New House Vastly Overestimates Coin Values

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We continue to see new houses on Proxibid believe they can guess at or exaggerate coin values in lot descriptions. This one, however, must believe in the hyped values, because he opens with a bid between 50-100% more than retail value of the coins.


Retail value of a 1923 Peace Dollar is $52, not $300-$400 with an opening bid pegged at $100 (inflated more with a 19% buyer’s premium). If a person won this lot on opening bid, the overpayment would tally $67 (without shipping).

Here’s a screenshot of the PCGS retail value for this exact coin:

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The auction house also exaggerates worth of an NGC-holdered coins, as in this screenshot:

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Here’s another screenshot of this exact coin with the retail value set by NGC, the company that graded this particular coin:

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As we continue to state, auctioneers who sell coins need to know how to cite value. PCGS values are high because its standards are among the most rigorous in the industry. NGC, also considered a top-tier company with high standards, commands premiums for its coins. However, its standards differ from those of PCGS, so it is also inappropriate to cite PCGS values for NGC coins.

ANACS and ICG are second-tier, mostly reliable grading companies. You should cite Red Book prices for them.

Here are the URLS:

As we have written in past posts, if you spot gross inaccuracies like the one above, report them to Proxibid and ask the company to alter the Unified User Agreement “4.4 Marketing and Accuracy of Materials” (OUR RECOMMENDATION IN ALL CAPS):

    Seller shall not knowingly misrepresent any items. VALUES OF ITEMS SHOULD BE BASED ON VALID APPRAISALS OR VERIFIABLE DATA. All catalog descriptions must accurately describe the items for sale, and all photos must be original. If Seller uses stock photos, Seller must disclose so in the catalog description as well as in the Special Terms of Sale for the auction.

Until Proxibid cracks down on these practices, as eBay has done, bidders will suffer, and so eventually will the reputation of auction houses that persist in these questionable practices.

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.

Grading Nostalgia Connection

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We will run occasional grading checks on Proxibid auctions so you can see how we bid based on condition. These coins are from Nostalgia Connection’s Oct. 21 session. We grade on PCGS standards as found on Photograde, admittedly more conservative than grading of most auctioneers but still the standard in numismatics. Click pictures below to expand.

We call a coin:

    1945-S

    “Very Fine” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the VF30-35 level. We agree with this grade, but always look at the reverse photo to check if the 1945-S has the scarcer “mico S” mint mark. You can learn more about that by clicking here.


    1905_rimdingAU_agreed

    “Almost Uncirculated” if will grade at NGC or PCGS at the AU50-58 level. We agree with this grade, AU50, and appreciate that the seller has noted the rim-ding flaw in the description.


    1909_fine

    Fine” if it would grade between F12-15 at a major holdering company. Once more, we agree with this grade, though the coin is a bit scruffy and might merit a Very Good 10.


    1915_VG_agreed_reverse

    VERY GOOD if it would grade VG7-10 range on the Sheldon scale. We always check the reverse for buffalo nickels, and the seller includes that for our analysis. We agree.


    1942_UNC_noreversephoto

    Uncirculated” if it grades Unc. 60-63. (Unc. 64 is choice uncirculated, Unc. 65-66 gem, Unc.67 super gem). The auctioneer calls this MS64, but we can’t judge beyond uncirculated, especially since in this one case the reverse photo is missing.


    1902_agree

    Extra Fine” if it grades EF40-48 range. The coin is damaged, and the auctioneer notes that as polished. We see polishing and environmental or chemical damage.


    Generally, in our subjective but nonetheless expert opinion, we feel Nostalgia Connection is accurate to PCGS standards in almost all of its lots. This stands in contrast to several auction houses on Proxibid, many of which do not mention flaws. Nostalgia Connection has a reasonable 15% buyer’s premium, ships within two days and uses Auction Payment Network. We’re impressed!

    We hope to see better consignments in the future. Photos can be clearer to show luster, and again should not be taken on a slant, however sight.

