Kramer Auction Service Terms Are Internet Friendly

Kramer Auction Service of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, has sharp, expandable photography, APN clearance, in-house shipping … and something even more special than all that–service terms that promote rather than restrict online bidding. Click to expand photo below.


kramer_no penalty

The service terms of Kramer Auction state–10% buyer’s fee and no additional buyers’ premium for online bidders.

This is in the tradition of Western Auction, one of our favorite sellers. Dave Zwonitzer has known for years now that coin buying was going to flourish on Internet. Kramer Auction Service knows it. Our top houses know it.

And now you know it, too.

Read service terms. Bid accordingly.

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.

Western Auction Wins … “Best Consignment”

3Best Consignments_Western

Western Auction, operated by Dave Zwonitzer of Cheyenne, Wyoming–yet another top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Consignments,” based not only on the caliber of rarities but also on raw coins that actually grade as described with PCGS.

Competition for best consignments was keen as anticipated, with Western Auction just nudging out Leonard Auction, which offered a rare raw shifted eagle 1901 Morgan dollar, which also made the cut at PCGS.

Other honorable mentions were Capitol Coin Auction, Fox Valley Coins, Kaufman Realty and Auctions, SilverTowne Auction, and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.

Western Auction also won the category in 2012, tying with James Peterson Auction.

To give you an example of a coin offered raw that holdered as described by PCGS, take a look at this beauty, which rated a coveted MS65 deep mirror prooflike from the toughest grading company on the planet.

western_dmpl

Here are other coins from that same auction in September:

western_array

You just don’t see coins like this being regularly offered by auction houses, including many of our top-ranked ones. We should mention that excluded from consideration were high-dollar rarity auctions with near retail or above retail opening bids. Also, several coin auctions had superior lots but also allowed maximum-bid and ghost-bidding. No auction house permitting those latter questionable practices qualified for any of our awards.

Of all the coin auctions on Proxibid, in our nearly three-year bidding experience, none more than Western actually crossed over without dipping, alteration, cleaning or other flaws. Western, like Leonard Auction, schedules regular consignment and appraisal sessions with the local community, a surefire way to attract hitherto unseen estate collections.

And cherry coins can be had regularly in our Honorable Mention houses: Capitol Coin Auction (look for Morgans here), Fox Valley Coins (incredibly large selections across denominations), Kaufman Realty and Auctions (offering more NGC and PCGS coins), SilverTowne Auction (one of the best sites for rarities and hard to find coins such as California Fractional Gold), and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction (for seldom-seen rarities such as PCGS Regency-Holdered coins).

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.

Spotlight on Western Auction

This spotlight feature ends a week of featured reviews about the top five houses in our numerical rankings. Depicted here is a copy of our score sheet. Earning a 4 or 5 in our rankings is significant, and few top 20 houses earn more than one or two maximum scores. Those earning the highest scores this month also tied for top house, with Capitol, Key Date, SilverTowne, Weaver and Western all registering the maximum 25 points. We hope that our auctioneers and bidders found the series helpful as our goal is to advance numismatic knowledge and, in doing so, to help sponsor college scholarships.

Of all our top houses, and in most of their innovations, Western Auction at one time or another thought of it first. Dave Zwonitzer instituted buyer’s fees as low as ZERO percent with inexpensive shipping and excellent photography, much like Southwest Bullion is doing today. It has settled in at 10% at the moment, one of the lowest percentages on Proxibid. Western Auction never charged above 10% nor carried transparency notices for maximum bid viewing or ghost bidding while several of our top-ranked houses either allowed the same or charged buyer’s premiums at 17%-18%. While Western’s lot descriptions are sometimes a bit too enthusiastic for our numismatic taste, the auction house balances that with excellent, expandable photography so that bidders who know coins can judge for themselves.

Bidders with numismatic knowledge often secure bargains because of Western’s trustworthy consignments and expandable photographs. For instance, we found this description of a scarce 1881-O too enthusiastic, as the coin above (click to expand) did not look like deep mirror, which reflects 14-point type at a distance of 6-8 inches. But it looked MS64, and so we bid to win the coin at $85, hoping to secure a PCGS grade worth at least twice that much. We did. (Click to expand photograph below.)

As numismatists know, PCGS has rigorous grading standards. Moreover, too many raw coins offered on Proxibid have been cleaned, dipped or otherwise doctored. (See this post about dealers flooding Proxibid auctions with inferior coins–a stance we continue to believe as we are dealers ourselves and have called some consignors on this, to their chagrin.)

