Top Houses Get Better; Others Dropped–Views at All-Time High!

Increasingly we’re seeing fewer new coin auctions on Proxibid worth bidding on, relying more on our top favorites that maintain standards in photography, consignments and customer service. Few can beat Brad Lisembee at Capitol Coin Auctions and Dave and Cheryl Weaver at Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.


For more than a few years we had been listing as favorite houses about a dozen that have maintained 2012 standards … but have failed to improve to 2014 standards requiring sharp photography, reliable lot descriptions and cherry consignments. We read notices on their sites stating, “Tell us how we can be better,” and then see the same blurry photographs or the same inferior lots.

A few houses have been dropped because their consignments have not warranted a lot of interest–consistently, for the past several months. As soon as they get better coins, they’ll likely be back in our rankings.

Technically, we have dropped all houses that failed to earn a 24.5 out of 25.

Despite that news, coin auctions on Proxibid have been exciting. Fox Valley, Capitol Coin, Weaver, Krueger and Krueger, SilverTowne, Leonard, Star Coin, Jewelry Exchange, Back to the Past, Meares, et. al.–who could ask for a better selection!

Even Kaufman Auction is getting coins shipped in a timely manner and posting photos within a week of the event. McKee Coins is improving, as are Auctions By Wallace and A New Day Auctions.

Proxiblog also had one of its best months ever with almost 1500 views in 30 days. See our graph below:

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We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We post daily during the week, which takes time and effort, and do this for educational purposes, informing auctioneers about best practices and viewers about numismatics. With our sponsorships, we fund media ethics 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 new work, Online Coin Auctioneering or Basic Coin Design 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.


New Rankings; 18-Month Views Exceed 40,000 Worldwide!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category added one new auction in the past month, EBW Coins, which features good photography, numismatic lot descriptions and zero percent buyer’s premium (with Greysheet opening bids, however). The big news is that Proxiblog’s audience continues to grow with more than 40,000 views in the past 18 months, raising total views to 55,000 since its inception three years ago.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction continues to hold the top spot again this month. The duo of Dave and Cheryl Weaver are doing everything right. Lot descriptions are accurate. Photos expandable. Shipping and customer service just fine.

Our other trusty stand-bys continue to excite us every time they schedule an auction: Capitol Coin Auction, SilverTowne, Leonard Auction, Meares Auction, and Fox Valley Coins.

The big news in our ratings concerns Back to the Past Collectibles and Star Coin and Currency. C. Scott Lovejoy and Jim Haver, respectively, continue to improve consignments, elevating their rankings. Back to the Past, in particular, with its 10% buyer’s fee will challenge any top house in our rankings with more and rarer consignments.

Leonard, Capitol, Meares and Fox Valley all boast great photos, consignments, service and descriptions.

Other houses to watch are A New Day Auction and Auctions by Wallace. Like Lovejoy and Haver, Kendra Stevens of A New Day and Sheena Wallace are continuously improving their events. Now they need top consignments.

Our advice to them is to place a classified ad in local newspapers seeking consignments or offering to buy collections. You’ll be surprised at how far that last recommendation goes, especially when estates are transferred.

Consignments typically are key to our rankings. Any house scoring 24.5 points practices and/or exceeds our Honor Roll standards.

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

As for Proxiblog, we keep growing. We are in the process of upgrading our site (we hope you like the cleaner look). As the map below shows, we are reaching more viewers in Canada, England and India. Once again, the most accessed post was California Gold, real, replica and fake. That post averages between 400+ views per month.

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We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We are on hiatus at the moment but post every weekday during September-June. We 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 new work, Online Coin Auctioneering or Basic Coin Design 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.


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.

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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.

Tech Glitch Excites, Then Deflates

A technical glitch last week eliminated transparency notices–maximum-bid and ghost-bidding warnings–on certain coin auctions. At first, we were elated and ready to bid with confidence on several different auctions. Then we checked with Proxibid, and soon the glitch was fixed and transparency notices were restored.

Suffice to say we bid cautiously or not at all on any coin auction that sees maximum bids or allows ghost-bidding.

This is just our opinion. Feel free to do what you want on the portal.

Factor this, though: In normal auctions (yes, “normal” is the correct word), we bid above retail on certain coins because of condition rarities or other desired lots. Because bidding is so intense in a Western, Weaver, Capitol, Leonard, Key Date, SilverTowne, Bullock or other top-ranked auctions (see rankings to the right), we only win one tenth of our maximums on a good day and often, nothing at all on a bad day, even though our maximums are so high. That indicates other bidders are bidding with confidence–or overconfidence!

Certain companies such as Southwest Bullion and Liberty Shops Auctions are on to something adopting ZERO or minimum buyers’ premiums to spark competition and bidding wars (and we’ve been in a few of late on Weaver and Western, in particular).

There is NO WAY for auctioneers to secure these retail sell-throughs by viewing maximums and ghost-bidding (often combined with overgrading and hype). By insisting on playing it conservatively at the expensive of bidders, in our opinion, they may be harming their brands.

Conversely, we know that consignors are rough on auctioneers, forcing them to adopt these bad auctioneering habits. Remember, though, sellers need you. You set the rules. And sellers who insist on hidden reserves that force maximum-bid viewing should be charged buybacks for your efforts on their behalf.