Kaufman Realty No Longer on Proxibid

kaufman

This week we received the sad news that one of our consistently top-rated houses, Kaufman Realty and Auctions, no longer will be calling sessions interactively on Proxibid. Click the photo above to see the email blast that we received.

Kaufman increasingly was securing top consignments with good photographs. The company averaged two major auctions per month on Proxibid.

Those looking for the company can still bid online through its website at www.kaufman-auctions.com. You will have to create a new username and password as the Proxibid data will not apply in the new bidding platform.

A company spokesperson apologized for the change in online bidding providers but noted that the contract with Proxibid expired at the beginning of the year with an increase in charges per auction. So Kaufman decided it was no longer feasible to use Proxibid services.

Word about fee hikes is nothing new, as this seems to be happening in several venues associated with numismatics. PCGS, for instance, has raised its holdering fees. Several top auctions, including Stacks-Bowers, Heritage and Teletrade have raised their buyer’s premiums to 17.5%. Proxibid also has extensive technology to maintain and upgrade to keep pace with the buying public.

Nonetheless, we hope those serving our industry, including Proxibid, hold the line on fee increases in the future to preserve and expand the collecting hobby, especially during questionable economic times.

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.

Won lots lose interactivity–what gives Proxibid?

petpeeve

Proxibid usually enhances technology when updating programs, but this “new” feature is a step backwards for bidders–loss of interactivity on winnings, preventing you from viewing pictures of what you won or determining which auctioneer offered best consignments in the past.

Heritage does it. Teletrade does it. Even eBay does it–allowing bidders to see past lots won. Proxibid used to do it, but has eliminated that feature, adding more data–such as Internet premium–but losing interactivity, the best advertisement for auction houses. Now bidders must go to the site of each auction and delve into the archives, searching for a photo. Some bidders need that photo to ensure that they get the lots that they won.

But Proxibid has done away with that. (Click on photo below to expand.)

proxibid_bidding

We’re flummoxed. How could this possibly be a safety concern? Why take away interactivity when it provides a detailed record of each sale? Look at all the information that Teletrade gives its bidders. (Click on photo below to expand.)

teletrade_bidding

We hope that Proxibid or blue-ribbon badge auctioneers realize how loss of interactivity in an interactive world takes away from the company’s reputation as being tech-savvy, and sets it back about a decade when other auction portals didn’t allow bid winners to keep track of their purchased lots.

We realize that large-size photos such as many of our top houses use in sales take up a lot of space, but we’re advocating for thumbnails still available in the archives.

Let’s restore that 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.

Auctions that Aren’t

allthemarbles
Click the above picture to expand

We grow weary with seeing so-called auctions like this on Proxibid. Coins open at or near retail. Buyer’s fee is high. Auctioneer sees maximum bids and can shill bid at will. These aren’t auctions. They’re online coin stores.

This auction company routinely opens at or near retail, charges a higher buyer’s fee, sees maximum bids and can shill bid to raise the price higher. Why are these so-called auctions on Proxibid?

We recommend against bidding with any company that sees maximum bids and allows auctioneering or consignor bidding. There are plenty of real auctions on Proxbid, in which there are no reserves, low opening bids, low buyer’s fee and good shipping. We don’t list any auction that sees maximum bids or allows shill bidding in our top rankings in the right sidebar.

If you want to patronize auctions like the one above, we recommend against Proxibid and for Heritage, Teletrade and Great Collections. They offer superior service, especially shipping. The same coin below sold recently at Heritage very near the above company’s opening bid.

heritagesale

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.

Badge for Bidders?

While we’re happy about the new badge system for auction companies, including the gold ribbon for a strategic partnership, we’re hoping that Proxibid may soon honor or reward the lifeblood of its portal: the bidder.

Bidders on eBay get stars and, more important, eBay Bucks. Teletrade bidders get Gold Rewards. We know Proxibid has much to handle, coordinating all those auctions; but sometimes we feel that all Proxibidders get are credit card bills, email blasts, and reminders to spend more.

Maybe we’re biased. We do bid a lot now and then. But let’s look at it from the auctioneer’s perspective. While badges and partnerships are good for bidding, the portal is relying on auctioneers to offer specials–and we’ve seen far too few of those lately. In fact, it’s been months since we wrote about that in this post.

