foundation so that we can continue publishing? Thank you for your consideration!

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.