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.

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New Look, New Rankings

Proxiblog took a brief hiatus but now has returned with a new look, new rankings and new features to serve both auctioneers and bidders.


We have redesigned our site to be more viewer-friendly with larger fonts and easy-on-the-eyes color. We hope you approve!

Our rankings are becoming more consistent as our very top houses continue to offer ever choice consignments on a regular basis with reasonable premiums for buyers, quick shipping, excellent photography and other specialties, such as concise numismatic lot descriptions. You’ve seen almost every house in our top rankings for several months now, although ones at the very top continue to compete with each other based on where bidders are most likely to spend their numismatic dollars and not be disappointed when the shipment arrives at the front door.

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction was poised to be alone atop the rankings until Western Auction posted two alluring auctions in the same week with rare Morgans and other uncirculated scarce silver pieces. Winning in each auction was difficult. More than half of the lots in Weaver and Western auctions sold above retail.

Leonard Auction charges a higher buyer’s premium at 20% with a cash discount; however, John Leonard’s numismatic knowledge and terrific consignments almost always assure bidders that they will not be disappointed in their winnings. The trick here is to take the buyer’s premium into account but bid high if you really want a lot because you’ll often win it for less than your maximum.

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers continues to offer some of the best estate auction coins on the portal. SilverTowne offers regular coin auctions, both live and timed; and we bid on choice lots when we desire them, such as California Fractional Gold or holdered and raw coins. Because of the online and onsite audience, it is difficult to get steals on this site; but you will get authentic and often accurately graded coins. (Personal note: Our friend and professional numismatist, Larry Fuller, has been out of the pocket for awhile and we send him our very best wishes.)

We get to know auctioneers as friends and business clients. We know they are trying their best to keep standards high and have witnessed improvements across the portal. Sometimes, however, bidders forget that auctioneers do not make killings when they showcase coins on Proxibid. In addition to fees, consignment costs, shipping and more, even the best and most advertised sessions typically only bring $1500-$3000 or less to the auction company in profits. Hosting coin auctions is time-intensive, requires numismatic knowledge and photography skills unlike that of other collectibles auctions.

But buying coins as a hobby or investment calls for ever higher standards, and we will do our part to educate both auctioneer and bidder on the finer points.

One new feature planned this week is “Find the Flaw,” when we will depict a coin offered on Proxibid that has a flaw so subtle as to be missed. We will let you view the coin on one day and then reveal the flaw on the following day. We also will be spot-checking auctions for how they grade in their lot descriptions. We will post our first spot-check review this week on Southwest Bullion. We also will continue to do feature posts on standards and disseminate news and articles to help both bidder and auctioneer succeed in this very engaging but challenging field.

Finally, we will try to post each week day as we continue to upgrade the site. Thank you bidders and auctioneers for your patience and patronage! We appreciate you more than you know (and that appreciation also extends to 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.

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.

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 GWS Auctions for noting that the slab of this coin may have been tampered with. We know unscrupulous persons routinely open, extract and replace coins without breaking holders and even re-glue so that evidence is concealed. But it is not always easy to tell. Sometimes people try to crack open coins for resubmission and decide against that halfway through the process. Brigitte Kruse alerts the bidding audience that the slab has damage, advising to bid accordingly.


One Big Booyah to BidAlot Coin Auction for noting that this coin is holdered by a bottom-tier slabber, also advising to bid accordingly. We have seen some auctioneers quote MS66 and higher Red Book retail prices for basic silver melt coins.


Boo! to this unnamed auctioneer who hypes one of the bottom-tier slabs, claiming that the common 1900-O Morgan is rare and that this may be a good deal when the buyer is close to being cheated in our estimation. Don’t pretend to know coins when you do this.


Booyah! to Larry Fuller at Silvertowne Auctions for not only exposing the bottom-tier slab but also for giving a truer grade. These hyped slabs give the hobby a bad name; Larry makes it all better.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for hyping what looks like a $50 Morgan as super-rare and perhaps worth the ridiculous price of $6000 on the flip. We wish Proxibid would create a badge for laughable lot descriptions. But this really isn’t a laughing matter, especially if a bidder is a novice and falls for this untrustworthy hype.


Boo! to this auctioneer who showcases a 1922 No D cent whose reverse has three types–two cheap, one rare. When are auction houses on Proxibid ever going to learn that we need photos of obverse and reverse?


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for failing to show the reverse of purported California gold, without which we cannot discern genuine from replica with a price difference in the hundreds!


Boo! YET AGAIN to another unnamed auction house for failing to show the reverse of purported California gold. It may be gold, and that just might make it a counterfeit, which violates the Proxibid user agreement. For more information about California gold, click here.


One Big Booyah! to Scott Strosnider at Scott Auctions for noting a coin might be buffed and therefore damaged and not worth a high bid. Scott’s known for integrity. This is just one example.


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.

New Rankings, New Top House

Silvertowne Auctions has overtaken two of Proxiblog’s favorite houses, Western Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, to ascend to the top of our rankings, primarily because of the consistently reliable grading and lot descriptions of veteran numismatist Larry Fuller and frequent top-quality coin auctions by Rick Howard.

Back in the top rankings after several months’ hiatus is Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, which has some of the best coin photography on the portal and choice consignments accurately described.

New to the sidebar rankings are Leonard Auction and Capitol Coin Auction, both of which charge more than 15% buyer’s fee and had been excluded in the past from our top houses. But based on those auction houses’ superior consignments, numismatic knowledge and excellent customer service, we have amended our rules and will list exceptional companies like these in our rankings.