In the past Proxibid gave away prizes. That was fun. But it also was a promotion and did little to encourage return bidders and ever higher rollers.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. For each new registrant, award $10 in Proxibucks.
  2. For each $1,000 spent on the portal each month, award 1% cash back on the next single auction purchase of $500 or more.
  3. For each $10,000 spent on the portal each quarter, award 2% cash back for the next single auction purchase of $1,000 or more.
  4. For each $100,000 spent on the portal each year, award 3% cash back.

If Proxibid doesn’t want to do cash, then offer free tickets on this Proxibid site.

We think encouraging return and ever higher bidding will be a bonanza for Proxibid as it has been for its rivals. (This week’s posts are sponsored by Teletrade; watch for its specials announced tomorrow–a chance to win gold coins for everyone who bids in the auction.)

We appreciate Proxibid’s focus on quality control. And we honestly feel this is the a terrific place to purchase coins and find bargains. But it’s time to honor bidders with something more than “Congratulations! You are approved to bid in this 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.

On the Block: Southwest Bullion Rolls Out 0% Buyer’s Fee, Flat-Rate Shipping

Southwest Bullion, located in Houston, Texas, has rolled out a 0% buyer’s fee with flat-rate USPS shipping, APN clearance with no maximum-bid-viewing or consignor bidding.

By Justin Quinn, licensed auctioneer

The coin market has for many years been stricken with a BUYERS PREMIUM fee structure that supposedly only really benefits the seller, but in our opinion, leaves buyers with a bad taste in their mouths. Being one of the nation’s largest coin buyers ourselves, we know first hand how high buyer’s premiums, as well as minimum lot fees and excessive shipping and handling fees, affect our own buying and the negative effect those “fees” have on the personal enjoyment of coin collecting. We realized recently how much time we spend “backing out” buyers premiums and fees from our bids, fiddling all through the auction with the calculator.

Like most others, our business started as a hobby. We simply enjoyed collecting coins, but that hobby soon turned into a full-scale business with customers, orders to fulfill, customer service needs, and most of all the need for more inventory to supply our steady demand for quality products. In order to keep up with the demand we started buying from auction sites ourselves and companies (most all having a buyers premium).

As our business grew, we tried to find a sales model that would work for us, and frankly it was easy to NOT “reinvent the wheel” so to speak, following suit to our competition and their methods. We too charged a buyers premium (with minimum lot fees) and followed that industry standard for awhile, but that’s NOT what our customers or even dealer/customers wanted.

They didn’t hesitate to tell us either!

So, as customers continued to complain about our BP & fees (just as we complained about those same fees at Heritage, Teletrade and others), we realized that what the customers really wanted was for the seller to pay those fees just like on eBay! Let’s face it, without happy buyers, we as dealers wouldn’t have any business at all.

We want our customers to feel comfortable buying from us with the knowledge that we will not be charged outrageous buyers fees, shipping fees, or other hidden fees on invoice after the auction. We also want our buyers to know that they can bid without having to calculate fees on every push of a bid button. We want to bring back the hobbyist and the collector who like attending auctions for the enjoyment with a fully transparent market.

The reason so many people use eBay is due to eBay policy forcing sellers to pay the sales expenses and allow their customers to buy with an “all inclusive bid,” which equates to a wider customer base who are willing to buy products for the product itself (at full market value), instead of always searching for the least amount of fees associated with an item they want to purchase.

Over the span of our auction operations on Proxibid, we have expanded our catalogs from just offering a few bullion coins to a very wide variety of coin and bullion products, as well as jewelry, comics, sports memorabilia and other collectibles. From copper two cent pieces, to rare Morgan dollars, to kilo lunar series coins, we want to bring our broad base of products to the entire collecting and/or dealer community by giving them the ability to buy from a trusted seller, one who keeps their needs as buyers foremost in mind, all with easy no-hassle pricing.

We read recently that the two largest names in the coin auction industry just decided to INCREASE buyers premiums to 17.5% and minimum lots fees to $14-$25/lot, because its better for the “consignors/sellers.” We think that focus is not where it should be! Without happy buyers and bidder participants, those consignors have no market to sell to, and as a buyer ourselves, frankly we’re mad as hell at the fee increase. Not only we will no longer buy from those giant auction houses, but we decided to go 180 degrees in the other direction in our sales effort.

