Not using APN? Explain your payment system thoroughly

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Proxiblog has supported the Auction Payment Network for years now because of its excellent security, especially important in the numismatic trade. If you don’t subscribe to the service, or use PayPal, then you have to explain your payment system and let bidders know that it is secure.



Several auctions on Proxibid ask that you call in your credit card numbers. We recommend that you do not. You don’t know who is taking those numbers or how they will be stored, perhaps in a company computer that may be hacked in the future, undermining your credit.

We think such practices are irresponsible. We never bid in those auctions. However, we would consider bidding in Numisphere Auction because it has spelled out its credit system, providing a link to a secure payment network.

We also like the 3% discount on its already low 10% buyer’s premium for bidders who prefer to send checks to the company.

If you don’t use APN or PayPal and lack a secure payment system, you are doing your bidders a disservice. No matter what your payment protocol, you need to explain it thoroughly in your service terms.

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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Proxibid vs. eBay, Part III: Search Functions and Payment Options

This is the third-part in the series on Proxibid vs. eBay. Our first post covered our initial bidding experience. The second post compared shipping between the two portals. This post discusses search functions and payment options.

Proxibid’s IT team continues to make slow but steady progress in enabling users to navigate the portal in a seamless experience, something eBay has perfected over the years. Until recently, we were not able to access all Proxibid pages using browsers like Firefox, much quicker than the anally programmed Windows Explorer whose developers were more concerned about security than navigation. In online auction bidding, speed is everything. That is why we prefer Firefox.

If Proxibid can continue upholding navigation capabilities, it can rival eBay for bidding ease.

Search functions on Proxibid are better than those on eBay. You can search for PCI holdered coins, for example, on Proxibid. You cannot do that on eBay, because of quality control limitations that essentially ban any description of slabbing companies apart from PCGS, NGC, ANACS amd ICG. PCI-holdered coins often are correctly graded and able to be procured at lower bidding than counterparts by top-tiered companies.

Proxibid’s search functions also give more data about coin sellers, from location to consignment, whereas eBay’s searches keep defaulting to all categories, necessitating the user to continue to narrow searches by eliminating all categories, choosing one, and then searching again by “newly listed,” “ending soonest,” etc.

Years ago Proxiblog sold and bought exclusively on eBay and encountered PayPal, which we hated then and hate more now. PayPal requires access to your banking account after several purchases are made via PayPal to your credit card company. So you don’t get credit card rewards but still pay PayPal fees. Worse than that, PayPal makes mistakes. We paid for one winning lot and paid promptly, with eBay recording that payment; but PayPal’s program wasn’t as quick as eBay’s, so the seller never got paid.

It put us in the situation of paying a second time and monitoring our personal bank account for the double payment. If it shows up, we’ll do a separate post on that.

So we advise Proxibid sellers to lose the PayPal and gain the APN clearance, which is the safest and most secure way to pay for auction purchases.

In the next post we will discuss coin consignments and lot descriptions, with a final post on Thursday tallying results and announcing where we will do more of our numismatic bidding in the future.


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.

New Rankings, New Top House

Silvertowne Auctions has overtaken two of Proxiblog’s favorite houses, Western Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, to ascend to the top of our rankings, primarily because of the consistently reliable grading and lot descriptions of veteran numismatist Larry Fuller and frequent top-quality coin auctions by Rick Howard.

Back in the top rankings after several months’ hiatus is Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, which has some of the best coin photography on the portal and choice consignments accurately described.

New to the sidebar rankings are Leonard Auction and Capitol Coin Auction, both of which charge more than 15% buyer’s fee and had been excluded in the past from our top houses. But based on those auction houses’ superior consignments, numismatic knowledge and excellent customer service, we have amended our rules and will list exceptional companies like these in our rankings.

