Five Star Wins … “Best New Auction”

7Best Coin Auction_New Auction

Five Star Auctions, operated by Hank Pulley of Arapahoe, Nebraska–one of our first newcomers to rise immediately to top-house rankings–has won the category of “Best New Auction,” based on excellent consignments, low buyer’s premium (12.5%), and no reserves on coins.

Five Star also takes good photos of coins, with multiple shots, as in this slabbed example:

fivestar1

Consignments include PCGS and NGC holdered coins in addition to rare gold and silver–again, sold to the highest bidder. Here’s a typical selection:

fivestar2

Also impressive is its shipping policy: “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.”

Liberty Shops Auctions was a close second with Braxton Auctioneering and Back to the Past Collectibles–all honorable mentions–also in the running. All are worth a look … and a bid!

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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SilverTowne Wins … “Best Timed Auction”

Best Timed

SilverTowne Auctions, operated by Rick Howard of Leipsic, Ohio, in partnership with SilverTowne Coins of Winchester, IN, began scheduling regular timed auctions in 2012 featuring rare and affordable coins and jewelry and winning our award for “Best Timed” sessions.

This was a very close competition with one house a mere point behind and other houses essentially tied for third place within two points of overtaking SilverTowne, which won because of the selection of rare coins and value-added considerations (shipping, descriptions, quality of consignments, etc.).

Click and expand the photo below to see how SilverTowne identifies flaws, overgrading and condition, which proved to be the winning factor.

SilverTowne_Timed

Star Coin and Currency offers similar quality timed auctions with good descriptions and inexpensive, quick shipping and came closing to winning the category, but has an 18% BP (as opposed to SilverTowne’s 15%) and uses PayPal rather than APN. (Many bidders dislike PayPal because it eventually forces them to use its services rather than a credit card, taking funds directly from a bank account and depriving users of reward points and budgetary control.)

We also recommend timed sessions by Meares Auction Group, Jewelry Exchange and Liberty Shops Auctions, our other Honorable Mentions with Star Coin in this category. Auctioneers of these companies promote customer service and also possess numismatic expertise.

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.

Consequences of Hype

Without naming auction companies, this post looks at the consequences of unintentional and intentional hype of coin lots.

When we lose money in a Proxibid auction, we rarely complain. We placed the bid even though the auction company posted blurry photos. We won the lot even though the auctioneer hyped the coin out of genuine enthusiasm, numismatic ignorance, or misrepresentation. And we believed him.

But we also believe that we learned and paid for a lesson. We will bid lower, if we dare bid at all in future auctions.

Recently we purchased coins billed as “stunning deep mirror” Morgans that lacked luster and even a cartwheel effect. We purchased cents billed as “super mint state toned” that were artificially colored. We purchased half dollars billed as “high-end mint state” that were tooled. And so on.

We can forgive an occasional mistake; it happens. None of the auction houses mentioned are in our top company rankings.

Luckily for us, Proxibid has increased the number of coin-selling auction companies so that we can hone in on the best the portal has to offer. Badges are nice, but Proxibid lacks one for numismatic knowledge. That’s where we come in at Proxiblog.

The consequences of unintentional or intentional hype?

Yesterday we ran this quote from auctioneer Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions: “If you have a problem with an item or items please give us a call. We will do whatever we can to make your experience with Liberty Shops Auctions a great one. We understand a business isn’t made by new customers it is made by the same customers coming back again and again.”

Well said, Sean.

Liberty Shops Auction Offers 8% BP, Free Shipping

Liberty Shops Auctions is offering regular timed coin auctions with accurate lot descriptions, 8% online buyer’s premium and free shipping with coins sent within two days of auction.

Liberty is one of the new coin specialists auctioning items on Proxibid. Terms are reminiscent of an eBay seller. Good selection of lots with some auctions like this one featuring budget items and others, pricey coins.

We’re impressed with accurate numismatic lot descriptions, such as these examples noting dipping, cleaning and other problematic condition issues. (Click picture to expand.).

We anticipate more coin companies migrating to Proxibid, generating competition.

Southwest Bullion has the lowest BP on the portal with zero percent, APN clearance and inexpensive quick shipping.

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.