For all the problems eBay presents representing tens of thousands of sellers (some of which are unscrupulous) and a badly abused feedback system against honest sellers, they got this fee structure part right. Fees should be borne by the SELLER, not the buyer, and the growth of the on-eBay coin market proves it. Shipping should not be a profit-center either, and any hidden fees are just unacceptable. We were none to happy to have $40 “shipping and handling” recently added to our “major auction house in Dallas” order the other day. We just feel strongly that these continued high buyer fee arrangements are unacceptable, and know that vast majority of our customers feel the same way we do.

On our upcoming Proxibid auctions, we have decided to employ an ongoing list of catalogs that are “type coin specific” in order to make our auctions more enjoyable to collectors of certain types of coins or bullion items. This is especially important for buyers who don’t want to spend hours waiting for their coin-type lots to come up for sale.

As a buyer, there are certain coins that are generally the area of interest to any particular collector or dealer, and most times they will have to surf through multiple auctions to find just the right coins they are looking for while not being able to be totally interested by one single auction catalog chocked full of their favorite type of coin. We want to give our buyers the ability to sit in one auction with their own area of interest and not miss the lot they want because the entire auction is an area of interest focusing on that specific type of coin.

We are planning to unveil a schedule of catalogs that will cater to almost every type of buyer from the U.S. cent buyer to the rare world bullion buyer, and hopefully in doing so we can gain the business and confidence of all Proxibid coin customers.


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 Reflect Competition

Recently Proxibid reported a 29.3% increase in coins auctions from 2010 to 2011, with a 36% increase in the number of coin auctions in the first quarter of this year. More competition has led to new rankings, as newcomers offer choice consignments with low buyer’s fees and specials. How will your house respond?

Gone are the days when Proxibid auction houses could dictate terms online, ghost-bidding lots, hyping descriptions, posting blurry photographs of only one side of a coin, and charging as much as 22% online fees while lacking APN clearance and using third-party shippers.

In part, Proxiblog has played a role in numismatic quality control. Proxibid also has done its share in creating more of an even playing field, posting APN buttons and transparency notices to alert bidders to houses that see maximum bids or allow consignor and auctioneer bidding.

As a result, we have seen competitive houses such as Silvertowne drop maximum-bid viewing, reclaiming its third-place slot behind Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction and Western Auction, which finally has overtaken Weaver based on slightly better photography (showing luster) and equally choice consignments.

Breaking into the top 10 are Bennett Auction Service with a 9.5% online buyer’s fee, good photography, APN clearance, cheap shipping, and no viewing maximum bids or allowing consignor bidding. However, the house doesn’t specialize in coins, and a consideration in our rankings is the number of coin auctions each house schedules in a month. Silvertowne is among leaders in that category with the best lot descriptions on Proxibid because of veteran numismatist Larry Fuller.

Kaufman Realty also has broken into the top 10 with increasingly accurate lot descriptions, regular coin auctions and improved photography.

Also in the top 10 is Back to the Past Pop Culture Warehouse. This house offers a 10% buyer’s fee, $5 flat rate shipping on coins and good photography. After it viewed Proxiblog, seeing that we advocate for photos on both sides of a coin, Creative Director Scott Lovejoy immediately posted reverses of all coins before an upcoming auction and quickly rose in our rankings.

Our Honor Roll houses now number 88 offering low buyer’s fees, good photography and reasonable shipping. In May 2011, only 11 houses on Proxibid met these criteria.

Other newcomers have risen in our top 21 slots, including Auctions Unlimited and Brian’s Auction Service.

Not all Proxibid coin auctions have responded favorably to the new competition. We no longer purchase coins from them because they refuse to upgrade photography, clinging to harsh service terms and hyping lot descriptions.

Conversely, there are houses whose consignments and in-house practices are so trustworthy that we eagerly await their auctions. These include Leonard Auction and Capitol Coin Auction. While they charge online buyer’s fees between 17-20%, they offer the superior consignments and lot descriptions that stand up to PCGS standards.

Nonetheless, if they took a chance in an auction and reduced their online fees to 15%, we believe their bottom lines would rise significantly in a few months’ time.

Finally, coin auctioneers should realize that mega houses such as Teletrade and Great Collections are in the process of competing with each other and Proxibid. Teletrade offers no-reserve, 0% buyer’s fees on Tuesdays. Great Collections offers 10% with “Buy Now” specials and other enticements.

In an Internet world, like it or not, you are competing with the likes of megahouses (including Heritage). We advise to embrace the competition and figure out creative ways to attract return customers, offering specials and treating online buyers with the same courtesies as your onsite crowd.

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.

