Capitol Coin Wins “Best Auction” a Second Time

7Best Coin Auction

Capitol Coin Auction has won our award for “Best Coin Auction” on the Proxibid portal, garnering “Best Shipping,” “Best Photography,” and “Value Added” honors with honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions” and “Best Consignments.” This is the second year in a row that Capitol Coin Auction has won the top honor.

A close second, once again, was Leonard Auction. It won “Best Consignments” with honorable mentions in “Value-Added,” “Best Photography” and “Best Descriptions.”

Star Coin and Currency made a great showing this year, winning “Best Timed Auction” with honorable mentions in “Most Improved,” “Best Descriptions” and “Best Shipping.”

Southwest Bullion and Coin also had a particularly successful year in our rankings, winning the competitive “Best Descriptions” category and honorable mentions in “Most Improved” and “Best Photography.”

SilverTowne Auctions won “Best Shipping” and had honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions,” “Value-Added” and “Best Consignments.”

Meares Auction won “Most Improved” and had honorable mentions in “Best Shipping” and “Best Consignments.”

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction had honorable mentions in the important categories of “Best Photography,” “Best Descriptions,” “Best Consignments” and “Value-Added.”

The houses above are runners-up in our “Best Coin Auction” category.

We also praise and recommend our other houses that placed in our various competitions, including:

  • Back to the Past Collectibles
  • Black and Gold Auctions
  • Braden Auction Services
  • Decatur Coin and Jewelry
  • Engstrom Auctions
  • Five Star Auction
  • Fox Valley Coins
  • Gary Ryther Auctioneers
  • Heuckman Auction
  • Jewelry Exchange
  • Kaufman Realty and Auction
  • McKee Coins
  • Midwest Coins
  • Rolling M Auction
  • Schultz Auctioneers
  • Western Auction

We encourage all of the houses named above to continue improving in the spirit of service, competition and community that all auctioneers and numismatists share, serving our clients and memberships. Continue to embrace the ethics of both the National Auctioneers Association and the American Numismatic Association.

We also thank Proxibid for its Internet options, quality control and customer service and all houses specializing in coins. We encourage them to visit these award-winning houses above. We know there are some houses that we missed in our rankings; as always, our experience may differ from yours and you should consider these award-winners our favorites. In sum, we did the best job we could with the available data and hope that you will continue visiting our site and interacting with our clientele, now exceeding 26000 views since inception.

Finally, consider making a donation to our Scholarship Account. (See details on top of the “Rankings” sidebar to the right.) We will continue publishing Proxiblog free of charge and covering Proxibid and the online coin auction industry. Won’t you consider making a voluntary donation to offset tuition expenses for our college students?

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.

Leonard Auction Wins … “Best Consignment”

3Best Consignments_Leonard

Leonard Auction, operated by John Leonard of Addison, Ill., 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 or NGC. Fox Valley Coins was a very close second with its Nov. 23, 2013 auction featuring some of the best coins we had seen all year.

Western Auction won the category in 2013 and also in 2012, tying in that year with James Peterson Auction. This year both of those companies were included in Honorable Mention along with Fox Valley Coins, SilverTowne Auctions, Capitol Coin Auction, Kaufman Realty and Auctions, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, and Decatur Coin and Jewelry.

To give you an example of coins that John Leonard routinely offers, look at this slate of brilliant gold coins augmenting top-notch raw key date silver lots.

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Some of Proxiblog’s acquisitions from Leonard have been profiled in Coin World, as in this piece.

Among the best auctions in 2013 on Proxibid was the Nov. 23 session by Fox Valley Coins. See this slate of Morgans as an example:

FoxValley

The condition of coins in that auction had the look of “age,” lots stored away for decades in some vault or bank box. Bidding was frenetic, with almost every cherry lot selling at retail; or above.

Meares Auction Group also came close to winning with recent bankruptcy auctions. Darron Meares, auctioneer, also has some of the best terms of service on the portal, with low buyer’s premiums.

SilverTowne Auctions consistently offers some of the best lots on Proxibid. It holds more coin auctions than any other company on the portal and thus was a very strong contender.

And our long-time favorite, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, continues to impress us with frequent quality auctions, innovations and new directions.

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.

Southwest Bullion and Coin Wins … “Best Descriptions”

1Best Descriptions

Southwest Bullion and Coin, operated by Justin Quinn–a top-ranked house through much of 2013 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Descriptions,” based on numismatic knowledge–especially the ability to identify flaws and rarities in consignments and to honor basic ethical tenets with regard to value.

