Rankings stabilize; some houses dropped; views keep rising!

For the first time in our four-year history, no new auction house has been added to our rankings. But there has been movement. We have seen continual improvement in the past year in four houses in particular–Back to the Past Collectibles, Star Coin and Currency, A New Day Auctions, and Auctions by Wallace–breaking into the top 10. Other houses, not named here, have been dropped. We’ll share the reasons. Finally, our audience now exceeds 55,000 views worldwide!


We’ll begin with our consistent leaders–Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction and Capitol Coin Auction–which hold the top spots because of quality control across the spectrum, including photos, shipping, buyer’s premium, quality consignments and numismatic accuracy. In other words, when Dave Weaver or Brad Lisembee say a coin is gem, you can be relatively sure it is or is close to being so by PCGS standards, the toughest grading company in the business.

You may not know it, but Dave and Cheryl Weaver and Brad Lisembee worked with us early in Proxiblog’s existence to follow best practices. And then both not only adopted them but added to them and came up with innovations of their own.

Star Coin and Currency did the same thing about 1 1/2 years ago and now is an exceptional house. C. Scott Lovejoy of Back to the Past Collectibles not only embraced our best practices but worked with us on photography and now is a hair behind our top houses. With a few more choice consignments, this may be a front-runner soon. And Kendra Stevens and Sheena Wallace are following our best practices now, and you can clearly see it in photos, lot descriptions and much more.

You can find those best practices in our Amazon Kindle book, Online Coin Auctioneering for dealer, estate and eBay sellers.

Our other trusty stand-bys in the top tiers of our rankings continue to excite us every time they schedule an auction. A few still can improve, however. Jewelry Exchange, SilverTowne Auction (which has the best consignments on the portal), Rolling M. Auctions (the best marketing), and Kaufman Auction need to sharpen their photography one more notch to capture luster and clarity (so varieties can be discerned).

Charles Commander, owner of Midwest Coins, did something very praiseworthy during the summer in his auctions: He asked bidders how he could improve. As we’re also an occasional bidder in his auctions, and consider Charles a friend and fellow Iowan numismatist, we strongly encourage him to work a little more on photography.

We’ll give one example that can serve for our entire critique.

Deep mirror proof-like raw coins used to be difficult to photograph. Not really any more. Here’s an example from Rolling M.:

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Here’s a photo we took without a tripod or light box with our Samsung Galazy 4 smartphone:

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Which photo do you think would start a bidding war? Rolling M. in our view probably can claim the best realized prices on the portal. Mark Murphy is that good. But even in the best there is room for improvement.

Also, we are having a problem with some of our favorite houses. You know who you are. Here’s the issue at hand: We know coin dealers–not ones scheduling events on Proxibid–but ones sending consignments to houses on the portal. A few of our favorite houses are in danger of being dropped because they receive dipped, doctored and otherwise dealer rejects hyped in lot descriptions.

We encourage ANY Proxibid house to take care when accepting consignments from coin dealers. Why would they look to you to sell their coins when they own coin shops? Answer: They don’t want these damaged, cleaned, scratched, carbon-spotted coins in their display windows.

We dropped one house because of that this month.

We are also dropping houses that insist on calling counterfeit California plated brass replicas “gold,” “fractional gold,” “tokens,” etc. By the way, there are collectible gold tokens but ones with bears on the reverse are fake and genuine tokens difficult to identify without numismatic knowledge.

If you want to bone up on those small coins, read our most popular post tallying 100 views per week: California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake.

Standards during the summer on Proxibid fell rather than rose in our opinion. We’ll share the evidence in the next month or two. We are holding the portal responsible for not requiring auctioneers to change lots that are clearly misidentified. Here’s an example:

1889-S

This auction had at least three misidentified lots. The one above is not an 1889-S but an 1889, less rare. We used the “Report the Item” multiple times, and nothing was changed. We know mistakes happen. But Proxibid has an obligation to bidders to ensure that misidentified lots are corrected–not for the onsite crowd–but for the Internet ones.

We also saw counterfeits being sold. In one lot in particular a house warned bidders that a purported rare coin might be counterfeit. It was clearly a fake. We provided proof. We used the report the item button. The lot remained online and sold.

Don’t get us wrong: We promote Proxibid whenever we can. And the company has taken out full-page ads, very slick, in Coin World and other venues. But we also need to point out where the company can do better, and this is one area. When someone uses the “Report the Item,” it is your obligation not only to inform the auctioneer but to consider what is being said and to correct obvious errors or misrepresentations. By including the “Report the Item” as a Proxibid feature of trust, the company’s brand, you are now responsible to see these things through.

