Capitol Coin Auction wins … “Best Photography”

2Best Photography

Capitol Coin Auction does many things right, but perhaps what it does best is combine excellent digital photography with accurate numismatic descriptions.

Only a relative handful of Proxibid auction houses showcase exemplary coin photography that captures detail, luster and color. Capitol Coin Auction does that better than anyone else on the portal. Here’s an example:

photo_capitol

(This coin, by the way, graded MS65 at PCGS, certification 28957041.)

Compare the above photo with this one below, all too typical on the portal, purportedly showcasing another toned 1880s Morgan dollar:

photo_bad

Now more than ever, sharp expandable photos of obverse, reverse and close-ups of any flaw or variety will be essential on Proxibid because sellers are being rated–not only by us but by Proxibid itself! Auction houses that have gotten away with poor descriptions and blurry photos will be noted as such. In the end, the better the photo the less an auction house has to worry about the numismatic description, although both are indicators of excellence.

Last year’s winner in Best Photography was Key Date Coins, which has not held a recent auction. (We miss you, Eddie Caven!)

Here are photos from Honorable Mention houses in this year’s TOP Awards, showing detail, device and condition (click to expand):

Decatur Coin and Jewelry

photo_decatur


Western Auction

photo_western


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction

photo_weaver


Leonard Auction

photo_leonard


Southwest Bullion and Coin

photo_southwest


Those wishing to improve their photography should visit this post 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.

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Weaver Coin and Currency Regains Top Slot

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, a long-time top-spot holder in our rankings, has reascended to that position based on sharp photos, rare consignments, quick shipping, numismatic lot descriptions and value-added customer service.


We especially value the customer service of Dave and Cheryl Weaver, consummate professionals.

However, competition is keen with our favorite sellers that we find very little difference in the top 10 and routinely bid in their auctions. One might have a slightly better consignment. One may have a special. Another may offer a new service or additional timed auction.

We always eagerly go through catalogs of Western Auction, Leonard Auction, Capital Coin Auction, SilverTowne, and Rolling M. Auctions, primarily because we can find rarities and sleepers (especially the latter). Sleepers are coins that have low mintage. Photography on Western, Leonard and Capital Coin is exquisite, and so we can grade raw coins accurately. When it comes to Leonard or Capitol, we rely on numismatic descriptions, which sometimes are sharper than our own.

Key Date Coins continues to showcase the best photography. We love Eddie Caven’s auctions and admire him immensely; but we hope more consignors will send him premium lots. If you’re looking for Carson City dollars, this is the place, as Eddie always has a few MS63-64 lots in each of his regular sessions.

We’re happy to see Southwest Bullion and Coin back in our listings. Justin Quinn has been enhancing his numismatic descriptions, offering zero buyer’s premiums, and shipping quickly and inexpensively.

Star Coin and Currency continues to improve. Jim Haver’s customer service is among the best on the portal.

We congratulate Liberty Shops Auctions for the volume it is doing on Proxibid, qualifying still as the top coin category seller.

Each month these rankings get harder to do because auctioneers continue to improve. However, some houses are not included–even ones with low premiums and nice items–because they see maximum bids, allow shill bidding, have poor photography (unable to discern grade or luster of coin), continue to offer dipped and/or self-slabbed coins without identifying them as such, or lack APN clearance.

We emphasize that content on Proxiblog is educational. We are not an open-source blog or complaint board, which is why we do not even identify auction houses in our “Boo” section of “Boos and Booyahs.” Also, we emphasize, that our rankings are based on our own experience with an auction house. Consider these are our favorite sellers. Your experience might differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we now have surpassed 32,000 all-time views and average 650 unique visitors each month–about the size of a mega auction session. Our most popular post continues to be California Gold, real, replica and fake, which averages 60+ views per week (indicating the concern over counterfeits).

Finally, we invite auction houses to sponsor our blog and contribute to our scholarship fund. We continue to publish Proxiblog for free, without subscription. We have more than 400 posts about coins in our archive and over 1000 numismatic photos. Several auction houses have been especially generous this month and we thank those companies on behalf of journalism students at Iowa State University of Science and Technology.

Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

This is the second of two Boos and Booyah posts, one of our favorite features. This post is all about the Booyahs!

