Honoring the Unified User Agreement

We encourage all Proxibid users to read the company’s recently updated Unified User Agreement, which protects seller, bidder, auctioneer and, of course, the portal. We also encourage auctioneers to read their own service terms to discern whether they still are in compliance with the Unified User Agreement.

One of the most persistent myths in auctioneering is the “all sales final–no exceptions” service term. There are, in fact, exceptions.

Sales of some weapons, for example, can be illegal. Same goes for stolen art.

No auction house is excluded from these laws and regulations.

Case in point: Ancient coins were seized a day before an auction earlier this year at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel with the seller detained and later charged with criminal possession of stolen property. You can read about the seizure of coins here and the charges here.

Proxiblog has posted several articles about the illegality of selling counterfeit coins. Here is an example.

So it troubles us that auction houses selling coins on Proxibid continue to insist that “all sales are final–no exceptions” … even if the item is counterfeit, a clear violation of this service term in the Unified User Agreement:

  • 5. DEFAULT AUCTION TERMS If, within a reasonable amount of time, Buyer gives notice in writing to Seller that the lot so sold is a counterfeit and after such notice the Buyer returns the lot to Seller in the same condition as when sold, and establishes to the satisfaction of Seller that the returned lot is in fact a counterfeit, Seller as agent for the consignor will rescind the sale and refund the purchase price.

This week we came across this rather insistent service term in a Proxibid auction, prompting us to cross off this house from our list for future bidding:

  • Special Terms of Sale: Buyer aknowledges (sic) that the property being auctioned is available for inspection and it is being sold “AS IS, WHERE IS” without warranty or guarantee of any kind. We made no guarantee of the authenticity of the item. … All sales are final, NO EXCEPTIONS. … The buyer is responisble (sic) for examining and inspecting, or have their own representative examine or inspect the items prior to bidding and accepts it the way it is, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Even though Proxiblog is an independent entity, we admire the company’s increasing emphasis on quality control. If the above auctioneer sold a counterfeit coin, and refused to make a refund–NO EXCEPTIONS–he might acknowledge that his service term is invalid, not only with Proxibid but also with federal law.

We advise all coin bidders to read Proxibid’s Unified User Agreement and cease bidding in auctions that continue to insist that they are not responsible for authenticity. When it comes to counterfeit coins, auctioneers should place responsibility on the consignor rather than the bidder (as our top houses do in the right sidebar).

In the end, there are exceptions when it comes to fake collectibles.

Proxibid’s New User Agreement

For those who do not read the fine print of service terms, which Proxiblog routinely does, you may be surprised or pleased (we were) at changes in Proxibid’s new user agreement. Here are a few items that may prompt you to read the entire shebang.

You can find the Unified User Agreement by clicking here.

This clause below was news to us–welcome news, we might add:

    4.3 Auction Events. (c) Passed Lot Fee. If Seller conducts bidding for any lot within an Auction Event without allowing Buyers the opportunity to bid using the Proxibid Services (a “Passed Lot”), Proxibid may in its sole discretion charge Seller a fee per Passed Lot.

We have seen too many passed lots in our time on Proxibid. It’s about time the company instituted a fee to make auctions online as exciting as ones onsite.

We’re aware, as is Proxibid, of the various ways to circumvent the passed lot fee. Frankly, we bid on Proxibid because we hope to get a coin on wholesale and then sometimes get caught up in the competitive auction experience and end up paying retail. That’s the allure and risk of an auction.

This clause safeguards that.

We also understand the need to pass on a lot. But not on every lot that fails to bring a retail result, as a few Proxibid auction houses are doing. That practice is unfair to competitive houses who sell through their consignments, as everyone on Proxibid shares technology costs to reach the online bidders through the portal.

This clause on minimum bids is related to the issue above.

    5. DEFAULT AUCTION TERMS Items may be offered with a “minimum bid”, in which case, the Seller agrees to sell the item to the highest bidder who bids at or above the minimum bid price.

We have seen minimum bids posted, and those minimums met, only to see the lot withdrawn (or passed) or then read “a reserve not met” notice. Passed lots and reserves are allowed, of course; but auctioneers should never use minimum bids on lots to attract more bids and, if not, to pass on an item. Once a minimum is posted, honor it. This clause makes it mandatory.

Finally, Proxibid is to be commended for this service term about counterfeit items:

    5. DEFAULT AUCTION TERMS If, within a reasonable amount of time, Buyer gives notice in writing to Seller that the lot so sold is a counterfeit and after such notice the Buyer returns the lot to Seller in the same condition as when sold, and establishes to the satisfaction of Seller that the returned lot is in fact a counterfeit, Seller as agent for the consignor will rescind the sale and refund the purchase price.

When Proxiblog started bidding on coins a few years back, we had to persuade a company to rescind a sale because the auctioneer claimed that all sales were final. They are not, legally and ethically in the United States, as we have noted in previous posts like this one.

By adding such a clause about counterfeits, Proxibid has enhanced its image in the numismatic 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.