View Weaver Auction’s Succinct Descriptions


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Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction combines brief but accurate lot descriptions with sharp photography, two of the reasons it remains one of our favorite sellers.

Take a look at the screen shot below to view brief, accurate numismatic descriptions that not only fit into the title of the Proxibid window–enabling content to appear in email outbids notices–but also serve as captions for photos when expanded.

Here is a screen shot of coins with date, denomination, mint mark and details. (Click photo below to expand.)

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Succinct lot descriptions then become cutlines for photos, maximizing Proxibid technology to convey as much information as possible in as short a space–a key talent in the Twitter age. (Click photo below to expand.)

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Dave and Cheryl Weaver have been setting the pace on Proxibid for years now, with tiered buyer’s fees, professional online advertisements, and informative email blasts. They respect the online bidder as much as the onsite local bidder, and treat everyone with the same excellent customer service.

To visit Weaver’s next auction, click here.

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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Seller Asks About Descriptions: Installment #2


best_practice

A new coin seller on Proxibid asked us pertinent questions about best practices, and we promised to share our opinion and to solicit yours in the comment section. Auctioneers look to this site for recommendations on how to sell, ship and improve their services. The more you and we share, the more bidders will be drawn to our sites. We will treat each question as a post running throughout the week. Scroll down to view previous questions and answers. Here is installment two.

QUESTION:What do you look for in descriptions?

PROXIBLOG: Rule #1: Lot descriptions must match photos and titles. Too often, especially with new sellers, they do not.

Rule #2: The title should carry the date and denomination of the coin along with a condition descriptor. Do not use the Sheldon Scale (0-70) if you are not an experienced numismatist. Use “Good (G),” “Very Good, (VG)” “Fine (F),” “Extra Fine (XF),” “Almost Uncirculated (AU),” “Uncirculated (Unc.),” “Brilliant Uncirculated (BU).”

Rule #3: The lot description should cite PCGS values for PCGS Coins, NGC Values for NGC Coins, and Redbook or Coin World Values for ANACS and ICG. Be careful about assigning any dollar value to raw coins or lots slabbed by bottom-tier companies. Never cite PCGS Values for raw coins or coins holdered by any other company.

Rule #4: Note any flaws: rim bumps and dents, holes, scratches, cleaning, dipping, etc. If you don’t know how to identify these flaws, bone up on the skill with our “Find the Flaw” series on Proxiblog. (Type “Find the Flaw” in our search box for results.)

Rule #5: Check out our top houses to view examples of some of the best lot descriptions on the portal. For a primer, we recommend SilverTowne, Decatur Coin, Weaver Auction, Southwest Bullion, Capitol Coin Auction, and Leonard Auction.

Next installment: Any insight on shipping and packing?

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.

Low Buyers’ Premium Sells Gold

tiered gold

It doesn’t make sense for Proxibid auctioneers to maintain high buyers’ premiums for pricey items like gold eagles and double eagles or gold bullion, for that matter, when everyday buyers can order the same from companies like Apmex for a small price over the going precious metals rate. Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction shows how it is done.


Dave and Cheryl Weaver have been using a tiered system of buyers’ premiums for some time now. We have covered their innovation before, as in this May 2012 post. With gold prices dropping, more buyers are coming online to secure eagles, double eagles and bullion. If you maintain high buyers’ premiums, you’ll lose bidders during prime buying times like this.

Not only do the Weavers’ set a 5% buyers’ premium on double eagles, as the photo above shows, they do not set minimum bids.

Compare that to this Proxibid auction house, selling a quarter eagle with an opening bid not yet reached of $350 with 15% buyer’s fee. Even if the coin sold for $360, the next bid, the buyer would be paying $414 without shipping. Add another $15-20 for that. That’s $434 for a quarter ounce of gold, assuming no one bids higher and that the reserve is $360.

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You can buy the same coin from Apmex for $359.73.

quarterapmex

The issue is critical when purchasing double eagles from auction houses like this one below, charging an 18.5% buyers’ fee with a grossly exaggerated estimate for this 2013 bullion of $2,500-$3,000. Assuming one pays the minimum estimate of $2,500, with no other bidders, with buyers’ fee and shipping the total for this Proxibid purchase comes to $2,992.50.

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You can get the same coin from Apmex for $1,372, or less than half of the Proxibid fee at a 54% discount.

doubleeagleapmex

We have often advised auctioneers to embrace the competition of their profession rather than become an online coin shop with retail or above retail prices. Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction took that advice years ago. Unfortunately, too many Proxibid eBay-like sellers are shortchanging clients who, once they learn about precious metals, will probably not be a return customer.

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, New Houses, Almost 38,000 Views!

Competition among top coin-selling houses on Proxibid has been keen even by standards of our 0.5 rating 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, low buyer’s premium and other value-added considerations. New coin auctions are coming that promise to make competition keener. Not only is competition growing, our audience is too, approaching 38,000 views.

