We applaud Proxibid’s new changes in helping make the portal more bidder friendly and transparent, identifying those auctions that can see maximum bids or that allow sellers–or even auction companies–to bid on lots in a type of shill bidding. Click the picture above to read new service terms.
Proxiblog has advocated for these changes for more than a year. As many of our Honor Roll houses know, we bid often and then consign winnings to help fund our scholarships, counting on our numismatic knowledge to spot bargains. In the process, we have identified houses that shill bid, always jump to maximum bids, and then shill bid again in the hope that we’ll up our bids even further.
We have not identified them on Proxiblog because we want our site to be proactive rather than reactive, relying on our articles to make the case for better online business.
Shill bidding is, in fact, illegal in many states and one of the reasons why coin buyers often shy away from Proxibid auctions and look instead to Great Collections, Heritage and Teletrade, which thrive because of transparency and stringent rules. Yes, you might pay more for a coin on these sites. Yes, there are fewer bargains. But there is much less risk. That is why those companies vastly outsell auction houses on Proxibid.
Nevertheless, one or two Proxibid auctioneers bristle every time we mention Great Collections et. al., complaining that there are no bargains on those auctions. These Proxibid auctioneers are honest and mistakenly believe other houses are as honorable as theirs. Most may be, but some are not. And in general, bidding on Proxibid requires users to possess numismatic experience not only in bidding but also in grading and identifying counterfeits, self-slabbers and high-reserve houses.
We recommend the larger houses for newbies until they learn numismatic basics.
If you want your house to compete against the likes of Heritage and Teletrade, you can do so easily by following our best practices.
It’s not a matter of size. It’s a matter of integrity, as most NAA auctioneers realize. A house like Weaver’s Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, and Key Date Coins reap ever higher bids because they have followed our advice in the past year and thrived. And that advice is based on 40 years’ experience in the numismatic industry in addition to reporting on coins for top publications like Coin World and Coin Update News and even advising the U.S. Mint on coin design.
This is why we believe that forthcoming Proxibid changes are going to help many of our top honest houses attract even more bidders because they will know that auctioneers will not immediately jump to maximum bids or unfairly shill bid for maximum profit. Those relatively few houses lack respect for the online audience, believing it is there to be duped or otherwise taken advantage of.
On the other hand, we feel confident placing maximum bids on almost all of the houses ranked to the right of this article.
However, we still are advocating for more changes in the Proxibid rules:
- Charge high-reserve auctions for unsold items because they use the portal as a cheap eBay site, knowing they don’t have to pay fees when lots do not sell; so they sell above retail, trolling for the few inexperienced bidders who do not know pricing. See this article for details.
- Mandate that consignors are responsible for paying refunds on counterfeit and altered coins. See this article featuring Leonard Auction for contracts that do just that.
- Remove APN badges from houses that contract with third parties for packing and shipping. See this article for details about that.
We also understand that Proxibid cannot force auctioneers to extend basic numismatic courtesies, such as providing clear and expandable pictures of obverse and reverse of coins. We are disappointed in some of our former top houses taking shortcuts in this area by providing only obverse. Today, we removed them from top-ranked houses.
It is, frankly, unethical to sell half a coin to an Internet audience that takes risks because they cannot view the lot up-close as onsite bidders can. We advise all bidders to cease placing bids on raw coins that show only one side of a lot, as this article explains.
We end with a reminder about one of the most important ethical rules of the National Auctioneer Association: Members owe the buyer (from now on referred to as the Customer) the duties of honesty, integrity and fair dealing at all times.
And we thank Proxibid for helping everyone do just that.
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.