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

rankings

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.)

views

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.

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Capitol Coin Auction tops list!

Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid has become even keener, with only fractions separating one favorite company from another. Only one scored a full 25 points 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 1,600 views for the first 28 days in April.

Capitol Coin Auction continues to feature some of the best numismatic estate auctions on the portal. Every few months it schedules an auction with key date coinage and holdered rarities. Moreover, as we noted in this recent post, Brad Lisembee ranks among the best graders in the business along with John Leonard of Leonard Auction.

Also high on the numismatic grading list are Dave Nauert of SilverTowne Auction, Justin Quinn of Southwest Bullion and Coin, Dave Weaver of Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, and Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions.

These were ranked ever so close behind Capitol at 24.5 each out of 25, along with Western Auction (one of our personal favorites) and Fox Valley Coins.

Returning to the portal is Kaufman Realty and Auctions, with strong consignments, numismatic lot descriptions and good photography. If it shipped more quickly, it would challenge other top houses in our rankings.

Darron Meares, one of our favorite auctioneers, elevated his company to the top rankings, too, with great consignments and much improved photography. Engstrom Auction continues to improve with better consignments. Its photography has been good, and its customer service is fine, too.

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

Rolling M Auctions is one of our favorite houses. Mark Murphy is going a fantasic job for Rolling M. with great consignments and fine pre-auction advertising. We think he can still do better with sharper photography that captures luster and provides an onsite view for the Internet crowd.

Key Date Coin continues to showcase the best photography and auctions always worth a look. We advocate for better consignments as Eddie Caven knows how to feature premium lots. Star Coin and Currency continues to impress with improving consignments, neat photos and numismatic lot descriptions.

New on the list this month are Atlantic Auction Company and Cannon Auction whose Honor Roll features include 15% buyer’s fee, good photography and numismatic lot descriptions.

Online buyers expect:

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

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. As the screen shot below shows, more than 1600 page views were logged in the first few weeks of April alone.
30dayview

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 100+ views per month from all over the world, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”

Also becoming more popular are our “Find the Flaw!” features, designed to improve grading skills.

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 Wins “Best Auction”

7Best Coin Auction

Capitol Coin Auction has won our award for “Best Coin Auction” on the Proxibid portal, garnering “Best Shipping” and “Best Descriptions” honors and honorable mentions in “Best Photography,” “Best Consignments,” and “Best Value Added” categories.

Because competition was so tough this year, with more auctions in the running for awards than last, the spread between “Best” and runners-up was narrow.

As we indicated in our last ranking of favorite auctions listed in the right sidebar, Capitol Coin Auction has been the only house to achieve maximums in all categories, and this played out as anticipated in our “Top of Proxiblog” Awards.

A close second was Leonard Coin Auction, which performs on par or slightly better than Capitol in all categories, including “Value Added.” When judging ended and scores were tallied, the two houses virtually tied; however, the margin of difference was Capitol’s lowering a previously higher BP to 15%, the recommended percentage for online buyers.

Leonard Auction won the “Best Value-Added” category in addition to being an honorable mention in “Best Descriptions,” “Best Photography,” and “Best Consignments.”

We also praise and recommend our other honorable mentions in the “Best Coin Auction” category, including:

  • Key Date Coins, which won “Best Photography” and was an honorable mention in “Best Descriptions” and “Best Shipping.”
  • SilverTowne Auctions, which won “Best Timed Auction” and placed in “Best Descriptions,” “Best Consignments” and “Value-Added” categories.
  • Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, which placed in “Best Descriptions,” “Best Consignments,” “Best Photography,” and “Best Value-Added” categories.
  • Western Auction, which won “Best Consignments” and placed in “Best Photography” and “Value-Added” categories.

We also wish to congratulate all those auction houses who won or placed in our awards, including:

  • Back to the Past Collectibles
  • Braxton’s Auctioneering
  • Engstrom Auctions
  • Five Star Auction
  • Fox Valley Coins
  • Jewelry Exchange
  • Kaufman Realty and Auction
  • Liberty Shops
  • Matthew Bullock Auctioneering
  • Manor Auction
  • Meares Auction Group
  • Midwest Coins
  • Rolling M Auction
  • Star Coin and Currency

We encourage all of the houses named above to continue improving in the spirit of service, competition and community that all auctioneers and numismatists share, serving our clients and memberships. Continue to embrace the ethics of both the National Auctioneers Association and the American Numismatic Association.

We also thank Proxibid for its Internet options, quality control and customer service and all houses specializing in coins. We encourage them to visit these award-winning houses above. We know there are some houses that we missed in our rankings; as always, our experience may differ from yours and you should consider these award-winners our favorites. In sum, 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 26000 views since inception.

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.

