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 Weaver Auction, not only for identifying a US coin minted on a foreign planchet but also describing why the coin might not be grade-worthy. Pretty sophisticated numismatic stuff going on here.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for listing an 1881-S as 1881 both in the description and in the title. On the other hand, boo to NGC for its silly designation of “S” for both “Silver” and “San Francisco” mint. (PCGS uses $1 rather than “S.”)

Booyah Nevada Public Auction! for noting that these are copies rather than bullion gold. As we reported previously, due to eBay’s policy on copies, many of these so-called coins would flood the Proxibid market. Be sure to note copy or replica when you see one … and consider not selling it if it lacks “copy” on the surface of the item. Anything else may be a violation of the Hobby Protection Act.


Booyah Kaufman Auction! for noting that this coin has a scratch, which often are too faint to see even on the best digital photography. By identifying flaws in a coin, you earn bidder trust.


Booyah Western Auction! for noting scratches. We encourage every consignor to inspect coins for any flaws, the most common of which are cleaning, artificial coloring, scratches, plugs, whizzing, tooling and environmental damage.


Booyah Key Date Coins! for noting that the consignor graded this coin and, perhaps in doing so, left a fingerprint on the surface. Fingerprints detract from a coin’s worth, but again, digital photography sometimes may not pick that up, so we have to rely on the auctioneer.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that does not provide pictures of the reverse of a coin. We’ve seen this shortcut before, even by some of our favorite auction houses. So we have to call these shortcuts as we see them and hope that the house provides the reverse before auction time.


Booyah Brian’s Auction! for noting that this seemingly rare coin actually only is a plated replica, probably brass, and not worth listing (in our view). True, some folks collect counterfeits but others try to pass them off as real.


One Big Booyah! to Silvertowne Auction for noting that the holder has been cracked and seemingly opened. Sometimes fraudulent sellers slip in a lower grade or problem coin with the same date and mint mark. Silvertowne calls our attention to that.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house listing an 1853 $1 gold as Type II. That rarer type begins in 1854, so this couldn’t be Type II, which features a different Indian princess and planchet size.


Booyah Fox Valley Coins! for noting that a scarce Liberty dollar has been plugged and repaired, a difficult flaw to detect at times and one that an auctioneer needs to share in the lot description.


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.

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New Rankings Reflect Competition

Recently Proxibid reported a 29.3% increase in coins auctions from 2010 to 2011, with a 36% increase in the number of coin auctions in the first quarter of this year. More competition has led to new rankings, as newcomers offer choice consignments with low buyer’s fees and specials. How will your house respond?

Gone are the days when Proxibid auction houses could dictate terms online, ghost-bidding lots, hyping descriptions, posting blurry photographs of only one side of a coin, and charging as much as 22% online fees while lacking APN clearance and using third-party shippers.

In part, Proxiblog has played a role in numismatic quality control. Proxibid also has done its share in creating more of an even playing field, posting APN buttons and transparency notices to alert bidders to houses that see maximum bids or allow consignor and auctioneer bidding.

As a result, we have seen competitive houses such as Silvertowne drop maximum-bid viewing, reclaiming its third-place slot behind Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction and Western Auction, which finally has overtaken Weaver based on slightly better photography (showing luster) and equally choice consignments.

Breaking into the top 10 are Bennett Auction Service with a 9.5% online buyer’s fee, good photography, APN clearance, cheap shipping, and no viewing maximum bids or allowing consignor bidding. However, the house doesn’t specialize in coins, and a consideration in our rankings is the number of coin auctions each house schedules in a month. Silvertowne is among leaders in that category with the best lot descriptions on Proxibid because of veteran numismatist Larry Fuller.

Kaufman Realty also has broken into the top 10 with increasingly accurate lot descriptions, regular coin auctions and improved photography.

Also in the top 10 is Back to the Past Pop Culture Warehouse. This house offers a 10% buyer’s fee, $5 flat rate shipping on coins and good photography. After it viewed Proxiblog, seeing that we advocate for photos on both sides of a coin, Creative Director Scott Lovejoy immediately posted reverses of all coins before an upcoming auction and quickly rose in our rankings.

Our Honor Roll houses now number 88 offering low buyer’s fees, good photography and reasonable shipping. In May 2011, only 11 houses on Proxibid met these criteria.

Other newcomers have risen in our top 21 slots, including Auctions Unlimited and Brian’s Auction Service.

Not all Proxibid coin auctions have responded favorably to the new competition. We no longer purchase coins from them because they refuse to upgrade photography, clinging to harsh service terms and hyping lot descriptions.

Conversely, there are houses whose consignments and in-house practices are so trustworthy that we eagerly await their auctions. These include Leonard Auction and Capitol Coin Auction. While they charge online buyer’s fees between 17-20%, they offer the superior consignments and lot descriptions that stand up to PCGS standards.

Nonetheless, if they took a chance in an auction and reduced their online fees to 15%, we believe their bottom lines would rise significantly in a few months’ time.

Finally, coin auctioneers should realize that mega houses such as Teletrade and Great Collections are in the process of competing with each other and Proxibid. Teletrade offers no-reserve, 0% buyer’s fees on Tuesdays. Great Collections offers 10% with “Buy Now” specials and other enticements.

