Charge Consignors for Reserves

consignor-agreement_counterfeit

One of our top-ranked auctioneers recently held a session on Proxibid, offering coins slabbed by ICG–a good, but not the best–holdering company. Reserves were set at PCGS levels. We knew the result. Those coins were not going to sell and auctioneer Darren Meares was going to have to foot the bill.


In this case, we’ll let email correspondence speak for itself:

PROXIBLOG: APRIL 23, 2:35 p.m.

Just a note for your consignor with high reserves on ICG coins. Typically, ICG coins grade down two notches, sometimes one, rarely crossover, with PCGS. The result of the reserves is I stopped bidding. Cases in point: On your mercury dimes graded ms67FB, I bid $35 and did not meet the reserve. Bidders do take chances on ICG coins. But here’s the reality: an MS66 or MS66FB ranges from $25-35. So bidders like me look at the coins and decide the chances of crossover. This, for example, is a horrendous ICG coin. The reverse looks stained:

icg


MEARES: APRIL 23, 2:35 p.m.

I am in agreement… that is one reason I put the disclaimer on the lot prior to all of the graded coins. He is one of our larger consignors and I have done my best to tell him about buying from these non-traditional grading companies. I will be dropping the reserves on these lots – I do hate reserves, but sometimes you get stuck with them to keep consignors.


PROXIBLOG: MAY 1, 8:45 a.m. I admire the note you put on your auction yesterday about top holdering companies. I also see that your consignor had 37 passed and about 10 sold. I know how hard auctioneers like you work on behalf of your consignors. Your consignor in this case is a fortunate man.



MEARES, MAY 1, 8:57 a.m.
: I am rewriting my terms for consignors in the next few weeks. One of the main points is no reserves on coins from ‘other than major graders’. They will all be sold to the highest bidder. … I’m thinking of also adding a no-sale fee for the ones that do have reserves attached.


We concur. Consignors who insist on high reserves should be held via contract to pay fees for items that do not sell. As Darron puts it, “It takes the same amount of time and effort to sell a coin as it does to try and meet a reserve price.”

We think an 8% of value fee is fair for lots with reserves that do not sell.

What do you think?

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, 2000 Views per Month

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category did not add any new auctions to our favorite sellers list; however, a half dozen or so improved so that a full 16 houses earned a 24.5 out of 25, showing continuing improvement.


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction takes the top spot again this month with SilverTowne a close second, thanks to a dazzling array of quality rarities. Both Weaver Auction and SilverTowne provide good descriptions, quick shipping, and regular auctions.

Weaver has slightly better photos, earning that house the sole 25-point best ranking.

Leonard, Capitol, Meares and Fox Valley all boast great photos, consignments, service and descriptions. In most cases, houses failed to score a full 25 points because of problems with photos or higher than average buyer’s premiums.

Rounding out the top 10 are Back to the Past, Star Coin and Currency, Certified Rare Coin Auctions and Five Star Auction.

It should be noted that some of our favorite houses are not offering as many auctions on Proxibid. Those are dropping in the rankings because of that. But we’re always on the lookout for their return.

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

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 50,000 page views. In the past month, we surpassed 1820 views worldwide. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines. Once again, the most accessed post was California Gold, real, replica and fake. That post averages between 50-100 views per month.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Please consider making a donation. We post every weekday and 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 Basic Coin Design book 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.


More Than 16,000 Views in 2013!

Competition among coin-selling houses on Proxibid continues to be intense with very little difference in services among our top dozen or so houses. All in our rankings offer quality coins, ship reasonably and post expandable photos of obverse and reverse. We welcome back K&K Auction Service, which is running coin auctions again. Krueger and Krueger Auction, one of our favorites, no longer sees maximum bids and so appears in our rankings. And Certified Rare Coin Auctions makes its first appearance with stunning coins. That said, Capitol Coin Auction still leads the pack with detailed lot descriptions, accurate grading, low buyer’s fee, quick shipping and fine numismatic photography and consignments–excellent on all levels.

SilverTowne Auctions, Leonard Auction, Weaver Auction, Gary Ryther Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Fox Valley Coins rank among the top 10 in our assessment. But so many more listed on the right sidebar are offering fine consignments, good customer service and other features. Among the most difficult categories to master, however, are sharp numismatic photography that captures luster and color in addition to accurate lot descriptions about grade and condition.

As we always note in our rankings, these are based on our experience and should be considered Proxiblog’s favorite houses. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we are pleased that our viewership keeps improving, with more than 16,500 views worldwide in 2013. We provide this blog for free to raise scholarship money via our online account with the Iowa State Foundation and via our numismatic work, Basic Coin Design, on Amazon Kindle.

See the countries that visit our site in the screenshot below (click to expand):

16000views

As for individual posts, the most accessed article remains “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which enjoyed 2058 views in 2013.

See this screenshot for other top posts (click to expand):

topposts

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” a Second Time

7Best Coin Auction

Capitol Coin Auction has won our award for “Best Coin Auction” on the Proxibid portal, garnering “Best Shipping,” “Best Photography,” and “Value Added” honors with honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions” and “Best Consignments.” This is the second year in a row that Capitol Coin Auction has won the top honor.