Capitol Coin Auction Wins … “Best Shipping”

4Best Shipping_Capitol

Capitol Coin Auction, which already won our “Best Descriptions” Award, chalks up another in the Shipping category.


Capitol Coin’s shipping policy is online-user-friendly:

    Shipping Instructions: The Buyer is responsible for the actual cost of shipping and insurance. If the item is heavy or if you wish to ship outside the USA, please contact us for an estimate of shipping costs to your location. Unlike other auction companies, we DO NOT charge our buyers a fee for handling or packing their purchases. All items are shipped within 2-3 business days following the auction.

Capitol Coin won this category because it uses numismatic packing with adequate insurance. Basically, the auction house does the work at the Post Office and sends you your coins securely and quickly. That is all most bidders want.

Capitol Coin and Honorable Mention houses–Engstrom Auctions, Key Date Coins, SilverTowne, Five Star Auction, Midwest Coins and Star Coin and Currency–have an eBay-like etiquette when it comes to shipping. They’re not afraid to specialize in it, knowing that online buyers need quick, inexpensive shipping so as to become return customers.

SilverTowne Auction, in particular, is the fastest shipping–sometimes within hours after a session. Key Date Coins updates you regularly about your shipment.

We bristle when we read shipping instructions like this from an unnamed auction house on the portal:

    PLEASE READ- NEW SHIPPING POLICIES: Items will be shipped by The UPS Store. The UPS Store will charge for Pick-Up, Packing and Shipping Items.If you want your items shipped, please contact The UPS Store within 24 hours after the auction ends with payment information. Per Proxibid regulations-We no longer have access to your payment information to transfer to The UPS Store. You can provide this information to them by phone, fax or email. Their information is XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you don’t contact them within 24 hours, you will incur a $1 [fee].

Compare that with the shipping terms of service from our Honorable Mention houses:

Engstrom Auctions

Coins and jewelry will be shipped via United States Postal Service to locations in the United States at a flat rate of $10 (shipping, and handling) for most orders, which will be added to your invoice. If you have purchased coin books or items that do not fit into a small flat rate box, we will charge a flat rate of $17.50. Our intentions are to ship the day after the auction. All packaging is done by Engstrom Auction employees. We double check your items against our packaging slip to ensure you get the correct items.


Five Star Auction

Shipping Instructions: All items will ship by USPS with postal insurance with the exception of firearms and ammo. … Buyers will pay actual shipping cost with no handling fee. Shipping will be within 2 business days of receipt of payment for item (items) purchased. Your credit card will be charged for shipping at this time. Multiple items will be combined to save shipping costs when applicable.


Key Date Coins

Shipping Instructions: Key Date Coin Auctions does charge a … $3.00 to $5.00 Handling Fee per Package. Bidders are responsible for these charges and will be charged using the credit card on file. If you have a preferred shipped please contact Auction House. Shipping time will be within 1-3 days after payment has been received. We always try to Ship your Items the next Day after the Auction.


SilverTowne

Shipping Instructions: Auction lots will be shipped via US Mail within two business days upon receipt of payment. Packages $10.00 – $1,000.00 will be shipped Insured US Mail. Packages $1,001.00 and over will be shipped UPS.


Midwest Coins

Shipping Instructions: Winning bidders will be billed for all shipping, handling, and insurance charges. We do all packaging and shipping in-house and ship USPS with insurance in the amount of your invoice with $10.00 FLAT RATE for Shipping/Insurance. We will plan to ship your purchases within 3 BUSINESS days of auction payment being received. $10 FLAT RATE only applies to US purchases of coins.


Star Coin and Currency

Shipping Instructions: We provide fast low cost shipping to our bidders. We ship most items for $4 or less for all items won. Sometimes additional postal services or insurance may be added to the invoice if need, based upon value, weight, size and destination.


We congratulate Capitol Coin Auction and our Honorable Mention houses for their emphasis on shipping inexpensively, quickly and securely.

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.

Key Date Coins Wins … “Best Photography”

2Best Photography

Key Date Coin Auctions, operated by Eddie Caven of Oklahoma City–a top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Photography,” based on capturing the coin’s true condition and using as many shots as possible to make that happen.

Once again, this was a vigorously contested category with Capitol Coin Auction, Leonard Auction, Manor Auction, Matthew Bullock Auctioneering, McKee Coins, Weaver Coin and Currency, and Western Auction all vying for top honors. The deciding factor was Caven’s use of photography to augment his descriptions, showing VAMS, DMPLs and flaws with sharp, expandable pictures.

Last year Weaver Signature Coin Auction and Matthew Bullock Auctioneering tied for the best photo category honors.