Finally, a few notes about rankings:

  • Consignments typically are key to our rankings. Any house scoring 24.5 points practices and/or exceeds our Honor Roll standards.
  • Regularly scheduled events on Proxibid play into rankings. Some of our best houses are dropping in the ratings because they have not scheduled a recent coin auction.
  • Our favorite houses are just that–ours. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we keep growing. We drew more than 13,500 viewers in the past year–with one strange demographic: Brazil has overtaken Britain as our third most popular country after the USA and Canada. Maybe it was the World Cup and all those fans gathering this summer in that country.

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Our all-time views now total 55,177!

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We are on hiatus at the moment but post every weekday during September-June. We 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 new work, Online Coin Auctioneering or Basic Coin Design 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.


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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.


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.


New Rankings, New Highs for Posts

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category has three additions to its monthly rankings, welcoming back Mike Peterson Auctioneers, Ritmar Exchange and Braden Auction Services, all continuously working on improvements. The rest of our list remains relatively stable with the top 15 or so houses featuring good consignments, quality photos and excellent customer service. Some of our favorite houses are falling in the rankings because the infrequency of their events, a factor in our tallies.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction shares the top spot with Capitol Coin Auction, scoring a full 25 points. Dave Weaver continues to describe coins’ conditions accurately, noting flaws.

Also moving up is Fox Valley Coins, which just hosted one of the highest bid auctions of the year, with more than 1200 lots of mostly superior coins. Leonard Auction, a long-time favorite, holds its slot. Back to the Past Collectibles continues to work hard on photo enhancements, and so is enjoying greater bids and more return customers.

As stated earlier, we are happy to welcome back to our rankings Ritmar Exchange, Mike Peterson Auctioneers and Braden Auction Service. These houses continue to work on behalf of consignor AND seller.

As you can see by our numbers, ranging from 23.5-25 point, very little separates one auction house from another. Many of those lower on the scale are not working sufficiently on photography or offering mediocre consignments. A few dropping even further are not scheduling events. After four months, those houses will drop off our lists.

Keep in mind that these houses rank among our most favorite. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 50,000 page views. Last week a post enjoyed more than 200 viewers, “Some PVC Coins Can Be Cleaned.”

We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines.

Continuing as our most popular post is California Gold, real, replica and fake.

Below is a graphic that you can click to expand, seeing where our viewers are most likely to navigate.
Marchweek

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.


Back to the Past Collectibles Enhances Photography

We are as happy as the auctioneer when numismatic photography is enhanced at some of our favorite houses so that we can see varieties or devices clearly before placing our bids. Today we praise auctioneer C. Scott Lovejoy of “Back to the Past Collectibles” for working diligently to provide sharp, expandable photos for Proxibid viewers.



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The dual photo above of similar quality 1924 Buffalo nickels shows a before and after effect of enhanced photography. The photo on the left was taken last month, and Lovejoy has labored to perfect his lighting and camera selection over the past several weeks, continuously experimenting until he found the right combination.

“There are so many guides out there about macro photography and in particular about coins,” Lovejoy says. “We just kept at it, looking for the right combination of camera settings and lighting to make it work for us. Took three cameras, three different equipment setups and four different lighting setups before we settled on the current state, and we’re still watching for ways to improve.”

The sharper the photographs, the higher the bids, especially if you have cherry consignments. Some of our favorite auctions have not learned that lesson. (We bid mainly on holdered coins there because of that, as we cannot trust raw ones photographed improperly.)

Here is an example illustrating how photos play a role in bidding:

Hobbyists look for full bell lines that add a handsome premium for Franklins. The abbreviated designation “FBL” indicates a strong strike especially on the reverse of a Franklin Half so that the two lines on the bottom of the bell run unbroken to the crack. (To learn more about that topic, click here.)

Take a look at this photograph of the reverse of a Franklin half from one of Proxibid’s “top sellers.” (Click to expand all photos in this post.)

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It is impossible to tell full bell lines.

Take a look at these two Franklin half reverses in Back to the Past’s March 8 auction on Proxibid; to see how sharp photography enhances the bidding experience.

Despite its glowing luster, which conceals flaws and devices when photographed poorly (not the case here!), this lot does not contain full bell lines:

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This one does:

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Without the enhanced photography, buyers would not fight for this lot in a bidding war.

Lovejoy understands the value of that. “The primary lesson learned, as far as I am concerned, is how important it is to not only seek industry expert feedback, but also remain open to the criticism and keep looking for the best result. People I respect (like you!) had some not kind things to say about poor photos as we worked out the kinks, but we’re far the better for the honesty.

“When I think about how far we’ve come since we started doing coins on Proxibid, it’s pretty amazing.”

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.

