New Rankings, 51,000 Views; Proxiblog Takes Hiatus

Top six houses profiled here all offer something special to the coin buyer on Proxibid. Proxiblog, which continues to gain viewers worldwide, will be on hiatus to return Sept. 1, 2014. If you believe we are offering a valuable free service, posting every weekday–more than 700 posts since our inception, with 10,000+ photos–then please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund.


Capitol Coin Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction tie for first place in our rankings. They do everything right, from accurate numismatic descriptions to vivid photography.

Look at the care that Capitol takes with each lot description, this one showcasing a collection in which every coin therein is graded by auctioneer Brad Lisembee (click to expand photo):

capitol_shoutout

Same holds for Dave Weaver who accurately describes condition of each lot in his auctions. Here’s an example:

weavershoutout

John Leonard of Leonard Auction upholds the same standards as Lisembee and Weaver, providing excellent photos and descriptions. In our view he ranks among the most knowledgeable auctioneers on the Proxibid portal. A screenshot from his most recent auction:

leonardshoutout

For sheer number of auctions on Proxibid and the vast array of consignments–you’re apt to find almost any type coin here–few rival SilverTowne Auctions. From rare gold to tokens to slabbed coins and rarities, SilverTowne has it covered:

silvertowne_selection

Best service terms on Proxibid, in addition to sharp photos and low low low buyer’s premium, goes to Meares Auction. Darron Meares is an experienced auctioneer who strives for superior customer service in all of his dealings. Take a look:

meares_terms

Most improved is Back to the Past auction. C. Scott Lovejoy worked with us for weeks to perfect photography. Take a look at this half dollar reverse in which full bell lines are easily seen. Can your auction provide the same detailed digital photography? Would that several on Proxibid could. See the evidence:

backtothepast

Our rankings this month featured most of our old standbys. Several of our favorite houses–Southwest Bullion, Western Auction, Krueger and Krueger–are low in our rankings only because they have not offered an online Proxibid session in the recent past. We value their operations so very much. Also this month one house was dropped because of sale of replica California gold. Two houses were added, A New Day Auction and Allen and Marshall Auctioneers. Concerning the latter, we were impressed with this lot description on bottom-tier holders:

allen and Marshall shoutout

As we always note, our rankings are just that–ours. These are favorite houses. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxibid, we surpassed 50,000 views last month. We approached 15,000 views in the past year. The map below shows our global reach.

proxiblog_yearworld

We will be reconfiguring and updating our website during the summer. We also are in the process of kindling a new numismatic book, available soon on our site, for online coin auctions, featuring best practices for selling on Proxibid and eBay. We hope you will download a copy when it becomes available. We hope that you find our site helpful.

If so, please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund, which is why we share our numismatic knowledge with Proxibid auctioneers and buyers, helping defray student debt to ensure the next generation of auction bidders.

Thank you for visiting our site.

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, 2000 Views per Month

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category did not add any new auctions to our favorite sellers list; however, a half dozen or so improved so that a full 16 houses earned a 24.5 out of 25, showing continuing improvement.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction takes the top spot again this month with SilverTowne a close second, thanks to a dazzling array of quality rarities. Both Weaver Auction and SilverTowne provide good descriptions, quick shipping, and regular auctions.

Weaver has slightly better photos, earning that house the sole 25-point best ranking.

Leonard, Capitol, Meares and Fox Valley all boast great photos, consignments, service and descriptions. In most cases, houses failed to score a full 25 points because of problems with photos or higher than average buyer’s premiums.

Rounding out the top 10 are Back to the Past, Star Coin and Currency, Certified Rare Coin Auctions and Five Star Auction.

It should be noted that some of our favorite houses are not offering as many auctions on Proxibid. Those are dropping in the rankings because of that. But we’re always on the lookout for their return.

Also keep in mind that our favorite houses are just that–ours. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 50,000 page views. In the past month, we surpassed 1820 views worldwide. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines. Once again, the most accessed post was California Gold, real, replica and fake. That post averages between 50-100 views per month.

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.


More Than 16,000 Views in 2013!

Competition among coin-selling houses on Proxibid continues to be intense with very little difference in services among our top dozen or so houses. All in our rankings offer quality coins, ship reasonably and post expandable photos of obverse and reverse. We welcome back K&K Auction Service, which is running coin auctions again. Krueger and Krueger Auction, one of our favorites, no longer sees maximum bids and so appears in our rankings. And Certified Rare Coin Auctions makes its first appearance with stunning coins. That said, Capitol Coin Auction still leads the pack with detailed lot descriptions, accurate grading, low buyer’s fee, quick shipping and fine numismatic photography and consignments–excellent on all levels.