As we mentioned last year, we are flummoxed that so many auctioneers on Proxibid, as competitive as you might anticipate NAA members to be, take shortcuts on photos, sometimes only displaying only obverse, sometimes depicting only a box or an album, sometimes neglecting to note key date coins, sometimes forgetting about lighting, and sometimes just blurring the whole shebang.

Check out this article for tips about digital photography.

To give you an example of why auction houses with the best photography almost always boast the best consignments and top ratings, check out these examples from winner Eddie Caven of Key Date Coins and our Honorable Mentions:

Key Date Coins

Key dateKeydate1Keydate2


Capitol Coin Auction

capitol


Leonard Auction

leonard


Manor Auction

Manor


Matthew Bullock Auctioneering

bullock


McKee Coins

mckee


Weaver Coin and Currency

weaver


Western Auction

western

Please do not take shortcuts on photography if you are paying Proxibid fees whose technology is programmed to share the onsite excitement of an auction with your Internet clientele. Proxibid has enhanced photo-expansion capabilities with a mere mouse-over in the bidding window. Nothing sells a coin with high bids as sharp, expandable photography.

Overall, we have seen better photos across the portal. Perhaps auctioneering competition is at the root of that. In any case, our hat’s off to Key Date Coins for its visual expertise as well as to our Honorable Mention houses.

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 Wins … “Best Descriptions”

1Best Descriptions

Capitol Coin Auction, operated by Brad Lisembee of Evansville, Indiana–a top-ranked house through much of 2012 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Descriptions,” based on numismatic knowledge–especially the ability to identify flaws and rarities in consignments.

Once again, this was a close competition, as you will see in the Honorable Mentions category, with eight houses named whose auctioneers also are experienced numismatists. Last year’s winner was SilverTowne Auction (Honorable Mention this year) which still enjoys veteran numismatist Larry Fuller calling coins as he sees them.

Other Honorable Mentions are Key Date Coins, Leonard Auction, Liberty Shops, McKee Coin Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Weaver Auction. (Key Date, Leonard and Weaver were Honorable Mentions last year, along with Capitol Coin.)

Click and expand the picture below to see how Brad Lisembee describes and adds to uncommon Civil War tokens slabbed by a top company.

Capitol

To give you an idea of how much information Capitol packs in its descriptions, click and expand the photo below.

Capitol1

As noted previously, several Honorable Mention houses gave Lisembee a run for his “money,” literally. SilverTowne’s Larry Fuller was present most of the year with his snappy descriptions; Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions remains one of the most meticulous graders on Proxibid; John Leonard of Leonard Auction is a conservative and respected numismatist; Owen McKee is sharing more of his numismatic knowledge; and Eddie Caven of Key Date Coins continues to describe flaws and VAMs with honesty and precision along with Dave Weaver of Weaver Auction and Jim Haver of Star Coin and Currency.

Moreover, all of the auctioneer-numismatists named above put a high premium on customer service and return customers. That’s why we’re delighted to honor Brad Lisembee with our Best Description Award and the above houses as Honorable Mentions in that category.

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.

Rolling M Auction Wins … “Most Improved”

1A_Most Improved

Rolling M Auction, an Ohio house, has been named “most improved” on Proxiblog, with owner Mark Murphy securing ever stronger consignments and improving photos and descriptions (with a little more to go on both).

Rolling M Auction won the award over four close Honorable Mentions, named later in this post.

Rolling M was an honorable mention in this category in 2012, as was Meares Auction Group.

Last year’s winner was Key Date Coins and owner Eddie Caven whose house continues to make strides in part, as Eddie mentioned last year, due to the recognition of Proxiblog. Watch for more on Key Date in upcoming awards.

Mark Murphy improved photography in the past year. This 1923 Peace Dollar was photographed in his Jan. 1, 2012 auction (click to expand):

1923_2011

Compare it to this year’s 1923 Peace Dollar up for bid on Jan. 1, 2013:

1923

The MS66 NGC grade is an indicator of the kinds of consignments Rolling M is offering.

Rolling M marketing efforts are superlative, including brochures mailed to previous bidders in addition to email blasts and other advertising. In this respect, his consignors must be truly happy with his promotions as they bring in both onsite and online bidders.

However, if Mark Murphy is to follow the same trajectory as Eddie Caven, he needs to continue improving photography (he’s having trouble capturing luster and details like VAM-like varieties) and should spend more time identifying flaws in coins in his descriptions (he catches what he can but misses some, too). With more effort in both categories, Rolling M would be in contention next year for an overall top coin auction on Proxibid.

We applaud Mark Murphy in winning this award. As mentioned previously, he had stiff competition from our Honorable Mention houses in this category, which include Back to the Past Collectibles, Engstrom Auctions, Liberty Shops Auction and Meares Auction Group–all with zero to low buyer’s premiums and excellent customer service.

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.