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. (Be sure to click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)


bidalot_box

Booyah BidAlot Auction! for noting that this U.S. Mint product box is damaged, lacking a cover. Depending on the product, such as a GSA Dollar Box, these items also have value.


cleaningnotnoted

Boo! to this auction house for neglecting to note the harsh cleaning on a purported deep mirror prooflike Morgan dollar. The photo is subpar and does not show luster. No coin is as beautiful as a DMPL Morgan and none has ugly when cleaned, as scratches mar the mirror surface, as probably the case here–assuming, of course, that this is a DMPL coin.


fake_gold

Boo! to this auction company for insisting on selling counterfeit and replica California fractional gold. Beware of these fake California gold products that have plagued the hobby since the 19th century. If you see a bear on the reverse without a dollar or fraction of a dollar designation, it is a fake.


goldflake_boo

Boo! to this unnamed auction house that sells vials of gold flake. The gold, if it is gold, is atomic level thin (one of the properties of gold is its malleability). If you run an acid test on the flake, it will dissolve. You are buying a vial of glitter not hardly worth anything except as decoration.


hyped

Boo! to this auction house for hyping bottom-tier and self-slabbed coins as worth gazillions of dollars, or $28,000 in this case, for an 1882-O that is not MS67 but most probably MS62-63, with bag marks readily visible even on the thumbnail photo. This auction house continually hypes these lots using PCGS values, another gross infraction.


northernillinois_wheelmarks

Booyah Northern Illinois Coin! for noting damage, in this case, a wheelmark. This type of damage is often overlooked in the description. That’s not the case here.


PVC Damage

Boo! to this auction house for not noting PVC Damage. That’s the green slime that happens with a coin reacts with an old plastic flip.


rims_silvertown

Booyah SilverTowne Auction! for noting rim damage on its coins. Would that more houses did the same!


RJ_books

Booyah RJ’s Auction! for a detailed list of coins in the descriptions, documented by visual evidence in clear, expandable photographs. A detailed description is always necessary when selling a set of coins, including any missing key dates. All of that is done here.


starcoins_cleaning

Booyah Star Coin and Currency! noting cleaning, so difficult to tell on a gold coin and almost always omitted from the description by a vast number of houses. Cleaning greatly devalues gold, by the way, and is especially important to note and also to depict in a sharp photo, as Star Coin does here.


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.

RJ’s Auction Posts Reserve Policy

Our first installment in the series on reserves analyzed the pros and cons of reserves. A second post looked at the issue of hidden reserves from the bidders’ perspective. This post looks at a Proxibid auction house’s reserve policy, and our final post speculates whether reserve policies should be included in terms of service.

One of our top-ranked coin auction houses, RJ’s, recently sent us a news release explaining reserve policies, one of Proxiblog’s main concerns during the past year. Some reserves are set with opening bids. Some are hidden. And some are ghost-bid by auction companies that allow maximum-bid viewing.

Reserves come with risks to the auction company. That is what this series of posts is about.

As we always recommend, RJ’s makes clear that sellers must pay for reserves. Nothing can be more discouraging to bidders than winning a lot only to learn that the auctioneer has passed on the coin.

Some auction companies, like RJ’s, have set policies on reserves. Here is RJ’s as shared by Richard H. Garvin, Manager and Senior Auctioneer:

    Reserves will be allowed on any item under the following condition. The number of lots with reserves will be restricted to twenty percent of the total number of lots in your consignment (no exceptions). Please note that if you place a reserve on a lot there will be a seven-dollar ($7.00) “Marketing Fee” per lot that does not sell or sells at your reserve.

We like the policy on limiting the number of reserves to 20% of the consignment because it assures that the majority of lots have the potential to spark bidder competition and inspire return customers. We think the $7 fee is lenient and recommend that reserve-buybacks be the same percentage as Internet buyers’ fees, or 15% in RJ’s case.

We understand that policies like the one we suggest above might discourage consignments. But in those cases, auctioneers can compensate by lowering consignment fees to less than 10% in a tiered system based on the total of sales in any auctions. We know many top-ranked Proxibid auctions that feature tiered systems of 5-8% and a few that even waive seller fees for premium coins.

RJ’s tiered system is as follows: Commission rates for selling coins and related items (non-gold, non-platinum) are $1 up to and including $400, 10%; $400.01-$600, 9%; $600.01 and up, 8%. Gold, platinum and bullion coins have a 4% commission fee.

The policies seem to be working.

RJ’s Auction remains one of the top houses as evidenced by these statistics:

    We recently completed our July Coin and Currency Auction. … We had 27 registered bidders that came to our auction facility and another 116 bidders that registered with Proxibid – our on-line Internet hosting partner since October 2008. Of the 301 lots consigned 299 of them sold during the auction. The remaining 2 lots were sold later that night to an on-site buyer. [S]ince January of this year 43.99 % of the lots sold have sold online and 37.1% of the total dollar volume sold has sold online.

Stats like this only underscore RJ’s Auction’s commitment to the online as well as onsite audience. Its next Proxibid auction is slated for Friday, August 17, 2012.

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.