Also making an initial appearance is Southwest Bullion, which recently set online buyer’s fees at zero, with APN clearance and flat-rate shipping. We saw auctioneer Justin Quinn add rare and precious metals to one third of his lots, and we bid $15,000+ but failed to win one item, as most lots sold at retail or above. How does he do it? We suspect he is buying consignments directly rather than going through out-of-town coin dealers. Watch for a post on that this week.

Finally, Chaparral Trading Company made our rankings, featuring lower 15% online fees, good photography and other amenities.

You’ll also notice some of our regular top 20 houses missing from the new rankings. After several complaints from peer auctioneers and online coin buyers, we have decided to omit from sidebar rankings any house viewing maximum bids or allowing auctioneer/consignor bidding. We have run a half dozen articles on why these practices are frowned up, even when the auctioneers honestly only want to know where limits on an item are. Problem is, other houses take advantage of these computer-assisted irregularities. We’ve heard all the justifications and excuses. Fact is, ghost-bidding is unethical. Shill bidding is unethical. Auctioneers should know the wholesale value of items, especially coins, and can pass on underbid lots. And if consignors buyback their own coins, auctioneers can penalize them with fees.

For more on this issue, read this article.

In closing, please know that several of these houses seeing maximum bids are entirely reputable. We patronize their auction houses. We admire their auctioneers. But we have to institute this policy in keeping with Proxibid’s own standards and new badge rankings, which add a level of transparency and quality control, sure to enhance the portal’s reputation.

Congratulations to all in the top 20. Competition is stiffer than ever 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.

Auctioneer Shipping Phobia

We do not know why an auctioneer would use terms of service like the one below, indicating the house was contacted numerous times about the policy but still ignores feedback.

Gone are the days on Proxibid when auctioneers selling coins could dictate terms of service, knowing they had little competition from other houses (such as our top companies in the sidebar rankings to the right.) Why would anyone bother to bid on coins with terms of service like this?

  • “20 % Buyer’s premium is added to all INTERNET purchases. … WE DO NOT HANDLE SHIPPING AND HANDLING PLEASE CONTACT OUR LOCAL UPS TO HANDLE ALL SHIPPING AND HANDLING. … WE DO NOT HANDLE SHIPPING AND HANDLING!!!!!!!! … SHIPPING AND HANDLING IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE BUYER!!!!! . ((((WE HAVE PROVIDED THE INFORMATION FOR UPS SHIPPING. UPS WILL PICK UP YOUR ITEMS PACK THEM AND SHIP THEM TO YOU. THEIR PHONE NUMBER IS XXX-XXX-XXXX. STOREXXXX@THEUPSSTORE.COM ASK FOR XXXXX OR XXXXX))) THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU A QUOTE ON SHIPPING AN ITEM YOU ARE INTERESTED IN. YOU THEN CAN BE CONFIDENT WHEN YOU BUY THE ITEM THAT THE SHIPPPING IS RIGHT. !!!!!!! NOTE WHEN USING A SHIPPER IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBLITY TO MAKE SURE THE SHIPPER KNOWS WHAT HE NEEDS TO PICK UP.”

What troubles us about houses with similar terms of service, and there are more than a few on Proxibid, is how this not only affects the bidder but the consignor, too. Why would anyone want to consign coins knowing the house’s policy stated in such stark terms? Doesn’t the house know consignors are scanning Proxibid for the best customer service?

We recommend that all consignors to Proxibid auctions read the terms of service of a potential house before signing any contract. The most competitive houses have low buyer’s fees, sharp photography, flat-rate shipping and other perks that spark ever higher bids between the online and onsite auctions. Also, as we have noted repeatedly, we do not recommend patronizing houses that lack APN clearance or that have APN clearance with third-party shippers.

And one more thing: Why isn’t the Proxibid sales team recommending what we just did in this post? Houses with bidder unfriendly Internet terms also reflect poorly on Proxibid. Competitors continue to point out to us that many Proxibid houses fall far short of quality-control standards as found on Teletrade, Heritage and Great Collections.