    As noted, grading is in part subjective, and is difficult to do via online photographs. Our designations are based on how we bid and why. Thus, the overall grade on Nostalgia Connection’s grading based on our criteria: A.

    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.

Hyped Coins Taint Reputation

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Look closely at the Peace dollar above. You’ll see it is harshly cleaned. How much would you pay over silver melt? $10? $30? How about $60,000? That’s what this Proxibid auction house suggests in its lot description.

Auctioneers who sell coins need to know how to cite value. PCGS values are high because its standards are among the most rigorous in the industry. NGC, also considered a top-tier company with high standards, commands premiums for its coins. However, its standards differ from those of PCGS, so it is also inappropriate to cite PCGS values for NGC coins.

ANACS and ICG are second-tier, mostly reliable grading companies. You should cite Red Book prices for them.

Here are the URLS:

Treat all other slabs, even PCI and Numistrust and so-called third-tier companies, with caution before stating any values.

In this case, we’re dealing with three levels of hype. Let’s start with how this coin appeared on Proxibid:

1928S_harsh1

The first hype is the slab itself, boasting that a harshly cleaned 1928-S is MS66. The second hype is the description that cites PCGS values at $60,000. The third hype is Proxibid’s lack of standards when it comes to values cited in lot descriptions.

As we have written in past posts, if you spot gross inaccuracies like the one above, report them to Proxibid and ask the company to alter the Unified User Agreement “4.4 Marketing and Accuracy of Materials” (OUR RECOMMENDATION IN ALL CAPS):

    Seller shall not knowingly misrepresent any items. VALUES OF ITEMS SHOULD BE BASED ON VALID APPRAISALS OR VERIFIABLE DATA. All catalog descriptions must accurately describe the items for sale, and all photos must be original. If Seller uses stock photos, Seller must disclose so in the catalog description as well as in the Special Terms of Sale for the auction.

Until Proxibid cracks down on these practices, as eBay has done, bidders will suffer, and so eventually will the reputation of auction houses that persist in these questionable practices.

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.

Shoutout to Jewelry Exchange

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Appalled as we are with inflated values of bottom-tier slabs, Jewelry Exchange struck back with a lot description that instructs about bidding. We love it. Click to expand photo or read the description below.


    Item Description:

  • TIMES THE MONEY: Lot of 3 genuine U.S. peace silver dollars with high mint state grades assigned by bottom tier grading companies: Hallmark Coin Grading Service, Numismatic Grading Pros, & Investment Grade Coins. MS67? Try BS67! In reality, each coin would grade from about uncirculated to low-end mint state. Educate yourself as to which grading services are respected by the numismatic community & which are not. Certainly, these 3 are not! Buy the coin, NOT the slab. Times the money: bid per piece.

Now compare that to this hyped lot description of an auction company that not only showcases slabs like this but also uses PCGS price guide to state value. Click photo to expand or read the description below.

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    Item Description:
    1887-O MORGAN DOLLAR – NAC MS66 (PCGS WEBSITE LISTS A MS66 @ $35,000?)

First, never compare PCGS prices to non-PCGS-slabbed coins. Even for PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG, before you bid, always check the latest auction values with a subscription to PCGS CoinFacts.

The coin above not only looks cleaned and damaged, ungradeworthy by PCGS or NGC; it certainly isn’t worth $35,000!

When will Proxibid change its Unified User Agreement to add this clause, preventing hype like this–our recommendation in all caps?

    Seller shall not knowingly misrepresent any items. VALUES OF ITEMS SHOULD BE BASED ON VALID APPRAISALS OR VERIFIABLE DATA. All catalog descriptions must accurately describe the items for sale, and all photos must be original. If Seller uses stock photos, Seller must disclose so in the catalog description as well as in the Special Terms of Sale for the auction.

At any rate, Jewelry Exchange has been a top-rated Proxiblog house for years because of its numismatic lot descriptions and great customer service. We’re thankful for that and salute auctioneers David and Adam Bluestein. (Incidentally, both share their knowledge about coins and precious gems in a weekly radio show, In the Money.)

On Proxibid, they are “In the Know,” as evidenced by this shoutout!

