Shipping: You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

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CLICK PHOTO TO EXPAND

This auctioneer has baffled us with his “formula” for shipping. We cannot understand why shipping is such a big deal for many Proxibid auctioneers.

The “formula” reads:

  • We ship for the price quoted in the item description. We combine shipping using the following formula: add all item shipping quotes not including the quote for the item with the highest shipping. Multiply that total by .40, and add to the quote for the item with the highest shipping. …

Say what?

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If the US Postal Service can figure out “flat rate shipping” so that it is fast and convenient, then auctioneer businessmen should be able to do the same.

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.

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Shipping Still an Issue with Some Auctioneers

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There will be two kinds of auction houses in the near future–those that adapt to the Internet and accept changing times and those that close shop because they are too stubborn to adapt their businesses.

Proxiblog takes some credit in helping coin auctioneers sharpen their photos and lot descriptions. We regularly tout best online practices, too. Over time, we have seen dramatic improvement in all aspects of online numismatics on Proxibid.

True, there are a few top houses houses that still can sharpen their photography because they cannot capture luster of coins. But where we see the last dregs of stubbornness is in shipping.

Here’s one example:

  • Items must be picked up on Thursday … No Exceptions!!!! Items not picked up will be shipped by The UPS Store. PLEASE READ- NEW SHIPPING POLICIES: Items will be shipped by The UPS Store. The UPS Store will charge for Pick-Up, Packing and Shipping Items.If you want your items shipped, please contact The UPS Store within 24 hours after the auction ends with payment information. Per Proxibid regulations-We no longer have access to your payment information to transfer to The UPS Store. You can provide this information to them by phone, fax or email. … If you don’t contact them within 24 hours, you will incur a $1 [fee]

As soon as we read this in the service terms, we went to another auction. Look, don’t insult your bidders with words like “No Exceptions!!!” And don’t fine them for bidding, especially when you refuse to change and provide in-house shipping.

And why are you criticizing Proxibid? We don’t want you to have access to our credit card numbers to give to a third-party shipper. That’s why we trust Proxibid, and trust is key in developing online clientele.

Here’s another auction house that lists coins and that we never patronize. Its service terms reads: “Shipping is available to be paid by the purchaser. Please call for details on shipping availability and cost.”

Sorry. We won’t do your work for you. You arrange for shipping without our having to contact you for information you fail to provide in your service terms.

Bidders are free to patronize whatever company they like, of course. As for us, our rule is simple: If you can’t ship, you’re on a sinking ship. We won’t bid.

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.

Avoid Houses that Charge Per-Lot Shipping


“SHIPPING: We will use the best service possible. We charge a minimal fee for our staff to pack and wrap your items. $5 per lot for coins and jewelry or small items.”


Look closely. This auction house charges $5 per coin. What’s the purpose of this besides making a profit on easily shipped items, especially when shippers like USPS or UPS pick up packages and/or provide mailers for free? The shipping policy also works against the auction house, which should give a discount for more bought lots … rather than an extra charge!

The danger of patronizing houses like this is the chance of ending up with an inexpensive coin worth $5-10. Add shipping, handling, etc., and you’re triple-overpaying for the lot.

We recommend that bidders closely read terms of service for shipping before deciding whether to bid with a house.


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.

Registered Mail is Slow … But Secure

One of our favorite auctioneers sent us a note last week concerning a bidder complaint that shipping was slow, requesting a tracking number. The package contained more than $1000 in won lots, so the auction house sent it registered.

“This package was sent Registered Mail so that in itself slows down shipping,” our auctioneer told us. “It was a $1320.00 order, so we felt it was better to go Registered. We don’t charge extra to ship–whatever the Post Offices charges is what we bill–and we have no control over that.”

The auctioneer added that many people have encountered shipping problems buying on eBay “and are worried about their packages. I understand that. However, with a major storm in this guy’s part of the world, the auction only being last Wednesday and it shipping Registered Mail it’s going to take a little longer.”

Registered mail has to be signed off and handled at each postal station. That makes it secure because the Post Office knows exactly where it has been and who has handled it.

Bidders on the receiving end will have a difficult time understanding why they cannot track those packages with a Registered Mail number as they might with “delivery confirmation.”

USPS is very careful with Registered Mail. It doesn’t want a third party waiting to intercept your goods. So you’ll get delivery confirmation once the package is safely in your hands.

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.

Proxibid vs. eBay, Part I: Two Weeks on eBay

This is the first-part in a five-part series on Proxibid vs. eBay. Our first post covers our initial bidding experience. The second post will compare shipping between the two portals. The third installment will cover IT functions and payment options. The fourth post covers consignments and lot descriptions. The last post discusses which is the best portal to bid on coins.

Almost uniformly, eBay sellers are amateurs and not auctioneers, with a smattering of coin dealers doing mega-business on the portal. Surprisingly, almost every seller has photographs superior to what normally is found on Proxibid. That’s due to eBay’s strict control over photo quality.

Summarized, each eBay listing must include a photo of the coin being sold. “Images that are dark, out of focus, edited, or might be misleading aren’t allowed. Also, stock photos aren’t allowed.”

If buyers are unsatisfied with photos, they can inform eBay quality control.

Expand the picture below to see how this seller promotes his lots via photography.

Concerning counterfeits, the company even provides a link to the Secret Service for more information about illustrations of coins.

I purposefully cut down on my Proxibid purchases and instead sought two types of coins on eBay: toned silver eagles and 1950s double mint sets. I chose these for a reason. Toned silver eagles often are lasered for color or otherwise doctored with chemical treatment. And double mint sets are particularly risky. Paper used by the US Mint naturally tones coin, tempting owners to extract the best rainbow coins and replace them with lesser ones.

