Approaching 50,000 Views, Two Houses Soar!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category remains relatively stable with the top 15 or so houses featuring excellent consignments, quality photos and excellent customer service. Back to the Past Collectibles soared into the top 10 by upgrading its photography. We wish one or two other favorite houses at the bottom of our rankings also felt the same way.


Capitol Coin Auction remains in the top slot. If you bid in its March 1, 2014 auction, you know why. Top lots. Accurate numismatic descriptions. Sharp photography. Low buyers’ premium. Great customer service. It’s difficult to beat Brad Lisembee who has perfected the online coin trade.

SilverTowne Auction continues to amaze us with auction after auction with high standards across the board. Leonard Auction is known for top-quality consistency. Meares Auction consistently improves from consignments to photography.

Also holding steady or trading top places with the best coin auctions on the portal are Certified Rare Coin Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, Southwest Bullion, Western Auction, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Gary Ryther Auctioneers, Jewelry Exchange, Fox Valley Coins and Krueger and Krueger.

Two houses catapulted into our top 10. Spencer Auction holds infrequent sessions, but when it does, it features top coins, low buyer’s fee, excellent customer service and great consignments. Same can be said about Back to the Past Collectibles with a 10% buyer’s premium. It broke into the top 10 because C. Scott Lovejoy worked diligently, consulting with us, to perfect his photography. Below is an example (click to expand):

124

You can even see the metal flow on a 2000-year-old coin. Photography is essential in the online bidding world. Watch for a post about Lovejoy’s enhancements later this week!

We hate to call out houses for lack of improvement, even if they are among our favorites. One house in particular has attempted to improve photos but not enough to tell varieties and flaws. If it did, it would be in our top 10. The house does a great marketing job and scores exceptionally high sales because of it. So it may feel no need to improve. We find ourselves bidding on slabbed coins only because we cannot see which coins are dipped. Because we suspect many of the lots are from coin dealers, we are doubly cautious.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 600 posts and are approaching 50,000 page views. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines.

Top view again goes to our post popular post: California Gold, real, replica and fake, closing in on 100 views per week.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. 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 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.


Advertisements

New Rankings, More Than 40,000 Views!

Competition among coin-selling houses on Proxibid continues to be intense, with more houses making small enhancements that result in big gains with online bidders. For the first time ever in our rankings, three houses–Southwest Bullion and Coin, Capitol Coin Auctions, and Decatur Coin and Jewelry–earned perfect 25-point scores based primarily on low or zero percent buyer’s fee with accurate numismatic descriptions, sharp photography and quick, inexpensive shipping. Other top-house standbys continue to focus on continuous improvement, indicating that standards are rising with consignments across the portal in the coin and currency category.

SilverTowne Auctions, Leonard Auction, Weaver Auction, Western Auction, Gary Ryther Auctions, Meares Auction, Engstrom Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Jewelry Exchange, focus on the basics and earn our respect as our favorite houses. Each has innovated a component of their auction. Consignments continue to be cherry.

What passes for second-tier in our rankings would have been top houses a year ago–yet another indicator of improvement on the portal. In fact, we’re excited when any of them schedule an auction because we admire their customer service and consignments. Each of these houses has something special to offer the bidder and consignor, for that matter!

We also commend other companies on our list that may still need a little work on photography, shipping or lot descriptions.

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 took a break in August to welcome students back to campus. 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.

Our audience keeps growing! On Aug. 23, 2013, we surpassed 40,000 views!

views

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 Grows: more views, new sponsors, updated rankings

Proxiblog’s success is due in part to companies and bidders who visit our site (11,200 views in 3 months!), debate policy, compete in the auctioneering tradition and show their generosity by sponsoring scholarships to ease student debt.

We are honored to serve you! And you have served us, as well, sharing your knowledge and interacting with others on our site.

Our Honor Rolls now boast 80 auction houses, up from 11 in 10 months. Best of all, photography has improved significantly across the portal!

Our most popular page remains “Boos and Booyahs!” with our “Articles” page (a veritable book about online auctioneering) a close second. Most of our viewers are from the United States with Canada and Great Britain, second and third. We have posted 147 articles and more than 300 photographs, and nearly 100 of our viewers have sent comments.

Viewers who self-identify are mostly auctioneers and their employees along with bidders, hobbyists and Proxibid blog subscribers.

