Star Coin and Currency Wins … “Best Timed Auction”

Best Timed

Star Coin and Currency, operated by Jim Haver, has improved in descriptions, consignments and photos and so has won our best pick for timed auctions.

SilverTowne Auctions, which won this category last year, set the standard for Proxibid timed auctions, and Star Coin has lived up to it: accurate numismatic descriptions, quality consignments, good photos and great customer service. That said, once again this was a competitive category with Black and Gold Auction a close second.

We are enormously impressed with Black and Gold’s Chuck Price, auctioneer, and his timed sales of coins. We just wish there were more of them.

Also included in our honorable mentions are Hueckman Auction and Schultz Auctioneers, which meet basic but rigorous criteria for timed sessions 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.

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Black and Gold Auction Provides Frank, Honest Descriptions!

We love it when houses like Black and Gold, of Columbia, Missouri, describe lots honestly, with candor and numismatic knowledge. Click to expand photos below and check out these screen shots!

Checking the seller

honesty_blackgold

Uncirculated rolls of cents are big money-makers. Check out this post to see why. Concerning the above 1955-S roll of cents, the house states, “We peeked to see condition, but did not further open.” That’s honest. You can bid with confidence.

Checking authenticity

But in the same recent auction, Black and Gold did something we seldom see on Proxibid … and did it with style! Click to expand the photo below and read the description.

honesty_blackgold1

Black and Gold writes, “1860 one-half dollar California gold piece–guaranteed to be counterfeit.”

You gotta love Black and Gold which writes black and white descriptions and earns our trust.

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.

Grading Black and Gold Auction

Black and Gold

We will run occasional grading checks on Proxibid auctions so you can see how we bid based on condition. These coins are from Black and Gold’s timed auction ending Feb. 16. We grade on PCGS standards as found on Photograde, admittedly more conservative than grading of most auctioneers but still the standard in numismatics. Click pictures below to expand.

We call a coin:

    1936_UNC

    UNCIRCULATED if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the MS60-62 level. We agree with this grade.


    1878S_AU58++

    ALMOST UNCIRCULATED PLUS if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the AU58 level. Chuck Price calls this “AU 58++”; the condition looks like that, but the photo doesn’t capture luster well enough for us to tell if we see slide marks (caused by plastic inserts from albums) or cleaning. Worse, we have that indescribable feeling that something with this coin isn’t right. It’s probably the photo; in any case, we’re not bidding.


    1939_AU

    ALMOST UNCIRCULATED if it would grade AU50-55. We agree with the grade here and think it is conservative. This just might be AU58. Once again, though, in the right field, we see what could be very light hairlines from a long-ago cleaning. We’ll place a low-ball bid.


    1916_XF

    EXTRA FINE 45 if it would grade at that level at PCGS. But this very rare 1916 half dollar looks almost uncirculated to us. This is a very conservative grade. We’ll bid high and hope to win.


    1921S_VF

    VERY FINE if it would grade VF20-35. Chuck calls 1921-D very nice for the grade. We agree. We also see a little glue residue. We can remove that with a wash of MS70 Coin Cleaner. (Don’t attempt this if you do not know how to use cleaners; also, this is not a dip, which harms coins.)


    1921_Fine

    FINE if it would grade F12-15. We agree and call it F12.


    1916D_Good

    GOOD if it would grade 4-6. Chuck calls this Good. We say the obverse is G6 and the reverse AG3; it’s a toss-up at a top grading firm, the kind of coin that some dealers resubmit until they get a G4. Nonetheless, it is a very rare coin and we’re bidding.


    valueaddad

    VALUE ADDED if the auctioneer notes on GSA dollars the condition of the box and certificate. This lot lacks a box, and Chuck notifies bidders of that.


    valueaddad1

    VALUE ADDED if the auctioneer describes coins that may be replicas. Chuck not only does that, but provides the gold data and weight. Would that more Proxibid auctioneers do the same!


    valueaddad2

    VALUE ADDED if the auctioneer has reference books to describe world coins and their content. It appears that Chuck does, using the Standard Catalog of World Gold Coins to describe this 1960 medal.