I’ll report whether the toned silver eagles are chemically treated. Of the seven that I purchased from different dealers, I won’t be sending in four of them for slabbing because they were obviously artificially toned. I’ll be sending coins in on some of the mint sets, too, to see if circulated coins were put in place of desirable ones.

Some dealers were not selling double mint sets, although they were using that title in their eBay descriptions. Double mint sets include two of every mint, PDS (or 30 coins) in some years. Other sets without S mint marks total 20 coins. Sellers were displaying mint sets that had cherry coins removed, with lesser coins in the paper holders.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was how quickly all the winning lots shipped. I received each of a dozen or more packages within a few days. Clearly, when it comes to shipping, eBay has a big advantage over Proxibid.

Finally, bidding on eBay was fierce. It is difficult to win prime coins without approaching or surpassing retail. And many owners of prime lots opened bids above retail.

More to report on this in future weeks. …

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.

Auctioneer Shipping Phobia

We do not know why an auctioneer would use terms of service like the one below, indicating the house was contacted numerous times about the policy but still ignores feedback.

Gone are the days on Proxibid when auctioneers selling coins could dictate terms of service, knowing they had little competition from other houses (such as our top companies in the sidebar rankings to the right.) Why would anyone bother to bid on coins with terms of service like this?

  • “20 % Buyer’s premium is added to all INTERNET purchases. … WE DO NOT HANDLE SHIPPING AND HANDLING PLEASE CONTACT OUR LOCAL UPS TO HANDLE ALL SHIPPING AND HANDLING. … WE DO NOT HANDLE SHIPPING AND HANDLING!!!!!!!! … SHIPPING AND HANDLING IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE BUYER!!!!! . ((((WE HAVE PROVIDED THE INFORMATION FOR UPS SHIPPING. UPS WILL PICK UP YOUR ITEMS PACK THEM AND SHIP THEM TO YOU. THEIR PHONE NUMBER IS XXX-XXX-XXXX. STOREXXXX@THEUPSSTORE.COM ASK FOR XXXXX OR XXXXX))) THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU A QUOTE ON SHIPPING AN ITEM YOU ARE INTERESTED IN. YOU THEN CAN BE CONFIDENT WHEN YOU BUY THE ITEM THAT THE SHIPPPING IS RIGHT. !!!!!!! NOTE WHEN USING A SHIPPER IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBLITY TO MAKE SURE THE SHIPPER KNOWS WHAT HE NEEDS TO PICK UP.”

What troubles us about houses with similar terms of service, and there are more than a few on Proxibid, is how this not only affects the bidder but the consignor, too. Why would anyone want to consign coins knowing the house’s policy stated in such stark terms? Doesn’t the house know consignors are scanning Proxibid for the best customer service?

We recommend that all consignors to Proxibid auctions read the terms of service of a potential house before signing any contract. The most competitive houses have low buyer’s fees, sharp photography, flat-rate shipping and other perks that spark ever higher bids between the online and onsite auctions. Also, as we have noted repeatedly, we do not recommend patronizing houses that lack APN clearance or that have APN clearance with third-party shippers.

And one more thing: Why isn’t the Proxibid sales team recommending what we just did in this post? Houses with bidder unfriendly Internet terms also reflect poorly on Proxibid. Competitors continue to point out to us that many Proxibid houses fall far short of quality-control standards as found on Teletrade, Heritage and Great Collections.

It’s not how many houses you sign up, but how many succeed on the portal.


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.

Outsourced Shipping Devalues Proxibid’s APN badge

Nothing irks us more than houses that carry the Proxibid APN badge, meaning they pay a premium for credit card security (which we support), only to learn they do not ship coins but rely on the third-party carriers to do that.

Recently Proxiblog won an inexpensive Peace dollar in a timed auction. The auction house bore an APN sticker from Proxibid, and we had bid with this company before. So we made the mistake–and yes, it is a mistake–of not re-reading the terms of service.

We received a call from the company’s local UPS store asking for our credit card information. The representative must have been schooled in what to say when we questioned why the auction house wasn’t doing its own shipping. “Didn’t you read the new terms of service?”

Later, here’s what I found:

    PLEASE READ- NEW SHIPPING POLICIES: Items will be shipped by The UPS Store. The UPS Store will charge for Pick-Up, Packing and Shipping Items.If you want your items shipped, please contact The UPS Store within 24 hours after the auction ends with payment information. Per Proxibid regulations-We no longer have access to your payment information to transfer to The UPS Store. You can provide this information to them by phone, fax or email. Their information is XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you don’t contact them within 24 hours, you will incur a $1 [fee].

There was no option but to give the UPS store the credit card data as the service term required. The UPS store charged $18 for its service, increasing the cost of a $35 coin to close to $60. We could have purchased two common uncirculated Peace dollars from my local coin dealer for that price.

We no longer will bid with this Proxibid company until it ships its own coins. We urge auctioneers paying APN clearance fees not defeat their own cause by outsourcing shipping for small lots like coins. We recommend to the hundreds of bidders who read Proxiblog to review shipping terms every time you see a Proxibid APN badge.

And that’s a shame, because it decreases time Internet clients spend bidding on lots. The APN badge is worth the money on that count alone. However, what this and other outsourcing auction companies have done is devalue the intent of the APN badge by forcing bidders to give credit card data to a third party that doesn’t answer to Proxibid.

That means the company’s resolution center cannot help you if your credit card data is stolen, misplaced or otherwise compromised.

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.