Rankings have changed dramatically since last month, with Weaver Auction and Western Auction in a dead heat for first place. Meares, Engstrom, Rolling M., and Krause have broken into the top 10 with newcomer Bennett, featuring the lowest buyer’s fees.

Finally, in the past month, we have purchased our own domain, proxiblog.org, with the org representing a non-profit. We bring you content, buy from and consign to your auctions, to help with student scholarships. And you have answered the call with sponsorships!

We especially appreciate the scholarship support from Weaver Coin and Currency Auction, GreatCollections, Key Date Coins, Western Auction and Leonard Auction.

John Leonard company’s is this week’s sponsor (with a post about that on Friday).

We thank our viewers for helping make Proxiblog a success!

Weaver Auction wins “Best on Proxiblog” Award

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, an Easton, MO, firm, won our highest “Best Coin Auction” Award, garnering a “Best Photography” honor as well as Honorable Mentions for consignments and for lot descriptions.

Check out the home page for Weaver Auction and you can see some of our past praise for this remarkable house. A special hallmark of Dave and Cheryl Weaver is exceptional customer service. We have dealt with dozens of auctioneers in the past several years but few as conscientious as the Weavers.

They have held our “top auction house” ranking (see the listing to the right) for months, mainly because the Weavers are never satisfied with success but keep innovating and experimenting for the optimal configuration for superior Proxibid sessions. They took our advice and instituted a low buyer’s fee for gold–as low as 5% for double eagles. Now they are competing directly with Western Auction with a low buyer’s fee of 10%. They ship inexpensively and photograph expertly. They make use of Proxibid multimedia so online bidders can share in the excitement of their onsite sessions. Dave is a numismatic expert; Cheryl, a communications specialist.

We have done several features on this national-caliber house, including this article on buyer’s fees, this one on Internet advertising, and this illuminating “On the Block.”

What we found remarkable in the past year was the Weavers’ ability to take and learn from constructive criticism. For example, once we made a critical reference to titles in lot descriptions, and rather than send a snippy email, they thanked Proxiblog for the advice.

In life as well as in auctioneering, the Weavers have a lot to teach us. They learn from mistakes and are courageous enough to innovate in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Those qualities also exist in our Honorable Mentions in this category.

We applaud:

  • Capitol Coin Auctions, “with over 35 years of experience in collecting, investing, and grading rare coins.” Capitol also won Honorable Mentions in our “Best Consignments” and “Best Descriptions” categories for a total of three honorable mentions.
  • Key Date Coins with a reputation for “always fast and low shipping and handling cost.” Key Date Coins also won our “Most Improved House” Award in addition to Honorable Mentions in “Best Photography” and “Best Descriptions” for a total of four honors.
  • Leonard Auction, “with a reputation for experience, unsurpassed integrity, and superior technology.” Leonard Auction also won Honorable Mentions in our “Best Consignments,” “Best Photography,” and “Best Descriptions” categories for a total of four honorable mentions.
  • Scott Auctions, noted for its experience and generous service to the auctioneering profession. Scott Auctions also won our “Best Shipping Award” for a total of two honors.
  • Silvertowne Auctions, known for grading expertise and national reputation in numismatics. Silvertowne won our “Best Lot Descriptions” Award plus an Honorable Mention in our “Best Shipping” category for a total of three honors.
  • Western Auction, “whose family includes principal auctioneer David Zwonitzer, his father Mel Zwonitzer, Dave’s sons Daniel and Ty and Dave’s wife Kym. Together the family has more than 80 years auctioneering experience.” Western Auction also won our “Best Consignment Award” plus an Honorable Mention in our “Best Photography” category for a total of three honors.

We wish to congratulate all of our other “TOP Award” winners: James Peterson Auctions (tie: “Best Consignments”) and Matthew Bullock Auctioneers (tie: “Best Photography” and “Best Timed Auction”).

We also send kudos to those with Honorable Mentions, including Arneson Auction, Auctions Unlimited, Chaparral Auction, Culpeper Auction, Engstrom Auctions, Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers, Hall’s Auction, Krause Auctioneering, Meares Auction, Midwest Coins, Poinsett Auction, Rolling M. Auctions, Schultz Auctioneering and Silver Trades.

We also thank Proxibid houses specializing in coins and encourage them to visit these award-winning houses. We know there are some houses that we missed in our rankings, but 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 8300.

