Grade the Quality of Your Coin Photos!

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Click to expand photo.

The above photo by Certified Rare Coin Auctions, one of our top-ranked favorite sellers, captures luster, condition and color, the three components essential in selling high quality coins. This is an example of photography sharp enough to spark a bidding war. Below we grade photos of some of Proxibid’s top sellers. Which photo is similar to the ones you are showcasing on your portal site?

F-: NO CONDITION, SOME LUSTER, COLOR (DO NOT BID: Blurry, Impossible to Detect Flaws)
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F: SOME CONDITION, NO LUSTER, NO COLOR (DO NOT BID: You Cannot Tell What You Are Buying)
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D: GOOD CONDITION, SOME LUSTER, NO COLOR (BID AT OWN RISK: Cannot Tell If Cleaned, Dipped)
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C: SOME CONDITION, LUSTER, COLOR (BID AT OWN RISK: Slant Photo, Cannot Tell Condition)
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B: EXCELLENT CONDITION, GOOD LUSTER, FINE COLOR (WORTH THE RISK: Bid But Do Not Declare Bidding War)
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Lot from Weaver Auction


A: EXCELLENT CONDITION, EXCELLENT LUSTER, GOOD COLOR (LITTLE RISK: Consider Bidding War)
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Lot from Fox Valley Auction


A+: EXCELLENT CONDITION, EXCELLENT LUSTER, FINE COLOR (NO RISK: Declare Bidding War)
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Lot from Capitol Coin Auction


In the comment section, share your experience bidding on coins based on photos. We also think Proxibid should rate photography on the portal. What do you think?


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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Proxiblog is sponsored by …

Certified Rare Coin Auctions

Specializing in stunningly rainbowed coins with the world-class eye appeal


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Certified Rare Coin Auctions has one of the strongest numismatic ethics in the business, creating a brand known for trust, integrity and expertise. While other Proxibid auctioneers struggle with shipping, using third-party companies or ridiculous formulas, Auctioneer Shane Jennings ships his coins for free. But that is only one aspect of Certified Rare Coin Auctions’ exemplary service.

Certified Rare Coin Auctions has a select inventory of some of the most beautiful coins ever produced by the U.S. Mint, especially Morgans, with so-called “monster toning.” Of all metals used in coinage, silver is the most reactive to environment, especially when mixed with 10% copper, the common alloy in most American coinage. Advanced collectors especially pay high premiums for monster toning because it tells the journey of the metal–where it was mined (i.e. Comstock Lode discovered in 1859), where it was minted (Philadelphia, San Francisco, Carson City, New Orleans, etc.), where it traveled (provenance: history of ownership).

Then there is the natural beauty of decades or centuries of toning with spectacular colors that blend seamlessly from one hue to another or form unique snowflake patterns that qualify as metallurgic art. When combined with a high grade, coins like the one below–offered in a recent Certified auction–gain in value far beyond normal premiums, validating each masterpiece as an investment in beauty.

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Certified Rare Coin Auctions features some of the finest numismatic photography on the portal. You not only get a sharp photo of the slabbed obverse and reverse of the coin, but also expanded views so that condition and tone can be verified.

Proxiblog has purchased coins from Certified Rare Coin Auctions and can attest to the company’s promise of service. This beauty was purchased with a bid of $229 and resides now in a bank box:
1881S

As its name suggests, Certified Rare Coin Auctions offers coins from the top holdering companies (PCGS, NGC, ANACS, ICG). We encourage you to bid in Certified Rare Coin Auctions through Proxibid. You will never find a hidden reserve. You’ll benefit by reading the company’s lot descriptions. The company has a low buyer’s premium of 15% and a generous 5% cash discount for invoices totalling $3,500 or more.

For more information, contact the company by clicking here.

We thank Shane Jennings and Certified Rare Coin Auctions for sponsoring Proxiblog’s scholarship fund to help ease student debt and create the next generation of auction-house bidders!

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.


More Than 16,000 Views in 2013!

Competition among coin-selling houses on Proxibid continues to be intense with very little difference in services among our top dozen or so houses. All in our rankings offer quality coins, ship reasonably and post expandable photos of obverse and reverse. We welcome back K&K Auction Service, which is running coin auctions again. Krueger and Krueger Auction, one of our favorites, no longer sees maximum bids and so appears in our rankings. And Certified Rare Coin Auctions makes its first appearance with stunning coins. That said, Capitol Coin Auction still leads the pack with detailed lot descriptions, accurate grading, low buyer’s fee, quick shipping and fine numismatic photography and consignments–excellent on all levels.

SilverTowne Auctions, Leonard Auction, Weaver Auction, Gary Ryther Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Fox Valley Coins rank among the top 10 in our assessment. But so many more listed on the right sidebar are offering fine consignments, good customer service and other features. Among the most difficult categories to master, however, are sharp numismatic photography that captures luster and color in addition to accurate lot descriptions about grade and condition.

As we always note in our rankings, these are based on our experience and should be considered Proxiblog’s favorite houses. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we are pleased that our viewership keeps improving, with more than 16,500 views worldwide in 2013. We provide this blog for free to raise scholarship money via our online account with the Iowa State Foundation and via our numismatic work, Basic Coin Design, on Amazon Kindle.

See the countries that visit our site in the screenshot below (click to expand):

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As for individual posts, the most accessed article remains “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which enjoyed 2058 views in 2013.

See this screenshot for other top posts (click to expand):

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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.