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.)


weaverbox

Booyah Weaver Auction! for noting certificate of authenticity and box container on US Mint Products. You can deduct 25% or more without both from the current value. If you bid on the coin, plan to submit it to PCGS or NGC to regain your investment … and then some. That’s what we do.



1940S_noproof

Boo! to this auction house not only for hyping the grade of the coin but also calling it a proof, when it has a mint mark “S” and when all proofs then were made in Philadelphia.


1942_noproof

Boo again! to the same house for calling a mint state cent a proof and for hyping the grade this time to MS70. (If you’re calling something a proof, you might as well go for it with the right designation, PF70.)


hyped

Another Boo! to this house for allowing a bottom-tier slab to label a 1954 Quarter Dollar MS70. CoinFacts shows no coins in the ms68 category, let alone MS70.


howitsdone

Booyah SilverTowne Auctions! for correctly identifying both damage, rarity and BG number for authentic California gold. See CoinFacts insert on survival rate: 200.


exjewelry

Booyah Rolling M Auctions! for describing ex-jewelry on this gold lot.


mistakes

Boo! to this house for mis-identifying the year and the grade. It’s an 1886 (O or P). Why? Because the house only provides an obverse photo. Three strikes and you’re out: Boo! Boo! Boo!


munda_mintage

Booyah Munda Auction! for providing the mintage on a scarce coin. Wish more houses would do that!


pinscratch

Booyah Jewelry Exchange! for noting a pin scratch on this lot, which too often is difficult to see in online photography.


rim
Booyah! to SilverTowne again for noting another easily overlooked flaw–a rim dent. Noting flaws brings trust and return customers.


ryther_repros

Booyah Gary Ryther Auction! for making sure in the lot description and photo that everyone knows these are reproductions.

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.

Capitol Coin Wins “Best Auction” a Second Time

7Best Coin Auction

Capitol Coin Auction has won our award for “Best Coin Auction” on the Proxibid portal, garnering “Best Shipping,” “Best Photography,” and “Value Added” honors with honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions” and “Best Consignments.” This is the second year in a row that Capitol Coin Auction has won the top honor.

A close second, once again, was Leonard Auction. It won “Best Consignments” with honorable mentions in “Value-Added,” “Best Photography” and “Best Descriptions.”

Star Coin and Currency made a great showing this year, winning “Best Timed Auction” with honorable mentions in “Most Improved,” “Best Descriptions” and “Best Shipping.”

Southwest Bullion and Coin also had a particularly successful year in our rankings, winning the competitive “Best Descriptions” category and honorable mentions in “Most Improved” and “Best Photography.”

SilverTowne Auctions won “Best Shipping” and had honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions,” “Value-Added” and “Best Consignments.”

Meares Auction won “Most Improved” and had honorable mentions in “Best Shipping” and “Best Consignments.”

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction had honorable mentions in the important categories of “Best Photography,” “Best Descriptions,” “Best Consignments” and “Value-Added.”

The houses above are runners-up in our “Best Coin Auction” category.

We also praise and recommend our other houses that placed in our various competitions, including:

  • Back to the Past Collectibles
  • Black and Gold Auctions
  • Braden Auction Services
  • Decatur Coin and Jewelry
  • Engstrom Auctions
  • Five Star Auction
  • Fox Valley Coins
  • Gary Ryther Auctioneers
  • Heuckman Auction
  • Jewelry Exchange
  • Kaufman Realty and Auction
  • McKee Coins
  • Midwest Coins
  • Rolling M Auction
  • Schultz Auctioneers
  • Western Auction

We encourage all of the houses named above to continue improving in the spirit of service, competition and community that all auctioneers and numismatists share, serving our clients and memberships. Continue to embrace the ethics of both the National Auctioneers Association and the American Numismatic Association.

We also thank Proxibid for its Internet options, quality control and customer service and all houses specializing in coins. We encourage them to visit these award-winning houses above. We know there are some houses that we missed in our rankings; as always, our experience may differ from yours and you should consider these award-winners our favorites. In sum, 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 26000 views since inception.

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.

Leonard Auction Wins … “Best Consignment”

3Best Consignments_Leonard

Leonard Auction, operated by John Leonard of Addison, Ill., has won the category of “Best Consignments,” based not only on the caliber of rarities but also on raw coins that actually grade as described with PCGS or NGC. Fox Valley Coins was a very close second with its Nov. 23, 2013 auction featuring some of the best coins we had seen all year.

