Note Retoned vs. Toned

weaver_retoning

Dave Weaver of Weaver Auction uses the correct word in describing the 1881 Morgan dollar above: “retoning.” That has specific meaning in numismatics. It depicts a coin that has been cleaned and then retoned over several years. Do not call a coin like this “toned.” You would be misrepresenting the lot if you did.


Genuine rainbow toning is not washed out like the Weaver example. Colors that retone typically come in shades of dull blues, reds and purples that have a bleached look to them. Colors blend rather than bleed into each other or seem painted on artificially, as in this silver eagle below:

weaver_toning

A true toned coin features glossy colors that blend into each other in a rainbow array, as in this lot:

weaver_toned

Auctioneers and bidders alike need to distinguish among these three examples. Retoned and artificially toned coins can possess beauty and may be worth bidding on. But naturally toned coins that develop patina overtime without cleaning really are spectacular and demand premiums.

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.

Not using APN? Explain your payment system thoroughly

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Proxiblog has supported the Auction Payment Network for years now because of its excellent security, especially important in the numismatic trade. If you don’t subscribe to the service, or use PayPal, then you have to explain your payment system and let bidders know that it is secure.



Several auctions on Proxibid ask that you call in your credit card numbers. We recommend that you do not. You don’t know who is taking those numbers or how they will be stored, perhaps in a company computer that may be hacked in the future, undermining your credit.

We think such practices are irresponsible. We never bid in those auctions. However, we would consider bidding in Numisphere Auction because it has spelled out its credit system, providing a link to a secure payment network.

We also like the 3% discount on its already low 10% buyer’s premium for bidders who prefer to send checks to the company.

If you don’t use APN or PayPal and lack a secure payment system, you are doing your bidders a disservice. No matter what your payment protocol, you need to explain it thoroughly in your service terms.

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.

Top consignors rely on sharp photography

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It baffles us. Auctioneers usually will go the extra mile to earn an extra dollar, except when it comes to coin photography. Don’t they know that top consignors partner with houses that have mastered coin photography?

Compare the luster of the 1883-CC Deep Mirror Prooflike, which we won from Fox Valley Auctions, with the photo below of an Isabella Commemorative Quarter that a Proxibid auctioneer describes as having “great luster”:

greatluster_note

The Fox Valley Coin boasts sharp numismatic photography. The Isabella quarter does not. Both are worth about the same in uncirculated condition with prooflike mirrors. Which do you think will draw the most bids?

Now look at the photo below. We dropped this otherwise successful Proxibid house (as well as several others) from our rankings because it has refused to upgrade photography. The auctioneer claims this 1889-S Morgan is proof-like, but the photography is dull, showing no luster whatsoever:

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Digital cameras have never been better in capturing luster. We photographed this below with a Samsung smartphone. We didn’t use a camera stand or any special lighting, and we uploaded the photo in seconds to the web:
dmpl_samsung

For a few hundred dollars auctioneers can buy a professional coin photography kit consisting of a tripod, two light sources, a light box and special bulb.

Invest time and funds in photography, and the caliber of your consignments will rise (along with your profits).

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.

Thank-you message attracts new business

rollingM

Rolling M. Auctions, one of the best marketers on the portal, sends out a thank you noting realized prices after one of its large, advertised auctions. The gesture not only is good business practice; it also attracts consignors.



Often good customer service–a thank-you, for instance–is yet another opportunity to tout your auction and attract consignors in the process. Rolling M. Auctions sent this email blast to all who registered for the auction and, perhaps, to all in its database of former customers.

In this instance, the company announced that its online attendance had set a record. The gesture is especially important because Internet bidders are the target audience for a thank-you message like this.

A good thank-you message with marketing savvy has these components:

1. Sincere thank-you for the business.
2. Realized prices.
3. Any record-breaking statistic, including a high price for a rare coin.
4. A notice for potential consignors.
5. Date of future auction.
6. Contact data for the company, including email and phone.

Every contact with your bidder is a chance to attract more business. Every auction is a chance to attract return customers, especially if you have mastered photography, lot descriptions and 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.

Why do timed auctions need to see maximum bids?

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Yesterday we ran a post questioning so-called “no reserve” auctions on Proxibid wherein the auctioneer sees maximum bids and is allowed to shill bid based on the portal’s “transparency” notice. Why is the Omaha-based company allowing timed auctions to see maximum bids when there is no legitimate reason to do so?



