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 and compliments best and bad auctioneer lot descriptions during the past week. We will name the best, but you will have to search Proxibid for the bad. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)

> One Big Booyah to GWS Auctions for noting that the slab of this coin may have been tampered with. We know unscrupulous persons routinely open, extract and replace coins without breaking holders and even re-glue so that evidence is concealed. But it is not always easy to tell. Sometimes people try to crack open coins for resubmission and decide against that halfway through the process. Brigitte Kruse alerts the bidding audience that the slab has damage, advising to bid accordingly.


One Big Booyah to BidAlot Coin Auction for noting that this coin is holdered by a bottom-tier slabber, also advising to bid accordingly. We have seen some auctioneers quote MS66 and higher Red Book retail prices for basic silver melt coins.


Boo! to this unnamed auctioneer who hypes one of the bottom-tier slabs, claiming that the common 1900-O Morgan is rare and that this may be a good deal when the buyer is close to being cheated in our estimation. Don’t pretend to know coins when you do this.


Booyah! to Larry Fuller at Silvertowne Auctions for not only exposing the bottom-tier slab but also for giving a truer grade. These hyped slabs give the hobby a bad name; Larry makes it all better.


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for hyping what looks like a $50 Morgan as super-rare and perhaps worth the ridiculous price of $6000 on the flip. We wish Proxibid would create a badge for laughable lot descriptions. But this really isn’t a laughing matter, especially if a bidder is a novice and falls for this untrustworthy hype.


Boo! to this auctioneer who showcases a 1922 No D cent whose reverse has three types–two cheap, one rare. When are auction houses on Proxibid ever going to learn that we need photos of obverse and reverse?


Boo! to this unnamed auction house for failing to show the reverse of purported California gold, without which we cannot discern genuine from replica with a price difference in the hundreds!


Boo! YET AGAIN to another unnamed auction house for failing to show the reverse of purported California gold. It may be gold, and that just might make it a counterfeit, which violates the Proxibid user agreement. For more information about California gold, click here.


One Big Booyah! to Scott Strosnider at Scott Auctions for noting a coin might be buffed and therefore damaged and not worth a high bid. Scott’s known for integrity. This is just one example.


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.

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.

Is Your Online House in Order?

A full-service auction house on site differs from one online, and if your house is selling to bidders in both arenas, you need to provide full Internet service. Otherwise competitors selling only online or who are early adopters will slowly but surely claim your return customers in a zero-sum numismatic market. Below we discuss some steps you can take to be in lockstep with the best Web auctioneers.

Before providing a list about best online coin practices, we’d like to mention past posts that will go a long way helping auctioneers achieve success.

We have had requests in the past week for updates on this topics, and we’ll comply in the coming weeks.

Proxiblog will continue running our viewers’ favorite regular post, “Boos and Booyahs!, focusing on best and bad lot descriptions for coins. We also have been asked to provide an update on Best Proxibid Photography as well as more Terms of Service features, like this one.

Click on those links to understand the basics of successful online auctioneering. Add to that our Honor Roll standards of buyer’s fee of a maximum 15%; sharp and expandable photos; and reasonable, quick shipping.

We add to those basics the following:

  1. APN clearance. This gives bidders peace of mind because they can rely on the security that Proxibid provides by withholding access to credit card data. Yes, a fee is involved. Auctioneers forget that Proxibid is accepting responsibility for those credit card numbers and paying for Internet security to protect them, including additional technology and employees. You just cannot get this for free, or resent the fee, because without it, you will not have access to one of the fastest growing segments of auctioneering, i.e., online coin dealing.
  2. In-house shipping. If you are paying for APN clearance, for Pete sake do your own shipping and do not rely on outside carriers such as UPS to come to your auction house, collect your lots, and then charge bidders separately for shipping. They end up doing the same thing: Contacting bidders and asking for their credit card data. We advise bidders reading this post never to bid on lots by any auction house specifying this in its terms of service.
  3. One-price shipping. Scott Strosnider of Scott Auctions developed this incentive on Proxibid. He charges 10$ for any purchase, whether $100 or $10,000. Insurance comes with that, by the way. We recommend that our online bidders avoid houses that charge handling fees and punish bidders with $1 per lot premiums for every winning bid. You are punishing your best customers. Does that make sense?
  4. Reasonable opening bids. What’s reasonable? Numismatic practice states 60% of retail. We’re continuing to see some of our favorite auction houses open bids at retail with buyer’s fees on top of that. One house this weekend is offering a 2005 PF70 Silver Eagle with an opening bid of $110, which happens to be exact retail price. If a consignor is setting reserves, then charge them for passed lots. While it’s not the case with this high-functioning house, we recommend that Proxibid monitor passed lots to see which houses are using its technology for free, offering the same high opening bids each week on the same passed coins until somebody makes an unwise purchase.

We understand why several of our regular auctioneer viewers object to these standards. Making a living in difficult economic times can be a struggle. We’re not talking about that, though. We’re talking about maximizing your profits by understanding change–in this case, the way that business is done on Internet. You will have to cater to the online as well as onsite crowd and provide incentives for return business. We want you to succeed. Because when you do, Proxibid does, along with the customer.

That’s win-win-win!

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.