Western Auction won the category in 2013 and also in 2012, tying in that year with James Peterson Auction. This year both of those companies were included in Honorable Mention along with Fox Valley Coins, SilverTowne Auctions, Capitol Coin Auction, Kaufman Realty and Auctions, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, and Decatur Coin and Jewelry.

To give you an example of coins that John Leonard routinely offers, look at this slate of brilliant gold coins augmenting top-notch raw key date silver lots.

leonard_consignments

Some of Proxiblog’s acquisitions from Leonard have been profiled in Coin World, as in this piece.

Among the best auctions in 2013 on Proxibid was the Nov. 23 session by Fox Valley Coins. See this slate of Morgans as an example:

FoxValley

The condition of coins in that auction had the look of “age,” lots stored away for decades in some vault or bank box. Bidding was frenetic, with almost every cherry lot selling at retail; or above.

Meares Auction Group also came close to winning with recent bankruptcy auctions. Darron Meares, auctioneer, also has some of the best terms of service on the portal, with low buyer’s premiums.

SilverTowne Auctions consistently offers some of the best lots on Proxibid. It holds more coin auctions than any other company on the portal and thus was a very strong contender.

And our long-time favorite, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, continues to impress us with frequent quality auctions, innovations and new directions.

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, New Houses, Almost 38,000 Views!

Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid has been keen even by standards of our 0.5 rating system, meaning that a half point separates one seller from another. Only one scored tops in all categories: quality consignments, detailed descriptions, quick and inexpensive shipping, superior photography, expert grading, low buyer’s premium and other value-added considerations. New coin auctions are coming that promise to make competition keener. Not only is competition growing, our audience is too, approaching 38,000 views.

SilverTowne Auctions operating out of Leipsic, Ohio, in partnership with the famous coin house SilverTowne and Rick Howard’s Rare Coin Gallery, remains atop our list for the second time this year, primarily because of good grading, lightning-fast shipping and excellent consignments. Auctions are well publicized onsite and online and so you won’t be able to steal a coin here; but you can regularly snare top rarities under wholesale. The sheer number of Proxibid auctions and quality of consignments, along with numismatic grading, are keeping SilverTowne on top with a dozen more auctioneers close at its heels.

Ranked ever so close behind at 24.5 each were Capitol Coin Auctions, Western Auction, Leonard Auction, Southwest Bullion and Coin, Gary Ryther Auctioneers, Rolling M Auctions, and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency auctions. Rocketing to the top 10 are two new houses, Tangible Investments and Allen and Marshall Auctioneers.

Back to the Past Collectibles regains a slot on our list, offering more coin auctions with 10% buyer’s fee.

We will be watching other new houses coming online at Proxibid whose reputation in numismatics promises to make competition in this category more competitive. As such, houses that aspire to favorite-seller status (admittedly, only our opinion), should consider:

  1. Lower buyer fees. Anything over 15% still is suspect.
  2. Numismatic lot descriptions. Note flaws and bone up on grading, reading our “Find the Flaw” articles.
  3. Sharp photography. Obverse, reverse and expandable digital shots.
  4. Quick, inexpensive shipping. Some companies take 2-4 weeks to ship. That’s unacceptable. Coins should be sent within 5 business days.
  5. No maximum-bid or shill-bidding. Do that, and you will not qualify for our rankings. Reason? We do not have faith in our maximum bids when we see those transparency notices, no matter the good intentions of auction houses.

Some houses fell in the ranking because of slow shipping; others, problem coins, too few auctions, or other related matter.

What surprises us in these monthly rankings is how little a house has to do to make big gains. A few of our favorite sellers just have to ship faster. Some might lower their buyer’s fees, especially since more eBay-culture sellers are migrating to Proxibid. They’re used to putting the customer first. Proxibid made a big step with the “Report this Item” link. Coupled with Proxiblog, we believe we are upholding numismatic standards.

See this post on a small improvement that Gary Ryther made, elevating his status to one of our favorite sellers.

In our opinion, slow or outsourced shipping, poor photography, inadequate descriptions and high buyer premiums (along with lack of APN), are signs that a house has not yet adapted–or is unwilling to adapt–to the Internet.

Given the convenience of flat-rate shipping with packages picked up at your door, we’re flummoxed when houses take 3-4 weeks to send out coins. If you cannot do basic photography with the type of enhanced, low-cost equipment at your disposal, including smart phones, then you are short-changing yourselves and your consignors. And you simply cannot schedule multiple coin auctions per month and then claim you are not a coin expert.

That said, our rankings are reviews of favorite houses based on our buying and/or selling experience and numismatic expertise. Your experience with our top houses may differ from ours. Our intent is to educate and praise whenever possible–to our own buying detriment, at times! We have seen when we showcase an auction house how bidding becomes more intense, often edging out our own bids.