This is where the rubber hits the road with Proxibid when compared to eBay. Most of eBay’s auctions are timed. Sellers are forbidden to see maximum bids. Why would they want to, anyway, unless … well, you can figure it out?

EBay does not allow sellers to see maximum bids and quickly shuts down any seller assumed to be engaged in such practices. You can read about shill-bid prevention on eBay by taking the company’s tutorial on the topic.

Policies like this gain our trust. Moreover, we have reported shill bidding suspicions on eBay. The company has checked IP numbers and bingo, the seller was shut down.

But we see no kind of due diligence on Proxibid’s part when it comes to timed auctions that want to see maximum bids.

EBay specifically notes that shill bidding hurts all sellers because it raises suspicions about the entire portal. We wish Proxibid would take a lesson from eBay and ban this and all other spurious practices. Look at it this way: Proxibid has grown in numbers and profits. If it truly wants to live up to its brand of trust, then it has to take action on practices such as these.

Otherwise eBay will continue to gain sellers, especially since its smart-phone technology is vastly superior to Proxibid’s (which continues to develop but not to launch mobile digital access).

We know that our recent posts have criticized Proxibid, which we support. Our intent is not to hinder the company’s progress, but to strengthen its quality control and thereby earn the brand of trust.

We hope auctioneers reading these posts make that case to the company. It’s in their interest as more bidders, including us, buy from eBay.

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 Naturally Toned Coin on Hype-Bay?

hypebay

Numismatic exaggeration reached new heights this week on eBay when this attractive but all-too-common toned coin was originally listed at a quarter million dollars. The seller later reduced the price to $5,000 before we could get a screenshot. But we still have the evidence as we emailed the link for later follow-up. See it below.



Here’s how the description read:

    A Truly Spectacular Naturally Toned 2000 Silver Eagle, Graded, Certified, and Encapsulated Mint State 67! This Coin with it’s Eye Popping Color as Slabbed is EXACTLY the way I submitted it for Grading Earlier in Sept. 2014! This Coin is “Fall Out of Your Chair Gorgeous”!! The Rich Color Combinations on the Obverse and Reverse are a True Work of Art–Looks a lot like a Kaleidoscope of Colors!! The BLAZING Colors on this Coin Leave me SPEECHLESS!! I have NEVER Seen any other Coin in any denomination, U.S. or Foreign with Such BREATHTAKING Rainbow Tones! Notice the Lighter Hues Coming Down and Across the Obverse of the Coin. This looks like Rays of Sunlight Coming Down from The Clouds—AMAZING!! Buy it Now Or Make Your Best Offer! This is a Once in a Lifetime Coin for the Fortunate Winner!!

Here’s the original listing from the link embedded in our email:

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Toned coins and bullion do get high premiums. The most gorgeous Silver Eagles typically sell for $300 on eBay. The most alluring usually come from old PCI slabs. We bought this for $154 and it slabbed at MS68 at PCGS:

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We purchased this already slabbed at MS68 for $321:

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They’re not for sale, by the way. But, well, we’ll reconsider if anyone is offering $250,000 … or even $5,000!

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.

EBW Coin Describes Cal. Gold Correctly

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As our regular viewers know, we monitor Proxibid continuously for correct and incorrect descriptions of California fractional gold. So it was good to read how EBW Coin described a real but damaged gold quarter dollar, incorporating everything we have recommended for four years.



EBW Coin notes the correct designation of this small gold piece, 1871-H BG-857, Round, XF Details. There are several variations for this year, so the “H” after the date is necessary. The correct Breen-Gillio number is used. Some issues in 1871 were octagonal, so the term “Round” is correct, as is the designation and the notation of “Details” or damage to the lot (in this case, solder).

We especially like the lot description. Instead of hype, EBW Coin states the obvious: The coin was removed from a pin and has damage. It is a tiny gold piece, smaller than a dime. And the good advice: If you don’t know exactly what you are bidding on, please do not bid.

We would extend that advice to auctioneers: If you don’t exactly what you are describing, don’t write the description or list the lot because for every genuine coin, there are a dozen fake and replica pieces made of gold plate or brass.

To learn more, view our most popular post: California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake.

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 Call Counterfeits Replicas

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This is a prime example of a Chinese counterfeit that is being sold as a replica without the word “copy,” indicating the auctioneer knows about the U.S. Hobby Protection Act.


