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.)

9words_lotsinfo_weaver

One Big Booyah! to Weaver Coin and Currency Auction for describing type, date, condition on obverse and reverse, plus acid test … all in 9 words!


capitol_datesgradesdetails

An Even Bigger Booyah to Capitol Coin Auction! for doing the same with three impaired coins … in a dozen words!


common

One Big Boo! (or several) to this auction house that featured an auction with common-date coins that might be found in change, opening with bids way above their actual worth. Hardly any lots had bids a few hours before the auction start.


damage_noted

Booyah Southwest Bullion! for noting damage in the title and description of the coin. Note Justin Quinn routinely adds other data, including value and condition, in his lots.


meares_condition

Booyah Meares Auction! for the value added in noting that “We” is missing in these two-cent coins. The “We” on ribbon is the main device that denotes condition in this series.


pvc_investment

Boo! to this auction company that continues to label silver-melt coins as “investment,” a dangerous word, by the way, for any auctioneer to use in a description. There’s no investment here in this PVC-damaged coin. The shipping fee and buyer’s premium far exceed the coin’s actual worth!


silvermelt

Boo! to yet another auction company that opens with a $49 bid for an improperly cleaned common-date Morgan. Does anyone actually buy these lots? If so, they should stop doing that and start reading numismatic publications.


silvertowne_rimdings

Booyah SilverTowne Auction! for noting rim dings that often are difficult to spot in online photographs. SilverTowne is known for accurate lot descriptions.


slider_notgem

Boo! to this auction company that calls an impaired slider an MS65 Gem! The only thing Gem about this coin is the hype.


StarCoin_Damage

Booyah Star Coin and Currency! for noting damage in an otherwise nice, scarce quarter eagle gold coin. Whenever an auctioneer spots a condition issue with a coin, that problem should be noted in title and/or description. Jim Haver routinely does that for his bidders.


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 List, Old Standbys on Top!

New rankings feature old stand-bys, all offering excellent consignments with sharp photos and numismatic lot descriptions. This month Western regains the top slot based on quality consignments of raw coins and Carson City offerings typical of a western USA house.

Essentially tied with Western was Leonard Auction, Capitol Coin Auction, SilverTowne Auction, Fox Valley Coins and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction. All feature quality consignments with expandable photography. Their owners are both auctioneers and numismatists (or have employees on staff who are), meaning that each time their catalogs go up on Proxibid, they trigger excitement. One never really knows what one will find, but you can bet it will be good.

Rising in the rankings are Liberty Shops Auctions, Engstrom Auction, Star Coin and Currency, Jewelry Exchange and Meares Auction. Black and Gold Auction makes an appearance with 10% buyer’s fee, good consignments, acceptable photography and numismatic descriptions.

Returning to the rankings is James Peterson Auction, which features some of the best consignments in regular Proxibid auctions. Best, in that you can find the rarest, most desirable coins anywhere. However, the company also touts self-slabbed and bottom-tier coins–all MS67–that may be cleaned, sliders or low mint state. But descriptions will tout them as if slabbed by PCGS. If you know that going in, you can score big in his sessions without gambling on those bottom-tier slabs that top houses won’t even offer.

Proxiblog has scored big with viewers. We are approaching 30,000 views. The most popular post in the past week has been:

The all-time most popular post, averaging 25 views per week, is:

Finally, we thank auction houses invited to sponsor Proxiblog for their donations to our scholarship fund at Iowa State University. We also will donate for each copy of Basic Coin Design purchased on Amazon Kindle.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Proxiblog was sponsored by

Meares Auction Group


Meares Auction Group is conducting a Boy Scouts benefit auction at 8 p.m. Eastern, Saturday, Nov. 3. Check out the catalog by clicking here.

Meares Auction Group is one of the original Proxibid companies, operated by Darron and David Meares, second generation auctioneers from Pelzer, S.C.. Darron is the current Vice President of the South Carolina Auctioneers Association and also is the founder of Meares and Associates, LLC, an appraisal and public speaking firm located in Upstate South Carolina.

Darron Meares and his company welcome coin consignments for their regular Proxibid auctions. Recently he lowered buyer’s premiums to 5%, showing his leadership in serving both consignor and buyer in spurring competition for top-bids and online auction excitement. See this post about his latest industry innovation.

Meares Auction Groups specializes in a variety of services, including personal property auctions. While they consider all of the items in home, business or storage, they serve Proxiblog clients primarily with coins and collectibles.

Photography and lot descriptions are of high quality and accuracy. Shipping is quick and secure.

For consignors looking for a top Proxiblog house, consider these services by Meares Auction Group:

  • Computerized clerking and cashier systems to automate the auction process
  • State of the art sound systems for auction day
  • Complete turn-key operation of your auction with a highly trained member of our staff assigned to your job
  • Licensed auction professionals that care
  • The option of live, real-time online auctions to serve more customers in more places
  • The option of timed, eBay-style, auctions run from our partner company in Omaha, Nebraska

If you’re interested in consigning, or just knowing more about this nationally known auction house, click here.

