Approaching 50,000 Views, Two Houses Soar!

Proxiblog’s Coin and Currency category remains relatively stable with the top 15 or so houses featuring excellent consignments, quality photos and excellent customer service. Back to the Past Collectibles soared into the top 10 by upgrading its photography. We wish one or two other favorite houses at the bottom of our rankings also felt the same way.


Capitol Coin Auction remains in the top slot. If you bid in its March 1, 2014 auction, you know why. Top lots. Accurate numismatic descriptions. Sharp photography. Low buyers’ premium. Great customer service. It’s difficult to beat Brad Lisembee who has perfected the online coin trade.

SilverTowne Auction continues to amaze us with auction after auction with high standards across the board. Leonard Auction is known for top-quality consistency. Meares Auction consistently improves from consignments to photography.

Also holding steady or trading top places with the best coin auctions on the portal are Certified Rare Coin Auctions, Meares Auction, Star Coin and Currency, Southwest Bullion, Western Auction, Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, Gary Ryther Auctioneers, Jewelry Exchange, Fox Valley Coins and Krueger and Krueger.

Two houses catapulted into our top 10. Spencer Auction holds infrequent sessions, but when it does, it features top coins, low buyer’s fee, excellent customer service and great consignments. Same can be said about Back to the Past Collectibles with a 10% buyer’s premium. It broke into the top 10 because C. Scott Lovejoy worked diligently, consulting with us, to perfect his photography. Below is an example (click to expand):

124

You can even see the metal flow on a 2000-year-old coin. Photography is essential in the online bidding world. Watch for a post about Lovejoy’s enhancements later this week!

We hate to call out houses for lack of improvement, even if they are among our favorites. One house in particular has attempted to improve photos but not enough to tell varieties and flaws. If it did, it would be in our top 10. The house does a great marketing job and scores exceptionally high sales because of it. So it may feel no need to improve. We find ourselves bidding on slabbed coins only because we cannot see which coins are dipped. Because we suspect many of the lots are from coin dealers, we are doubly cautious.

As for Proxiblog, we have exceeded 600 posts and are approaching 50,000 page views. We’re increasingly global with top views from the USA, Britain, Canada, India, Russia, Germany, Australia and the Philippines.

Top view again goes to our post popular post: California Gold, real, replica and fake, closing in on 100 views per week.

We continue to provide best practices and numismatic knowledge to our viewers for free. Fortunately, we have several of our top houses donating funds to our scholarship account. You can also buy our Basic Coin Design book on Kindle. We are extremely grateful. Won’t you consider making a tax-deductible donation so that we can continue publishing? Thank you for your consideration!

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.


Capitol Coin Wins “Best Auction” a Second Time

7Best Coin Auction

Capitol Coin Auction has won our award for “Best Coin Auction” on the Proxibid portal, garnering “Best Shipping,” “Best Photography,” and “Value Added” honors with honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions” and “Best Consignments.” This is the second year in a row that Capitol Coin Auction has won the top honor.

A close second, once again, was Leonard Auction. It won “Best Consignments” with honorable mentions in “Value-Added,” “Best Photography” and “Best Descriptions.”

Star Coin and Currency made a great showing this year, winning “Best Timed Auction” with honorable mentions in “Most Improved,” “Best Descriptions” and “Best Shipping.”

Southwest Bullion and Coin also had a particularly successful year in our rankings, winning the competitive “Best Descriptions” category and honorable mentions in “Most Improved” and “Best Photography.”

SilverTowne Auctions won “Best Shipping” and had honorable mentions in “Best Descriptions,” “Value-Added” and “Best Consignments.”

Meares Auction won “Most Improved” and had honorable mentions in “Best Shipping” and “Best Consignments.”

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction had honorable mentions in the important categories of “Best Photography,” “Best Descriptions,” “Best Consignments” and “Value-Added.”

The houses above are runners-up in our “Best Coin Auction” category.