SilverTowne Auctions, Leonard Auction, Weaver Auction, Gary Ryther Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Fox Valley Coins rank among the top 10 in our assessment. But so many more listed on the right sidebar are offering fine consignments, good customer service and other features. Among the most difficult categories to master, however, are sharp numismatic photography that captures luster and color in addition to accurate lot descriptions about grade and condition.

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 are pleased that our viewership keeps improving, with more than 16,500 views worldwide in 2013. 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.

See the countries that visit our site in the screenshot below (click to expand):

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As for individual posts, the most accessed article remains “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which enjoyed 2058 views in 2013.

See this screenshot for other top posts (click to expand):

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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.

Consignor hypes coins, auctioneer lists at own risk

hyped

Auctioneers who allow consignors to grade coins have an obligation to set the record straight. We seldom bid in this auction because we disapprove of its continuously hyped grades. Grading is subjective–to a point. Imagine a beat-up 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab worth about $5,000 with a sale price of $65,000. That’s the level of exageration here.


Expand the photo above to see coin after coin listed at MS68. The photos are subpar, so you cannot truly grade these coins, although we see bag marks in several and washed out (dipped?) luster in others. We can’t be sure because of the poor quality photo; but we can be relatively sure that these are common uncirculated Morgans at best worth anywhere from silver melt to $100.

When we see auctioneers stating “Consignor’s Estimated Grade” in an auction that schedules weekly coin sessions on Proxibid, we expect the auctioneer to know something about coins and counter hyped descriptions by sellers. And please, no more–we’re auctioneers, not coin dealer excuses; if you’re scheduling regular coin events on Proxibid, guess what? You’re a coin dealer.

To see how to grade and describe coins, visit archived sessions by Capitol Coin Auction, SilverTowne and Leonard 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.

Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

It’s important to be in sync with the Proxibid technology to showcase your photos, hone your lot descriptions, and highlight your consignments for top bids on the leading portal! In the latest installment, Proxiblog laments bad auctioneer lot descriptions and praises the best in recent auctions. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)


greatdescription_completeset

Booyah Capitol Auction! for great descriptions, as in this State Quarter collection. Note that Auctioneer Brad Lisembee adds mint sets so that buyers complete the missing quarters. That adds extra $$$ to the sale. This is an example of why Capitol is a top house on Proxiblog!


cleaned

Booyah Weaver Auction! for consistently identifying cleaned coins, which are upgradeable by major holding companies and which are difficult for buyers to detect online. It’s a small courtesy that brings return customers to this top house!


damage

Another Booyah to top-house SIlverTowne Auction for noting damage on coins. Would that more houses did this!


McKee

Booyah McKee Auction! for precise, concise descriptions with good photography.


not66

Boo! to this house for consistently calling lots key dates and overgrading the coins. Photos aren’t great; but we tested by buying once or twice, and what we suspected was what we got.


notgold

Boo! to this house for calling a plated replica California gold. This is the biggest coin problem on the portal, and one of the biggest problems in numismatics. To tell the difference between replica and real, see our post “California Gold: real replica and fake,” which averages hundreds of views per month.


notegoldreplica

Booyah Mascari Auction! for showing how to list replica plated bear-on-reverse lots!


silverweight

Booyah BidALot Auction! for providing silver weight on foreign coins, a small but helpful descriptor.


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Boo! to this house for hyping value of lower-tier slabs, using PCGS values–something PCGS does not appreciate, as their slabbed coins are among the most accurate on the market. This coin would probably not even grade at PCGS, as it looks cleaned to us.


slabtruth

Booyah Jewelry Exchange! for showing how to list coins in bottom-tier slabs.


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. Tomorrow we will showcase the best lot descriptions. Stay tuned!

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.

Capitol Auction heads list of top-ranked houses

Capitol Coin Auction doesn’t hold monthly auctions, but when it does–about 4-6 per year–wow, Auctioneer Brad Lisembee creates an event. His Nov. 9 Proxibid auction is one of them, replete with top holdered and raw coins in nearly all series and denominations. Brad also charges a low buyer’s fee and provides quick, inexpensive shipping, with lots showcased by excellent numismatic photography and grading. No new houses were added to our rankings this month, as so many of our favorites are improving regularly, topping newcomers to the portal. As we always state, however, our top houses are just a matter of choice. (Your experience may differ from ours.)