Good news is that more auction houses are contributing to our scholarship fund. We distribute Proxiblog for free. All we ask is that those who appreciate our efforts make a small contribution to help college students defray debt. You can make the contribution directly online to the Iowa State Foundation.

Our viewership continues to grow. we had more than 4,500 views in the past three months and are approaching 38,000 lifetime views from all over the world.

2ndquarter

The favorite and most accessed page? “Boos and Booyahs.” The all-time most favorite post? “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which gets on average 50 views per week, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”

We routinely report counterfeit or misidentified coins using the “Report this Item” link. We continue to applaud Proxibid for using this function.

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.

SilverTowne, Gary Ryther Auctioneers Make Gains; Proxiblog exceeds 35,000 views!

rankings

Proxiblog’s viewership has increased steadily as we enter our fourth year of publication with 35,000+ views from around the world in the course of our existence and markedly improved coin auctions on Proxiblog that include APN clearance, in-house shipping, acceptable levels of buyers’ premiums, accurate numismatic lot descriptions and sharp, expandable photos of coins.

Our rankings in the right sidebar concern only our experience with certain sellers. Your experience may differ. In any case, we patronize auction companies when they adhere to standards as expressed in the above paragraph.

In this month’s rankings SilverTowne emerges as the top of our list with a full 25 points. In large part, this has to do with the grading standards, the frequency of auctions, and the wide range of rarities to suit everyone’s budget. You’re not going to steal a coin from Rick Howard or Dave Nauert; but you certainly can snag some below Grey Sheet (wholesale prices).

John Leonard at Leonard Auction continues to amaze us with choice consignments, accurate numismatic descriptions and sharp digital photos. Same can be said about Western Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.

Then, the next half dozen or so companies in our rankings essentially are offering the same level of excitement, appeal and numismatic knowledge. One company, Southwest Bullion and Coin, continues to improve consignments, identify flaws in lots, ship coins quickly and inexpensively, and offer a zero percent buyer’s premium, meaning what you bid is what you pay.

A few other auctions not on our rankings make that faux claim but, unlike Southwest Bullion, open lots at or above Grey Sheet or even retail. So of course if all lots sell with profit to the company, they do not have to see maximum bids or shill bid or charge buyers’ premiums. They built all that into their high opening bids. So when you patronize these companies, all you are actually doing is purchasing coins from an online shop. You are not participating in a win-or-lose auction, as you might with Southwest Bullion. Sadly, companies that do not realize this also are not taking advantage of the Proxibid technology that is programmed for an onsite experience in the comfort of your own home. (Watch for a post on this soon!)

We have often said that all a company has to do is improve one aspect of its features to gain big-time, and we see that in one of our old favorites, Gary Ryther Auctioneers. His company fell from our listings primarily because of the quality of its photographs, which just could not capture luster. He improved that component, attracted marvelous consignments, and is a top-rated house for us again. (Watch for a post on this soon, too!)

We also are excited every time we see an auction by our other favorite sellers, including Star Coin and Currency, Engstrom Auction, Meares Auction, Kaufman Auction, Jewelry Exchange, Key Date Coins and Rolling M Auctions. If our rankings included top sellers for consignors, rather than best bets for bidders, Mark Murphy at Rolling M would rise to the top. His sessions consistently sell above retail because he knows how to promote them onsite and online. Now, if he only would improve photography just a little more, to capture luster like Gary Ryther has done, he would see his great results improve beyond his own high standards and expectations.

As for Proxiblog, we continue to grow our audience with typical 100+ views per day from all over the world. The latest stats show us with more than 20,000 from the past year and a quarter, as the graph below shows. (Total views exceed 35,000 over the course of our publication life.)

views

Our top post continues to be California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake, which averages between 25-100 views per week. “Find the Flaw!” and “Boos and Booyahs!” also are tops among our audience.

Finally, we wish to thank auction houses that have donated to our scholarship fund. We publish Proxiblog for free and promote the best companies and practices on the portal, along with providing numismatic knowledge for bidders and auctioneers. We do this for our students so that they can decrease student debt, enhance personal and professional ethics, and emerge as the next generation of auction buyers.


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.

Capitol Coin Auction tops list!

Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid has become even keener, with only fractions separating one favorite company from another. Only one scored a full 25 points in all categories: quality consignments, detailed descriptions, quick and inexpensive shipping, superior photography, expert grading, reasonable buyer’s premium and other value-added considerations. Not only is competition growing, our audience is too, surpassing 1,600 views for the first 28 days in April.

