Top Houses Get Better; Others Dropped–Views at All-Time High!

Increasingly we’re seeing fewer new coin auctions on Proxibid worth bidding on, relying more on our top favorites that maintain standards in photography, consignments and customer service. Few can beat Brad Lisembee at Capitol Coin Auctions and Dave and Cheryl Weaver at Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.


For more than a few years we had been listing as favorite houses about a dozen that have maintained 2012 standards … but have failed to improve to 2014 standards requiring sharp photography, reliable lot descriptions and cherry consignments. We read notices on their sites stating, “Tell us how we can be better,” and then see the same blurry photographs or the same inferior lots.

A few houses have been dropped because their consignments have not warranted a lot of interest–consistently, for the past several months. As soon as they get better coins, they’ll likely be back in our rankings.

Technically, we have dropped all houses that failed to earn a 24.5 out of 25.

Despite that news, coin auctions on Proxibid have been exciting. Fox Valley, Capitol Coin, Weaver, Krueger and Krueger, SilverTowne, Leonard, Star Coin, Jewelry Exchange, Back to the Past, Meares, et. al.–who could ask for a better selection!

Even Kaufman Auction is getting coins shipped in a timely manner and posting photos within a week of the event. McKee Coins is improving, as are Auctions By Wallace and A New Day Auctions.

Proxiblog also had one of its best months ever with almost 1500 views in 30 days. See our graph below:

septrankings

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We post daily during the week, which takes time and effort, and do this for educational purposes, informing auctioneers about best practices and viewers about numismatics. With our sponsorships, we fund media ethics 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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Distinguish Paramount from Redfield Dollars

notredfield

At the time this post was written, there were two Paramount dollars and one genuine Redfield dollar being sold on Proxibid. The lot above is a Paramount dollar. Redfield dollars are worth a much larger premium than Paramount dollars but because the latter are holdered in the same type of card and plastic, many Proxibid auctioneers call all such dollars “Redfield,” when they are not. The issue today is once being informed about the mistake, using the “Report the Item” link, will the auctioneer change the lot description?



In this case, as we would anticipate with Dave and Cheryl Weaver–typically our top-ranked house on Proxiblog–they get the lot description correct. See the genuine Redfield dollar below:

notredfield1

The Weaver lot above came from the 407,000-coin stash found behind a false wall in the basement of Reno, Nev., investor LaVere Redfield. The hoard was acquired for $7.3 million in 1976 by Steve Markoff of A-Mark Coin Corp. Markoff chose Paramount International Coin Corp. as a primary distributor of coins from the hoard.

Paramount slabbed the coins in attractive plastic holders with green, red or black inserts. Green is for coins grading above MS65. People pay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, for coins in that rare holder. The other two common inserts, red and black, define two grades respectively, Mint State 65 and MS-60, the only two grades used at the time.

The Redfield dollars sold so well that Markoff decided to slab other Morgan dollars in his special holders–without the designation “Redfield.” Those simply state Paramount. These do command a small premium, but nothing like the Redfield pedigree.

Here’s the second Proxibid auction erroneously describing the lot:

notredfield2

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to see if the two auctioneers who incorrectly described Paramount as Redfield will change the lot description. We used the “Report the Item” link every day for the past four days. We checked this morning, Monday, Sept. 15. The two auction houses with erroneous lot descriptions had not fixed those descriptions.

So this is a test not only of numismatics but also on the effectiveness of the Proxibid link. Will the two auctioneers change their erroneous descriptions?

Stay tuned.

For more on Redfield dollars, see this article published in Coin World.

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.

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.:

RollingM_Dmpl

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

dmpl_samsung

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.

newviews

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.


New Rankings; 18-Month Views Exceed 40,000 Worldwide!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category added one new auction in the past month, EBW Coins, which features good photography, numismatic lot descriptions and zero percent buyer’s premium (with Greysheet opening bids, however). The big news is that Proxiblog’s audience continues to grow with more than 40,000 views in the past 18 months, raising total views to 55,000 since its inception three years ago.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction continues to hold the top spot again this month. The duo of Dave and Cheryl Weaver are doing everything right. Lot descriptions are accurate. Photos expandable. Shipping and customer service just fine.

Our other trusty stand-bys continue to excite us every time they schedule an auction: Capitol Coin Auction, SilverTowne, Leonard Auction, Meares Auction, and Fox Valley Coins.

The big news in our ratings concerns Back to the Past Collectibles and Star Coin and Currency. C. Scott Lovejoy and Jim Haver, respectively, continue to improve consignments, elevating their rankings. Back to the Past, in particular, with its 10% buyer’s fee will challenge any top house in our rankings with more and rarer consignments.