In any case, by focusing on photography and choice consignments, Western offers bidders the chance to secure fine coins at wholesale prices, especially in consideration of its low buyers’ premium. Better still, the family-owned Cheyenne-based business is one of the fairest and most trustworthy on the portal. Western was one of the first on Proxibid to insist that all coin sales are NOT final if those coins are counterfeit. In this, once again, Dave Zwonitzer and his company set the standards on the portal.

We, too, have been setting the standards at Proxibid, arguing for more transparency, APN clearance, the end of maximum-bid viewing and ghost-bidding, returns of counterfeit coins, auctioneer ratings (which led to the badge system), lower buyer’s premiums, and better photography. (Now we are advocating that houses using timed sessions be denied maximum-bid viewing, and the sooner Proxibid complies, the more trustworthy it will be.)

Western Auction was the first to earn our trust on the portal. We commend its best practices. Click here to learn more about the 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.

Don’t Say “DMPL” Unless You Mean It

Proxiblog has written about how to identify and photograph deep mirror proof-like coins, mostly Morgan dollars. Click here for an example. Or click here for an article about that. Because DMPL coins command such a large premium, we’re seeing that designation used in more Proxibid auctions. Problem is, the coins range from merely proof-like to just plain ordinary.

For the record, we have won 39 coins in the past year described as deep mirror proof-like, or DMPL. Only 9 earned that distinction when sent to top grading company PCGS, or a failure rate of more than 75%. Of the 30 that didn’t earn DMPL, 12 were prooflike, 15 grade-worthy and 3 altered or cleaned.

For a Morgan dollar to be DMPL, it must reflect readable type at a distance of 6-8 inches. Both sides of the coin must do that. While devices do not have to frosted, they almost always are, because DMPLs are associated with first strikes from a new die. On Morgan dollars, a DMPL has a watery surface. You can literally shave by it as if it were a mirror. When you see a high mint state example, you won’t forget it.

Of Proxibid auctioneers, the ones who have accurately designated DMPLs in the past year when their raw coins were sent to PCGS were Eddie Caven of Key Date Coins (2 out of 5 with 3 returned as proof-like), Dave Zwonitzer of Western Auction (3 out of 6 with 2 returned as proof-like and one mint state), Scott Strosnider of Scott Auctions (2 of 3 with 1 returned as proof-like) and Matthew Bullock of Matthew Bullock Auctioneers (2 out of 3 with 1 returned as proof-like).

Keep in mind that Proxiblog is bidding on these coins and not bidding on others described as DMPL, rejecting others with that designation because there was no chance of earning that distinction from PCGS. Even though we know our DMPLs, in more cases than not, we were wrong.

The ability to correctly identify a DMPL coin as judged by the most rigorous grading company, PCGS, is a true talent, so I have no problem with praising the auctioneers above. Moreover, they all use the term relatively sparingly, and when they are wrong, the coin is at least usually proof-like.

Here’s an example of a coin purchased from Matt Bullock that graded MS64 DMPL by PCGS.

Five other Proxibid auctioneers are batting zero, with one house claiming eight coins were DMPL in the past 12 months, only for us to see 5 returned by PCGS as proof-like and 3 mint state.

That just shows how difficult it is to designate a DMPL. However, to illustrate how frequent the DMPL designation has become on Proxibid, we won five coins in an auction described as such, for the sheer purpose of photographing them and documenting that they were just common Morgans with a cartwheel effect. Here’s a photo of the best coin (click to expand). Compare it to Matt Bullock’s above.

Several points here have to be made:

  • If you don’t know how to test for a DMPL, don’t use the designation. Do as Brad Lisembee of Capitol Auctions, John Leonard of Leonard Auction and Dave Weaver of Weaver Coin and Currency Auction do, using the word “DMPL” sparingly and preferring to call such coins Gem, Premium Quality, or High Mint State/Proof-like.
  • Don’t quote the DMPL PCGS value on any raw coin–or any coin not holdered by PCGS, for that matter–because such coins are truly rare, and chances are, yours isn’t when graded by the top slabbing company.
  • If your consignor says it’s a DMPL, quote the consignor (and if you know coins, correct him or her in that generous assessment).Larry Fuller of Silvertowne Auctions and Eddie Caven of Key Date Coins often make this distinction, earning bidder trust.
  • If you’re a bidder and want DMPLs, buy them from trusted auctioneers who know how to test for the grade and who use the term relatively sparingly in lot descriptions. Otherwise bid on DMPL coins in graded holders by reputable companies (ANACS, ICG, NGC, PCGS and, on occasion PCI and Numistrust Corporation).

Finally, all deep mirror coins aren’t beautiful. Because they have mirrored surfaces, they scratch easily and often, especially when they have been stored in certain coin albums with plastic separators. Sometimes it’s just better for auctioneer, consignor and buyer alike to treat all potential DMPLs as proof-like, which often are handsomer coins.


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.