Top Houses Upgrade Coin Photos

Pictures are worth more than a thousand words online, and these showcase Proxiblog award-winning companies Weaver Auction, Western Auction, Key Date Coins, Rolling M, James Peterson and Leonard Auctions, which have enhanced their already-sharp photography with a zoom feature for complete numismatic examination.

Weaver Auction won a best photography award earlier this year; Leonard and Key Date auctions, four honorable mentions across categories, including photography; Western, best consignment and three honorable mentions, including photography; Rolling M Auctions, a most-improved mention; and James Peterson, best consignment.

If you’re going to pay Proxibid, credit card and APN fees, and you snare a top consignment, you are only cheating yourself if you do not invest in clear, expandable photos of your coins. Gone are the days when blurry photos hide flaws in the hope that bidders will hunger for a bargain and take chances. There are just too many online savvy houses stealing new and return bidders with fine photography, and the new zoom feature as illustrated in the examples below will attract even more.

Also, by enhancing photography, you put more responsibility on the bidder, as this picture illustrates. Click picture to view.

Bidders access the zoom feature by clicking on the thumbnail followed by the lot photo and then clicking on that. In the lower right corner is a button for “full screen.” Click picture to view.

Some auction houses have an expand feature but no zoom when this button is clicked; others just reprint the same size photo. The zoom feature, however, lets bidders examine a coin in specific places as if holding a loop to the metal. To be sure, inspecting a coin in person is still the preferred method; but these houses (and others not featured here) have displayed photos every bit as informative as what might be found on the large houses such as GreatCollections, Teletrade and Heritage.

Before displaying their photos, some final thoughts:

  • The better the consignment, the sharper your photos must be to spark bidding wars.
  • The less you know about VAMs and other varieties, the more you need zoom features for bidders looking for these attributes
  • The more you sell online, the sharper and larger your photos must be to stay competitive with houses such as featured below (click photos to expand).

In closing, you owe it to your business and consignor to display rare coins and precious metals with the digital photography that they deserve, especially as both the auction and coin business gravitate to the Internet. It’s an added cost, to be sure; but as these top houses know, a necessary one.


Weaver Auction


Western Auction


Leonard Auction


James Peterson


Key Date Coins


Rolling M Auctions


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 Changes Improve Portal

We applaud Proxibid’s new changes in helping make the portal more bidder friendly and transparent, identifying those auctions that can see maximum bids or that allow sellers–or even auction companies–to bid on lots in a type of shill bidding. Click the picture above to read new service terms.

Proxiblog has advocated for these changes for more than a year. As many of our Honor Roll houses know, we bid often and then consign winnings to help fund our scholarships, counting on our numismatic knowledge to spot bargains. In the process, we have identified houses that shill bid, always jump to maximum bids, and then shill bid again in the hope that we’ll up our bids even further.

We have not identified them on Proxiblog because we want our site to be proactive rather than reactive, relying on our articles to make the case for better online business.

Shill bidding is, in fact, illegal in many states and one of the reasons why coin buyers often shy away from Proxibid auctions and look instead to Great Collections, Heritage and Teletrade, which thrive because of transparency and stringent rules. Yes, you might pay more for a coin on these sites. Yes, there are fewer bargains. But there is much less risk. That is why those companies vastly outsell auction houses on Proxibid.

Nevertheless, one or two Proxibid auctioneers bristle every time we mention Great Collections et. al., complaining that there are no bargains on those auctions. These Proxibid auctioneers are honest and mistakenly believe other houses are as honorable as theirs. Most may be, but some are not. And in general, bidding on Proxibid requires users to possess numismatic experience not only in bidding but also in grading and identifying counterfeits, self-slabbers and high-reserve houses.

We recommend the larger houses for newbies until they learn numismatic basics.

If you want your house to compete against the likes of Heritage and Teletrade, you can do so easily by following our best practices.

It’s not a matter of size. It’s a matter of integrity, as most NAA auctioneers realize. A house like Weaver’s Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, and Key Date Coins reap ever higher bids because they have followed our advice in the past year and thrived. And that advice is based on 40 years’ experience in the numismatic industry in addition to reporting on coins for top publications like Coin World and Coin Update News and even advising the U.S. Mint on coin design.

This is why we believe that forthcoming Proxibid changes are going to help many of our top honest houses attract even more bidders because they will know that auctioneers will not immediately jump to maximum bids or unfairly shill bid for maximum profit. Those relatively few houses lack respect for the online audience, believing it is there to be duped or otherwise taken advantage of.