We thank Darron Meares and Meares Auction Group for sponsoring Proxiblog’s scholarship fund to help ease student debt and create the next generation of auction-house bidders! If you would like to sponsor a week’s worth of Proxiblog, email mjbugeja@yahoo.com

Meares’ 5% BP a Big Hit

Well, we tried to place winning bids in Meares Auction Group’s Oct. 24 session; but the bidding was so fierce that all of our several maximums failed, proving once again that lowering buyer’s premiums in the spirit of auctioneering always is the best way to spark enthusiastic bidding.

Auctioneer Darron Meares says the idea of moving to the 5% buyer’s premium came from watching other successful coin auctioneers on Proxibid and discussing trends with some of the members of Proxibid’s team.

“When we began selling coins on Proxibid we were one of the few auctioneers selling coins on the online platform – this, mind you, was in 2006-07 when Proxibid was in it’s infancy,” Meares says. “We were charging 18% BP–yes, I know, it was even high to us–but we were learning the ropes.

“Funny side note: we had buyer’s located within 30 miles of us that were paying 24% PLUS shipping (10% BP for company, 5% for Proxibid, 3% for credit card processing and 6% state sales tax). Of course, that is before the South Carolina House passed a law where domestic coins and currency were exempt from sales tax.

“Whew – those were the days! BUT STILL PEOPLE BOUGHT FROM US!”

“Now,” he adds, “as times have changed and the market is flooded with auctioneers–good and bad–we had to roll with the punches. I handle the coin auctions from start to finish, so we are not spending a lot on other personnel.

“In looking at the numbers, the 5% would cover Proxibid’s fee and anything sold in house could be tossed back to the company to cover my time (which does have to be accounted for).

“We have received numerous phone calls, emails and even one buyer that picked up coins today all thanking us for lowering the BP. We had one buyer from Washington state that said, ‘I found your auction BECAUSE of the 5% BP. I don’t buy from auctioneers that have BP in the 10% range unless there is something I have to have–and then I don’t pay full price. Anyone that charges over 10% gets overlooked by me and most coin buyers.'”

“Looking at our numbers and comparing them to spot metals around our current level, we gained money. Moreso, in looking at the buyer export from Proxibid we gained 69 new buyers that had never registered for our coin auctions.

“It was win-win.”

We hope other auctioneers reading this lower their buyer’s premium. Keep in mind that Meares does not see maximums, does not ghost-bid, offers APN credit card assurance, and is a veteran auctioneer who reads and appreciates how Proxiblog is safeguarding the hobby.

Watch for a post soon on our Honor Roll list, which began in May 2011 with only 11 Proxibid auctions that charged a 15% buyer’s premium or lower. Now it has more than 100.

Meares joins Southwest Bullion, Liberty Shops Auctions and other proactive companies realizing the best way to spark competition is to provide an even playing field with good online photos, best practices and low BP.

We encourage you to bid in Meares’ auctions, knowing you probably will beat our bids because of the competition as we only bid greysheet and then sell our coins to raise funds for our scholarship fund at Iowa State University.


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 lowers BP to 5%


Meares Auction Group, one of our long-standing top ranked houses, has lowered its buyer’s premium to 5% for its Oct. 24 auction featuring more than 400 lots of key date coins, commemoratives, silver, type sets and more.

We have noticed this downward trend with auctioneers trying to spur online competition by making calculations for buyers’ premiums easy to figure and 10% or lower, as well as ZERO by Southwest Bullion and Liberty Shops Auctions.

“The October 24th coin auction contains coins from two collectors – one is an estate out of Georgia where the consignor decided to sell the collection instead of keeping it at his home,” says auctioneer Darron Meares. “The estate coins consist of many lots of silver, over 20 commemoratives, multiple lots of Morgan and Peace dollars, GSA Horde CC Morgans and many more. Right now we are over 425 lots!”

Meares says the reason for lowering the buyer’s premium “is to help alleviate some of the ‘calculations’ buyers have to conduct before deciding how much to pay for coins in our auction. We are reducing down to the 5% range as this covers the amount we have to pay Proxibid to run the auction on their servers.

Meares adds, “By personally handling the coin inventory and uploading of items, I have reduced the impact on our company where we do not have to rely on the buyer’s premium to cover expenses as we once did. Many auction companies use buyer’s premium as a revenue source; we have always used it to offset costs to our sellers.”

That’s why Meares Auction Group has been in our top rankings.

New Badge and Partnership

A handful of our top houses received what they deserved, and that is, a new gold-ribbon Preferred Partner badge for the highest levels of ethics and service.

Several Proxiblog houses have received the gold-ribbon badge, including Jewelry Exchange, Midwest Coins, Weaver’s Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Meares Auction Group, and K&K Auction (Krause), among others.

We believe the badge system is important to frictionless bidding on the portal. We especially like this new badge because it highlights service and ethics, two key components in our own rankings.

“Our badging system was born out of two necessities,” says Jason Nielsen, Proxibid’s quality control officer. “Our buyers want to be able to easily identify those sellers who excelled in specific areas, and our sellers who excel in specific areas want to be showcased on the site. The Preferred Partner badge highlights those sellers who meet the highest standard of service and who have formed a strategic partnership with Proxibid.”

The strategic partnership means that the auction company has signed an exclusive contract with Proxibid. This strategic partnership provides the auction company with perks others don’t receive such as access to a Client Services Manager, more auction management tools and special discounts.

The only badge left now is one for photography, the most important component for successful online bidding.

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.