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:
- Lower buyer fees. Anything over 15% still is suspect.
- Numismatic lot descriptions. Note flaws and bone up on grading, reading our “Find the Flaw” articles.
- Sharp photography. Obverse, reverse and expandable digital shots.
- Quick, inexpensive shipping. Some companies take 2-4 weeks to ship. That’s unacceptable. Coins should be sent within 5 business days.
- 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.
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.