As was the case last year, this was a hotly contested competition, as you will see in the Honorable Mentions category, with seven houses also cited for best practices in descriptions. Capitol Coin Auction won this category last year and was a very close contender again this year mainly because of the grading prowess of Auctioneer Brian Lisembee. SilverTowne Auction, a previous winner, also was a strong contender.

Other Honorable Mentions are Jewelry Exchange, Decatur Coin and Jewelry, Leonard Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Weaver Auction.

Click and expand the picture below to see how Justin Quinn describes value in this ANACS-graded coin.

southwest

Southwest’s accuracy in descriptions led to three separate posts last year:

As noted previously, several Honorable Mention houses came close to winning this year. SilverTowne’s Dave Nauert and Rick Howard continue with succinct and accurate descriptions of flaws as well as highlights for each coin. John Leonard of Leonard Auction is a conservative and respected numismatist; Dave Weaver of Weaver Auction is combining better photos with accurate descriptions; and Jim Haver of Star Coin and Currency does similarly with weekly auctions.

Finally, Dave Bluestein is so skilled in descriptions that he co-hosts a radio show “In the Money” in San Antonio.

Accurate numismatic descriptions are mandatory in Proxibid auctions because online viewers cannot always discern flaws in coins. These houses are aware of that and go the extra mile because the pay-off is return customers.

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.

Photos that Repel Bidders

blurryAuctioneers have an obligation to depict coins photographically as accurately as possible. Here is a selection of photos from recent Proxibid auctions that caused us to stop looking at lots or look only at slabs by PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG. You owe it to consignors to improve photography. See how a coin photo should look below and then compare bad examples beneath it.


This is how a photo should look on Proxibid, by our top house, Decatur Coin and Jewelry (compare it to the photo above).
decatur


We no longer bid on raw coins in this auction, which does everything right except photography. Two problems with this house. It seems to get dipped coins by regular consignors so we cannot trust the lot description. There is no way to discern luster on this coin because the photography is dull.
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This house slants and over-lights its coins so that condition is obscured. We pay no attention to the lot description as again, this house has proved unreliable in that category.
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This house uses a flash instead of natural light or two fluorescent lights and so washes out all traces of condition.
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This house slants, misplaces, over-exposes and only includes obverse photo–example of the worst practices on Proxibid which, unlike eBay, lacks photograhpic standards for coin lots.
noreverse_slanted_poor


Because Proxibid lacks such standards, we hope you view Proxiblog to enhance your consignments, build trust with bidders and get return customers. After all, you’re paying the fees for technology. Use it wisely with sharp 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.

Update Your Email and Network Socially for Bidder Interaction

Some auction houses on Proxibid do not include their email addresses, thus eliminating bidder interaction that typically means more and higher bids. Other auction houses are savvy enough to add an “info” account to their email services, engaging bidders and ensuring return sales. The auction business is changing as more bidders migrate online. Would you ignore onsite sellers who stop at your house to see lots? Don’t ignore Internet bidders. Instead, correspond with them on your site and on social networks.

update email


Recently Garrison Auctioneers sent us an excellent example of how to open an information channel with your bidders and ensure that your messages are being received rather than trashed by browser settings. The photo above features text that reaches out to the Internet audience. You should be doing the same.

Engstrom Auction, Weaver Auction, SilverTowne Auctions, Leonard Auction and nearly all of our top-ranked houses have been doing this for years. It’s time for you to do the same, if you want online sales to increase.

Decatur Coin and Jewelry not only interacts with online bidders but also uses social networks, again as many of our top houses do. See example below.

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When Decatur Coin and Jewelry sends an email, it reminds bidders to “like them” on Facebook. (We did!)

The auctioneering business is changing rapidly. We have been at the forefront of advising you on best practices. Pay heed, and buyers will pay you back with compliments and bids.

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.

Decatur Coin Featured in Coin Update News

decatur
Coin Update News, one of the most accessed numismatic websites, has featured a Proxibid auction by Decatur Coin and Jewelry, noting how dealer Bennie Strumpher grades coins rather than holders, and as such, offers choice consignments from his buying trips.

Earlier this month we sent five SEGS coins for crossover consideration at PCGS, noting that they were purchased from a reputable coin dealer known for grading prowess.

Decatur Coin and Jewelry has a reputation for purchasing the best coins regardless of holder. In addition to a detailed lot description for each coin, dealer Bennie Strumpher notes that each coin came from one of his special buying trips, had “attractive high eye appeal” and “superior quality for the assigned grade.” In his coin-show searches, he and his team only buy 2 out of every 100 coins they inspect. He adds, “All of these coins we would buy for our own collections, so keep in mind that each coin offered here has to get past our eyes before it gets to yours.”