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 and compliments best and bad auctioneer lot descriptions during the past week. We will name the best, but you will have to search Proxibid for the bad. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)

keydate_Vam

One Big Booyah! to Key Date Coins, winner of our Best Photography Award, for capturing the finest VAM (variety) details of this 1899 Morgan. Would that other houses provided such detailed photos!


keydate_nocameo.

An Even Bigger Booyah to Key Date Coins! for not being tempted to call this Franklin half “cameo” or “deep cameo.” We see Proxibid auctioneers doing this all the time, when only one side has cameo features. Both must possess that frost. In this case, only the obverse does. Kudos to Eddie Caven for following proper numismatic descriptions! For more on cameos, click here.


booyahRollingM_whizzed

Booyah Rolling M Auction! for noting that this Morgan has been tooled, or altered, and is essentially only worth silver melt. Increasingly we see auctioneers neglecting to state this, even when the results are as obvious as this.


midwest_tooled

Booyah Midwest Coins! for noting yet another altered coin. This one has a tooled cheek, as Charles Commander notes.


dmpl_slider_star coin

Booyah Star Coin and Currency! for describing problems with what appears to be a slider rather than uncirculated DMPL. Jim Haver also points out milky spots and provides another photos for bidders to judge for themselves!


overgraded_kaufman

Booyah Kaufman Auction! for noting this bottom-tier coin is overgraded. We see so many self-slabbed and bottom-tier holders overgrading coins with auctioneers actually citing PCGS and Redbook values for silver melt Morgans. Sigh. At least Kaufman calls this correctly.


rim bump

One last Booyah to Weaver Coins and CurrencyAuction! for identifying rim bumps, which many auctioneers ignore in their descriptions and which may dramatically decrease a coin’s value. Dave Weaver is one of the top numismatic auctioneers in calling attention to a coin’s details.


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.

Capitol Coin Auction Takes Top Spot

rankings

Capitol Coin Auction, winner of the overall Best Coin Auction on Proxiblog Award, continues to hold the top spot in our rankings, with Leonard Auction a close second, followed by some of the best coin auctions on the Proxibid portal, all essentially tied: Western, Weaver, SilverTowne, and Key Date Coins.

Capitol Coin Auction is known for accurate descriptions, great photography, fine coins and rarities, a 15% buyer’s premium and inexpensive, fast shipping.

Same can be said about Leonard Auction, which has a higher buyers’ premium but also excels in consignments, descriptions, value-aided considerations and so much more. Suffice to say we are excited to view the catalogs of Capitol and Leonard every time they are posted.

We especially anticipate eagerly the catalogs of Western Auction, whose coins often cross over to PCGS and whose photography excels.

Key Date Coins, SilverTowne and Weaver Coin and Currency are our stand-bys, with regular coin auctions that often entice with both rarities and affordable coins.

Rolling M has moved up in the rankings, based on increasingly fine consignments and marketing expertise.

Star Coin and Currency, Five Star Auction and Braxton Auctioneering all moved up in our rankings, too, with the latter new to the ratings. We hope to see more coin auctions from Braxton, a Loganville, Georgia house. Same holds true for Fox Valley Coins, one of our favorite houses, which promises more online sales in the coming year.

Engstrom Auctions makes a reappearance as a top coin seller. And McKee Coins enters our rankings for the first time, based on increasingly accurate, detailed descriptions and improved photographs.

Keep in mind that these are our favorite sellers, evaluated according to criteria on consignments, photos, descriptions, buyers’ premium and more. Your experience may differ from ours.

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, 25000+ Views!

Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid has been so keen that we have gone to a 0.5 system, meaning that a half point separates one seller from another. Only one scored tops in all categories: quality consignments, detailed descriptions, quick and inexpensive shipping, superior photography, expert grading, reasonable buyer’s premium and other value-added considerations. Not only is competition growing, our audience is too, surpassing 25,000 views.

Capitol Coin Auction features some of the best numismatic estate auctions on the portal. Unlike other houses, it does not run auctions every week or other week and so creates an event with key date coinage, holdered rarities and exquisite gold. Moreover, as we noted in this recent post, Brad Lisembee ranks among the best graders in the business with John Leonard of Leonard Auction, Larry Fuller of SilverTowne Auction and Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions.

Ranked ever so close behind at 24.5 each were Western, Leonard, SilverTowne, Key Date Coins and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency auctions. Returning to top-house status is Fox Valley Coins, which had dropped from our rankings because of infrequent Proxibid auctions. Its November auction was one of the highlights on the portal.

