Nearly 20,000 Views, New Rankings!

Proxiblog’s audience keeps growing with close to 20,000 views worldwide in the past year, as bidders register to read about top coin auction houses. Speaking of which, after points were tallied for consignments, photography, lot descriptions, buyers’ fees, customer service, shipping and numismatic knowledge, we were as surprised as you might be in discovering 5 houses tied for highest scores. Listed alphabetically, they are Capitol Coin Auction, Key Date Coins, Silvertowne Auctions, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, and Western Auction.

Note: Regular postings to begin on Sunday, Aug. 5.

Beginning next week, we will do spotlight features on each of these houses, noting what makes them so special–including what practices they follow–so that bidders and auctioneers can benefit from our reviews.

Making her debut in our top rankings is Debra Johnson of Auctions Unlimited, which has one of the lowest buyer’s fees on Proxibid at 10% and which also dropped transparency notices. Midwest Coins also did likewise, and we’re happy to include this fine Iowa house in our rankings. Braden Auction Service also enters our top houses in the sidebar to the right.

While the competition in the Coins and Currency page on Proxibid continued to grow, Proxiblog’s audience also grew in the same five-month time period. Our audience is closing in on 20,000 views. The United States, by far, provided most of that audience; however, Proxiblog’s popularity is growing in Canada, Philippines, India, the United Kingdom and Australia.

The most accessed articles were “California Gold, real, replica and fake” and “Beware Dipped Coins.”

The most popular pages were “Boos and Booyahs!” and “Honor Roll.”

In the past five months we also had 18 total sponsors, with several sponsoring Proxiblog for several weeks and donating funds to our scholarship account. Sponsors include:

We thank these auction companies and numismatic publications for sponsoring Proxiblog’s scholarship fund to help ease student debt and create the next generation of auction-house bidders! If you would like to sponsor a week’s worth of Proxiblog, email mjbugeja@yahoo.com

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Beware Dipped Coins

Lately

Lately we have been noticing more dipped coins showing up in Proxibid auctions. Dipping is a chemical process that requires a high amount of skill to do without harming a coin. But once a large coin like a Morgan dollar is damaged by dipping, it’s essentially silver melt.

There is a difference between dipping and washing. Dipping coins elicits a sheen in silver using a chemical cleaner–there are several on the market for silver–with a popular one being “e-Z-est jewel luster.” This is a useful product that when used correctly and swiftly can remove some stains or other contaminant. Officially, using coin dips are not considered “doctoring.” But using it properly requires experience, and experience is often gotten by damaging coins.

Our intent is not to share how to dip properly but how to spot coins that have been dipped improperly so that you are aware of consignors who send you inferior lots. Here are two of the most common:

  1. A dipped coin may be well-worn but somehow appear to have luster. That’s a sign of properly dipping a slider coin, one that is looks like mint state but is actually an almost uncirculated one, or MS50-59 on the Sheldon scale.
  2. A dipped coin may be uncirculated with a strong strike but somehow appear grainy. That’s a sign of improper dipping, leaving the coin too long in the solution or not washing and drying it properly after its chemical bath.

Dipping differs from washing coins. Often, soap and water can remove small traces of debris although we do not recommend that as even this has to be done properly because the debris can scratch the surface of a coin, especially those with mirrored surfaces. If used correctly, a relatively harmless product is MS70 Coin Cleaner. But again, there are always risks.

The biggest risk to auctioneers is learning that her or his company has received a consignment of dipped and doctored coins. That usually leads to complaints after the coins are received. Better not to deal with consignors who send such coins than to try to clean up the auction mess that many leave behind.

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.