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 Proxibid House, Same Old Hyped Values

Click to expand screenshot to see incredibly exaggerated values for common Morgan dollars coupled by outlandish opening bids. We wrote about this phenomenon last week, urging Proxibid in this post to change the Unified User Agreement, because hyped values undermine the company’s brand of “trust.”

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As we reported last week, new auction houses should be monitored for potentially unethical practices of stating values without regard to accuracy, eroding bidder confidence. Take a closer look at how inflated these values are:

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If you spot gross inaccuracies like the ones above, report them to Proxibid and ask the company to alter the Unified User Agreement “4.4 Marketing and Accuracy of Materials” (OUR RECOMMENDATION IN ALL CAPS):

    Seller shall not knowingly misrepresent any items. VALUES OF ITEMS SHOULD BE BASED ON VALID APPRAISALS OR VERIFIABLE DATA. All catalog descriptions must accurately describe the items for sale, and all photos must be original. If Seller uses stock photos, Seller must disclose so in the catalog description as well as in the Special Terms of Sale for the auction.

Again as we reported last week, whenever you see slabbed coins from major houses–PCGS, NGC, ANACS, ICG–you can always check the real retail value. Just copy down the certification number for PCGS and NGC lots and then visit their retail value database for the exact coin being offered on Proxibid. For PCGS, click here. For NGC, click here.

For ANACS and ICG, you don’t need to copy the cert and look in databanks. We recommend subscribing to CoinFacts to learn latest auction prices.

However, as in the cases above, this method will not work for raw coins (ones not in holders). In that case, you need to know how to grade coins (view posts in Proxiblog and other numismatic websites). If you don’t know how to grade, or don’t want to learn, then only purchase coins by the top grading companies above … after having checked their retail values.

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.

Don’t Inflate Grades in Proxibid Auctions

We continue to see grossly inflated values and mint-state conditions on Proxibid. Here is lot after lot described as mint state 68, virtually unheard of in Morgan coin collecting, especially on the portal. In fact we cannot remember one such coin offered by a Proxibid house slabbed by PCGS or NGC in the past four years. (Click to expand photo.)


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We don’t know who, if anyone, is fooled by lot descriptions like the ones above. But we did a little research for you on each individual lot, noting the extreme rarity of MS68 Morgans–let alone five in a row in an unreserved auction.

The coins in this lot appear to be dipped and/or low mint state. But it is difficult to tell because the photos aren’t razor-sharp as they must be before we recommend bidding.

The excuse for inflated descriptions, of course, is that grading is subjective. Maybe so. But not when buyers consult guidebooks that show MS68 coins worth thousands of dollars. The best practice is to be true to grading standards as set by the American Numismatic Association.

However, the next time you see an MS68 Morgan on Proxibid, compare it to this true super gem below:

trueMS68

This Morgan dollar is virtually flawless with clean fields and cheek with an unbelievably strong strike. This silver lot is worth more than its weight in gold. The ones in the Proxibid examples above are worth little more perhaps than their silver melt.

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.

Value: 1885 MS64 Morgan worth thousands?

Sometimes a coin picture is worth 1000 words, if you know the certification number and how to verify what the lot description states on Proxibid. We see so many of these problems on Proxibid that we will continue to remind our viewers how to check value before placing a bid. Otherwise, bidders can lose hundreds of dollars and auctioneers, return customers.(Click photo to expand.)



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METHOD:

  1. Expand slab to view certification number.
  2. If PCGS, go here. If NGC, go here.
  3. Compare the auctioneer’s value with the retail value of the coin.
  4. If grossly overstated, use the “report this item” link on Proxibid to let the company know what you found.

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.

High Reserves on Lower-Tier Slabs


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There is no need for high reserves on coins slabbed by lower-tier holdering companies. One recent Proxibid auction had dozens of such lots.

Below is a prime example. A 1935-S MS66 Peace dollar is a true rarity.

1935S
We can’t be sure from the photo, but this may be a polished or cleaned coin. NGC has only graded 3 coins higher than MS66. A true MS66 1935-S coin would be worth $3500.

