How and How Not to Describe Bottom-Tier Slabs

Our top houses are almost always the most forthcoming about the quality of coins in bottom-tier holders. Some houses, however, continue to violate numismatic rules.

The example below cites PCGS retail prices for a 1903 Morgan dollar worth about $130 … and only if not cleaned, which this example just might be. The auctioneer cites a ridiculous $3,600 price.

slabtruth1

Here is how top-house Jewelry Exchange handles the same situation, noting it cannot guarantee the grade because of the holdering company’s grades may not meet industry standards.

slabtruth

Several of our top-ranked houses treat bottom-tier and self-slabbed coins in the same manner, earning our trust.

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.

Untrustworthy Estimates

Check Certs and CoinFacts for True Value!


overvalued3

We are so weary of seeing Proxibid newbie auctioneers believing they can guess at values and then charge high fees on top of that.


This is one example of a Proxibid house that consistently overvalues coins, charges 18.5% buyer’s fee, does not combine shipping and charges $12.95 for that. Below is a $50 coin valued erroneously as $150-$200. How do we know? Let’s learn–a lesson for auctioneers and bidders alike.

Proxibid lot

overvalued



PCGS Retail Value for this specific coin

overvalued1

Take the certification off the PCGS label and then check retail value at this link.


CoinFacts Auction Prices
overvalued2

CoinFacts shows recent auction prices for same coin at Teletrade, Heritage Auctions, eBay and Great Collections.


We never bid on any lot without checking CoinFacts. We suggest you refer to this databank if you are an auctioneer estimating values of coins certified by PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG. DO NOT CITE COINFACTS’ VALUES FOR RAW COINS OR BOTTOM-TIER HOLDERS!

Sooner or later, buyers will learn how much they overpaid on some auctions on Proxibid. We rank our favorite sellers to the right because they don’t use those tactics. As always, though, with any seller, we caution that your experience may differ from ours–but not when it comes to verifying 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.

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 bad auctioneer lot descriptions and praises the best in recent auctions. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)


greatdescription_completeset

Booyah Capitol Auction! for great descriptions, as in this State Quarter collection. Note that Auctioneer Brad Lisembee adds mint sets so that buyers complete the missing quarters. That adds extra $$$ to the sale. This is an example of why Capitol is a top house on Proxiblog!


cleaned

Booyah Weaver Auction! for consistently identifying cleaned coins, which are upgradeable by major holding companies and which are difficult for buyers to detect online. It’s a small courtesy that brings return customers to this top house!


damage

Another Booyah to top-house SIlverTowne Auction for noting damage on coins. Would that more houses did this!


McKee

Booyah McKee Auction! for precise, concise descriptions with good photography.


not66

Boo! to this house for consistently calling lots key dates and overgrading the coins. Photos aren’t great; but we tested by buying once or twice, and what we suspected was what we got.


notgold

Boo! to this house for calling a plated replica California gold. This is the biggest coin problem on the portal, and one of the biggest problems in numismatics. To tell the difference between replica and real, see our post “California Gold: real replica and fake,” which averages hundreds of views per month.


notegoldreplica

Booyah Mascari Auction! for showing how to list replica plated bear-on-reverse lots!


silverweight

Booyah BidALot Auction! for providing silver weight on foreign coins, a small but helpful descriptor.


slabtruth1

Boo! to this house for hyping value of lower-tier slabs, using PCGS values–something PCGS does not appreciate, as their slabbed coins are among the most accurate on the market. This coin would probably not even grade at PCGS, as it looks cleaned to us.


slabtruth

Booyah Jewelry Exchange! for showing how to list coins in bottom-tier slabs.


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. Tomorrow we will showcase the best lot descriptions. 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.

TIP OF THE WEEK!

Be Careful About Look-Alike Slabs!


pcgscopy

These are technically not counterfeit or illegal but nevertheless easily mistaken for the top-grading company in the world, PCGS.

If you see a lot with a slab like this and the auctioneer states PCGS, use the “Report This Item” link on Proxibid to alert the auction company. You also might contact PCGS, which takes the case of look-alike slabs seriously.

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.

This is a Liquidation?

We bristle every time we see this particular Proxibid house announcing a “liquidation!” … only to see many opening bids at or above retail prices with an 18% buyer’s premium and $1.75 handling fee per lot plus shipping.