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.

Coin Auction Service Terms

Since Proxibid’s recent redesign, the site is more convenient, with one registration for all coins and currency auctions. But terms of service differ from house to house. Below is a selection of service terms with a comment or two from Proxiblog.

Gulf Coast Coin and Jewelry: Due to the volatile nature of the precious metals market, coins considered ‘market sensitive’ will be repriced 24 hours prior to auction start.” We’re seeing more houses adopt similar terms, setting opening bids higher on gold and silver when the price of precious metals rises. This is typical coin dealer practice, by the way. Technically, houses also should lower opening bids when prices fall. Some do, some don’t.


Meares Auction Group: Minimum shipping charge is $7.00 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.” This is a reasonable practice. Some auctions charge $10 plus $1 per lot plus added fees for handling and/or supplies.


Adcock Auction Service:We want you to be happy with your purchases. If you have questions about the merchandise the time to ask questions is well in advance of the live auction. No returns are allowed. Thank you for your patronage.” Proxiblog has never met an online auctioneer who has refused to answer questions about a lot. Bidders have to get into the habit of contacting them. After a sale it usually is too late.


Key Date Coins:To request a return you must provide a written request fully explaining the basis for the return no later than 3 days after your receipt of the lot. Under no circumstances will any amounts other than the winning bid amount be refunded. A restocking charge of 25% of the full invoice amount may apply in KDCA sole discretion. Any allowed returns must be received in exactly the same condition as when originally shipped to Buyer, or they will be returned to buyer at buyer’s cost.” This is an exceptionally fair practice and very common among coin dealers–not so much on Proxibid. Key Date Coins is to be commended.


Western Auction: “Our first priority is to deliver your new purchase in excellent condition.” Western Auction has done this consistently and has lived up to its ToS, in our view.


Leonard Auction: “We guarantee all raw United States coin and currency lots from 1793 to the present to be genuine. This guarantee is not extended to World coin and currency or stamps that are all sold AS-IS. Leonard Auction does not guarantee that a coin is free from cleaning, corrosion, damage, whizzing, dipping, tooling, artificial toning or other alteration. A successful bidder may request certification for any coin or currency lot within three business days from receipt of the lot. Certification will be provided by ANACS for coins and PCGS for currency. The bidder is responsible for all certification costs. If a coin or currency lot proves to be not genuine, Leonard Auction will refund the buyer the full purchase price, all shipping fees and certification fees.” Another fair, common practice by numismatic auction houses and a reason why Leonard Auction ranks among the most trusted on Proxibid.


Silver Trades:Silver Trades guarantees all coins to be genuine. If after receiving the coin, a buyer questions the genuineness of a coin is, the buyer has 10 days from receipt of the coin to return the coin to Silver Trades. The coin must be in the original holder and holder must not have been opened. Silver Trades will determine if the returned coin is the actual coin sold. Silver Trades will ship the coin in question to PCGS or NGC, at Silver Trades discretion, for determination if the coin is genuine or not. The buyer is responsible for all costs associated with grading and shipping if the coin is deemed genuine by PCGS or NGC. If coin is deemed not genuine, Silver Trades will refund purchase price of coin and shipping and grading costs. Genuineness of a coin refers to the authenticity of the coin..” Yet another similarly fair numismatic practice to authenticate suspect coins. The auctioneer goes through a lot of paperwork submitting coins but does so to protect reputation.


Affiliated Auctions:Accurate descriptions are provided for each individually described item in the auction on a best effort basis and are not intended to be definitive scholarly works or appraisals. Autographs, in single item lots are guaranteed authentic. If a guaranteed item is deemed ‘not’ to be authentic by a panel of 3 competent authorities, a full refund of the purchase price and buyers premium shall be the limit of liability of the auction company and or its representatives. Returns must be preauthorized and made within 10 days. Gems and Coins are tested at the gallery for authenticity and are guaranteed to be authentic. All guarantees are void if an item has been tampered with, enhanced, altered, damaged or removed from original mounting.” Still another approach to authenticating coins, and this also is a fair and reasonable way to go about doing that.


In the future Proxiblog will monitor terms of service and present interesting, odd or proactive terms in a round-up post such as this.

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.

Best Coin Photos on Proxibid

These six auction houses provide needle-sharp straight-on coin photos on Proxibid, surpassing standards so that numismatists can check for varieties and condition.