SilverTowne Auctions operating out of Leipsic, Ohio, in partnership with the famous coin house SilverTowne and Rick Howard’s Rare Coin Gallery, remains atop our list for the second time this year, primarily because of good grading, lightning-fast shipping and excellent consignments. Auctions are well publicized onsite and online and so you won’t be able to steal a coin here; but you can regularly snare top rarities under wholesale. The sheer number of Proxibid auctions and quality of consignments, along with numismatic grading, are keeping SilverTowne on top with a dozen more auctioneers close at its heels.

Ranked ever so close behind at 24.5 each were Capitol Coin Auctions, Western Auction, Leonard Auction, Southwest Bullion and Coin, Gary Ryther Auctioneers, Rolling M Auctions, and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency auctions. Rocketing to the top 10 are two new houses, Tangible Investments and Allen and Marshall Auctioneers.

Back to the Past Collectibles regains a slot on our list, offering more coin auctions with 10% buyer’s fee.

We will be watching other new houses coming online at Proxibid whose reputation in numismatics promises to make competition in this category more competitive. As such, houses that aspire to favorite-seller status (admittedly, only our opinion), should consider:

  1. Lower buyer fees. Anything over 15% still is suspect.
  2. Numismatic lot descriptions. Note flaws and bone up on grading, reading our “Find the Flaw” articles.
  3. Sharp photography. Obverse, reverse and expandable digital shots.
  4. Quick, inexpensive shipping. Some companies take 2-4 weeks to ship. That’s unacceptable. Coins should be sent within 5 business days.
  5. No maximum-bid or shill-bidding. Do that, and you will not qualify for our rankings. Reason? We do not have faith in our maximum bids when we see those transparency notices, no matter the good intentions of auction houses.

Some houses fell in the ranking because of slow shipping; others, problem coins, too few auctions, or other related matter.

What surprises us in these monthly rankings is how little a house has to do to make big gains. A few of our favorite sellers just have to ship faster. Some might lower their buyer’s fees, especially since more eBay-culture sellers are migrating to Proxibid. They’re used to putting the customer first. Proxibid made a big step with the “Report this Item” link. Coupled with Proxiblog, we believe we are upholding numismatic standards.

See this post on a small improvement that Gary Ryther made, elevating his status to one of our favorite sellers.

In our opinion, slow or outsourced shipping, poor photography, inadequate descriptions and high buyer premiums (along with lack of APN), are signs that a house has not yet adapted–or is unwilling to adapt–to the Internet.

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 smart 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.

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.

Good news is that more auction houses are contributing to our scholarship fund. We distribute Proxiblog for free. All we ask is that those who appreciate our efforts make a small contribution to help college students defray debt. You can make the contribution directly online to the Iowa State Foundation.

Our viewership continues to grow. we had more than 4,500 views in the past three months and are approaching 38,000 lifetime views from all over the world.

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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 50 views per week, indicating once again that auctioneers need to take care before they label those tiny yellow tokens “gold.”

We routinely report counterfeit or misidentified coins using the “Report this Item” link. We continue to applaud Proxibid for using this 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.

SilverTowne, Gary Ryther Auctioneers Make Gains; Proxiblog exceeds 35,000 views!

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Proxiblog’s viewership has increased steadily as we enter our fourth year of publication with 35,000+ views from around the world in the course of our existence and markedly improved coin auctions on Proxiblog that include APN clearance, in-house shipping, acceptable levels of buyers’ premiums, accurate numismatic lot descriptions and sharp, expandable photos of coins.

Our rankings in the right sidebar concern only our experience with certain sellers. Your experience may differ. In any case, we patronize auction companies when they adhere to standards as expressed in the above paragraph.

In this month’s rankings SilverTowne emerges as the top of our list with a full 25 points. In large part, this has to do with the grading standards, the frequency of auctions, and the wide range of rarities to suit everyone’s budget. You’re not going to steal a coin from Rick Howard or Dave Nauert; but you certainly can snag some below Grey Sheet (wholesale prices).

John Leonard at Leonard Auction continues to amaze us with choice consignments, accurate numismatic descriptions and sharp digital photos. Same can be said about Western Auction and Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction.

Then, the next half dozen or so companies in our rankings essentially are offering the same level of excitement, appeal and numismatic knowledge. One company, Southwest Bullion and Coin, continues to improve consignments, identify flaws in lots, ship coins quickly and inexpensively, and offer a zero percent buyer’s premium, meaning what you bid is what you pay.

A few other auctions not on our rankings make that faux claim but, unlike Southwest Bullion, open lots at or above Grey Sheet or even retail. So of course if all lots sell with profit to the company, they do not have to see maximum bids or shill bid or charge buyers’ premiums. They built all that into their high opening bids. So when you patronize these companies, all you are actually doing is purchasing coins from an online shop. You are not participating in a win-or-lose auction, as you might with Southwest Bullion. Sadly, companies that do not realize this also are not taking advantage of the Proxibid technology that is programmed for an onsite experience in the comfort of your own home. (Watch for a post on this soon!)

We have often said that all a company has to do is improve one aspect of its features to gain big-time, and we see that in one of our old favorites, Gary Ryther Auctioneers. His company fell from our listings primarily because of the quality of its photographs, which just could not capture luster. He improved that component, attracted marvelous consignments, and is a top-rated house for us again. (Watch for a post on this soon, too!)

