Grade the Quality of Your Coin Photos!

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Click to expand photo.

The above photo by Certified Rare Coin Auctions, one of our top-ranked favorite sellers, captures luster, condition and color, the three components essential in selling high quality coins. This is an example of photography sharp enough to spark a bidding war. Below we grade photos of some of Proxibid’s top sellers. Which photo is similar to the ones you are showcasing on your portal site?

F-: NO CONDITION, SOME LUSTER, COLOR (DO NOT BID: Blurry, Impossible to Detect Flaws)
photo_nothing


F: SOME CONDITION, NO LUSTER, NO COLOR (DO NOT BID: You Cannot Tell What You Are Buying)
photo_noconditionluster


D: GOOD CONDITION, SOME LUSTER, NO COLOR (BID AT OWN RISK: Cannot Tell If Cleaned, Dipped)
photo_conditionnoluster


C: SOME CONDITION, LUSTER, COLOR (BID AT OWN RISK: Slant Photo, Cannot Tell Condition)
photo_lusternocondition


B: EXCELLENT CONDITION, GOOD LUSTER, FINE COLOR (WORTH THE RISK: Bid But Do Not Declare Bidding War)
photo_colorandcondition
Lot from Weaver Auction


A: EXCELLENT CONDITION, EXCELLENT LUSTER, GOOD COLOR (LITTLE RISK: Consider Bidding War)
photo_lusterandcondition
Lot from Fox Valley Auction


A+: EXCELLENT CONDITION, EXCELLENT LUSTER, FINE COLOR (NO RISK: Declare Bidding War)
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Lot from Capitol Coin Auction


In the comment section, share your experience bidding on coins based on photos. We also think Proxibid should rate photography on the portal. What do you think?


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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New Rankings, New Highs for Posts

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category has three additions to its monthly rankings, welcoming back Mike Peterson Auctioneers, Ritmar Exchange and Braden Auction Services, all continuously working on improvements. The rest of our list remains relatively stable with the top 15 or so houses featuring good consignments, quality photos and excellent customer service. Some of our favorite houses are falling in the rankings because the infrequency of their events, a factor in our tallies.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction shares the top spot with Capitol Coin Auction, scoring a full 25 points. Dave Weaver continues to describe coins’ conditions accurately, noting flaws.

Also moving up is Fox Valley Coins, which just hosted one of the highest bid auctions of the year, with more than 1200 lots of mostly superior coins. Leonard Auction, a long-time favorite, holds its slot. Back to the Past Collectibles continues to work hard on photo enhancements, and so is enjoying greater bids and more return customers.

As stated earlier, we are happy to welcome back to our rankings Ritmar Exchange, Mike Peterson Auctioneers and Braden Auction Service. These houses continue to work on behalf of consignor AND seller.

As you can see by our numbers, ranging from 23.5-25 point, very little separates one auction house from another. Many of those lower on the scale are not working sufficiently on photography or offering mediocre consignments. A few dropping even further are not scheduling events. After four months, those houses will drop off our lists.

Keep in mind that these houses rank among our most favorite. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 50,000 page views. Last week a post enjoyed more than 200 viewers, “Some PVC Coins Can Be Cleaned.”

We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines.

Continuing as our most popular post is California Gold, real, replica and fake.

Below is a graphic that you can click to expand, seeing where our viewers are most likely to navigate.
Marchweek

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We post every weekday and 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 Basic Coin Design book 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.


Approaching 50,000 Views, Two Houses Soar!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category remains relatively stable with the top 15 or so houses featuring excellent consignments, quality photos and excellent customer service. Back to the Past Collectibles soared into the top 10 by upgrading its photography. We wish one or two other favorite houses at the bottom of our rankings also felt the same way.


Capitol Coin Auction remains in the top slot. If you bid in its March 1, 2014 auction, you know why. Top lots. Accurate numismatic descriptions. Sharp photography. Low buyers’ premium. Great customer service. It’s difficult to beat Brad Lisembee who has perfected the online coin trade.

SilverTowne Auction continues to amaze us with auction after auction with high standards across the board. Leonard Auction is known for top-quality consistency. Meares Auction consistently improves from consignments to photography.

Also holding steady or trading top places with the best coin auctions on the portal are Certified Rare Coin Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, Southwest Bullion, Western Auction, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Gary Ryther Auctioneers, Jewelry Exchange, Fox Valley Coins and Krueger and Krueger.

Two houses catapulted into our top 10. Spencer Auction holds infrequent sessions, but when it does, it features top coins, low buyer’s fee, excellent customer service and great consignments. Same can be said about Back to the Past Collectibles with a 10% buyer’s premium. It broke into the top 10 because C. Scott Lovejoy worked diligently, consulting with us, to perfect his photography. Below is an example (click to expand):

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You can even see the metal flow on a 2000-year-old coin. Photography is essential in the online bidding world. Watch for a post about Lovejoy’s enhancements later this week!

We hate to call out houses for lack of improvement, even if they are among our favorites. One house in particular has attempted to improve photos but not enough to tell varieties and flaws. If it did, it would be in our top 10. The house does a great marketing job and scores exceptionally high sales because of it. So it may feel no need to improve. We find ourselves bidding on slabbed coins only because we cannot see which coins are dipped. Because we suspect many of the lots are from coin dealers, we are doubly cautious.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 600 posts and are approaching 50,000 page views. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines.

Top view again goes to our post popular post: California Gold, real, replica and fake, closing in on 100 views per week.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Fortunately, we have several of our top houses donating funds to our scholarship account. You can also buy our Basic Coin Design book on Kindle. We are extremely grateful. Won’t you consider making a tax-deductible donation 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.


Leonard Auction Wins … “Best Value Added”

Value Added

Leonard Auction, operated by John Leonard of Addison, Ill–yet another top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Value Added,” based on factors often overlooked by bidders, including superior grading, guarantees on authenticity, quality consignments and customer service.

To begin with, Leonard Auction “guarantees all items to be genuine (authentic) as to date and mint mark. If a successful bidder has questions as to the authenticity of a lot, the bidder must contact Leonard Auction, Inc. within three (3) calendar days of receipt of the lot.” This is from the company’s terms of service. We also have found John Leonard very responsive whenever we have made an email query. Typically he responds within one or two business days.

John Leonard is both numismatist and auctioneer. His onsite house has more than 8000 square feet of showroom and office space. As the picture below shows, it is a first-class facility for appraisals and lot inspection.

leonardauction

Moreover, Leonard Auction secures some of the best consignments because of its fee policy of 0% seller fee for lots that sell at $250 or higher. Better still, John has strict guidelines on reserves and has to agree with the seller on any reserve before placing it on a lot.

You can download his consignment form here.

Proxiblog has consigned coins with Leonard Auction in the past and so knows from experience that the auction house relies on advertising, marketing and onsite and floor competition to reach wholesale and often retail levels for lots in addition to sell-throughs.

Leonard uses full color catalogs, advertising and select mailing lists, Internet marketing and online/onsite auction previews.

A close second to Leonard Auction was Capitol Coin Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, which utilize many of the above features and methods. John Leonard’s expertise as both numismatist (known to coin dealers across the nation) and auctioneer (member of the Illinois State Auctioneers Association and the Certified Appraisers Guild of America) gave the slightest edge to his house.

In our opinion, Brad Lisembee of Capitol and Dave Weaver of Signature Coin and Currency have similar reputations.

Other houses with superior customer service and other amenities include Honorable Mentions Fox Valley Auction, Engstrom Auctions, Jewelry Exchange, Rolling M Auction, Star Coin and Currency, SilverTowne and Western Auction.

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.