Add Signature to Packages $200 and Up

shipping

What is the best USPS shipping for coins won in auctions? The question was posed to us by one of our top houses. We provide the answer below.



One of our favorite auctioneers asks:


    “Recently we changed our shipping policies with signature required from $200 to $500.00. But here’s the rub, if someone says they did not receive their coins all we have to do to fight a charge back is show the tracking info showing it was delivered. However, just because I can show it was delivered doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stolen out of a mailbox, not actually delivered etc. We also don’t want to run off bidders because they don’t have time to run to the post office. But more importantly we want people to get their coins. Any advice?”

To which we replied:

    “Use signature required for all packages of $200 or more and send priority mail, flat rate. You’ll be insured for $100 with flat rate, have the signature in addition to the tracking. We consign coins all the time and this is what we do. Remember, consignors don’t want their coins delivered and then taken, perhaps, by someone in the auction house or even an employee, claiming the coins never arrived. When dealing with coins it always makes sense to take that extra step. Be sure to include this in your service terms.”

We probably send on average 300 packages per year and receive as many. USPS has on occasion sent the package to the wrong address, but has never in our experience lost a package with signature authority.

Do you agree with our recommendation? What has been your 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.

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Avoid Houses that Charge Per-Lot Shipping


“SHIPPING: We will use the best service possible. We charge a minimal fee for our staff to pack and wrap your items. $5 per lot for coins and jewelry or small items.”


Look closely. This auction house charges $5 per coin. What’s the purpose of this besides making a profit on easily shipped items, especially when shippers like USPS or UPS pick up packages and/or provide mailers for free? The shipping policy also works against the auction house, which should give a discount for more bought lots … rather than an extra charge!

The danger of patronizing houses like this is the chance of ending up with an inexpensive coin worth $5-10. Add shipping, handling, etc., and you’re triple-overpaying for the lot.

We recommend that bidders closely read terms of service for shipping before deciding whether to bid with a house.


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.

Registered Mail is Slow … But Secure

One of our favorite auctioneers sent us a note last week concerning a bidder complaint that shipping was slow, requesting a tracking number. The package contained more than $1000 in won lots, so the auction house sent it registered.

“This package was sent Registered Mail so that in itself slows down shipping,” our auctioneer told us. “It was a $1320.00 order, so we felt it was better to go Registered. We don’t charge extra to ship–whatever the Post Offices charges is what we bill–and we have no control over that.”

The auctioneer added that many people have encountered shipping problems buying on eBay “and are worried about their packages. I understand that. However, with a major storm in this guy’s part of the world, the auction only being last Wednesday and it shipping Registered Mail it’s going to take a little longer.”

Registered mail has to be signed off and handled at each postal station. That makes it secure because the Post Office knows exactly where it has been and who has handled it.

Bidders on the receiving end will have a difficult time understanding why they cannot track those packages with a Registered Mail number as they might with “delivery confirmation.”

USPS is very careful with Registered Mail. It doesn’t want a third party waiting to intercept your goods. So you’ll get delivery confirmation once the package is safely in your hands.

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.

Don’t Misuse USPS Supplies

Auctioneers selling coins on Proxibid often charge a handling fee for shipping supplies, in addition to postage. But using (or reusing) free USPS mailing boxes and envelopes as packing material is a violation of federal law.

Proxiblog recently received a shipment of coins sent by United Parcel Service rather than the US Postal Service. The UPS box contained as packing material four small empty USPS flat rate shipping boxes, two on the bottom and two on top of the coins in bubble wrap.

That’s illegal.

When you use free USPS shipping, you are agreeing to its terms of service:

    “I understand that Express Mail, Priority Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International and Priority Mail International packaging is the property of the United States Postal Service and is provided solely for sending Express Mail, Priority Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International and Priority Mail International. Misuse may be a violation of federal law.”

So strict are these terms of agreement that a Colorado man, who turned inside out one of those USPS flat-rate boxes, to reuse as a mailer, was warned officially by the Postal Service about violation of federal law, as this news story documents.

Other Proxibid auctioneers are creative when it comes to shipping supplies, using old newspapers–shredded or not–grocery bags, recycled bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Click here for other legal methods to get free shipping supplies.

Several Proxibid coin auctioneers have lowered their shipping rates to $10, primarily because they are using an incredibly effective shipping method provided by the US Government: if it fits, it ships® You’ll notice that the phrase is a registered trademark of the Postal Service.

Too often we complain about postage costs. In this case, the Postal Service is providing a service, and we shouldn’t take advantage of it by illegally misusing free supplies.

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.