We also praise and recommend our other houses that placed in our various competitions, including:

  • Back to the Past Collectibles
  • Black and Gold Auctions
  • Braden Auction Services
  • Decatur Coin and Jewelry
  • Engstrom Auctions
  • Five Star Auction
  • Fox Valley Coins
  • Gary Ryther Auctioneers
  • Heuckman Auction
  • Jewelry Exchange
  • Kaufman Realty and Auction
  • McKee Coins
  • Midwest Coins
  • Rolling M Auction
  • Schultz Auctioneers
  • Western Auction

We encourage all of the houses named above to continue improving in the spirit of service, competition and community that all auctioneers and numismatists share, serving our clients and memberships. Continue to embrace the ethics of both the National Auctioneers Association and the American Numismatic Association.

We also thank Proxibid for its Internet options, quality control and customer service and all houses specializing in coins. We encourage them to visit these award-winning houses above. We know there are some houses that we missed in our rankings; as always, our experience may differ from yours and you should consider these award-winners our favorites. In sum, we did the best job we could with the available data and hope that you will continue visiting our site and interacting with our clientele, now exceeding 26000 views since inception.

Finally, consider making a donation to our Scholarship Account. (See details on top of the “Rankings” sidebar to the right.) We will continue publishing Proxiblog free of charge and covering Proxibid and the online coin auction industry. Won’t you consider making a voluntary donation to offset tuition expenses for our college students?

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.

Capitol Coin Auction wins … “Best Photography”

2Best Photography

Capitol Coin Auction does many things right, but perhaps what it does best is combine excellent digital photography with accurate numismatic descriptions.

Only a relative handful of Proxibid auction houses showcase exemplary coin photography that captures detail, luster and color. Capitol Coin Auction does that better than anyone else on the portal. Here’s an example:

photo_capitol

(This coin, by the way, graded MS65 at PCGS, certification 28957041.)

Compare the above photo with this one below, all too typical on the portal, purportedly showcasing another toned 1880s Morgan dollar:

photo_bad

Now more than ever, sharp expandable photos of obverse, reverse and close-ups of any flaw or variety will be essential on Proxibid because sellers are being rated–not only by us but by Proxibid itself! Auction houses that have gotten away with poor descriptions and blurry photos will be noted as such. In the end, the better the photo the less an auction house has to worry about the numismatic description, although both are indicators of excellence.

Last year’s winner in Best Photography was Key Date Coins, which has not held a recent auction. (We miss you, Eddie Caven!)

Here are photos from Honorable Mention houses in this year’s TOP Awards, showing detail, device and condition (click to expand):

Decatur Coin and Jewelry

photo_decatur


Western Auction

photo_western


Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction

photo_weaver


Leonard Auction

photo_leonard


Southwest Bullion and Coin

photo_southwest


Those wishing to improve their photography should visit this post in Coin Update News.

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.

Southwest Bullion and Coin Wins … “Best Descriptions”

1Best Descriptions

Southwest Bullion and Coin, operated by Justin Quinn–a top-ranked house through much of 2013 on Proxiblog–has won the category of “Best Descriptions,” based on numismatic knowledge–especially the ability to identify flaws and rarities in consignments and to honor basic ethical tenets with regard to value.

As was the case last year, this was a hotly contested competition, as you will see in the Honorable Mentions category, with seven houses also cited for best practices in descriptions. Capitol Coin Auction won this category last year and was a very close contender again this year mainly because of the grading prowess of Auctioneer Brian Lisembee. SilverTowne Auction, a previous winner, also was a strong contender.

Other Honorable Mentions are Jewelry Exchange, Decatur Coin and Jewelry, Leonard Auction, Star Coin and Currency, and Weaver Auction.