Essentially, you should have an exciting time in the spirit of traditional auctioneering bidding in any auction by these top-houses.

New on the list this month are Jackson’s Auction, Auction Orange, and Star Coin and Currency, all offering regular good consignments with expandable photography and other amenities. Star Coin, for instance, ships inexpensively and quickly.

Some houses fell in the ranking because of slow shipping; others, problem coins, poor grading and/or inadequate descriptions.

What surprises us about these monthly rankings is how little an auction house actually has to do to improve its online brand and competition. In some cases, it means taking a little more time with descriptions; in others, investing in a better camera; in several, focusing more on shipping.

We have been receiving emails and comments about slow shipping. One auction routinely takes 2-3 weeks; some, we have to cajole through Proxibid customer service to pack their wares and ship. One auctioneer, asked about a tardy delivery, simply replied: “Already shipped out.” That’s nice, but when did it ship out and what is the tracking number?

In our opinion, slow or outsourced shipping, poor photography and inadequate descriptions are signs that a house has not yet adapted–or is unwilling to adapt–to the Internet.

Online buyers expect:

  • Rapid shipping with professional packing.
  • Sharp, expandable photos of both sides of a coin.
  • Accurate lot descriptions.

Given the convenience of flat-rate shipping with packages picked up at your door, we’re flummoxed when houses take 3-4 weeks to send out coins. If you cannot do basic photography with the type of enhanced, low-cost equipment at your disposal, including cell phones, then you are short-changing yourselves and your consignors. And you simply cannot schedule multiple coin auctions per month and then claim you are not a coin expert.

Bulletin: You are a coin dealer–so read up, go to coin shows, join your local coin club!

That said, our rankings are reviews of favorite houses based on our buying and/or selling experience and numismatic expertise. Your experience with our top houses may differ from ours. Our intent is to educate and praise whenever possible–to our own buying detriment, at times! We have seen when we showcase an auction house how bidding becomes more intense, often edging out our own bids.

Perhaps this is due to the rise in our viewership to an all-time high of 25,267. Half of that total came in the past six months, with the majority of those from the United States, Canada and India, as this graphic shows.

sixmonthview

The favorite and most accessed page? “Boos and Booyahs.” The all-time most favorite post? “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which gets on average a dozen views per week from all over the world, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”

Moreover, we also surpassed 100 auction houses on our Honor Roll whose buyer premiums and customer service are appreciated.

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.

Proxiblog’s next to last rankings of 2012 shows the level of competition by some of the best houses on the portal. Our rankings are based on our personal experience. Your experience may differ from our reviews. That said, let’s look at the innovations being made on Proxibid.



So very little separates our top 10 houses. Western claims the sole #1 spot because of superior consignments that grade well with the most rigorous holdering company in the business, PCGS. Speaking of PCGS, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction sold a rare Regency holdered Morgan, which we won in a bidding war and which is being profiled in an upcoming edition of Coin World!

Whenever Leonard Auction and Capitol Coin Auction host a Proxibid session, you can be sure of some of the best consignments being offered with PCGS-accurate grading … and intense bidding. Auctioneers John Leonard and Brad Lisembee rank among the most knowledgeable and competitive coin sellers in the business. You can count on their photography, too. We’re never disappointed.

Sean Cook and Larry Fuller also are consummately professional graders. Cook manages Liberty Shops Auctions, a house that continues to rise in the rankings because of 0% buyers’ premium and fine photography with inexpensive, quick shipping. We’ve touted Larry Fuller of SilverTowne more than any other grader on the portal. Larry had to take a short break in the past few months. We didn’t realize that but saw a small decrease in grading. That’s how we found out about the hiatus of our friend, who is back and grading again, for which we are thankful.

SilverTowne also has scheduled regular timed auctions. Some real bargains can be had there.

We also appreciate Darron Meares of Meares Auction, one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished auctioneers in the country. He’s making innovations again in lower buyer’s premiums and catering to the seller in stiff competition. We bid often in his auctions, but we do so wholesale, as our intent is to slab and sell our coins and help our scholarship fund. But we have a hard time winning anything wholesale in Meares’ auctions because he’s an expert at drumming up competition. Our hat’s off to him!