Capitol Coin Auction continues to feature some of the best numismatic estate auctions on the portal. Every few months it schedules an auction with key date coinage and holdered rarities. Moreover, as we noted in this recent post, Brad Lisembee ranks among the best graders in the business along with John Leonard of Leonard Auction.

Also high on the numismatic grading list are Dave Nauert of SilverTowne Auction, Justin Quinn of Southwest Bullion and Coin, Dave Weaver of Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, and Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions.

These were ranked ever so close behind Capitol at 24.5 each out of 25, along with Western Auction (one of our personal favorites) and Fox Valley Coins.

Returning to the portal is Kaufman Realty and Auctions, with strong consignments, numismatic lot descriptions and good photography. If it shipped more quickly, it would challenge other top houses in our rankings.

Darron Meares, one of our favorite auctioneers, elevated his company to the top rankings, too, with great consignments and much improved photography. Engstrom Auction continues to improve with better consignments. Its photography has been good, and its customer service is fine, too.

Essentially, you should have an exciting time in the spirit of traditional auctioneering bidding in any auction by these top-houses.

Rolling M Auctions is one of our favorite houses. Mark Murphy is going a fantasic job for Rolling M. with great consignments and fine pre-auction advertising. We think he can still do better with sharper photography that captures luster and provides an onsite view for the Internet crowd.

Key Date Coin continues to showcase the best photography and auctions always worth a look. We advocate for better consignments as Eddie Caven knows how to feature premium lots. Star Coin and Currency continues to impress with improving consignments, neat photos and numismatic lot descriptions.

New on the list this month are Atlantic Auction Company and Cannon Auction whose Honor Roll features include 15% buyer’s fee, good photography and numismatic lot descriptions.

Online buyers expect:

  • Rapid shipping with professional packing.
  • Sharp, expandable photos of both sides of a coin.
  • Accurate lot descriptions.

That said, our rankings are reviews of favorite houses based on our buying and/or selling experience and numismatic expertise. Your experience with our top houses may differ from ours. Our intent is to educate and praise whenever possible–to our own buying detriment, at times! We have seen when we showcase an auction house how bidding becomes more intense, often edging out our own bids.

Perhaps this is due to the rise in our viewership. As the screen shot below shows, more than 1600 page views were logged in the first few weeks of April alone.
30dayview

The favorite and most accessed page? “Boos and Booyahs.” The all-time most favorite post? “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which gets on average 100+ views per month from all over the world, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”

Also becoming more popular are our “Find the Flaw!” features, designed to improve grading skills.

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.

Western Auction Stays on Top

New rankings based on February’s auctions, our participation, service terms and consignments show Western Auction on top with quality raw coins that actually grade well at PCGS, as well as 10% buyer’s fee, quick shipping, and excellent numismatic photography. Leonard Auction was a close second, with Weaver Signature Coin Auction, SilverTowne, Liberty Shops, Star Coin and Currency, Jewelry Exchange and Rolling M Auctions all rising after exciting online and timed sessions on Proxibid. And Proxiblog has also risen in viewership, surpassing 30,500 lifetime views with an ever-expanding global audience.

The quality of our top houses–those earning 24-24.5 out of 25 points–has really become a matter of taste and consignment. You can find anything from rare coins to bargains in all of the ranked auction houses. They don’t see maximum bids, and they don’t shill bid, either, providing expandable photography and often, numismatic descriptions. Some houses dropped in the rankings because of fewer sessions, which means they will rise again with their next big consignment.

We still see way too many dipped and altered coins being sent to the same auctions not included in our rankings. And newcomers aren’t always being adequately informed about what the online audience seeks in Internet bidding. Unfortunately, we still see Proxibid auction houses charging too much for shipping or using third-party shippers, seeking credit card information rather than APN clearance, and otherwise hyping lots (including fakes and replicas).

Speaking of which, the top post remains “California Gold: real, replica and fake,” which now attracts more than 50 viewers per week, indicating the extent of the counterfeit problem often found in online portals, including eBay and Proxibid.

As the chart below shows, Proxiblog continues to increase its worldwide audience with almost 18,000 views in the past year and 30,500 lifetime views from the United States and countries across continents. (Click to expand chart below.)

March2013rankings

We have received several complimentary emails regarding our occasional sponsorship prize giveaways by Liberty Shops and Star Coin and Currency, and we thank all of our auction houses for supporting our scholarship fund.

Now for our disclaimer: Our rankings are based on our experience dealing with select auction houses, akin to “Favorite Sellers” on eBay. Your experience may differ from ours.