It’s not how many houses you sign up, but how many succeed on the portal.


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.

Proxibid Changes Improve Portal

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.

Bidder Advisory

For the hundreds of bidders visiting our pages, we provide an update here on Proxibid coin auctions that either use a third-party shipper–requiring the sharing of credit card data–or that have ceased providing photos of obverse and reverse.

For the moment, we are not naming houses that are taking these shortcuts at the expense of the online-buying audience.

As we recently discussed in this article, using third-party shippers devalues the Proxibid APN badge. We purchased a common silver dollar on Jan. 4, gave credit card information to a third-party shipper because the auction house changed its shipping rules, and we still have not received the coin 13 days later.

Even though we gave the third-party shipper our data, it did not send us any tracking number. It answers to the auction house, not the bidder. We’ve sent emails to the auction house and shipper. We’ll follow up as occasion arises.

Providing photos of obverse and reverse is basic to numismatics, and what we find especially troubling, is that houses known for their coin sessions have begun taking these shortcuts. We expect newbies unfamiliar with coins to make this rookie error; but not established houses selling almost exclusively coins.

We advise you not to bid on lots without both sides of the coin. Ask yourself: Would you buy a car if the seller only showed half of it? Would you buy a television? a cell phone? a lunch special? That assumes you are viewing those products in person. Now factor in that you are at a distinct disadvantage purchasing coins online, which is why houses carry this disclaimer: “Bidders who bid from off-site and are not present at the live auction or preview understand and acknowledge that they may not be able to inspect an item as well as if they examined it in person.

Bidders who want top quality coins should look for auctions by our top-ranked houses listed in the right sidebar. Read the terms of service on every Proxibid auction, including ones with APN clearance, to see if they are using a third-party shipper. Never purchase a raw coin online with half the information. (Note: You can be relatively safe purchasing a coin by the top-two grading companies, NGC or PCGS; you can take chances with ANACS and ICG; however, treat all other coins holdered by lesser grading companies as raw. In other words, you need the photos.)

Proxibid has done much to alleviate these issues. We admire the company’s resolve to provide an even playing field for online bidders. There are dozens of coin-selling houses on the site that understand their obligation to ship or be responsible for shipping and that provide sharp, expandable photos of coins. Patronize them.

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.

Outsourced Shipping Devalues Proxibid’s APN badge

Nothing irks us more than houses that carry the Proxibid APN badge, meaning they pay a premium for credit card security (which we support), only to learn they do not ship coins but rely on the third-party carriers to do that.

Recently Proxiblog won an inexpensive Peace dollar in a timed auction. The auction house bore an APN sticker from Proxibid, and we had bid with this company before. So we made the mistake–and yes, it is a mistake–of not re-reading the terms of service.

We received a call from the company’s local UPS store asking for our credit card information. The representative must have been schooled in what to say when we questioned why the auction house wasn’t doing its own shipping. “Didn’t you read the new terms of service?”

Later, here’s what I found:

    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].

There was no option but to give the UPS store the credit card data as the service term required. The UPS store charged $18 for its service, increasing the cost of a $35 coin to close to $60. We could have purchased two common uncirculated Peace dollars from my local coin dealer for that price.

We no longer will bid with this Proxibid company until it ships its own coins. We urge auctioneers paying APN clearance fees not defeat their own cause by outsourcing shipping for small lots like coins. We recommend to the hundreds of bidders who read Proxiblog to review shipping terms every time you see a Proxibid APN badge.

And that’s a shame, because it decreases time Internet clients spend bidding on lots. The APN badge is worth the money on that count alone. However, what this and other outsourcing auction companies have done is devalue the intent of the APN badge by forcing bidders to give credit card data to a third party that doesn’t answer to Proxibid.

That means the company’s resolution center cannot help you if your credit card data is stolen, misplaced or otherwise compromised.

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.