Approaching 50,000 Views, Two Houses Soar!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category remains relatively stable with the top 15 or so houses featuring excellent consignments, quality photos and excellent customer service. Back to the Past Collectibles soared into the top 10 by upgrading its photography. We wish one or two other favorite houses at the bottom of our rankings also felt the same way.


Capitol Coin Auction remains in the top slot. If you bid in its March 1, 2014 auction, you know why. Top lots. Accurate numismatic descriptions. Sharp photography. Low buyers’ premium. Great customer service. It’s difficult to beat Brad Lisembee who has perfected the online coin trade.

SilverTowne Auction continues to amaze us with auction after auction with high standards across the board. Leonard Auction is known for top-quality consistency. Meares Auction consistently improves from consignments to photography.

Also holding steady or trading top places with the best coin auctions on the portal are Certified Rare Coin Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, Southwest Bullion, Western Auction, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Gary Ryther Auctioneers, Jewelry Exchange, Fox Valley Coins and Krueger and Krueger.

Two houses catapulted into our top 10. Spencer Auction holds infrequent sessions, but when it does, it features top coins, low buyer’s fee, excellent customer service and great consignments. Same can be said about Back to the Past Collectibles with a 10% buyer’s premium. It broke into the top 10 because C. Scott Lovejoy worked diligently, consulting with us, to perfect his photography. Below is an example (click to expand):

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You can even see the metal flow on a 2000-year-old coin. Photography is essential in the online bidding world. Watch for a post about Lovejoy’s enhancements later this week!

We hate to call out houses for lack of improvement, even if they are among our favorites. One house in particular has attempted to improve photos but not enough to tell varieties and flaws. If it did, it would be in our top 10. The house does a great marketing job and scores exceptionally high sales because of it. So it may feel no need to improve. We find ourselves bidding on slabbed coins only because we cannot see which coins are dipped. Because we suspect many of the lots are from coin dealers, we are doubly cautious.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 600 posts and are approaching 50,000 page views. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines.

Top view again goes to our post popular post: California Gold, real, replica and fake, closing in on 100 views per week.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. 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 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.


Capitol Coin Wins “Best Auction” a Second Time

7Best Coin Auction

Capitol Coin Auction has won our award for “Best Coin Auction” on the Proxibid portal, garnering “Best Shipping,” “Best Photography,” and “Value Added” honors with honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions” and “Best Consignments.” This is the second year in a row that Capitol Coin Auction has won the top honor.

A close second, once again, was Leonard Auction. It won “Best Consignments” with honorable mentions in “Value-Added,” “Best Photography” and “Best Descriptions.”

Star Coin and Currency made a great showing this year, winning “Best Timed Auction” with honorable mentions in “Most Improved,” “Best Descriptions” and “Best Shipping.”

Southwest Bullion and Coin also had a particularly successful year in our rankings, winning the competitive “Best Descriptions” category and honorable mentions in “Most Improved” and “Best Photography.”

SilverTowne Auctions won “Best Shipping” and had honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions,” “Value-Added” and “Best Consignments.”

Meares Auction won “Most Improved” and had honorable mentions in “Best Shipping” and “Best Consignments.”

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction had honorable mentions in the important categories of “Best Photography,” “Best Descriptions,” “Best Consignments” and “Value-Added.”

The houses above are runners-up in our “Best Coin Auction” category.

We also praise and recommend our other houses that placed in our various competitions, including:

  • Back to the Past Collectibles
  • Black and Gold Auctions
  • Braden Auction Services
  • Decatur Coin and Jewelry
  • Engstrom Auctions
  • Five Star Auction
  • Fox Valley Coins
  • Gary Ryther Auctioneers
  • Heuckman Auction
  • Jewelry Exchange
  • Kaufman Realty and Auction
  • McKee Coins
  • Midwest Coins
  • Rolling M Auction
  • Schultz Auctioneers
  • Western Auction

We encourage all of the houses named above to continue improving in the spirit of service, competition and community that all auctioneers and numismatists share, serving our clients and memberships. Continue to embrace the ethics of both the National Auctioneers Association and the American Numismatic Association.

We also thank Proxibid for its Internet options, quality control and customer service and all houses specializing in coins. We encourage them to visit these award-winning houses above. We know there are some houses that we missed in our rankings; as always, our experience may differ from yours and you should consider these award-winners our favorites. In sum, we did the best job we could with the available data and hope that you will continue visiting our site and interacting with our clientele, now exceeding 26000 views since inception.

Finally, consider making a donation to our Scholarship Account. (See details on top of the “Rankings” sidebar to the right.) We will continue publishing Proxiblog free of charge and covering Proxibid and the online coin auction industry. Won’t you consider making a voluntary donation to offset tuition expenses for our college students?

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.