Leonard Auction, SilverTowne Auction, Western and Southwest Bullion continue to set the pace with excellent consignments and concise, numismatic grading. Other fine houses–Decatur, Weaver, Meares, Gary Ryther, et. al., continue to appeal with good photography, neat consignments, accurate descriptions and fine customer service. Back to the Past Collectibles is in our top 10 because of continuing improvement. RitMar Exchange is moving up, too, focusing on improved photography and mastering the basics with low buyer’s fee and great customer service.

This is the first time we have scored 24.5 points to the top 15 houses. Essentially, there is little difference between them except for the particular consignment on a given week.

This is a good sign because Proxibid has inaugurated a seller feedback feature. Watch for a post on that latter in the week.

As for Proxiblog, we continue to grow with more than 42,500 viewers since our inception in May 2011. In the past 10 months we have logged more than 17,000 views with most coming from the United States, Canada, Britain, Russia and India.

10monthviews

The most popular post continues to be “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake.” Typically we identify a handful of replica and counterfeit lots, claiming to the real fractional gold; we report them via Proxibid’s “Report this Item” link. Sadly, we report, we see little action typically by seller or Proxibid.

Hats off to Meares Auction, which had two such replicas on consignment, asked us to evaluate them, and then changed the lot description. That’s why Darron Meares is a leader in this business.

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. GreatCollections, operated by numismatist Ian Russell, sponsored an entire month. We are extremely grateful.

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.

Our top post, accessed more than 50 times per week

Seller Asks About Descriptions: Installment #2


best_practice

A new coin seller on Proxibid asked us pertinent questions about best practices, and we promised to share our opinion and to solicit yours in the comment section. Auctioneers look to this site for recommendations on how to sell, ship and improve their services. The more you and we share, the more bidders will be drawn to our sites. We will treat each question as a post running throughout the week. Scroll down to view previous questions and answers. Here is installment two.

QUESTION:What do you look for in descriptions?

PROXIBLOG: Rule #1: Lot descriptions must match photos and titles. Too often, especially with new sellers, they do not.

Rule #2: The title should carry the date and denomination of the coin along with a condition descriptor. Do not use the Sheldon Scale (0-70) if you are not an experienced numismatist. Use “Good (G),” “Very Good, (VG)” “Fine (F),” “Extra Fine (XF),” “Almost Uncirculated (AU),” “Uncirculated (Unc.),” “Brilliant Uncirculated (BU).”

Rule #3: The lot description should cite PCGS values for PCGS Coins, NGC Values for NGC Coins, and Redbook or Coin World Values for ANACS and ICG. Be careful about assigning any dollar value to raw coins or lots slabbed by bottom-tier companies. Never cite PCGS Values for raw coins or coins holdered by any other company.

Rule #4: Note any flaws: rim bumps and dents, holes, scratches, cleaning, dipping, etc. If you don’t know how to identify these flaws, bone up on the skill with our “Find the Flaw” series on Proxiblog. (Type “Find the Flaw” in our search box for results.)

Rule #5: Check out our top houses to view examples of some of the best lot descriptions on the portal. For a primer, we recommend SilverTowne, Decatur Coin, Weaver Auction, Southwest Bullion, Capitol Coin Auction, and Leonard Auction.

Next installment: Any insight on shipping and packing?

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

It’s important to be in sync with the Proxibid technology to showcase your photos, hone your lot descriptions, and highlight your consignments for top bids on the leading portal! In the latest installment, Proxiblog compliments auctioneer lot descriptions. Yesterday we named the worst in recent auctions. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)

cleaned

One Big Booyah to Jewelry Exchange for consistently noting cleaning on coins, difficult to detect with online photos.


dings

Another Booyah to Rolling M Auction! for noting rim dings on a coin. See this post for more information on identifying dings and bumps.


nobox

Booyah Munda Auctions! for noting on this and several other lots of proof and mint sets that the item did not contain a box. Sets without boxes sell a tad lower than with boxes. That’s why it was important to note.


excel_decatur

Booyah Decatur Coin and Jewelry! for some of the best lot descriptions on the portal. These numismatists know what they are selling and share that information with bidders.


problemcoins

Booyah Capitol Coin Auction! for consistently noting problems on coins, including multiple-item lots like this.


rimbump

Booyah SilverTowne Auctions! for consistently identifying damage, rim dings and bumps, and other issues with lots. Doing so earns repeat business from buyers who come to trust your descriptions.


rimproblems

Booyah Western Auction! for also noting rim dings, bumps and other flaws on coins.


rough edge

Booyah Gary Ryther Auctioneering! for noting issues on currency. Even if the damage is obvious, as on this coin, note it in your lot descriptions for value-added considerations!