If your consignor sends you a counterfeit coin and calls it a replica, don’t be fooled. Replicas must have the word copy on the obverse to be in compliance with U.S. Hobby Protection Act. Also, the US Mint has specific instructions on the manufacture of replicas.

We strongly recommend that all auctioneers create a consignment agreement that specifically states that sellers are responsible for all counterfeit coins returned for reimbursement.

Several auction houses already have such contracts. Here is such a clause from Leonard Auctions:

REPRESENTATION OF GENUINENESS. Consignor represents and warrants each item to be genuine. Consignor agrees that any item found to be non-genuine within 30 days of the auction date, will be returned to the Consignor, and upon return, Consignor will pay Leonard Auction, Inc., the net proceeds of the returned item.

Sometimes it takes 2-3 months to prove that a coin is counterfeit. For instance, last year we purchased one that was so skillfully done that we had to send it to NGC for authentication because we would not have been able to prove it was a contemporary copy of an 1869 coin. That cost us $70 in NGC fees, but it was worth the money.

The Proxibid auctioneer took back the coin, to his credit.

In general, the consignor and not the buyer should be held liable for all doctored, counterfeit or otherwise altered coins. Create a contract protecting you rather than focusing on the “All Sales Final” mantra of auctioneers. That does not relate to U.S. Coins and Currency.

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.

When “Report the Item” Fails, It Affects Your Bottom Line

1889-O

It is one thing to report the item and another to rely on the auctioneer to change a misleading lot description. If Proxibid’s “report the item” is going to work, the company has to enforce it on easily verified mistakes. This auction company committed several of them. We reported the items multiple times. Nothing was fixed.


If you’re an ethical auctioneer, especially one of our favorites in the left sidebar and think this doesn’t apply to you, keep reading this post to the last paragraph and you’ll see how Proxibid’s failure to enforce changes of this type affects your bottom line.

We certainly understand that typos and unintentional misidentified lots occur on the portal. Auctioneers or their assistants spend a lot of time typing lot descriptions. What we don’t understand is why some auctioneers won’t change mistakes when they are pointed out via Proxibid’s “report the item” link.

Once again, this doesn’t happen on eBay. The lot is taken down. Proxibid’s persistent “hand’s off” policies–if we notify auctioneers, then we have done our job–does little to affirm its brand of trust.

Here’s another misidentified lot that we reported twice:

1889-S

The auctioneer didn’t change the misidentification.

We think Proxibid did send the notifications.

What can be verified is the auctioneer’s terms of service: “All items sold AS IS WHERE IS, all descriptions provided are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as creating any representation or warranty.”

Are you kidding? Does that service term allow an auctioneer to describe base metal as gold? Of course not. These errors fall under Proxibid’s service term “Significantly Not as Described.”

By the way, the 1889-O description was not changed on Proxibid during the auction. It sold for $120, about twice as much as an NGC MS63 1899-O was worth. See the evidence:

1889-O_sold

What’s the easier route, Proxibid? To go through dispute resolution or to require the auctioneer to fix easily identified errors in lot descriptions?

Here’s another thing Proxibid has to think about. The auctioneer may have corrected the wrong date for the live onsite crowd but not the online audience. If so, that meant Proxibidders were bidding up the lot that sold onsite for $120.

Because we care about numismatics and Proxibid, we need to go on record with this final statement: Failing to require fixes of this sort undermines Proxibid’s brand of trust.

And when that happens, our favorite auctioneers in the left sidebar suffer because hobbyists migrate to eBay. We don’t want to see that for best-selling auctioneers or Proxibid, either. We support both.

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.

Auction Empire Corrects Flip Info on Cal Gold

calgoldreplica

Ignoring the hyped information on the flip, proclaiming this replica as “gold” and “rare,” Auction Empire correctly labels this $1 value gold-plate fake a “replica.”

On this day in all the Proxibid auctions, you will not find a fake or replica California gold being labeled as the genuine thing. These brass and/or plated counterfeits have been giving the Secret Service fits since the 19th century. They are worth $1 or less. But we have seen phony lots sell on Proxibid for hundreds of dollars.

Our most popular post–California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake, which gets 100 hits per week–set the record straight on Proxiblog a few years ago. Among its recommendations is the requirement that all auctioneers cite the BG number from the Breen/Gillio Book on California Gold.

Brad Lisembee of Capitol Coin Auction shows how it’s done:

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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.