Also making an initial appearance is Southwest Bullion, which recently set online buyer’s fees at zero, with APN clearance and flat-rate shipping. We saw auctioneer Justin Quinn add rare and precious metals to one third of his lots, and we bid $15,000+ but failed to win one item, as most lots sold at retail or above. How does he do it? We suspect he is buying consignments directly rather than going through out-of-town coin dealers. Watch for a post on that this week.

Finally, Chaparral Trading Company made our rankings, featuring lower 15% online fees, good photography and other amenities.

You’ll also notice some of our regular top 20 houses missing from the new rankings. After several complaints from peer auctioneers and online coin buyers, we have decided to omit from sidebar rankings any house viewing maximum bids or allowing auctioneer/consignor bidding. We have run a half dozen articles on why these practices are frowned up, even when the auctioneers honestly only want to know where limits on an item are. Problem is, other houses take advantage of these computer-assisted irregularities. We’ve heard all the justifications and excuses. Fact is, ghost-bidding is unethical. Shill bidding is unethical. Auctioneers should know the wholesale value of items, especially coins, and can pass on underbid lots. And if consignors buyback their own coins, auctioneers can penalize them with fees.

For more on this issue, read this article.

In closing, please know that several of these houses seeing maximum bids are entirely reputable. We patronize their auction houses. We admire their auctioneers. But we have to institute this policy in keeping with Proxibid’s own standards and new badge rankings, which add a level of transparency and quality control, sure to enhance the portal’s reputation.

Congratulations to all in the top 20. Competition is stiffer than ever 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.

Putting Lower-Tier Slabs in their Place

You’ve heard us in our “Boos and Booyahs” page compliment Larry Fuller, veteran numismatist writing Proxibid descriptions for Silvertowne Auctions. One of his trademarks is putting a realistic grade on those MS66 holders that often encapsulate cleaned, lower grade, or silver melt Morgans.

Grades by PCGS and NGC are the most consistent. ANACS and ICG are also reliable. Second-tier holder companies include PCI, SEGS, Accugrade, and Dominion Grading Service. NumisTrust is less reliable but occasionally gets a grade right. National Numismatic Certification is even less consistent. All others that grade MS66 or MS67 on every coin are unreliable when compared with grading standards by the American Numismatic Association.

In general, a good rule to follow is tout the grade in the lot description only if the coin is holdered by PCGS, NGC, ANACS, ICG.

Here’s a series of lot descriptions from the past several Silvertowne auctions, so you can see how Larry Fuller does it. (Click to expand picture and read Larry’s description in the lower left corner.)






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 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 GWS Auctions for noting that this coin is fine 20 and appears to have been dipped, basically making this silver melt, as the 1885-O in this condition has no real numismatic value. We know some Proxibid coin auctions that would have called this deep-mirror prooflike and taken bidders for a numismatic ride. GWS knows coins and does a good job with descriptions.


One Big Booyah to Leonard Auction whose auctioneer John Leonard routinely assigns appropriate grades to hyped bottom-tier slabbers. We’re seeing these awful slabs increasingly on the portal because eBay’s quality control restricts them by not allowing sellers to refer to grades.


Booyah Weaver Auction! for lumping bottom-tier slabbed coins into one low-tier lot without bothering to photograph the inflated grades of each coin … or actually try to persuade bidders that the grades are legit, as some unscrupulous or numismatically ignorant Proxibid auctioneers do.


Boo! Deep Mirror? DMPL? This is flipping ridiculous! This unnamed auction house routinely believes or promotes the ridiculously hyped grades on flips of his consignors. This is basically silver melt. We continue to see Proxibid auctioneers unethically calling ordinary coins deep mirror prooflike (DMPL). For a coin to be deep mirror, it has to reflect type accurately 6 or more inches. To learn how to test for mirrors, read this article.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for showing pictures of a box rather than the coin … after stating that the coin has golden highlights. We’re selling coins, not boxes. When will Proxibid coin auctioneers understand that photography is everything for the online buyer? Houses that invest in photography get higher bids. If you’re going to sell online, treat that audience with the same courtesies as your onsite bidders.


Booyah Key Date Coins! for noting that the capitol holder states 1951 but 1954 coins are inserted in the holder, a small but important notation in the description and one that shows auctioneer Eddie Caven cares about accuracy in his regular coin auctions.


Booyah Munda Auction! for noting possible light cleaning on this coin. Digital photography often does not pick up cleaning, especially when it is only suspected (usually a dipping rather than a scouring). That’s why we need the auctioneer to inspect the coin and depict it as accurately as possible. It’s yet another method to insure return bidders and, in the end, helps consignors once again because buyers trust the house.


One Big Booyah! to Larry Fuller of Silvertowne Auctions, one of the top graders on the portal, who knows how to list and grade raw California gold coins, one of the most counterfeited coins on the Proxibid portal. We recommend all auctioneers invest in CoinFacts to identify California gold. Quick way to identify authenticity: There should be no bear on the back of the coin where a denomination will be displayed 1/4, 1/2, 1 “dollar.” The word dollar is critical. Bears were a means to sell replicas without being charged as counterfeiters by the federal government. For more information about California fractional gold, click here.


Booyah Leonard Auction! for the second time in a week for clearly identifying fake California gold as replicas. These typically are made of brass, have a bear on the reverse, and are worth no more than a few dollars whereas real California gold can be worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars. John Leonard, like Larry Fuller of Silvertowne, takes time to write accurate lot descriptions so that buyers can bid with confidence.


Booyah Star Coin and Currency! for noting solder on the reverse of this otherwise desirable gold coin. Without such notice, which is also in the title as well as the lot description, a bidder is apt to hurriedly place a maximum price and then complain later upon receiving the coin about the solder on the reverse. Better to deal with this upfront. Honesty as always is the best policy on Proxibid!


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.