Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

It’s more important now than ever with the new Proxibid redesign to showcase your photos, hone your lot descriptions, and highlight your consignments for top bids on the leading portal! In the latest installment, Proxiblog laments and compliments best and bad auctioneer lot descriptions during the past week. We will name the best, but you will have to search Proxibid for the bad. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)

Booyah Arneson Auction! for noting defects that online photography may not capture in a coin. Arneson is in the process of becoming more competitive with upgraded photos and complete lot descriptions, as well as lower buyer’s fees. Click here to read more about the house.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for not showing the certification on the slab, important for authentication.


Booyah! to Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers for noting artificial color, one of the most common types of coin doctoring.


Booyah! to Silvertowne Auctions and Larry Fuller, numismatist, for identifying buffing and advising bidders what the coin might be worth rather than what the coin appears to be worth. Nice job.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that photographs without flash on a dark background with a dark-toned coin. If you want to sell online, master basic photography! This is a terrible combination of worst photography practices.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that doesn’t note a harshly cleaned rarer silver dollar, in a condition that approaches silver melt or, at best, a hole filler in an album. It’s a rare coin; what’s rarer is to see a rare coin destroyed.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that photographs the album but not the coins. For Pete’s sake, we’re selling the coins, Mr. Auctioneer!


Booyah! to Chaparral Auction for noting that the US Mint Package is missing the gold dollar. It may seem obvious from the picture, but to protect yourself as an auctioneer, always note what is not in the box as well as what is in it.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that commits one of the worst numismatic sins in describing a slabbed coin from a bottom-tier company as being worth $1650. The coin is so hideous as to be worth only $45. Never quote Redbook prices unless for a top-tier company like NGC or PCGS.


Booyah! to Weaver’s Auction, our top house, for noting coins that have damage that online photography cannot easily capture. Doing so helps the integrity of the house.



Booyah! to Capitol Coin Auctions for noting more coin doctoring in consignments selling on Proxibid. Numismatic expertise is important if you sell coins regularly and want returning customers.



Booyah! to Silver Trades for its continuing expert numismatic lot descriptions, which are a joy to read. You can read about this auctioneer by clicking here.


Viewers can point us to other candidates for our “Boos & Booyahs!” series. Just leave a comment but follow our rules–all in good fun as a way to inspire accurate lot descriptions on Proxibid.

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.

Best and Bad Service Terms

Since Proxibid’s recent redesign, the site is more convenient, with one registration for all coins and currency auctions. Also, Proxibid’s enhanced search functions allow bidders to hone in on one item from different auctions. But terms of service differ from house to house. Below is a selection of service terms with a comment or two from Proxiblog.


Northern Colorado Estate Liquidators: All property is sold “AS IS”, ALL SALES ARE FINAL – NO Refunds or Credit Card Chargebacks for ANY Reason. Anyone attempting a Chargeback will be Charged a Breach of Contract Fee of $1000.00 OR 50% of their Total, whichever is greater.”

Proxiblog: $1000? Really? That’s how much Casey Anthony paid for lying to investigators.


Schultz Auctioneers: UNHAPPY WITH A PURCHASE OR OUR SERVICE? WE WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY! Please contact our office to discuss your specific circumstances. While we typically don’t accept returns, we do understand that items sometimes are not correctly described, are damaged in transit, or other unforeseen circumstances arise. We’d like to hear from you and be given the opportunity to review your circumstances and make you happy.”

Proxiblog: Always refreshing to read service terms that welcome repeat business and interaction!


Carolina Auction and Realty:Shipping Instructions: No assets will be removed before the auction is finished and payment is made in full. Removal is at the expense, risk and liability of the buyer. If need of shipper call Auction Firm for approved shipper. Note: cost of shipper will be between shipper and buyer.”

Proxiblog: The best online auctioneers do their own shipping, especially ones with APN clearance. Internet buying should be hassle-free with use of a valid credit card. Period.


Affiliated Auctions: “Consignors are NOT permitted to bid on their own items. This is called “shill bidding” and is illegal by Florida Auction Law standards. By placing your item up for auction, you have agreed to sell.”

Proxiblog: A conscientious auction house serving both consignor AND bidder.


Don Hamit Auction Company:Some coins have grading marks written on the flip. These coins were purchased with that writing on them and are not to be considered as grading from the seller or the auction company. Please use your own judgement.

Proxiblog: Always good advice.


Osage Auction Company: We guarantee all coins to be authentic unless noted in the description and will accept returns on coins only if the coin is sent to NGC or PCGS grading service and it comes back as not authentic. You must contact us within 3 days of receiving a coin and you deem it as not authentic and that you are sending it in to check authenticity so that we can hold funds from the consignor.”

Proxiblog: We welcome houses with terms like this, as Proxiblog has purchased no less than a half-dozen counterfeits in the past three years.


Big Daddy Auction: All items and/or property sold is offered ‘AS IS’ and ‘WHERE IS’ and without recourse, and neither the consignor(s) nor Bid Daddy Auctions make any representations or warranties, expressed or implied with respect to age, condition, size, count, weight, style, authenticity, genuineness (Proxiblog emphasis), attribution, origin, quality, quantity, value, material, period, culture, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance, manufacturer or any other warranty on any property offered for sale.