A close second, once again, was Leonard Auction. It won “Best Consignments” with honorable mentions in “Value-Added,” “Best Photography” and “Best Descriptions.”

Star Coin and Currency made a great showing this year, winning “Best Timed Auction” with honorable mentions in “Most Improved,” “Best Descriptions” and “Best Shipping.”

Southwest Bullion and Coin also had a particularly successful year in our rankings, winning the competitive “Best Descriptions” category and honorable mentions in “Most Improved” and “Best Photography.”

SilverTowne Auctions won “Best Shipping” and had honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions,” “Value-Added” and “Best Consignments.”

Meares Auction won “Most Improved” and had honorable mentions in “Best Shipping” and “Best Consignments.”

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction had honorable mentions in the important categories of “Best Photography,” “Best Descriptions,” “Best Consignments” and “Value-Added.”

The houses above are runners-up in our “Best Coin Auction” category.

We also praise and recommend our other houses that placed in our various competitions, including:

  • Back to the Past Collectibles
  • Black and Gold Auctions
  • Braden Auction Services
  • Decatur Coin and Jewelry
  • Engstrom Auctions
  • Five Star Auction
  • Fox Valley Coins
  • Gary Ryther Auctioneers
  • Heuckman Auction
  • Jewelry Exchange
  • Kaufman Realty and Auction
  • McKee Coins
  • Midwest Coins
  • Rolling M Auction
  • Schultz Auctioneers
  • Western Auction

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.

SilverTowne, Capitol Auction Win … “Best Shipping”

4Best Shipping_SilverTowne

SilverTowne Auction and Capitol Coin Auction win the shipping category because they send winnings to buyers without charging handling fees or higher fees for each additional lot (a practice that baffles us because the more lots a customer wins, the better for the house and Proxibid).

We wish more Proxibid auctions can learn from SilverTowne and Capitol Coin Auction. SilverTowne keeps it simple: “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.”

Capitol Coin Auction, which won the category last year, has one of the best policies on the portal:

    Shipping Instructions: All items will be shipped via the U.S. Postal Service. The Buyer is responsible for the actual cost of shipping and insurance. Unlike most 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.

Some auction houses on Proxibid refuse to ship in-house, using third parties that require your credit card data (unsafe practice) or charge ungodly fees for coins, even though supplies are free at the US Post Office. Take a look at this post about one such company.

Compare that with the shipping terms of service from our other 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. … 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: 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. We will ship coins anywhere in the world and shipping will cost accordingly. Multiple items will be combined to save shipping costs when applicable.


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.


Meares Auction Group

Shipping Instructions: Minimum shipping charge for is $2.00 and the prices will be adjusted with the number of items that you purchase. The prices do not double or triple, but reflect the weight shipped and the distance that they are shipped. For more information you may log onto http://www.usps.com for shipping rates and zone information. We insure packages up to the purchase price.


Jewelry Exchange

Shipping Instructions: Packages valued under $100 are sent uninsured via USPS First Class Mail or Priority Mail; packages valued at $100 to $499 are sent via USPS Insured at the buyer’s risk; packages valued at $500 or more are sent via USPS Registered Mail. Shipping is charged at the USPS published rates.


We congratulate SilverTowne and 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.

Leonard Auction Wins … “Best Consignment”

3Best Consignments_Leonard

Leonard Auction, operated by John Leonard of Addison, Ill., has won the category of “Best Consignments,” based not only on the caliber of rarities but also on raw coins that actually grade as described with PCGS or NGC. Fox Valley Coins was a very close second with its Nov. 23, 2013 auction featuring some of the best coins we had seen all year.

Western Auction won the category in 2013 and also in 2012, tying in that year with James Peterson Auction. This year both of those companies were included in Honorable Mention along with Fox Valley Coins, SilverTowne Auctions, Capitol Coin Auction, Kaufman Realty and Auctions, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, and Decatur Coin and Jewelry.

To give you an example of coins that John Leonard routinely offers, look at this slate of brilliant gold coins augmenting top-notch raw key date silver lots.

leonard_consignments

Some of Proxiblog’s acquisitions from Leonard have been profiled in Coin World, as in this piece.

Among the best auctions in 2013 on Proxibid was the Nov. 23 session by Fox Valley Coins. See this slate of Morgans as an example:

FoxValley

The condition of coins in that auction had the look of “age,” lots stored away for decades in some vault or bank box. Bidding was frenetic, with almost every cherry lot selling at retail; or above.

Meares Auction Group also came close to winning with recent bankruptcy auctions. Darron Meares, auctioneer, also has some of the best terms of service on the portal, with low buyer’s premiums.

SilverTowne Auctions consistently offers some of the best lots on Proxibid. It holds more coin auctions than any other company on the portal and thus was a very strong contender.

And our long-time favorite, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, continues to impress us with frequent quality auctions, innovations and new directions.

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.

Meares Auction Group Wins … “Most Improved”

1A_Most Improved

Meares Auction wins our most improved category for enhancements in photography, descriptions and consignments–quite a leap, considering these are among the most desired characteristics of top online houses.