    Generally, in our subjective but nonetheless expert opinion, we feel Black and Gold Auction is conservative or accurate to PCGS standards in almost all of its lots. This stands in stark contrast to the vast majority of auction houses on Proxibid. Better still, Chuck only charges a 10% buyer’s fee with APN and reasonable, quick shipping. The only weaknesses we saw were “fair” photos that were not always able to capture luster and detail and lack of the descriptor “cleaned” for a few lots that appeared to be so. This was made up for with helpful value-added numismatic descriptions.

    As noted, grading is in part subjective, and is difficult to do via online photographs. Our designations are based on how we bid and why. Thus, the overall grade on Black and Gold grading based on our criteria: A-.

    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 List, Old Standbys on Top!

New rankings feature old stand-bys, all offering excellent consignments with sharp photos and numismatic lot descriptions. This month Western regains the top slot based on quality consignments of raw coins and Carson City offerings typical of a western USA house.

Essentially tied with Western was Leonard Auction, Capitol Coin Auction, SilverTowne Auction, Fox Valley Coins and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction. All feature quality consignments with expandable photography. Their owners are both auctioneers and numismatists (or have employees on staff who are), meaning that each time their catalogs go up on Proxibid, they trigger excitement. One never really knows what one will find, but you can bet it will be good.

Rising in the rankings are Liberty Shops Auctions, Engstrom Auction, Star Coin and Currency, Jewelry Exchange and Meares Auction. Black and Gold Auction makes an appearance with 10% buyer’s fee, good consignments, acceptable photography and numismatic descriptions.

Returning to the rankings is James Peterson Auction, which features some of the best consignments in regular Proxibid auctions. Best, in that you can find the rarest, most desirable coins anywhere. However, the company also touts self-slabbed and bottom-tier coins–all MS67–that may be cleaned, sliders or low mint state. But descriptions will tout them as if slabbed by PCGS. If you know that going in, you can score big in his sessions without gambling on those bottom-tier slabs that top houses won’t even offer.

Proxiblog has scored big with viewers. We are approaching 30,000 views. The most popular post in the past week has been:

The all-time most popular post, averaging 25 views per week, is:

Finally, we thank auction houses invited to sponsor Proxiblog for their donations to our scholarship fund at Iowa State University. We also will donate for each copy of Basic Coin Design purchased on Amazon Kindle.

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.

Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

It’s important to be in sync with the Proxibid technology 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.)

One Big Booyah to SilverTowne Auction for grading a coin in a lower-tier slab more accurately for bidding. There’s a near $3000 difference between MS65 and MS62 for a 1926 $10 eagle. Watch for a post later this week about hyping coins in lower-tier slabs. SilverTowne doesn’t engage in such practices.


Booyah! to Black and Gold auction for identifying tape residue, one of the issues with this coin and difficult to remove, essentially rendering a common coin to silver melt status. But this is a rare 1895-O, and as such, the lot has value. Black and Gold Auction makes sure the buyer knows what he is getting.


One Big Booyah to Liberty Shops Auction! for going one step further and recommending that bidders view this damaged lot as silver melt. We never saw that before on Proxibid. We’re glad we did here.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that routinely does this, inexplicably, photographing the box but not the coin. The auction house is trustworthy and the auctioneer knows numismatics, but geez, we even messaged the house to shoot the photos … to no avail.


Boo! to the same house for not showing the reverse of a 1903-S, as this coin has a rarer variety, a small “s” that can fetch hundreds of dollars in this grade. Oh, well. This suggests that someone who doesn’t know numismatics as well as the auctioneer is taking photographic shortcuts. Boo, boo, boo!


Booyah Leonard Auction! for noting that this Indian Head cent has been tampered with, probably using heat to effect a pastel rainbow. For more on this type of artificial toning, read this article.


Booyah Leonard Auction and Five Star Auction! for noting that these junk pieces are replicas, not California fractional gold. Auctioneers who do hype these brass copies as real risk violating the Hobby Protection Act. See this article to tell how to distinguish real from fake California gold.


Booyah Munda Auction! for correcting a bottom-tier holder for hyping the grade of a lot. Watch for a post from us concerning just the opposite. We’re glad Munda has the skill and integrity to call this for what it is. Kudos!


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for taking the tiniest photos we have ever seen on Proxibid and then advising bidders to view the photo for details. Bulletin: There is an online coin buying community. Learn to photograph correctly. Better still, learn numismatics.


Booyah! Weaver Coin Auction for noting that the slab is mismarked and advising bidders accordingly, yet another reason why this house consistently is at the top of our rankings.