Proxiblog: We bold-faced “authenticity, genuineness.” Guess federal counterfeiting laws banning sale of such lots do not count. Neither does US Hobby Protection Act. Clauses like this attract coin doctors and counterfeit sellers. Better to hold consignors liable for counterfeit coins in your contract, passing liability to them, as many of our top-ranked auction houses do (see rankings to the right) See Braden Auction service term below.


Braden Auction Service:Although every effort has been made to accurately describe each item, Braden Auction makes no actual guarantee as to age, size, authenticity, or restoration. In the event of any discrepancy of description, Braden Auctions may elect, at our sole discretion, to allow the return of certain items. In no case will Braden Auctions ever be liable for more than the purchase price plus shipping costs. Any return must be arranged within 5 days of the receipt of merchandise, and must be in our possession within 30 days from the date of the auction.”

Proxiblog: Thank you, Braden Auction Service!

In the future Proxiblog will monitor terms of service and present interesting, odd or proactive terms in a round-up post such as this.

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.

Altered Coins on Proxibid

This is a short post that exposes the bad and the good on Proxibid.

In the past month we have received four lots of doctored, dipped and ungradable coins. In two cases, we believe, the auctioneers oft-stated exclamations that they are not coin experts resulted in coin doctors sending them fraudulent consignments. That, coupled with acceptable (for Proxibid) but still substandard photography, hid the alterations.

In another case, we believe, the way an auctioneer photographs coins is to blame as he typically shoots coins against a black background with strong lightning, a technique that unintentionally hides dipping.

We no longer will purchase any coins from him or those who sell, even once, altered coins, as their judgment cannot be trusted, especially with their all-sales-final terms of service.

Some of the doctored coins were so skillfully done that they escaped our detection. As we frequently resell coins to Proxibid auctioneers, we sent them to one of our top houses and, in our view, the best grader in the business, Larry Fuller from Silvertowne Auctions.

He returned the coins to me with a note. See for yourself.

See why we keep advocating for sharp photos and better terms of service on Proxibid that allow for returns of fraudulent (and often criminally liable) sale of altered coins.

We will post in the coming weeks an article from Coin Update News discussing these issues in detail. Stay tuned.

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.

Coin Doctors Target Online Auctions

Proxiblog is dedicated to helping auctioneers navigate the pitfalls of numismatics, especially concerning “doctored coins” being consigned increasingly in online sessions.

Click on the picture to expand, and you will see a deviously altered coin that was “whizzed” with a Dremel-like brush and heated so that hairlines could be hidden. The coin sold for $120, but was worth only face value because it was, well, defaced.

Before we discuss “numismatic malpractice,” please keep in mind that Proxiblog does not expect auctioneers to be coin experts. Some are, of course. But there is too much to know about numismatics, even for so-called experts, and many houses only handle coins infrequently.

Unfortunately, coin doctors are counting on that lack of knowledge when consigning altered lots that actually violate federal code (18 U.S.C. § 331). Some lots were altered years ago, and unlucky estates merely acquired them. Intentional or not, such coins cause problems for auctioneers.

We’ve heard from several auctioneers that some customers demand reimbursement when they attempt to certify their coins with NGC, PCGS, ANACS or other third-party grading company, only to learn that coin surfaces have been altered. Some clients have issued charge-backs from their credit card companies. Other customers simply stop patronizing a particular auction.

If you have had this experience, you know how unpleasant auctioneer-customer exchanges can be in seeking resolution. We applaud Proxibid for acting as intermediary when this occurs.

It pains us, though, to see altered lots in Proxibid auctions. Recently in one such auction we identified several altered coins. You can view pictures and read about that in depth by clicking here.

There are some steps you can take to protect yourself from consignors who may be banking, literally, on lack of numismatic knowledge:

  1. Ask a member of a local coin club to examine consignments and even write lot descriptions for you. Most will charge a nominal fee, usually less than $100.
  2. Create a consignment form that gives auctioneers the right to charge sellers for altered and/or counterfeit coins. True, you can claim the Proxibid registration contact protects you sufficiently; but when problems arise, as they always do, such a stance can harm your reputation as an ethical, customer-friendly house.
  3. Continue to educate yourself about altered and counterfeit coins, especially if you plan on doing more business in this lucrative area.
  4. Consult a numismatic directory, such as CoinFacts, for information about the weight and dimensions of each type and denomination. This comes in handy if you suspect you have doctored or fake coins.

Concerning that last recommendation, Proxiblog unwittingly purchased two counterfeit coins from one of our Honor Roll houses. The coins’ weight was wrong. Rather than precious metal, the items were made of gold-plated bronze. When informed about the fakes, the auctioneer asked that they be returned, promising to credit our account.

We appreciate that. We also appreciate your situation and will continue to alert you about numismatic malpractice. We won’t eliminate it in online auctions, but we’ll decrease the likelihood that it will happen to you. That’s our goal.

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.