Meares Auction featured a frenetic series of high-bid bankruptcy auctions in August, with 5% buyer’s fee, among the lowest on Proxibid. We anticipate Meares Auction Group to improve even more as the company is building consignments for 2014 auctions.

Below is an example of Meares’ photography enhancements (click to expand).

Meares_photo

Close second to Meares is another long-time Proxibid auction house. Gary Ryther Auctioneers enhanced photography, consignments and descriptions. See this article in Coin Update News.

Meares’ low BP was the reason his house surpassed Ryther’s.

Rolling M Auction won the “Most Improved” award last year, again because of enhancements in photography. That company is an honorable mention this year, with slight improvement in photography. Rolling M. would be one of our top favorite houses if it upgraded its photography one more notch, primarily to capture luster in raw coins. Its consignments are among the best on the portal, and its publicity and promotion excellent.

If you are an auctioneer and want to earn top dollar for your consignors, you need to work on photography.

We have mentioned in prior posts that competition has increased on the Proxibid coin portal. That is why we have a bevy of honorable mentions this year for houses that have either upgraded photography, descriptions or both. They are:

  • Back to the Past Collectibles
  • Braden Auction Services
  • Engstrom Auction
  • Jewelry Exchange
  • Midwest Coins
  • McKee Coins
  • Star Coin and Currency

Back to the Past Collectibles is in the process of improving photography. Engstrom Auction is dedicated to continuous improvement and routinely solicits feedback on its auctions. Jewelry Exchange, known for accurate descriptions, is working on photography to capture luster. Midwest Coins has improved photography. McKee Coins’ photography is much improved. We’re waiting for top-dollar consignments, though. Star Coin and Currency has honed descriptions and photography, too.

Next category for TOP Awards is Best Descriptions, featuring some of Proxiblog’s favorite sellers. Stay tuned!

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.

Get Catalogs Up at Least a Week Prior to Sale!

nocatalog
We are flummoxed by auction houses that wait until the last minute (typically day or two) before posting their catalogs. Likewise, we are impressed by houses like Capitol Coin Auction and SilverTowne that post their catalogs months or weeks in advance. The latter take advantage of free advertising in the Coins and Currency category of Proxibid.

The photo above is for one of our favorite auction houses with a Proxibid session four days from the writing of this post. It still doesn’t have a catalog. Also, this house is known by frequent bidders to be very slow in shipping coins. Probably only one person is assigned to do the entire auction from photos to shipping. Too bad. The company is losing out to early bird posters like Weaver Signature Coin and Currency.


True, there are risks posting catalogs too early, especially if your house is selling bullion with reserves or consignor-set opening bids. Silver and gold prices change daily and so those opening bids might not apply weeks in advance. However, late posting does not apply to auction houses that do not see maximum bids or allow shill bidding and that feature choice consignments. You’re simply missing out on an opportunity to showcase those consignments so that bidders like us can decide where to spend our hard-earned auction dollars.

On occasion, with our favorite houses such as Western Auction, for instance, we will email the auction house and ask when the next catalog is expected to be posted, so that we can budget accordingly.

We’re not alone. There are major buyers, bidders and resellers who target favorite houses and who bypass others with tardy catalogs.

If you’re going to pay Proxibid and APN fees, and print catalogs and advertise your sessions, you should be prompt in posting catalogs to keep pace with growing and intense competition on the portal as new companies like Tangible Investments and Decatur Coin and Jewelry–and veteran ones like Meares Auction Group, Leonard Auction and Gary Ryther, among others–set new standards in the Coin and Currency 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.

Meet Darron Meares, Competitive Auctioneer!

Yesterday we ran a post about a non-competitive eBay-like “Buy It Now” seller who had a 60% mark-up on a common Morgan dollar. We promised to showcase a real auctioneer and highlight his competitive spirit. Meet Darron Meares, Meares Aucion Group, of Pelzer, S.C.


darron
Darron Meares subscribes to Proxiblog and has taken our advice on low buyer’s fees and more in the past four years. He also operates one of our top-ranked houses, due to his competitive spirit.

In his upcoming Aug. 5-6 auctions on Proxibid, featuring 650 lots of gold, silver, copper coins out of US Bankruptcy Court, he charges 5% buyer’s fee with sharp, expandable photos, inexpensive shipping and $1 opening bids on all lots. Click the picture below to read more about the sale and Meares’ numismatic knowledge and auctioneering prowess:

meares

“In the competitive spirit,” he writes, “we are starting all opening bids low to even the playing field.”

Take a look now at the sharp photography, enhanced in recent years:

darron1

Now look at the honesty of his lot descriptions, noting that the roll of Ike dollars is not brilliant uncirculated (suggesting MS64-66) but uncirculated (suggesting MS60-62):

meares1

This is why we so admire Meares Auction Group. The owner is experienced, open to online recommendations, numismatically savvy, and competitive to the hilt. Compare that with yesterday’s eBay-like seller, and you can see why Meares is one of our favorite 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.

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.