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.

Mystery Lots Spark Bidding

Black and Gold Auction and Southwest Bullion are using an old auctioneering ploy to great advantage in online sessions, sparking bidder curiosity and ever higher bids. We applaud these houses for understanding what motivates bidders, and that is easily expressed in one word: a bargain!

Black and Gold Auction recently displayed a large bag of “cull” coins. The term “cull” simply means coins that are damaged and pulled (or culled) from a consignment or roll because of defects. We love that the auctioneer wrote: “Feel like taking a chance?” See the picture below.

Of course, a large bag like this could have silver melt value. (We think we see some silver in the far right middle section of the bag.) Wonderful!

Southwest Bullion has been innovating all summer, first by lowering its buyer’s premium to ZERO with APN clearance and flat-rate shipping, and now by offering mystery lots. In this lot below, the company sparks bidder curiosity by stating there are 50 slabbed coins worth $500-$600. What a temptation!

Of course, mystery lots are a gimmick and should only be used sparingly, perhaps one or two per auction. But they certainly enhance an auction by playing on the motivating factor of bargain-hunting. The more auctioneers understand that bidders want a bargain, the more bidders they will attract, ensuring that the consignor (and not the bidder) gets the better of the bargain.

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.

Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

It’s important to be in sync with the Proxibid technology 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.)

One Big Booyah to Key Date Coins for noting small but nonetheless signs of damage on an otherwise beautiful coin. As you’ll see in the example below, some auctioneers are not noting obvious damage like scratches and graffiti and even citing values based on Red Book prices for coins that are essentially silver melt or have low numismatic worth. Eddie is more concerned about his integrity as a numismatist than in selling a lot and risking an unsatisfied customer. Our hats are off to him and Key Date Coins.


Boo! to this unnamed auctioneer who fails to note scratches and graffiti and has the temerity to state this severely damaged coin is almost uncirculated 55, a few points from mint state. To the contrary: This coin is a few steps from the silver melting pot and is, at best, a filler in a coin album.


Booyah! to Star Coin and Currency for noting damage to a gold $2 1/2 dollar coin caused by one time being part of a jewelry piece. This type of damage can be obvious or subtle, and is always a problem if a bidder wants to authenticate and slab such a coin with a top grading company. Star Coin’s transparency is appreciated.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for failing to provide reverse photos, especially of an 1890-CC, which just might be a coveted tailbar variety. We have stopped bidding in auctions that only show one side of a coin and urge our bidders to do the same. Badge or no badge, this auction house needs a tutorial in selling coins.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for calling a coin “cameo” when the holder clearly states that it is NOT and the price difference is significant ($60+). Moreover, cameo coins require frosted devices on both sides (and this half-dollar lacks that). Let’s not hype coins; let’s really not hype coins holdered by NGC or PCGS as their values are pretty apparent and their graders do not miss much.



Boo! Speaking of PCGS, do not use its price guide for coins that are not holdered by this top-company, even if showing an NGC coin (PCGS’s closest rival). PCGS has distinct grading standards and its values are based on that. No doubt this is a lovely coin, but citing $1000 is out of line as similar ICG coins (ANACS top rival) have sold for $50 or less. To ascertain current values, we recommend subscribing to PCGS Coin Facts which lists sale prices for PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG. (We never bid without checking CoinFacts for current pricing levels.)


One Big Booyah! to McKee Coins for noting this roll of steel cents is reprocessed, or replated, distinguishing its worth from uncirculated rolls of such cents which can sell as high as $100. This is worth less than $20 and of value only to give to youth numismatists to spark their interest in the hobby, showing children a plated and real World War II-era steel cent so that they can tell the difference.


One Big Booyah! to Black and Gold Auctions for noting scratches and cleaning of an otherwise rare key date Indian head cent, coveted by collectors in extra fine to uncirculated condition. This is example is accurately graded as VG, or very good, with damage noted in the lot description. We know some houses that would have called this extra fine and omitted details about poor condition.


One Big Booyah! to Capitol Coin Auction for noting a rare double die on this 1909 VDB cent, even going so far as to reference the page in the popular varieties book (Cherrypicker’s Guide) to alert bidders of the inherent value of this particular lot. Would that all Proxibid auctioneers took this much time in their lot descriptions!


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.