Eddie Caven of Key Date Coins provides some of the best coin photography on the portal. He’s been specializing in MS63-65 Carson City dollars, which always brings a crowd, as well as an assortment of older mint sets and uncirculated Franklin halves, among other denominations.

Mark Murphy of Rolling M. Auctions draws competitive onsite and online crowds and offers a good selection of slabbed coins from top companies. We also like Kaufman Realty Auctions whose consignments are nifty. Shipping is a tad slow, though; but if you’re patient, this is a great place to acquire Morgans and uncirculated rare silver denominations.

Back in our top companies is Jackson Auction, which recently had a terrific session with Morgans and slabbed coins from superior grading companies. Auctions Unlimited has a low 10% BP and has offered of late a good selection of mint sets, including rarer prestige ones.

And then there is the slow riser, Back to the Past Collectibles, creeping up from the lower ranks to the top tier of our rankings. We’re seeing increasingly delectable consignments, acceptable photographs and low buyer’s premiums.

We’re also buying from Midwest Coins, which has relaunched with new emphasis on bidders. Owner Charles Commander is a numismatist who ships quickly and is always on the hunt for good consignments.

Consider these top companies Proxiblog favorite sellers, much like you might find on eBay. We’ll continue to bid with new houses and patronize ones in our rankings to cover as many old and new coin auctions on Proxibid. As we state regularly, you may have a different experience as auctioning coins is complex, requiring numismatic skills, labor-intensive photography, and target marketing.

We remain amazed at how our top houses continue to produce, month after month, and serve the hobby.

And as always, we thank sponsors of Proxiblog. You keep us posting, and your generosity is appreciated. Sponsors are invited to showcase their companies, and we only invite those houses whose practices we have known in the long term. We reserve that right. We don’t advertise. We don’t accept payments to us personally as all donations go through the Iowa State Foundation’s scholarship fund.

Finally, we thank Proxibid, especially Jason Nielsen for establishing ever stronger quality control measures. We are an independent site, dedicated to covering the company which, we believe, offers the best coin buys of any portal, including eBay.

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 and compliments best and bad auctioneer lot descriptions during the past week. We will name the best, but you will have to search Proxibid for the bad. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)

One Big Booyah to Key Date Coin Auction not only for providing one of the best lot descriptions, showing Eddie Caven’s prowess as a numismatist–from VAMS to incredibly sharp photos–but also for his questioning the condition of this rare Carson City coin. He identifies one of the most difficult aspects of grading: cabinet rub. We always bid with confidence at Key Date because of observations like this.


Booyah Auction Orange! for warning his bidders about these bottom-tier slabs that list every worn or cleaned coins as MS66 or MS67. Some Proxibid auctioneers even cite Red Book values for silver-melt or problem coins in hyped holders. Auction Orange doesn’t fall for it, but gains our trust because of the lot description. Nice!


Booyah yet again to Auction Orange! for noting that the coin depicted here probably is a counterfeit. With tens of thousands of counterfeit coins flooding the market from China, some really are difficult to identify. In this case, the auctioneer has spotted something that doesn’t look right. We think it might be the weight or the attempt to make the coin look circulated. In any case, we value once again how the auctioneer gains our trust.


Booyah Weaver Auction! for noting that this coin is a replica. Dave Weaver’s lot descriptions are reliable and appreciated. We caution Proxibid auctioneers to do as Dave has done here and identify these as “replicas,” NOT “tokens.” For more on California fractional gold, click here.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house that cites “full bell lines” in the Proxibid title when the NGC slab doesn’t indicate such. FBL means the bottom lines of the liberty bell on the reverse of Franklin halves are visible and unbroken. The difference between a slab having and not having the designation can be substantial. If you disagree with the designation on the slab, then state why in your lot description.


Booyah Southwest Bullion! for noting what is difficult to see in the digital picture, an alteration of a coin, “tooled,” involving use of a machine to smooth a flaw–a serious possibly fraudulent infraction by some owner in this coin’s long history. Tooling has been done for decades and is difficult to detect, so the consignor probably didn’t even realize this. We’re glad Southwest Bullion did!


Booyah Topless Coins! for noting that this coated 1943 cent is magnetic, meaning it is not copper worth tens of thousands but is steel with copper plate. Nobody got rich on this coin, but we’re richer for Topless doing a magnetic test!


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.