Proxiblog spent part of this week analyzing photography on all coin-selling sites on Proxibid. The test was a comparison of breast feathers on an uncirculated Morgan dollar, which requires our Honor Roll standards of clear, expandable obverse and reverse photos. However, an added analysis to test the photography was the clarity and size of the expanded photograph and whether the viewer would be able to discern a variety such as an 1880-CC VAM-4 Reverse of 78 Overdate, required by some set registries.

These six were chosen because of the needle-sharp images and more than 200% expansion of those images allowing fine details to be seen, such as overdates, hairlines, rubs, cleanings, doctoring, artificial coloring and so much more:

    Matthew Bullock Auctioneers. (Click to expand the Bullock photography of the Morgan reverse to the left.)

    Capitol Auction. (Click to expand the Capitol Auction photography of the Morgan reverse to the right.)

  • Chaparral Coin Auction. (Click to expand the Chaparral photography of the Morgan reverse to the left.)
  • Dixon’s Auction. (Click to expand the Dixon photography of the Morgan reverse to the right.)
  • Leonard Auction. (Click to expand the Leonard photography of the Morgan reverse to the left.)
  • Western Auction. (Click to expand the Western Auction photography of the Morgan reverse to the right.)

CONGRATULATIONS to these six auction houses!

Postscript: Several auction houses came close to top photography standards. Others had acceptable photography. Honorable mentions go to Culpeper Auction, Engstrom Auctions, Furlo Auctions, Gold Crown Auction, Hall’s Auction, Jackson’s Auction, James Peterson, Key Date Coins, Linkous Auctioneers, Jewelry Exchange, Kreuger Auctions, Meares Auction, Midwest Coins, Scott Auctions, Silver Trades Auction, and Weaver Coin and Signature Auctions.

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, Brief Hiatus

Proxiblog has updated its auction rankings, with Silvertowne Auctions overtaking Western Auction, due to top consignment as well as buyer’s policies.

Silvertowne, concerned about securing top-quality consignments for its bi-monthly auctions, has one of the best seller policies on Proxibid, with low and even zero fees for coins that bring good hammer prices. Western Auction, still one of the best online and onsite companies in the business, at one time featured a 0% buyer’s fee, increased that to 5%–still the lowest on Proxibid–but recently upped that to 10%.

At 5% fees, Western Auction still would be doing well. Its July 6 session brought amazing hammer prices, with this 1893-S PCI-graded Morgan bringing $2950, or a realized price of $3245, still a bargain for all parties–auction house, seller and buyer.

Silvertowne, operated by Rick Howard of Howard’s Coin Shop in Leipsic, Ohio, features similar high-end items. In its last auction, this raw 1893-S sold for $3200, or $3680 realized, with 15% buyer’s fee. While that fee is on Proxiblog’s high end, Silvertowne makes up for that with expert coin grading and consignment policies. (Note the accurate description on the 1893-S coin pictured here.)

Proxibid will be taking a brief hiatus until mid-month. In two months we have posted more than 30,000 words in several categories, hoping to enhance your summer reading on best practices and more for your auction company.

In closing, we’d like to acknowledge our Honor Roll houses for their standards and practices on Proxibid:

Abal Auction

Arneson Auctions

Auctions Unlimited

Auctions by Wallace

Battermans Auction

Beatrice Auction Service

Beloit Auction/United Country

Black and Gold Auction

C.B. Kaye and Associates

Carden Family Auction Service

Carrick Auction

Crawford Family Auction

Culpeper Auction

Dave Kaufman Realty and Auctions

Furlo Auction Service

Garrison Auctioneers

Gavin Pope Auction and Appraisal

Gold Crown Auctions

Grey Ghost Auction Service

Grubaugh Auction Service

Hi-$ Auctions

Hidden Treasures

United Country/Hudgins

Key Date Coins

Kraft Auction Service

Krause Auctioneering

Krueger and Krueger

Jewelry Exchange and Auctions

Johnny’s Estate Auction Service

Lippard Auctions/United Country

Meares Auction Group

Massart Auctioneers/United Country

Midwest Coins

Phil Cole Rare Coin Auctions

RJ’s Auction Service

Scott Auctions

Silvertowne Auctions

United Country Shobe Auction

Sullivan Auctioneers

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction

Western Auction


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.