Leonard, Capitol, Meares and Fox Valley all boast great photos, consignments, service and descriptions.

Other houses to watch are A New Day Auction and Auctions by Wallace. Like Lovejoy and Haver, Kendra Stevens of A New Day and Sheena Wallace are continuously improving their events. Now they need top consignments.

Our advice to them is to place a classified ad in local newspapers seeking consignments or offering to buy collections. You’ll be surprised at how far that last recommendation goes, especially when estates are transferred.

Consignments typically are key to our rankings. Any house scoring 24.5 points practices and/or exceeds our Honor Roll standards.

Also keep in mind that our favorite houses are just that–ours. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we keep growing. We are in the process of upgrading our site (we hope you like the cleaner look). As the map below shows, we are reaching more viewers in Canada, England and India. Once again, the most accessed post was California Gold, real, replica and fake. That post averages between 400+ views per month.

sixmonths

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.


Weaver Auction Uses “Early Bird” Alert

One of the best, most innovative and consistent coin auctions on the Proxibid portal is Weaver Signature Coin and Currency whose owners, Dave and Cheryl Weaver, always seem to find new ways to engage bidders. We have profiled them previously with online advertising, tiered bidding, best practices, budget auctions, accurate grading, concise descriptions and more. Today we laud them for “early bird” bidding.



earlybird

We encourage early bird bidding for rare coins, but not bullion. The price of the latter can vary daily, and so you’re better to attend a live auction or place maximums on the day of the auction. However, if you are selling rare coins, get that catalog up as early as possible (good advertising principle) and then alert your early bird regulars as the Weavers have done.

For an additional enticement, give a 2% discount for all who register and place bids by a certain date. We remember Kurt Krueger of Krueger and Krueger Auctions doing this a few years ago in his first auction to lure bidders away from other Proxibid events.

Krueger Auctions, by the way, has just held two massive events on Proxibid. Like Dave and Cheryl Weaver, Kurt got his catalogs up weeks in advance. Bidding kept getting stronger each day and then topped out with a few buyer wars for cherry lots.

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.

View Weaver Auction’s Succinct Descriptions


weaver_home

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction combines brief but accurate lot descriptions with sharp photography, two of the reasons it remains one of our favorite sellers.

Take a look at the screen shot below to view brief, accurate numismatic descriptions that not only fit into the title of the Proxibid window–enabling content to appear in email outbids notices–but also serve as captions for photos when expanded.

Here is a screen shot of coins with date, denomination, mint mark and details. (Click photo below to expand.)

weaver


Succinct lot descriptions then become cutlines for photos, maximizing Proxibid technology to convey as much information as possible in as short a space–a key talent in the Twitter age. (Click photo below to expand.)

weaver1

Dave and Cheryl Weaver have been setting the pace on Proxibid for years now, with tiered buyer’s fees, professional online advertisements, and informative email blasts. They respect the online bidder as much as the onsite local bidder, and treat everyone with the same excellent customer service.

To visit Weaver’s next auction, click here.

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.)

bezeled

One Big Booyah! to Leonard Auction for identifying flaws in this bezeled coin (grade and details) in addition to the karat of the bezel.


doesntnotemintmark

One Big Boo! (or several) to this auction house that doesn’t know coins enough to note the mint mark on this and other lots. Bidders steal coins from consignors when this happens.


exjewelry_silvertowne

One Big Booyah! to Dave Nauert at SilverTowne who does his bidders a service by noting this gold coin was once bezeled as jewelry, significantly lowering the value of the lot. Other auctioneers typically do not state or see the jewelry mark. SilverTowne is a top company on our blog in part because of its expert grading.


munda_notes_pinhole

Booyah Munda Auction! for describing pin holes in the currency which, like bezeled coins, descreases value. We bid in Munda Auctions because of its superior grading, as described in this post.


nofsb

Boo! to this auction house that claims full split bands–a device on the reverse–without depicting the reverse. Come on, folks!


nottoned

Boo! to this auction company that doesn’t understand how improperly cleaned coins can retone. Note the dull colors. Toning should be bright and reflective on most copper coins.


nottoned_altered color

Booyah Star Coin and Currency! for noting artificial color on this lot. This is how it’s done, folks!


polished

Booyah BidALot Auction! for noting this coin has been polished, often hard to cipher from online photos.


notinvestment

Boo! to this auction company for continuing to state as “investment” horrible silver melt coins like this one, worth about $8.


weaver_cleaning

Booyah Weaver Auction! for noting when coins are cleaned. We bid with confidence in auctions by Dave and Cheryl Weaver because of their ethics and customer service!


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.