Top Houses Upgrade Coin Photos

Pictures are worth more than a thousand words online, and these showcase Proxiblog award-winning companies Weaver Auction, Western Auction, Key Date Coins, Rolling M, James Peterson and Leonard Auctions, which have enhanced their already-sharp photography with a zoom feature for complete numismatic examination.

Weaver Auction won a best photography award earlier this year; Leonard and Key Date auctions, four honorable mentions across categories, including photography; Western, best consignment and three honorable mentions, including photography; Rolling M Auctions, a most-improved mention; and James Peterson, best consignment.

If you’re going to pay Proxibid, credit card and APN fees, and you snare a top consignment, you are only cheating yourself if you do not invest in clear, expandable photos of your coins. Gone are the days when blurry photos hide flaws in the hope that bidders will hunger for a bargain and take chances. There are just too many online savvy houses stealing new and return bidders with fine photography, and the new zoom feature as illustrated in the examples below will attract even more.

Also, by enhancing photography, you put more responsibility on the bidder, as this picture illustrates. Click picture to view.

Bidders access the zoom feature by clicking on the thumbnail followed by the lot photo and then clicking on that. In the lower right corner is a button for “full screen.” Click picture to view.

Some auction houses have an expand feature but no zoom when this button is clicked; others just reprint the same size photo. The zoom feature, however, lets bidders examine a coin in specific places as if holding a loop to the metal. To be sure, inspecting a coin in person is still the preferred method; but these houses (and others not featured here) have displayed photos every bit as informative as what might be found on the large houses such as GreatCollections, Teletrade and Heritage.

Before displaying their photos, some final thoughts:

  • The better the consignment, the sharper your photos must be to spark bidding wars.
  • The less you know about VAMs and other varieties, the more you need zoom features for bidders looking for these attributes
  • The more you sell online, the sharper and larger your photos must be to stay competitive with houses such as featured below (click photos to expand).

In closing, you owe it to your business and consignor to display rare coins and precious metals with the digital photography that they deserve, especially as both the auction and coin business gravitate to the Internet. It’s an added cost, to be sure; but as these top houses know, a necessary one.


Weaver Auction


Western Auction


Leonard Auction


James Peterson


Key Date Coins


Rolling M Auctions


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.

Weaver Auction wins “Best on Proxiblog” Award

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, an Easton, MO, firm, won our highest “Best Coin Auction” Award, garnering a “Best Photography” honor as well as Honorable Mentions for consignments and for lot descriptions.

Check out the home page for Weaver Auction and you can see some of our past praise for this remarkable house. A special hallmark of Dave and Cheryl Weaver is exceptional customer service. We have dealt with dozens of auctioneers in the past several years but few as conscientious as the Weavers.

They have held our “top auction house” ranking (see the listing to the right) for months, mainly because the Weavers are never satisfied with success but keep innovating and experimenting for the optimal configuration for superior Proxibid sessions. They took our advice and instituted a low buyer’s fee for gold–as low as 5% for double eagles. Now they are competing directly with Western Auction with a low buyer’s fee of 10%. They ship inexpensively and photograph expertly. They make use of Proxibid multimedia so online bidders can share in the excitement of their onsite sessions. Dave is a numismatic expert; Cheryl, a communications specialist.

We have done several features on this national-caliber house, including this article on buyer’s fees, this one on Internet advertising, and this illuminating “On the Block.”

What we found remarkable in the past year was the Weavers’ ability to take and learn from constructive criticism. For example, once we made a critical reference to titles in lot descriptions, and rather than send a snippy email, they thanked Proxiblog for the advice.

In life as well as in auctioneering, the Weavers have a lot to teach us. They learn from mistakes and are courageous enough to innovate in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Those qualities also exist in our Honorable Mentions in this category.

We applaud:

  • Capitol Coin Auctions, “with over 35 years of experience in collecting, investing, and grading rare coins.” Capitol also won Honorable Mentions in our “Best Consignments” and “Best Descriptions” categories for a total of three honorable mentions.
  • Key Date Coins with a reputation for “always fast and low shipping and handling cost.” Key Date Coins also won our “Most Improved House” Award in addition to Honorable Mentions in “Best Photography” and “Best Descriptions” for a total of four honors.
  • Leonard Auction, “with a reputation for experience, unsurpassed integrity, and superior technology.” Leonard Auction also won Honorable Mentions in our “Best Consignments,” “Best Photography,” and “Best Descriptions” categories for a total of four honorable mentions.
  • Scott Auctions, noted for its experience and generous service to the auctioneering profession. Scott Auctions also won our “Best Shipping Award” for a total of two honors.
  • Silvertowne Auctions, known for grading expertise and national reputation in numismatics. Silvertowne won our “Best Lot Descriptions” Award plus an Honorable Mention in our “Best Shipping” category for a total of three honors.
  • Western Auction, “whose family includes principal auctioneer David Zwonitzer, his father Mel Zwonitzer, Dave’s sons Daniel and Ty and Dave’s wife Kym. Together the family has more than 80 years auctioneering experience.” Western Auction also won our “Best Consignment Award” plus an Honorable Mention in our “Best Photography” category for a total of three honors.

We wish to congratulate all of our other “TOP Award” winners: James Peterson Auctions (tie: “Best Consignments”) and Matthew Bullock Auctioneers (tie: “Best Photography” and “Best Timed Auction”).

We also send kudos to those with Honorable Mentions, including Arneson Auction, Auctions Unlimited, Chaparral Auction, Culpeper Auction, Engstrom Auctions, Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers, Hall’s Auction, Krause Auctioneering, Meares Auction, Midwest Coins, Poinsett Auction, Rolling M. Auctions, Schultz Auctioneering and Silver Trades.

We also thank Proxibid houses specializing in coins and encourage them to visit these award-winning houses. We know there are some houses that we missed in our rankings, but 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 8300.

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.

James Peterson and Western Auction tie for “Best Consignments”

James Peterson Auction, an Edina, MN firm, and Western Auction, Cheyenne, Wyo., had spectacular auctions on a regular basis on Proxibid, earning them the TOP Award in this competitive category.

This was a hotly contested category based not only on one or two consignments but regular ones on Proxibid, with special consideration for newsworthy events, in this case, good and bad.

James Peterson’s house sold a lot that was featured on the front page of the May 30, 2011 Coin World, a unique silver bar that realized $12,210. “It’s a heck of a piece of Americana,” Peterson told Coin World. We agree.

Western Auction showed the fortitude of a top Proxibid house after one of its most valuable consignments was stolen. You can read about that here. Other houses would have raised buyer’s fees or taken shortcuts on future consignments, but auctioneer Dave Zwonitzer showed his Wyoming grit and kept scheduling regular auctions with even better consignments, on occasion, and a low buyer’s fee of 10%.

Other houses earning Honorable Mention also deserve high praise. Their consignments also were remarkable. They include Capitol Coin Auction, Hall’s Auction, Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers, Leonard Auction, and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.

Booyah to all!

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.