One House Changes Lot Description; Another Keeps Calling Paramount Dollar “Redfield”

notredfield

Yesterday we reported that there were two Paramount dollars and one genuine Redfield dollar being sold on Proxibid. The lot above is a Paramount dollar, still listed on Proxibid as a “Redfield.” Redfield dollars are worth a much larger premium than Paramount dollars but because the latter are holdered in the same type of card and plastic, many Proxibid auctioneers call all such dollars “Redfield,” when they are not. We sent multiple warnings to the auctioneers in question, using the “Report the Item” link. Top house SilverTowne changed the lot description. The other auction house did not.


Here is the SilverTowne screenshot with the changed lot description:

paramount

Here is the auction house that did not change the lot description:

paramount1

We’re not going to name the auction, but you can find it out by searching for the above coin.

Our site is educational. We hope this has been of service to you. And we’re proud of SilverTowne for realizing its numismatic error and correcting it, as we knew it would. The other? Perhaps the auctioneer is out of town. Or otherwise engaged. We don’t know. All we do know is that we sent multiple alerts to him using the “Report the Item” link.

We also believe Proxibid has an obligation to bidders–not to mention its own brand of “trust”–to require auctioneers to change obviously erroneous lot descriptions–wrong date, mint mark, etc. In this case, calling a Paramount dollar a “Redfield” is unfortunate, especially if the lots sell with a high but undeserved premium.

This is how a genuine Redfield dollar should look, featured on Weaver Auction (known for accurate lot descriptions):

notredfield1

For more on Redfield dollars, see this article published in Coin World.

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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Take 4 Photos on Slabbed Coins

1960d

As we have noted multiple times, photos sell coins online. The worst shortcut is to take one photo of a raw coin with no reverse. The second is to take one shot of the grade of a slabbed coin. Even with PCGS and NGC coins, photos of an obverse and reverse are not enough for discriminating buyers who also assess the value of the strike as well as the condition of coin and holder.


Here is a typical newbie photo of an 1879-S Morgan in a holder. Only the obverse appears.

1879

It’s unfortunate that the auctioneer only provides an obverse photo because the 1879-S has varieties such as the 1879-S reverse of 78 (parallel rather than slant tail feathers) that can bring much higher bids and even spark a bidding war.

This top-rated auctioneer (see photo below) has improved his photography to some extent. But still takes shortcuts. A slabbed coin, even by NGC or PCGS, deserves 4 photos for strike assessment, especially when the coin is rare and deserving of ever-higher bids, as this lot illustrates:

1924D

SilverTowne Auctions provides four photos of slabbed coins. The first shows the label, the second a close-up of the obverse, the third a close-up of the reverse, and the fourth a shot of the reverse label:

Obverse Holder

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Close-up Obverse

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Close-up Reverse

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Reverse Holder

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Photos of the holder are important to check the certification number of a coin and the condition of the holder. (Cracked, scratched or damaged holders should be described in the lot description). Close-ups inform the bidder whether to send the holdered coin to a fourth-party grader (Certified Acceptance Corporation) or resubmit for an upgrade.

When you take a shortcut with coin photography, you as auctioneer will take a cut in your fees.

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.

Approaching 50,000 Views, Two Houses Soar!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category remains relatively stable with the top 15 or so houses featuring excellent consignments, quality photos and excellent customer service. Back to the Past Collectibles soared into the top 10 by upgrading its photography. We wish one or two other favorite houses at the bottom of our rankings also felt the same way.


Capitol Coin Auction remains in the top slot. If you bid in its March 1, 2014 auction, you know why. Top lots. Accurate numismatic descriptions. Sharp photography. Low buyers’ premium. Great customer service. It’s difficult to beat Brad Lisembee who has perfected the online coin trade.

SilverTowne Auction continues to amaze us with auction after auction with high standards across the board. Leonard Auction is known for top-quality consistency. Meares Auction consistently improves from consignments to photography.