Case in point: Here’s the PCGS retail price for an MS62 1898 Morgan dollar: $52, on a good day.

1898MS62

This Proxibid house opens with a bid of $58, $6 over retail. When you add buyer’s premium and shipping and handling, you’re paying $78.19.

1898MS62_Proxibid

At my local coin shop, I can buy the same coin in a PCGS holder with $26 left to spare, enough for a 2013 Silver Eagle.

Proxibid has lots of top sellers who embrace the auction experience. See our favorite sellers in the right sidebar.

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.


fakeslabs

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.

nocert

Here’s another recent example.

cert_hidden

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.

“Rare Commemoratives at Great Collections — Young Collection”

greatcollections Proxiblog sponsor GreatCollections is offering in auction top lots from the Young Collection of Classic Silver Commemoratives, the current #1 Registry Set at PCGS for the series.

This high-profile sale of the year is scheduled to take place in October, but bidding is going on now. CLICK HERE to view “Rare Commemorative Coins at GreatCollections – The Young Collection.”

greatcollections1

The coins are being featured in October Auctions, with bidding ending for 36 coins each on October 6th, October 13th, October 20th and October 27th. All coins are being sold unreserved!

Silver Commemoratives were issued from 1892 to 1954 to commemorate or memorialize a variety of events, including the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1892 and 1893, several U.S. State Centennials, the Hawaiian Sesquicentennial, the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge Opening, the Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary and the Battle of Antietam Anniversary, among others.

Highlights from the 144-coin set include:

  • 1892 Columbian Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 CAC
  • 1893 Columbian Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 CAC
  • 1893 Isabella Quarter PCGS MS-67 CAC
  • 1900 Lafayette Silver Dollar PCGS MS-66 CAC
  • 1937 Antietam Half Dollar PCGS MS-68
  • 1939 Arkansas Half Dollar PCGS MS-66+
  • 1939-D Arkansas Half Dollar PCGS MS-67
  • 1947-S Booker T. Washington Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 CAC (Ex. WPE)
  • 1950-D Booker T. Washington Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 CAC
  • 1951 Booker T. Washington Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 CAC (Ex. Heller)
  • 1936-D Cincinnati Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 (Ex. Scher)
  • 1936-D Columbia Half Dollar PCGS MS-68 (Ex. Scher)
  • 1936 Delaware Half Dollar PCGS MS-67+ CAC
  • 1922 Grant Star Half Dollar PCGS MS-66
  • 1928 Hawaiian Half Dollar PCGS MS-66
  • 1946 Iowa Half Dollar PCGS MS-68+ CAC (Ex. Scher)
  • 1920 Maine Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 CAC (Ex. Scher)
  • 1936 Long Island Half Dollar PCGS MS-67
  • 1921 Missouri Half Dollar PCGS MS-66
  • 1921 Missouri 2×2 Half Dollar PCGS MS-66
  • 1923-S Monroe Half Dollar PCGS MS-66
  • 1934-D Oregon Half Dollar PCGS MS-67+ CAC (Ex. Scher)
  • 1938-S Oregon Half Dollar PCGS MS-68 CAC
  • 1939-D Oregon Half Dollar PCGS MS-68 (Ex. Scher)
  • 1939-S Oregon Half Dollar PCGS MS-68 CAC (Ex. Heller)
  • 1915-S Panama-Pacific Half Dollar PCGS MS-67
  • 1921 Pilgrim Half Dollar PCGS MS-67
  • 1935 Spanish Trail Half Dollar PCGS MS-67 CAC
  • 1927 Vermont Half Dollar PCGS MS-67
  • 1953 Washington-Carver PCGS MS-67
  • 1936 Wisconsin Half Dollar PCGS MS-68

To register to bid, view highlights or find out more information about the Young Collection, please visit www.greatcollections.com or telephone 1-800-44-COINS (1-800-442-6467).

We thank Ian Russell and GreatCollections for sponsoring Proxiblog’s scholarship fund to help ease student debt and create the next generation of auction-house bidders!

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:

decatur1

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

decatur2

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

decatur4

decatur3

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

decatur5

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.