Decatur Coin is one of our trusted sellers because Bennie can grade, regardless of holder.

To read the entire article, click here.

Get Catalogs Up at Least a Week Prior to Sale!

nocatalog
We are flummoxed by auction houses that wait until the last minute (typically day or two) before posting their catalogs. Likewise, we are impressed by houses like Capitol Coin Auction and SilverTowne that post their catalogs months or weeks in advance. The latter take advantage of free advertising in the Coins and Currency category of Proxibid.

The photo above is for one of our favorite auction houses with a Proxibid session four days from the writing of this post. It still doesn’t have a catalog. Also, this house is known by frequent bidders to be very slow in shipping coins. Probably only one person is assigned to do the entire auction from photos to shipping. Too bad. The company is losing out to early bird posters like Weaver Signature Coin and Currency.


True, there are risks posting catalogs too early, especially if your house is selling bullion with reserves or consignor-set opening bids. Silver and gold prices change daily and so those opening bids might not apply weeks in advance. However, late posting does not apply to auction houses that do not see maximum bids or allow shill bidding and that feature choice consignments. You’re simply missing out on an opportunity to showcase those consignments so that bidders like us can decide where to spend our hard-earned auction dollars.

On occasion, with our favorite houses such as Western Auction, for instance, we will email the auction house and ask when the next catalog is expected to be posted, so that we can budget accordingly.

We’re not alone. There are major buyers, bidders and resellers who target favorite houses and who bypass others with tardy catalogs.

If you’re going to pay Proxibid and APN fees, and print catalogs and advertise your sessions, you should be prompt in posting catalogs to keep pace with growing and intense competition on the portal as new companies like Tangible Investments and Decatur Coin and Jewelry–and veteran ones like Meares Auction Group, Leonard Auction and Gary Ryther, among others–set new standards in the Coin and Currency category.

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, More Than 40,000 Views!

Competition among coin-selling houses on Proxibid continues to be intense, with more houses making small enhancements that result in big gains with online bidders. For the first time ever in our rankings, three houses–Southwest Bullion and Coin, Capitol Coin Auctions, and Decatur Coin and Jewelry–earned perfect 25-point scores based primarily on low or zero percent buyer’s fee with accurate numismatic descriptions, sharp photography and quick, inexpensive shipping. Other top-house standbys continue to focus on continuous improvement, indicating that standards are rising with consignments across the portal in the coin and currency category.

SilverTowne Auctions, Leonard Auction, Weaver Auction, Western Auction, Gary Ryther Auctions, Meares Auction, Engstrom Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Jewelry Exchange, focus on the basics and earn our respect as our favorite houses. Each has innovated a component of their auction. Consignments continue to be cherry.

What passes for second-tier in our rankings would have been top houses a year ago–yet another indicator of improvement on the portal. In fact, we’re excited when any of them schedule an auction because we admire their customer service and consignments. Each of these houses has something special to offer the bidder and consignor, for that matter!

We also commend other companies on our list that may still need a little work on photography, shipping or lot descriptions.

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 took a break in August to welcome students back to campus. 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.

Our audience keeps growing! On Aug. 23, 2013, we surpassed 40,000 views!

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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.

New Rankings, New Houses, Almost 40,000 Views!

Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid is becoming increasingly keen meaning houses that do not strive for continuous improvement will find their numismatic buyers bidding elsewhere. We continue to see erstwhile top houses fall in the rankings because of slow shipping or photography incapable of capturing luster. We can no longer bid here on raw coins but continue to bid on slabbed ones because these houses manage to secure good consignments by PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG. We no longer will bid on bottom-tier slabs, even considering them raw, because we usually encounter problems when submitting to a top holdering company. It will be difficult for anyone to match Decatur Coin Auction’s premiere session on Proxibid. Capitol Coin Auction, Leonard Auction, Western, Weaver and SilverTowne remain solid stand-bys. As for Proxiblog, we are approaching 500 posts and 40,000 views since our inception in May 2011.

Decatur Coin Auction is featuring top numismatic consignments and zero buyer’s fee. Opening bids were below greysheet, sparking competition. Its “Buy It Now” Auctions feature the same lovely lots but without the excitement of a live or timed auction. We hope to see more sessions such as Decatur ran on July 9th.

Capitol Coin Auction has roared back with another fabulous quarterly auction. It and Leonard Auction remain premiere places to find rarities. Weaver and Western auctions continue to offer top lots with excellent customer service. SilverTowne is impressing us with dozens of auctions each month and occasional fabulous consignments. Its grading remains up there with that of our most favorite houses.

