Kudos to another house that read the Unified User Agreement; your lawyer should, too

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Nostalgia Connection, new to the portal, is off to a great start because its policies are aligned with Proxibid’s Unified User Agreement concerning counterfeit, doctored or misrepresented items.

 

Unlike many other Proxibid houses that maintain, often in all caps–ALL SALES FINAL; NO RETURNS!–Nostalgia Connection reiterates the Unified User Agreement in one concise sentence:

We only give returns if a product is fake, counterfeit, defective or inaccurately described.

The Unified User Agreement states:

If, within a reasonable amount of time, Buyer gives notice in writing to Seller that the lot so sold is a counterfeit and after such notice the Buyer returns the lot to Seller in the same condition as when sold, and establishes to the satisfaction of Seller that the returned lot is in fact a counterfeit, Seller as agent for the consignor will rescind the sale and refund the purchase price.

We encourage all Proxibid auctioneers to read 6.3 of the Agreement, to which they are bound, which covers disputes concerning when lots are significantly not as described.

If your attorney has encouraged you to put in your service terms, “ALL SALES FINAL!,” you should encourage him or her to read the US Hobby Protection Act and US Federal Code: Chapter 25: Counterfeiting and Forgery (Sections 485-492).

Violate the Hobby Act, inform your attorney, and you can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Sell counterfeit coins or currency, and you will be dealing with the Secret Service. We like to remind Proxibid and its clients that national experts on counterfeiting are located right there in the Secret Service Office in Omaha, where Proxibid is located, at 2707 N 108th St.

Here’s some good news, though, for auctioneers. You don’t have to be entirely liable for fake, defective or counterfeit lots. You just have to create a contract with your consignor, as some of our best houses do, stating that all non-genuine and/or defective lots will be returned to the seller with any payment due to the auction company.

 

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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Ritmar Shoutout: good descriptions, photos, with low BP

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Click to expand photo.

Every now and then an auction house relatively new to the portal makes big strides, and that is what we see with Ritmar Auction: numismatic descriptions, as above, coupled with sharp expandable photos and 13% buyer’s premium (10% with cash payment).

Ritmar serves the online audience well, and it has done so in record time–even in timed auctions. In addition to accurate descriptions, it also weighs suspicious lots, as in this 1801 half dollar:

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The auctioneer notes that this rare half dollar is underweight (12.6 grams as opposed to 13.5 grams).

We cannot use a caliper on a digital photo, of course, nor could we do a magnet test for base metal. But we are happy that the description cautions us.

What we can do, thanks to Ritmar’s photography, is expand the photo and then click the lower right corner to expand again, giving us this close-up view:

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We won’t bid on this because we cannot test with a magnet. But if silver, we believe this is an authentic half dollar that is underweight because of excessive wear.

We wish all auction houses were as responsible as Ritmar in trying to help the online bidder. We hope that our shoutout also will inform the company to do a magnet test whenever a counterfeit is suspected of a silver coin.

This is a house we have bought from in the past and always check with each new auction, because of the care it takes with 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.

California Fractional Gold: Some learn, some persist on Proxibid

When eBay banned replicas from its site, we started seeing copies turn up on Proxibid, especially fake California gold coins. We report the items. Sometimes auctioneers take down lots. Sometimes we get them to admit these are plated tokens. They are not; they are replicas. Coin dealers have been calling them tokens for decades, and they should know better. Here are recent fake lots from last week on the portal, with shout-outs for Munda and Janzen auctions.


This is a prime example of a fake California gold replica being sold on Proxibid without the auctioneer showing the reverse of the lot, which is how one distinguishes real California gold with use of a monetary amount (25 cents, 50 cents, Dollar, Dol., D., etc.). Click to expand photos.

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Here are more fakes on Proxibid. You are almost assured of a fake if you see a bear on the reverse, as depicted below.

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Bottom-tier slabs do not guarantee an authentic coin. This is a plated base metal piece that appeared in a Proxibid event by an auctioneer who knows better, especially when we report it and call him out by name in our “Report this Item” warning.

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That said, we are making progress with this issue. And some auctioneers understand how these fakes have harmed the hobby since the 19th century when the Secret Service began cracking down on token-makers. Here is how Munda Auctions described the fakes as (“fantasy, not genuine”):

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Here is how Janzen Auction correctly described the replica:

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To learn more about this pervasive issue in online auctions, see this post.

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.