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.

Coin Dealer Newbies

dealervsauctioneer

Savvy coin dealers know that the expense of online sessions–from credit cards to shipping–require cherry consignments of the type that Fox Valley, SiverTowne and Capitol Auction regularly bring to bidders. Newbie dealers see Internet as a convenient way to sell off junk silver and clad mint sets taking space in their shop safes. Nothing is more boring than to peruse such a catalog on Proxibid.

Coin dealers may know how to grade or describe numismatic lots, but auctioneers know how to assemble a winning catalog to make a profit, and that means, searching out estates for collections and/or relying on experienced buyers to send in rarities and varieties of all denominations, from ancient coins to slabbed ones by top holdering companies.

Look to the rankings in the right sidebar. Those earning 24.5 points almost always feature such consignments, and the result is, they get more–from all over the country–because these auctioneers know how to generate excitement by taking risks, which often include low buyer’s premiums or no-reserve lots.

The worst combination online is a mint set sale with opening bids above retail, and that is what we are weary of seeing when a new coin dealer signs on with Proxibid.

Take a look at the lots and opening bids of the catalog below. (Click to expand photo.)

mintsets

The dealer is opening bids at $12 and $13 for clad 1970s “mint sets” which are really proof sets, but why bother to waste time getting the lot description right? The silver three-coin set opens at $35.

Now take a look at retail prices for these sets, $10 and $12 with $26 for the three-coin set. (Click to expand photo.)

mintsets1

Worse, this new Proxibid house charges a buyer’s premium for use of credit card and promises to ship within 10-14 business days after funds have cleared.

Is this service, which online communities demand?

Once again, as we have done regularly in the past, we recommend that the Proxibid sales team assemble a best-practice document so that new clients don’t make these newby mistakes. Once a house is known for selling like this, it earns a reputation and is overlooked by bidders.

We hang out with coin dealers. We hear them say Internet is killing their businesses.

Maybe dealers are doing the bulk of the damage by trying to sell off their bulk and backlogged holdings.

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 SilverTowne Auction

This week we begin a series of spotlight reviews on 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.

SilverTowne Coin Auctions on Proxibid feature two of the big names in numismatics: Rick Howard’s Coin Shop and Leon Hendrickson’s SilverTowne. Together, both companies have more than a century’s experience buying and selling coins. Perhaps their secret asset on Proxibid, however, is 75-year-old numismatist Larry Fuller whose lot descriptions are among the best on Proxibid.

Proxiblog consigns periodically to SilverTowne, and it is not unusual for Larry to send back a coin because it has a flaw. We never argue with him.

One of his specialties, which we applaud, is identifying slabbed coins of inferior quality–quite a difference from some Proxibid auctioneers, including current ones, who quote Red Book or Coin Values prices for self-slabbed coins worth only silver melt but billed as MS66 or higher.

Click here for an example of Larry’s lot descriptions.

Once again, you can gauge the quality of this house by the number of occurrences on our Boos and Booyah’s page–an even dozen in the past year. Here is a sampling:

Larry Fuller’s expertise adds significantly to that of Rick Howard and other SilverTowne employees, including Dave Nauert, who contributed one of our first and most enlightening “On the Block” posts.

As always, our rankings are based on personal experience with the auction house. Generally, SilverTowne values and designations are close to PCGS ones. The 1891-O one below was designated MS63, although it sold for MS62 rates, which turned out to be also PCGS’s opinion. (Click photos to expand).

Proxiblog photo
Proxiblog photo
Proxiblog photo

SilverTowne, like Key Date Coins, ships within one day using numismatic packaging. Earlier in the year it discontinued maximum-bid viewing, again like Key Date Coins. We continue to find superior coins, raw and slabbed, in SilverTowne auctions, and we’re excited about its series of timed auctions in which bargains are to be had.

To learn more about SilverTowne auctions, visit the company’s home page by clicking here.

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.