In an Internet world, like it or not, you are competing with the likes of megahouses (including Heritage). We advise to embrace the competition and figure out creative ways to attract return customers, offering specials and treating online buyers with the same courtesies as your onsite crowd.

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.

Bidding with Confidence

We’ve all heard the auctioneering phrase, “Bid with Confidence!” There is no greater feeling than placing a high maximum on a coveted coin in an auction you can trust.

We seldom share our organization’s bidding experiences, but we’re making an exception today in the hope that other bidders feel what we did upon seeing auction results this morning

Yesterday, Proxiblog bid on several coins in the March 13 Weaver Signature Coin and Currency auction, winning 8 of 11 under maximum bid. But we knew that going into the session because we have bid on Weaver auctions for more than two years. However, we also won several lots significantly under maximum bid in a new auction we have begun patronizing, Brian’s Auction Service of Vandalia, Ill.

Because of that confident feeling, we just breezed through two upcoming Weaver auctions, on April 26-27, bidding high because we trust our consistent under-maximum results. We’ll be looking for future Brian Auctions (and encourage him to lower his current 16% online buyer’s fee to 15% so he can be listed on our Honor Rolls).

And then there’s this: Later tonight we’re looking forward to another auction by top house Western Auction of Cheyenne, Wyo. We’re also testing another new Proxibid auction already on our Honor Rolls, featuring a 15% online buyer’s fee with good photos and reasonable shipping. We’re hoping to see under maximum bids there, too. If not, we’ll just not bid there anymore. If so, we’ll be a return customer.

We hope the hundreds of Proxiblog regulars, both bidders and auctioneers, consider the importance of the phrase “Bid with Confidence!” We also hope certain houses drop the practice of seeing maximum bids and allowing consignor bidding. True, we still patronize those auctions and include them in our rankings; but we take our time with bids, even when those houses have sold under maximums (and many do). We look up auction prices on PCGS Coin Facts (a must for serious bidders) and carefully figure out buyer’s fee and shipping charge. Result? We bid on fewer lots (otherwise, it just takes too much of our time).

That’s called “Bidding with Caution.” We’ll take “Bidding with Confidence” any day!


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.)

Booyah Scott Auction! for noting the rim ding and its position. These flaws are enough to keep an otherwise good-looking coin from being graded by top houses PCGS, ICG, ANACS and NGC. The flaws aren’t always apparent in photos, so auctioneer’s reputation is enhanced by noting them in the lot description.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that takes a photo so dark as to make extremely difficult any type of online evaluation. If you’re going to sell on Proxibid, get your photography in order … or get off the portal because you’ll be losing money for your consignors (and yourself).


Baloney! Deep Mirror? One unnamed auction house labeled more than a dozen uncirculated coins “deep mirror,” probably because that designation sells coins or because the auctioneer doesn’t know numismatics. For a coin to be deep mirror, it has to reflect 6 or more inches a 12-14-point piece of type so that the words are readable. Few, if any, of these coins qualified in the auction.


Booyah Brian’s Auction Service! for noting a probable grade (I think it’s too generous) on coins in this holder, all too prevalent on Proxibid. What’s worse, we’ve seen auctioneers cite PCGS values for coins that should sell with a slight premium over silver melt.


Booyah Brian’s Auction Service! once again for noting cleaning of this particular coin, although the photo shows little evidence of cleaning, again enhancing the auctioneer’s numismatic honesty.


Booyah Weaver Auction! for noting the correct designation of California gold, which often is just a dipped brass replica with a bear on the reverse, hyped by unknowing auctioneers to be genuine gold of a very desirable series … but one also fraught with fakes. This is a credit to Dave Weaver for taking the additional time to identify the item, another indication why Weaver’s is maintaining its top Proxiblog ranking.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that seems to miss the fact that “genuine” on PCGS labels means ungradeable but authentic (not fake). This is a clear example of chemical treatment. To learn about artificial toning–altering of coins–click here.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for noting that a coin is slabbed but withholding information about the particular slabbing company. If you say a coin is slabbed, show the picture AND the certification number. As we have seen on Proxibid all too often, self-slabbed overhyped coins are usually worth only a small premium over melt.


Booyah Gary Ryther Auctioneers! for identifying an illegally altered key date coin and explaining how it was done so hobbyists and bidders can learn how to spot them. Some bidders collect doctored coins so that they can identify the various methods of fraudulent alteration.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for believing this is an expensive coin rather than a Morgan retaining a little cartwheel effect after being lightly circulated and dinged. On the other hand, you can sense that this auctioneer is smitten with Morgan dollars. Wait until he sees a real “deep mirror” coin!


Boo! to this unnamed auction house hyping as “deep mirror” an ordinary coin and then getting the designation wrong. You can’t have an extra-fine coin that reflects 6-8 inches a strip of 12-14-point type. Let’s please stop identifying coins as deep mirror. They are truly rare. That’s why they command high prices … and why few auction houses ever see them.


Booyah Key Date Coins! for noting that a coin has been dipped, difficult to detect in digital photos because the surface of the coin contains small grains and dull finish and usually has to be identified via a loop with good lighting.


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.