Also holding steady or trading top places with the best coin auctions on the portal are Certified Rare Coin Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, Southwest Bullion, Western Auction, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Gary Ryther Auctioneers, Jewelry Exchange, Fox Valley Coins and Krueger and Krueger.

Two houses catapulted into our top 10. Spencer Auction holds infrequent sessions, but when it does, it features top coins, low buyer’s fee, excellent customer service and great consignments. Same can be said about Back to the Past Collectibles with a 10% buyer’s premium. It broke into the top 10 because C. Scott Lovejoy worked diligently, consulting with us, to perfect his photography. Below is an example (click to expand):

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You can even see the metal flow on a 2000-year-old coin. Photography is essential in the online bidding world. Watch for a post about Lovejoy’s enhancements later this week!

We hate to call out houses for lack of improvement, even if they are among our favorites. One house in particular has attempted to improve photos but not enough to tell varieties and flaws. If it did, it would be in our top 10. The house does a great marketing job and scores exceptionally high sales because of it. So it may feel no need to improve. We find ourselves bidding on slabbed coins only because we cannot see which coins are dipped. Because we suspect many of the lots are from coin dealers, we are doubly cautious.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 600 posts and are approaching 50,000 page views. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines.

Top view again goes to our post popular post: California Gold, real, replica and fake, closing in on 100 views per week.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Fortunately, we have several of our top houses donating funds to our scholarship account. You can also buy our Basic Coin Design book on Kindle. We are extremely grateful. Won’t you consider making a tax-deductible donation so that we can continue publishing? Thank you for your consideration!

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.


More Than 16,000 Views in 2013!

Competition among coin-selling houses on Proxibid continues to be intense with very little difference in services among our top dozen or so houses. All in our rankings offer quality coins, ship reasonably and post expandable photos of obverse and reverse. We welcome back K&K Auction Service, which is running coin auctions again. Krueger and Krueger Auction, one of our favorites, no longer sees maximum bids and so appears in our rankings. And Certified Rare Coin Auctions makes its first appearance with stunning coins. That said, Capitol Coin Auction still leads the pack with detailed lot descriptions, accurate grading, low buyer’s fee, quick shipping and fine numismatic photography and consignments–excellent on all levels.

SilverTowne Auctions, Leonard Auction, Weaver Auction, Gary Ryther Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Fox Valley Coins rank among the top 10 in our assessment. But so many more listed on the right sidebar are offering fine consignments, good customer service and other features. Among the most difficult categories to master, however, are sharp numismatic photography that captures luster and color in addition to accurate lot descriptions about grade and condition.

As we always note in our rankings, these are based on our experience and should be considered Proxiblog’s favorite houses. Your experience may differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we are pleased that our viewership keeps improving, with more than 16,500 views worldwide in 2013. We provide this blog for free to raise scholarship money via our online account with the Iowa State Foundation and via our numismatic work, Basic Coin Design, on Amazon Kindle.

See the countries that visit our site in the screenshot below (click to expand):

16000views

As for individual posts, the most accessed article remains “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake,” which enjoyed 2058 views in 2013.

See this screenshot for other top posts (click to expand):

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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.

Consignor hypes coins, auctioneer lists at own risk

hyped

Auctioneers who allow consignors to grade coins have an obligation to set the record straight. We seldom bid in this auction because we disapprove of its continuously hyped grades. Grading is subjective–to a point. Imagine a beat-up 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab worth about $5,000 with a sale price of $65,000. That’s the level of exageration here.


Expand the photo above to see coin after coin listed at MS68. The photos are subpar, so you cannot truly grade these coins, although we see bag marks in several and washed out (dipped?) luster in others. We can’t be sure because of the poor quality photo; but we can be relatively sure that these are common uncirculated Morgans at best worth anywhere from silver melt to $100.

When we see auctioneers stating “Consignor’s Estimated Grade” in an auction that schedules weekly coin sessions on Proxibid, we expect the auctioneer to know something about coins and counter hyped descriptions by sellers. And please, no more–we’re auctioneers, not coin dealer excuses; if you’re scheduling regular coin events on Proxibid, guess what? You’re a coin dealer.