Lure or Lose Bidders With Lot Descriptions

Recently we bid on two auctions on the same day. One, Tangible Investments, was a joy to see and read, with numismatic lot descriptions graced by fine, expandable photos. The other, which we won’t name, made several numismatic mistakes. In sum, one house lured us, the other lost our interest.


Look at this sample screen shot and note how photo and lot description attract bidders in a Tangible Investment auction (click to expand):

tangibleassets

The description uses Greysheet low estimate, cites mintage and denomination (including variety), and notes damage, a previous mounting and scratch–plus provides multiple views of the coin. It doesn’t get much better than this on Proxibid.

Now take a look at a series of lot descriptions that, frankly, irked us to the point that we stopped bidding.

pcgs

This overstates PCGS values for an ANACS coin. The value does not apply as both companies have different grading standards. Also, the Proxibid auction company inflates the PCGS value, again as the retail price index documents. Multiple numismatic errors irk us to the point where we almost stopped bidding.


pcgs1

This lot description does the same as above, overstating and misapplying values. Moreover, using PCGS CoinFacts, you can see precisely how much a similar ANACS coin sold for at a recent auction.


sticker

We stopped bidding when the auction house covered the PCGS certification number of an expensive key date 1893-S. Never buy a pricey coin without verifying the PCGS certification number with this link. Because the auction house has gotten into the habit of covering certification numbers with its promotional stickers, instead of using Proxibid lot technology, we don’t know if this is an authentic key date Morgan.

Most knowing bidders willing to spend high-dollar amounts for pricey coins usually know the ropes. Don’t hang yourself with hype.

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.

What is Proxibid’s Policy on Questionable Lot Descriptions?

agreement

On occasion we have seen lot descriptions so questionable that we decided to ask Proxibid just what its policy is on SNAD “significantly not as described.” What if the auction house’s terms of service state the descriptions are from the consignors and the company is not responsible for anything than what you see on the portal?

Sometimes we get questions from viewers that we just cannot answer, like the one above. That’s when we go to the source for an official response.

Proxibid has posted an auction by a company that makes these assertions:

  • Consignor provided descriptions.
  • There are real bargains as consignor priced below values.
  • Auction house does not grade coins–that’s the bidder’s responsibility.
  • Auction house did research based on consignor’s descriptions.
  • Auction house is not responsible for anything.

Here is a sampling of photos with lot descriptions (click to expand):

Mint State 62 1890-CC $1, low value $575, high value $1060

lot

We place the grade at Good 6 Details (damage above neck) worth $55. On May 19, 2013, a Good 8 1890-CC with no damage and provenance sold on Heritage for $84.

lot1


Mint State 67 SMS 1966 Kennedy Half Dollar, low value $3,200, high value $5,200

lotC

Because this is a certified coin, we can use the verification number to access retail value, in this case, as the above photo discloses, NGC places that value at $46.25.


Mint State 63 1878-S PCGS, low value $395, high value $775

lotD

Again because this is a certified coin, we can use the verification number to access retail value, in this case, from PCGS, which places that at $87.


These are some of several examples. Without identifying the auction company but adding our questions concerning SNAD, here are other lot descriptions:


Mint State 62 1890-CC Morgan, Great Toning

lotA

Mint State 62? How about Fine 12 and grime rather than tone? (Of course, only our opinion.)


1901-O Morgan, Rare in Any Condition, Low Value $1,800, High Value $2,750?

lotE

Rare in any condition? With a mintage of 13,320,000? With recent auction sales at low mint state of $50? (Of course, only our opinion.)


Uncirculated 1976 Kennedy Clad Half, Low Value $15, High Value $85

lotF

(We’d spend this coin as it has no value; but some have actually sold at auctions for $6 in low mint state.)


In cases such as these, just what is Proxibid’s policy on “Significantly Not As Described”?

“Our team works hard to ensure the integrity of the Marketplace,” said Jason Nielsen, Senior Vice President of Operations for Proxibid. “When items appear not as described, we work with the seller to provide a refund on the item. Additionally, we have added a new feature to our site that allows buyers to report items, which has significantly reduced this issue. Overall, our team is here to work with both buyers and sellers to ensure a safe, fair Marketplace for all parties.”

We applaud Nielsen who has made many proactive changes in quality control on Proxibid, including “Report this Item.”

In the cases above, we just may do that!

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.