Small Change, Big Benefits: Photos Enhance Bottom Line

We often note that small changes to cater to the Internet audience usually result in big benefits, another lesson proved recently by Gary Ryther Auctioneers, which has improved its photography. Watch for a Coin Update News article about the photographer and her methods.

The best way to illustrate how sharp, expandable photography sells coins is to use a deep mirror Morgan, one of the most difficult to capture because its mirrors usually require two light sources and a close-up lens.

This is a photo from a previous Ryther coin auction, before Annitte Caldwell signed on as a photographer:

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Note that the coin is photographed at a slant, which captures luster at the expense of detail, thus resulting in lower bids.


This is another deep mirror Morgan from a Proxibid auctioneer who has yet to enhance his photography:

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Note that detail and luster are absent from this photo, shot in poor lighting with an inexpensive camera.


This is a photo from a recent Ryther coin auction, showcasing how Mrs. Caldwell has contributed to Gary Ryther’s bottom line, just by enhancing photography:

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Mrs. Caldwell uses a Canon Rebel T3i 600d slr and an Epson Perfection V600 scanner. “Because all coins seem to have there own issues,” she says, “I go back and forth between the two.”

Check Proxiblog for an upcoming feature article on her methods in Coin Update News.

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 Outbid Alert” Should Alert Houses to Value of Photography

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Proxibid’s excellent new outbid alert will help raise bids as much as the technology overhaul last year with new bidder window and other live-auction features. But it also is a lesson to auctioneers to upgrade their photography and lot descriptions.

The new feature is alluring in several respects. If you are notified about several outbid lots, all you have to do with most browsers is input your Proxibid password once rather than multiple times. This allows you to consider each lot carefully without the manual bother. Also, the email depicts lots with descriptions and photos and communicates just what coins the buyer may lose, requiring auctioneers to take greater care in how they describe and title a lot.

Compare the new alert above with an old one below:

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Gary Ryther Auctioneers upgraded photography just in time for this new feature, and he has reaped the benefits. Several companies, including a few in our top rankings, had better pay attention to the value of sharp and expandable photography–especially photos that can capture luster–or the more up-to-date houses like Ryther’s will take a bigger share of the bidder pie.

Small improvements spell big results in technology. Proxibid is proving the point.


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.

SilverTowne, Gary Ryther Auctioneers Make Gains; Proxiblog exceeds 35,000 views!

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Proxiblog’s viewership has increased steadily as we enter our fourth year of publication with 35,000+ views from around the world in the course of our existence and markedly improved coin auctions on Proxiblog that include APN clearance, in-house shipping, acceptable levels of buyers’ premiums, accurate numismatic lot descriptions and sharp, expandable photos of coins.

Our rankings in the right sidebar concern only our experience with certain sellers. Your experience may differ. In any case, we patronize auction companies when they adhere to standards as expressed in the above paragraph.

In this month’s rankings SilverTowne emerges as the top of our list with a full 25 points. In large part, this has to do with the grading standards, the frequency of auctions, and the wide range of rarities to suit everyone’s budget. You’re not going to steal a coin from Rick Howard or Dave Nauert; but you certainly can snag some below Grey Sheet (wholesale prices).

John Leonard at Leonard Auction continues to amaze us with choice consignments, accurate numismatic descriptions and sharp digital photos. Same can be said about Western Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.

Then, the next half dozen or so companies in our rankings essentially are offering the same level of excitement, appeal and numismatic knowledge. One company, Southwest Bullion and Coin, continues to improve consignments, identify flaws in lots, ship coins quickly and inexpensively, and offer a zero percent buyer’s premium, meaning what you bid is what you pay.

A few other auctions not on our rankings make that faux claim but, unlike Southwest Bullion, open lots at or above Grey Sheet or even retail. So of course if all lots sell with profit to the company, they do not have to see maximum bids or shill bid or charge buyers’ premiums. They built all that into their high opening bids. So when you patronize these companies, all you are actually doing is purchasing coins from an online shop. You are not participating in a win-or-lose auction, as you might with Southwest Bullion. Sadly, companies that do not realize this also are not taking advantage of the Proxibid technology that is programmed for an onsite experience in the comfort of your own home. (Watch for a post on this soon!)

We have often said that all a company has to do is improve one aspect of its features to gain big-time, and we see that in one of our old favorites, Gary Ryther Auctioneers. His company fell from our listings primarily because of the quality of its photographs, which just could not capture luster. He improved that component, attracted marvelous consignments, and is a top-rated house for us again. (Watch for a post on this soon, too!)

We also are excited every time we see an auction by our other favorite sellers, including Star Coin and Currency, Engstrom Auction, Meares Auction, Kaufman Auction, Jewelry Exchange, Key Date Coins and Rolling M Auctions. If our rankings included top sellers for consignors, rather than best bets for bidders, Mark Murphy at Rolling M would rise to the top. His sessions consistently sell above retail because he knows how to promote them onsite and online. Now, if he only would improve photography just a little more, to capture luster like Gary Ryther has done, he would see his great results improve beyond his own high standards and expectations.

As for Proxiblog, we continue to grow our audience with typical 100+ views per day from all over the world. The latest stats show us with more than 20,000 from the past year and a quarter, as the graph below shows. (Total views exceed 35,000 over the course of our publication life.)

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Our top post continues to be California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake, which averages between 25-100 views per week. “Find the Flaw!” and “Boos and Booyahs!” also are tops among our audience.

Finally, we wish to thank auction houses that have donated to our scholarship fund. We publish Proxiblog for free and promote the best companies and practices on the portal, along with providing numismatic knowledge for bidders and auctioneers. We do this for our students so that they can decrease student debt, enhance personal and professional ethics, and emerge as the next generation of auction buyers.


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.

Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

When items warrant, Proxiblog will lament and compliment best and bad auctioneer lot descriptions in this light-hearted feature. We will name the best, but you will have to search Proxibid for the bad. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions)

Booyah! To Gary Ryther Auctioneers for listing the authentication identifier for rare fractional gold, one of the riskiest purchases a collector can make on Proxibid because of all the $5 fakes, tokens and souvenirs being sold as genuine in various auctions.


Boo! to this unnamed auctioneer who doesn’t know the importance of mint marks, in the case of this 1882-CC Morgan–listed erroneously as 1882. The difference in price is $100. Proxibid numismatic sharks will target this auctioneer whenever he sells coins!


Booyah! to Silvertowne Auctions, not only for identifying a pricey coin as containing a “lamination,” but also defining what that numismatic terms means (“extra metal”).



Viewers can point us to other candidates for our “Boos & Booyahs!” series. Just leave a comment but follow our rules–all in good fun as a way to inspire accurate lot descriptions on Proxibid.

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.