Passing without paying Proxibid fees

Whether inexpensive copper replicas or pricey gold dollars, opening bids with high reserves so that few actually sell–and the ones that do bring profit–is not in Proxibid’s or bidders’ interest. Add to that buyer’s fees between 16-18%, plus shipping and handling fees, and you have a retail coin shop.

We wrote about this problem before in this post, happy to hear that Proxibid is aware of the problem.

Some auction houses passing on multiple lots also schedule at regular intervals “no reserve” junk auctions, as if doing a favor to bidders by clearing out generally unwanted inventory. (To read about junk auctions, click here.)

Passed items that do not sell on Proxibid take advantage of the system and other auctioneers. We understand that reserves are typical at auctions. Companies can assess buyback fees to consignors or buy back items themselves. (One of our Honor Roll auction houses buys back items that fail to bring greysheet [or “ask”] prices; but lists them as “sold” so as not to short-change the operation.)

Auctioneers who sell coins regularly on the portal need to be aware of numismatic tradition, especially if they are members of the American Numismatic Association or Professional Numismatists Guild.

The ANA’s code of ethics states that members should base all dealings on “the highest plane of justice, fairness and morality.” PNG’s code of ethics states that members refrain from “selling at unreasonable prices.”

Companies are not basing dealings on the highest plane of fairness when they pass item after item because of high reserves. Neither are they refraining from selling at unreasonable prices when they factor a 20% profit into a retail reserve at what is supposed to be an auction.

If you don’t like the risk of auctions and are an ANA or PNG member, then consider paying eBay by the item, picture, length of exposure and other frills requiring fees that Proxibid allows for free … under the assumption that you are going to sell your lots in the grand tradition of auctioneering, where nothing is certain.

That last quality of auctioneering–nothing is certain–is what attracts bidders to the portal. More often than not we know from past experience that competing for coins on Proxibid is a risky enough business, with as many or more losses per lot as gains.

It’s the hunt for the bargain that keeps buyers raising bids, and if you’re an auctioneer, your talent is in knowing how to do this. If you’re a salesperson and not an auctioneer, eBay just might work better for you, if you’re willing to pay the tab.

Otherwise, you’re operating at the expense of other online auctioneers who sell at a loss or a gain, based on how many bidders they can attract to their sessions and how much excitement they can generate using Proxibid’s digital tools to replicate the auction experience.

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.

Counterfeit Terms of Service

For the sixth time in two years, we purchased a counterfeit coin through an online vendor, this time through the portal Proxibid, which hosted an auction house selling what was billed as “250-350 A.D. Tetradrachm” lot.

The coin was similar to the silver one at left, only it was made of base metal. I do not have permission to show the specific coin, but suffice to say, as soon as I held it, I knew it was a counterfeit. It felt as light as an aluminum alloy, or tin, and the minting of it had seams as if hot metal was poured into a mold and then cooled.

Ancient coiners minting Tetradrachms used iron dies that often left traces of rust. There was none on this coin, which was smooth and dull gray.

To participate in the Proxibid auction, I had to agree to terms of service, which stated for this particular session: “All information is believed to be accurate, but the auction company shall not be responsible for the correct description, authenticity, genuineness of or defect in any lot, and makes no warranty in connection therewith.”

For the rest of the article, click here.


Note: Several of our Proxibid auctioneers are mentioned in this Coin Update piece, including Weaver Signature Coin and Currency, Key Date Coins, Crawford Family Auction, West Coast Auction and Silver Trades.

QUICK POST: Forthcoming Article on Counterfeits


Occasionally Proxiblog has to research an issue over several days before posting, and in this case, on counterfeit coins, we are looking at how various Proxibid auctioneers selling coins deal with the topic. Watch for an article in the coming weeks.

Proxiblog recently purchased a counterfeit coin that we could not detect was a fake based on digital photography alone. We had to weigh it and study its striking methods to discern the forgery. Once again, the auctioneer was extraordinarily professional, taking a return on the coin and assigning liability to the consignor rather than the bidder.