Click and expand the picture below to see how Justin Quinn describes value in this ANACS-graded coin.

southwest

Southwest’s accuracy in descriptions led to three separate posts last year:

As noted previously, several Honorable Mention houses came close to winning this year. SilverTowne’s Dave Nauert and Rick Howard continue with succinct and accurate descriptions of flaws as well as highlights for each coin. John Leonard of Leonard Auction is a conservative and respected numismatist; Dave Weaver of Weaver Auction is combining better photos with accurate descriptions; and Jim Haver of Star Coin and Currency does similarly with weekly auctions.

Finally, Dave Bluestein is so skilled in descriptions that he co-hosts a radio show “In the Money” in San Antonio.

Accurate numismatic descriptions are mandatory in Proxibid auctions because online viewers cannot always discern flaws in coins. These houses are aware of that and go the extra mile because the pay-off is return 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.

Weaver Coin and Currency Regains Top Slot

Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction, a long-time top-spot holder in our rankings, has reascended to that position based on sharp photos, rare consignments, quick shipping, numismatic lot descriptions and value-added customer service.


We especially value the customer service of Dave and Cheryl Weaver, consummate professionals.

However, competition is keen with our favorite sellers that we find very little difference in the top 10 and routinely bid in their auctions. One might have a slightly better consignment. One may have a special. Another may offer a new service or additional timed auction.

We always eagerly go through catalogs of Western Auction, Leonard Auction, Capital Coin Auction, SilverTowne, and Rolling M. Auctions, primarily because we can find rarities and sleepers (especially the latter). Sleepers are coins that have low mintage. Photography on Western, Leonard and Capital Coin is exquisite, and so we can grade raw coins accurately. When it comes to Leonard or Capitol, we rely on numismatic descriptions, which sometimes are sharper than our own.

Key Date Coins continues to showcase the best photography. We love Eddie Caven’s auctions and admire him immensely; but we hope more consignors will send him premium lots. If you’re looking for Carson City dollars, this is the place, as Eddie always has a few MS63-64 lots in each of his regular sessions.

We’re happy to see Southwest Bullion and Coin back in our listings. Justin Quinn has been enhancing his numismatic descriptions, offering zero buyer’s premiums, and shipping quickly and inexpensively.

Star Coin and Currency continues to improve. Jim Haver’s customer service is among the best on the portal.

We congratulate Liberty Shops Auctions for the volume it is doing on Proxibid, qualifying still as the top coin category seller.

Each month these rankings get harder to do because auctioneers continue to improve. However, some houses are not included–even ones with low premiums and nice items–because they see maximum bids, allow shill bidding, have poor photography (unable to discern grade or luster of coin), continue to offer dipped and/or self-slabbed coins without identifying them as such, or lack APN clearance.

We emphasize that content on Proxiblog is educational. We are not an open-source blog or complaint board, which is why we do not even identify auction houses in our “Boo” section of “Boos and Booyahs.” Also, we emphasize, that our rankings are based on our own experience with an auction house. Consider these are our favorite sellers. Your experience might differ from ours.

As for Proxiblog, we now have surpassed 32,000 all-time views and average 650 unique visitors each month–about the size of a mega auction session. Our most popular post continues to be California Gold, real, replica and fake, which averages 60+ views per week (indicating the concern over counterfeits).

Finally, we invite auction houses to sponsor our blog and contribute to our scholarship fund. We continue to publish Proxiblog for free, without subscription. We have more than 400 posts about coins in our archive and over 1000 numismatic photos. Several auction houses have been especially generous this month and we thank those companies on behalf of journalism students at Iowa State University of Science and Technology.

New Rankings, 25000+ Views!

Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid has been so keen that we have gone to a 0.5 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, reasonable buyer’s premium and other value-added considerations. Not only is competition growing, our audience is too, surpassing 25,000 views.

Capitol Coin Auction features some of the best numismatic estate auctions on the portal. Unlike other houses, it does not run auctions every week or other week and so creates an event with key date coinage, holdered rarities and exquisite gold. Moreover, as we noted in this recent post, Brad Lisembee ranks among the best graders in the business with John Leonard of Leonard Auction, Larry Fuller of SilverTowne Auction and Sean Cook of Liberty Shops Auctions.