We would bid no more than $25 on this coin, mostly for the silver value.

To learn more about grading companies, see numismatic expert Susan Headley’s article, “Grading Service Tiers.

The more you know about coins, and where to verify worth and condition, the farther your Proxibid dollar will go!

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.

Don’t Hide Certs Because You Could Be Selling a Counterfeit

Auctioneers love stickers, especially on holdered coins. We can’t tell you how frustrating it is for savvy online bidders, looking for rare and pricey coins, when auctioneers cover the certification number on a slab by PCGS or NGC. We can’t bid because we can’t check for counterfeits. The photo below shows a counterfeit PCGS slab next to an authentic one. Other photos show what’s been going on in Proxibid auctions.


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We have been writing about stickers and fake slabs for years now. See this post.

We will NOT bid on any coin whose certification number is obscured or hidden by a sticker. We advise all bidders reading Proxiblog to do the same as the number of Chinese counterfeits in fake slabs continues to grow. The problem of fake slabs has been afflicting the online market since 2008. See this post about the problem.

And yet we see lots like this King of the Morgans, often counterfeited, an 1893-S–with a sticker over the cert number.

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Here’s another recent example.

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All auctioneers should keep in mind that the Unified User Agreement states that you cannot sell counterfeit coins, no matter what your service terms state about all sales being final.

See this clause:

    If, within a reasonable amount of time, Buyer gives notice in writing to Seller that the lot so sold is a counterfeit and after such notice the Buyer returns the lot to Seller in the same condition as when sold, and establishes to the satisfaction of Seller that the returned lot is in fact a counterfeit, Seller as agent for the consignor will rescind the sale and refund the purchase price.

We have purchased six counterfeit coins in the past three years on Proxibid. In each case, sometimes with some cajoling, we were able to cite the Unified User Agreement to get a refund for the fake lot.

As such, the recommendation today is not only for bidders but for auctioneers, too. See this post to learn how to identify counterfeit coins.

Final tip to auctioneers: If you are presented with evidence of a fake coin, do not punish the buyer. Create a consignor agreement form that puts the liability on the seller. All sales are NOT final and you can be held liable if a complaint is made to the Secret Service that you are selling fake coins and then providing an email trail stating that you will not refund the purchase. The Hobby Protection Act even covers replicas sold as originals.

Moreover, with Proxibid’s new “Report this Item” button, you will have buyers like Proxiblog looking for and reporting counterfeits and replicas in your auction. Start with the sticker as a best practice, and do not obscure it in your photography.

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.

Decatur Coin and Jewelry Sets New Proxibid Standards

Decatur Coin and Jewelry’s timed auction ending July 9 set new standards on the portal in terms of service, buyers’ premium, quality consignment, photographs and descriptions. The house has no buyer’s premium and ships quickly and inexpensively. This performance exceeds anything we’ve seen on Proxibid in the past four years!”


We knew we were in for a treat after viewing numismatic lot descriptions accompanied by YouTube videos. (Click screenshots below to expand.)


    decatur6

Today we’ll tell Decatur’s story using photos to save thousands of words. Let’s start with the consignment. We saw rarities worth thousands of dollars alongside more common but quality selections with opening bids below wholesale greysheet. Take a look at these Morgans below:

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Now look at the depth of lot descriptions, as in this typical example:

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Look at the sharpness of photographs capturing difficult deep mirrors, with each lot having as many as eight photos showcasing different angles:

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Best of all were Decatur’s terms of service, offering zero percent buyer’s fee with APN credit-card clearance and rapid, inexpensive shipping:

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Moreover, Decatur Coin and Jewelry is a bonafide PCGS and NGC authorized dealer, meaning the company meets professional numismatic standards in ethical practices, including counterfeit detection.

If Decatur continues to offer timed auctions like this most recent one, more hobbyists will eagerly await its next coin auction and wars will break out, not concerning late delivery of goods or misidentified lots, but genuine bidding wars as buyers compete for cherry lots.

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.