Gary Ryther Auctions continues to improve, moving up in the rankings. So has Meares Auction, Engstrom Auction and Midwest Coins. Back to the Past Collectibles continues to sell desirable coin lots and retains a top spot on our list, featuring a low 10% buyer’s fee.

Spencer Auction makes our list this month, hosting more coin auctions with mostly slabbed coins and 15% buyer’s fee. It doesn’t accept APN so that delays shipping. Matthew Bullock Auctioneers returns to our list after several months of no coin auctions. We’re happy to see that as this house has sharp photography and good consignments.

Our top houses all feature one or more of the following:

  1. Lower buyer fees. We prefer 15%. We like 10%. We fancy 5%. We love 0%.
  2. Numismatic lot descriptions. Note flaws and bone up on grading, reading our “Find the Flaw” articles.
  3. Sharp photography. Obverse, reverse and expandable digital shots.
  4. Quick, inexpensive shipping. Some companies take 2-4 weeks to ship. That’s unacceptable. Coins should be sent within 5 business days.
  5. No maximum-bid or shill-bidding. Do that, and you will not qualify for our rankings. Reason? We do not have faith in our maximum bids when we see those transparency notices, no matter the good intentions of auction houses.

Some houses fell in the ranking because they are not improving their photography or because of slow shipping, problem coins, etc. We are worrying about a few of our favorite houses whose photography cannot capture luster on raw coins and that seem to be taking consignments from coin dealers sending their cleaned, polished or altered coins in each session. We worry about seeing more and more coins in slabs by bottom-tier companies.

In our opinion, slow or outsourced shipping, poor photography, inadequate descriptions and high buyer premiums (along with lack of APN), are signs that a house has not yet adapted–or is unwilling to adapt–to the Internet.

Given the convenience of flat-rate shipping with packages picked up at your door, we’re flummoxed when houses take 3-4 weeks to send out coins. If you cannot do basic photography with the type of enhanced, low-cost equipment at your disposal, including smart phones, then you are short-changing yourselves and your consignors.

That said, our rankings are reviews of favorite houses based on our buying and/or selling experience and numismatic expertise. Your experience with our top houses may differ from ours. Our intent is to educate and praise whenever possible–to our own buying detriment, at times! We have seen when we showcase an auction house how bidding becomes more intense, often edging out our own bids.

Good news is that more auction houses are contributing to our scholarship fund. We distribute Proxiblog for free. All we ask is that those who appreciate our efforts make a small contribution to help college students defray debt. You can make the contribution directly online to the Iowa State Foundation.

Our viewership continues to grow. we had more than more than 1,500 in 30 days and are approaching 40,000 lifetime views from all over the world.

July views

The favorite and most accessed page? “How and How Not to Describe Bottom-Tier Slabs.” The all-time most favorite post? “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which gets on average 50 views per week, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”

We routinely report counterfeit or misidentified coins using the “Report this Item” link. We continue to applaud Proxibid for using this function.

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.

“All of us here at Decatur Coin and Jewelry truly do offer a unique window into the retail coin collecting and jewelry space on the internet. In my world, I lead a group of (9) people doing what we each love doing, while serving others at the same time. It’s a pretty incredible way to ‘live’ this journey we have. Each of have a calling to ‘serve’ through our talents and the love of this industry, and through that process we give and receive a lot of joy.

“As true numismatists/coin collectors who operate a coin and jewelry shop, we appreciate these beautiful pieces of art and ‘live’ in that enjoyment every day. What we are doing on our website www.decaturcoinandjewelry.com, eBay and Proxibid is unlike what many are doing in the coin collecting arena. Every day of our lives, we pay it forward in the pursuit of attracting and growing ethical behavior through the fair and equitable exchange of relative value.

“In the shop we buy everything in every grade; however, when we are on the road at the numerous major coin shows, we buy only the top 2% of the grade for the coins we look at. They don’t have to be high priced–just high eye appeal for the grade. We are very strong buyers on coins that are well above average for the grade and frequently pay multiples of the current price guides.

“We will never be the cheapest or lowest price out there because we simply never buy anything ‘average’ at the shows we attend. My philosophy is to ‘buy our eyes’ as I have for over 40 years, and you will be rewarded with coins that few people will ever get to see–let alone get a chance to buy.”

Bennie Strumpher & the Decatur Coin and Jewelry Team

Decatur Coin and Jewelry
104 North Main
Decatur, IL 62523
http://www.decaturcoinandjewelry.com
Main: 217-423-0041