To see how to grade and describe coins, visit archived sessions by Capitol Coin Auction, SilverTowne and Leonard 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.

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. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)


greatdescription_completeset

Booyah Capitol Auction! for great descriptions, as in this State Quarter collection. Note that Auctioneer Brad Lisembee adds mint sets so that buyers complete the missing quarters. That adds extra $$$ to the sale. This is an example of why Capitol is a top house on Proxiblog!


cleaned

Booyah Weaver Auction! for consistently identifying cleaned coins, which are upgradeable by major holding companies and which are difficult for buyers to detect online. It’s a small courtesy that brings return customers to this top house!


damage

Another Booyah to top-house SIlverTowne Auction for noting damage on coins. Would that more houses did this!


McKee

Booyah McKee Auction! for precise, concise descriptions with good photography.


not66

Boo! to this house for consistently calling lots key dates and overgrading the coins. Photos aren’t great; but we tested by buying once or twice, and what we suspected was what we got.


notgold

Boo! to this house for calling a plated replica California gold. This is the biggest coin problem on the portal, and one of the biggest problems in numismatics. To tell the difference between replica and real, see our post “California Gold: real replica and fake,” which averages hundreds of views per month.


notegoldreplica

Booyah Mascari Auction! for showing how to list replica plated bear-on-reverse lots!


silverweight

Booyah BidALot Auction! for providing silver weight on foreign coins, a small but helpful descriptor.


slabtruth1

Boo! to this house for hyping value of lower-tier slabs, using PCGS values–something PCGS does not appreciate, as their slabbed coins are among the most accurate on the market. This coin would probably not even grade at PCGS, as it looks cleaned to us.


slabtruth

Booyah Jewelry Exchange! for showing how to list coins in bottom-tier slabs.


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 Auction heads list of top-ranked houses

Capitol Coin Auction doesn’t hold monthly auctions, but when it does–about 4-6 per year–wow, Auctioneer Brad Lisembee creates an event. His Nov. 9 Proxibid auction is one of them, replete with top holdered and raw coins in nearly all series and denominations. Brad also charges a low buyer’s fee and provides quick, inexpensive shipping, with lots showcased by excellent numismatic photography and grading. No new houses were added to our rankings this month, as so many of our favorites are improving regularly, topping newcomers to the portal. As we always state, however, our top houses are just a matter of choice. (Your experience may differ from ours.)

Leonard Auction, SilverTowne Auction, Western and Southwest Bullion continue to set the pace with excellent consignments and concise, numismatic grading. Other fine houses–Decatur, Weaver, Meares, Gary Ryther, et. al., continue to appeal with good photography, neat consignments, accurate descriptions and fine customer service. Back to the Past Collectibles is in our top 10 because of continuing improvement. RitMar Exchange is moving up, too, focusing on improved photography and mastering the basics with low buyer’s fee and great customer service.

This is the first time we have scored 24.5 points to the top 15 houses. Essentially, there is little difference between them except for the particular consignment on a given week.

This is a good sign because Proxibid has inaugurated a seller feedback feature. Watch for a post on that latter in the week.

As for Proxiblog, we continue to grow with more than 42,500 viewers since our inception in May 2011. In the past 10 months we have logged more than 17,000 views with most coming from the United States, Canada, Britain, Russia and India.

10monthviews

The most popular post continues to be “California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake.” Typically we identify a handful of replica and counterfeit lots, claiming to the real fractional gold; we report them via Proxibid’s “Report this Item” link. Sadly, we report, we see little action typically by seller or Proxibid.

Hats off to Meares Auction, which had two such replicas on consignment, asked us to evaluate them, and then changed the lot description. That’s why Darron Meares is a leader in this business.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Fortunately, we have several of our top houses donating funds to our scholarship account. GreatCollections, operated by numismatist Ian Russell, sponsored an entire month. We are extremely grateful.

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.

Our top post, accessed more than 50 times per week