On the other hand, we feel confident placing maximum bids on almost all of the houses ranked to the right of this article.

However, we still are advocating for more changes in the Proxibid rules:

  • Charge high-reserve auctions for unsold items because they use the portal as a cheap eBay site, knowing they don’t have to pay fees when lots do not sell; so they sell above retail, trolling for the few inexperienced bidders who do not know pricing. See this article for details.
  • Mandate that consignors are responsible for paying refunds on counterfeit and altered coins. See this article featuring Leonard Auction for contracts that do just that.
  • Remove APN badges from houses that contract with third parties for packing and shipping. See this article for details about that.

We also understand that Proxibid cannot force auctioneers to extend basic numismatic courtesies, such as providing clear and expandable pictures of obverse and reverse of coins. We are disappointed in some of our former top houses taking shortcuts in this area by providing only obverse. Today, we removed them from top-ranked houses.

It is, frankly, unethical to sell half a coin to an Internet audience that takes risks because they cannot view the lot up-close as onsite bidders can. We advise all bidders to cease placing bids on raw coins that show only one side of a lot, as this article explains.

We end with a reminder about one of the most important ethical rules of the National Auctioneer Association: Members owe the buyer (from now on referred to as the Customer) the duties of honesty, integrity and fair dealing at all times.

And we thank Proxibid for helping everyone do just that.

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.

Common Consignment Courtesies

Proxiblog has consigned coins with more than a dozen Proxibid auctioneers, and the professional courtesies vary greatly, from notifying us about consignment arrival to sending the seller’s check.

Competition for coin consignments is heating up, with more buyers looking to invest in coins to offset an uncertain economy and some 40-plus auction houses meeting our standards with more coin-selling companies coming on board via Proxibid.

And yet only a relative few companies provide these common consignment courtesies:

  • Sending the consignor a contract or emailing a FAQ notifying sellers about fees, buy-backs and other auction house rules.
  • Alerting the consignor that his or her package has arrived safely at the auction house.
  • Providing the consignor with a list of coins being entered in a specific auction, and advising the seller if some lots had to be scheduled for a later auction, as is sometimes the case.
  • Informing the consignor after the auction on how well her or his lots did, with a bill of sales minus any fees.
  • Mailing the check within 7 days of the sale so that consignors can balance their own books.
  • Thanking the consignor for placing coins with the auction house and inviting more business in the future.

Proxiblog has cautioned auctioneers in the past that meeting our selling standards will be requisite as more professional coin dealers sign up with Proxibid, iCollector and AuctionZip. Moreover, online auction houses are competing with major Internet coin-selling companies, including Heritage, Teletrade, and one of the best new sites in a decade, Great Collections, a venture by numismatist and auctioneer Ian Russell, whose customer service and professionalism are exceptional.

Now add a couple thousand eBay coin auctioneers, many of them coin shops and dealers who advertise in Coin World, Coinage, and other numismatic publications.

Rather, we have been seeing a few new and even long-time Proxibid auction houses handling consignments informally, which often require sellers to ask if their coins have arrived safely, how well they did in a sale, and when the check will be cut.

An auctioneer never wants to receive an email such as Proxiblog just sent, using USPS tracking service and asking the auctioneer to please go to the post office and pick up the consignment before it is returned. This particular auctioneer is doing many things right, but exercising common consignment courtesies is not one of them. (Note: Name of auction company whited out as common courtesy.)

Some of the best houses providing all of the above courtesies include Silvertowne, Weaver and Leonard Auction. Moreover, Silvertowne and Leonard Auction are after quality consignments–so much so, that often selling fees are waived if the coins fetch good hammer prices. We’ve featured Leonard Auction before in our Best Practices page.

Waving seller fees (except for buybacks) may be a sign of the future as the more competitive Proxibid houses vy for top coins, leaving the low-ball consignments for the rest.

Currently Proxiblog is consigning only with houses offering Leonard/Silvertown deals.

Here is an email Leonard Auction just sent, soliciting consignments. (Click to expand picture.) Note how the auctioneer has taken pains to provide an Internet worthy photo attached to his email blast with all the factual particulars clearly spelled out. In fact, almost one-half of the entire message is factual with tight concise writing–a surefire way to attract attention … and consignments.

In the end, common consignment courtesies mean return business so that auctioneers do not have to hunt after estate auctions or travel to shows to purchase lots for sale. Coins will come to them, along with more Proxibid business.

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.