Don’t Hide Certs Because You Could Be Selling a Counterfeit

Auctioneers love stickers, especially on holdered coins. We can’t tell you how frustrating it is for savvy online bidders, looking for rare and pricey coins, when auctioneers cover the certification number on a slab by PCGS or NGC. We can’t bid because we can’t check for counterfeits. The photo below shows a counterfeit PCGS slab next to an authentic one. Other photos show what’s been going on in Proxibid auctions.


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We have been writing about stickers and fake slabs for years now. See this post.

We will NOT bid on any coin whose certification number is obscured or hidden by a sticker. We advise all bidders reading Proxiblog to do the same as the number of Chinese counterfeits in fake slabs continues to grow. The problem of fake slabs has been afflicting the online market since 2008. See this post about the problem.

And yet we see lots like this King of the Morgans, often counterfeited, an 1893-S–with a sticker over the cert number.

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Here’s another recent example.

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All auctioneers should keep in mind that the Unified User Agreement states that you cannot sell counterfeit coins, no matter what your service terms state about all sales being final.

See this clause:

    If, within a reasonable amount of time, Buyer gives notice in writing to Seller that the lot so sold is a counterfeit and after such notice the Buyer returns the lot to Seller in the same condition as when sold, and establishes to the satisfaction of Seller that the returned lot is in fact a counterfeit, Seller as agent for the consignor will rescind the sale and refund the purchase price.

We have purchased six counterfeit coins in the past three years on Proxibid. In each case, sometimes with some cajoling, we were able to cite the Unified User Agreement to get a refund for the fake lot.

As such, the recommendation today is not only for bidders but for auctioneers, too. See this post to learn how to identify counterfeit coins.

Final tip to auctioneers: If you are presented with evidence of a fake coin, do not punish the buyer. Create a consignor agreement form that puts the liability on the seller. All sales are NOT final and you can be held liable if a complaint is made to the Secret Service that you are selling fake coins and then providing an email trail stating that you will not refund the purchase. The Hobby Protection Act even covers replicas sold as originals.

Moreover, with Proxibid’s new “Report this Item” button, you will have buyers like Proxiblog looking for and reporting counterfeits and replicas in your auction. Start with the sticker as a best practice, and do not obscure it in your photography.

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.

“Report Item!” Link Latest Proxibid Enhancement

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Buyers can now call attention to items in Proxibid auctions using a new “Report this Item” link, allowing bidders to identify items that may be counterfeit, illegal, inappropriate or offensive.

With this new feature, the company is living up to its brand of trust.

We cannot wait to flag this item:

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And this item:

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To see why, read our most popular post–30 hits per week–titled, “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake.”

Other enhancements include a new tool to scroll to the top button, allowing bidders to return easily to the top of a page without going through dozens of items. (See tool below.)

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There is also a seller/buyer toggle login, making that easier, too.

We’re excited about the counterfeit tool. Are you, too?


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.

Auctioneer Alert: Fake Silver Eagles on Rise

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Coin World and other numismatic publications are alerting hobbyists about an influx of fake Silver Eagles and bullion billed as silver but made of base metal. Auctioneers need to be on the alert.


The coin is so common and reliable, a mint state Silver Eagle, that counterfeiters have been able to pass them at coin shops, including phony base metal versions of rounds and bars.

Steve Roach, editor of Coin World, notes in this article that fakes of common numismatic products are often the trickiest to spot. “These fakes represent an ever growing threat to coin shops and collectors as they imitate the type of items that cross the counter at stores across the country on a daily basis,” Roach writes. “They are purchased and sold at a modest spread below and above the current price of bullion and traded without much thought.”

The counterfeits are coming to this country from China. They include private rounds and bars marked .999 silver in addition to Silver Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaf bullion coins and even Chinese Pandas.

There are several ways to detect fakes:

  • Weigh the coin. A silver eagle, for instance, should weigh 31.10 grams and have a diameter of 40.60 millimeters.
  • Learn how silver sounds. It has a distinct clink whereas base metal has a dull clang. (To train your ears, use 1964 Kennedy halves and compare the sound to clad Kennedys of the 1980s.)
  • Use a magnet. If the coin sticks, it is base metal.
  • Compare the devices. Fakes often have a difficult time mimicking Lady Liberty’s head and flag, for instance.
  • Look at the edge. Silver Eagles have reeded edges. Some fakes have plain edges.

In case you receive fake silver eagles, you should inform the consignor that he is obligated to turn in the counterfeits to the nearest Secret Service or FBI office.

And as we have advised auctioneers since our inception in 2011, no sales are final if they are fake. You could be found in violation of the Hobby Protection Act and other laws. The best way to protect yourself is to notify consignors that any altered or counterfeit coin will be returned to them with the cost deducted from their totals.

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.