Ranked ever so close behind at 24.5 each were Western, Leonard, SilverTowne, Key Date Coins and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency auctions. Returning to top-house status is Fox Valley Coins, which had dropped from our rankings because of infrequent Proxibid auctions. Its November auction was one of the highlights on the portal.

Essentially, you should have an exciting time in the spirit of traditional auctioneering bidding in any auction by these top-houses.

New on the list this month are Jackson’s Auction, Auction Orange, and Star Coin and Currency, all offering regular good consignments with expandable photography and other amenities. Star Coin, for instance, ships inexpensively and quickly.

Some houses fell in the ranking because of slow shipping; others, problem coins, poor grading and/or inadequate descriptions.

What surprises us about these monthly rankings is how little an auction house actually has to do to improve its online brand and competition. In some cases, it means taking a little more time with descriptions; in others, investing in a better camera; in several, focusing more on shipping.

We have been receiving emails and comments about slow shipping. One auction routinely takes 2-3 weeks; some, we have to cajole through Proxibid customer service to pack their wares and ship. One auctioneer, asked about a tardy delivery, simply replied: “Already shipped out.” That’s nice, but when did it ship out and what is the tracking number?

In our opinion, slow or outsourced shipping, poor photography and inadequate descriptions are signs that a house has not yet adapted–or is unwilling to adapt–to the Internet.

Online buyers expect:

  • Rapid shipping with professional packing.
  • Sharp, expandable photos of both sides of a coin.
  • Accurate lot descriptions.

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 cell 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.

Bulletin: You are a coin dealer–so read up, go to coin shows, join your local coin club!

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.

Perhaps this is due to the rise in our viewership to an all-time high of 25,267. Half of that total came in the past six months, with the majority of those from the United States, Canada and India, as this graphic shows.

sixmonthview

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 a dozen views per week from all over the world, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”

Moreover, we also surpassed 100 auction houses on our Honor Roll whose buyer premiums and customer service are appreciated.

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.

Best Coin Photos on Proxibid

These six auction houses provide needle-sharp straight-on coin photos on Proxibid, surpassing standards so that numismatists can check for varieties and condition.

Proxiblog spent part of this week analyzing photography on all coin-selling sites on Proxibid. The test was a comparison of breast feathers on an uncirculated Morgan dollar, which requires our Honor Roll standards of clear, expandable obverse and reverse photos. However, an added analysis to test the photography was the clarity and size of the expanded photograph and whether the viewer would be able to discern a variety such as an 1880-CC VAM-4 Reverse of 78 Overdate, required by some set registries.

These six were chosen because of the needle-sharp images and more than 200% expansion of those images allowing fine details to be seen, such as overdates, hairlines, rubs, cleanings, doctoring, artificial coloring and so much more:

    Matthew Bullock Auctioneers. (Click to expand the Bullock photography of the Morgan reverse to the left.)

    Capitol Auction. (Click to expand the Capitol Auction photography of the Morgan reverse to the right.)

  • Chaparral Coin Auction. (Click to expand the Chaparral photography of the Morgan reverse to the left.)
  • Dixon’s Auction. (Click to expand the Dixon photography of the Morgan reverse to the right.)
  • Leonard Auction. (Click to expand the Leonard photography of the Morgan reverse to the left.)
  • Western Auction. (Click to expand the Western Auction photography of the Morgan reverse to the right.)

CONGRATULATIONS to these six auction houses!

Postscript: Several auction houses came close to top photography standards. Others had acceptable photography. Honorable mentions go to Culpeper Auction, Engstrom Auctions, Furlo Auctions, Gold Crown Auction, Hall’s Auction, Jackson’s Auction, James Peterson, Key Date Coins, Linkous Auctioneers, Jewelry Exchange, Kreuger Auctions, Meares Auction, Midwest Coins, Scott Auctions, Silver Trades Auction, and Weaver Coin and Signature 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.