In this article being prepared for Coin Update News, we will look at laws governing counterfeits and how certain boilerplate terms of service do not fulfill obligations, especially if the auctioneer is a member of a numismatic association.

We also have been surprised and pleased at how several Proxibid auctioneers already know this and have fashioned terms of service to uphold numismatic shared values.

We will applaud those, and encourage others, once we have analyzed all the laws and facts.

Stay tuned.

Proxibid’s Maximum Bid Issue

Of all the terms of service Proxiblog monitors, including those lacking APN clearance or padding shipping costs, the one that concerns us most involves a Proxibid practice of sharing maximum bids when a lot comes on the block. As a matter of quality control, it’s high time Proxibid stopped the practice, and we explain why.

Proxiblog is in the process of bidding on fewer and fewer Proxibid auctions, and advising other bidders in our numismatic circles to do the same, because of issues we regularly bring to light (i.e. lack of APN clearance, poor photography, retail or higher opening bids, excessive buyer’s fees and pricey shipping). Now we’re seeing an ominous term of service that reads something like this: “The auctioneer will open bidding at any level and may set bidding increments as he/she deems necessary.”

Now before auctioneers reading that text react defensively, step back a second and imagine yourself at a live onsite auction in the year 2025. A futuristic technology company has sold you a device that can read bidders’ brain waves, decoding just how much each person in the room is willing to spend on a lot. Numbers flash on the digital handheld screen with a person’s face appearing on the monitor. You see the bidder in the crowd and know just how much he is willing to spend on a 1894 Morgan dollar: $1300.

You open the bid at $1300. Reluctantly, that targeted bidder raises his hand.

SOLD!

The futuristic device has only one drawback: It flashes data of the unlucky bidder only when the lot appears on the block.

If you’re an auctioneer on Proxibid, the future is now because Proxibid posts the maximum bid when a lot comes on the block, meaning the auctioneer with a specific term of service can immediately jump to the maximum rather than proceeding by bid increments as in a typical auction.

We bring this to the attention of auctioneers because, indeed, there is a difference between an online and onsite auction. Technology surveils as much as it sells. And if Proxibid truly wants an even playing field, it needs to stop this practice. Here’s why:

Proxibid has done much by way of bidder security even to the extent of no longer showing who won what coin as soon as a lot sells. The portal also doesn’t share credit card data with auctioneers to protect the bidder. We applaud that but question why it still allows this unseemly practice that gives the auctioneer every advantage in addition to excessive terms of service that everyone needs to read before bidding a dime.

It is time for the online portal to end the practice of sharing maximum bids. In the meantime, Proxiblog will monitor our maximum and winning bids and cease doing business with those houses that sell (purportedly coincidentally) only at our maximum bids. We advise other bidders 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.

2 Houses, 2 Shipping Policies

Proxiblog believes APN clearance is mandatory for any auction house selling coins on Proxibid. We recommend to bidders to think twice about patronizing houses lacking APN clearance. However, we advise bidders not to do business with any house that lacks such clearance and uses outside venders like UPS to pack and ship. That means bidders will have to provide credit card information twice. The security risk is just too high.

We illustrate our APN recommendation with two shipping policies from two auction houses in the same geographical area. We won’t name the auction houses. You decide with which one you are apt to do business and which one is apt to cause hassle, expense and potential security risk.

AUCTION HOUSE #1

Shipping Instructions: A FLAT SHIPPING CHARGE of only $10 on all purchases (Insurance INCLUDED) in today’s Auction….This $10 is all you pay regardless if you spend $100 or $20,000… Remember You will pay $10 shipping “NO MORE”


AUCTION HOUSE $2

Shipping Instructions:Items must be picked up on XX, XX 4-6pm at XXX. 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 [charge].

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.