We also are excited every time we see an auction by our other favorite sellers, including Star Coin and Currency, Engstrom Auction, Meares Auction, Kaufman Auction, Jewelry Exchange, Key Date Coins and Rolling M Auctions. If our rankings included top sellers for consignors, rather than best bets for bidders, Mark Murphy at Rolling M would rise to the top. His sessions consistently sell above retail because he knows how to promote them onsite and online. Now, if he only would improve photography just a little more, to capture luster like Gary Ryther has done, he would see his great results improve beyond his own high standards and expectations.

As for Proxiblog, we continue to grow our audience with typical 100+ views per day from all over the world. The latest stats show us with more than 20,000 from the past year and a quarter, as the graph below shows. (Total views exceed 35,000 over the course of our publication life.)

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Our top post continues to be California Gold: Real, Replica and Fake, which averages between 25-100 views per week. “Find the Flaw!” and “Boos and Booyahs!” also are tops among our audience.

Finally, we wish to thank auction houses that have donated to our scholarship fund. We publish Proxiblog for free and promote the best companies and practices on the portal, along with providing numismatic knowledge for bidders and auctioneers. We do this for our students so that they can decrease student debt, enhance personal and professional ethics, and emerge as the next generation of auction buyers.


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.

Boos & Booyahs: Best & Bad Auctioneer Lot Descriptions

It’s important to be in sync with the Proxibid technology to showcase your photos, hone your lot descriptions, and highlight your consignments for top bids on the leading portal! In the latest installment, Proxiblog laments and compliments best and bad auctioneer lot descriptions during the past week. We will name the best, but you will have to search Proxibid for the bad. (Click pictures to expand and view lot descriptions below.)

bezeled

One Big Booyah! to Leonard Auction for identifying flaws in this bezeled coin (grade and details) in addition to the karat of the bezel.


doesntnotemintmark

One Big Boo! (or several) to this auction house that doesn’t know coins enough to note the mint mark on this and other lots. Bidders steal coins from consignors when this happens.


exjewelry_silvertowne

One Big Booyah! to Dave Nauert at SilverTowne who does his bidders a service by noting this gold coin was once bezeled as jewelry, significantly lowering the value of the lot. Other auctioneers typically do not state or see the jewelry mark. SilverTowne is a top company on our blog in part because of its expert grading.


munda_notes_pinhole

Booyah Munda Auction! for describing pin holes in the currency which, like bezeled coins, descreases value. We bid in Munda Auctions because of its superior grading, as described in this post.


nofsb

Boo! to this auction house that claims full split bands–a device on the reverse–without depicting the reverse. Come on, folks!


nottoned

Boo! to this auction company that doesn’t understand how improperly cleaned coins can retone. Note the dull colors. Toning should be bright and reflective on most copper coins.


nottoned_altered color

Booyah Star Coin and Currency! for noting artificial color on this lot. This is how it’s done, folks!


polished

Booyah BidALot Auction! for noting this coin has been polished, often hard to cipher from online photos.


notinvestment

Boo! to this auction company for continuing to state as “investment” horrible silver melt coins like this one, worth about $8.


weaver_cleaning

Booyah Weaver Auction! for noting when coins are cleaned. We bid with confidence in auctions by Dave and Cheryl Weaver because of their ethics and customer service!


Viewers can point us to other candidates for our “Boos & Booyahs!” series. Just leave a comment but follow our rules–all in good fun as a way to inspire accurate lot descriptions on Proxibid.

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.

Large estate, mammoth auction?

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One of our top auction houses has secured a large consignment nearly triple his regular auction, with another large consignment coming in at the same time. He asks, “What are the bidders’ perspective on this? I could definitely do two marathon auctions but I don’t want to have to worry about people dropping off if that’s the case.

Marathon auctions come with risks to both the onsite and online crowd. It’s difficult to keep the onsite crowd in a room for 8-10 hours. But it’s more difficult to keep the Internet crowd on Proxibid that long, too. And there are other more technical issues with those long sessions, with Proxibid’s technology signing out bidders if they wait too long for a desired lot.

We have seen Weaver Signature Coin and Currency Auction parse out large auctions into two-day affairs. Other auctions, such as Silver Trades, regularly schedules several sessions associated with a numismatic event featuring lots from that coin show, for instance.

We invite others reading this to answer our auctioneer’s question about marathon sessions.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Divide the lots into denominations. You can schedule copper lots on one day, for instance, and silver lots on another. Many bidders collect Lincoln cents and Morgans, for instance. Target your audience by scheduling two sessions.
  • Divide lots into rare and popular/common auctions. Assemble all your slabbed or ultra rare coins in one highly publicized auction with other, lesser lots into another.
  • Consider a mix of live and timed auctions. Some auctioneers, such as Jewelry Exchange and SilverTowne, schedule live auctions for the rarer lots and timed for the lesser ones with several highly desired coins to attract a crowd there, too.

There is another technical issue associated with long-session Proxibid auctions, live or timed. The technology signs you out if you are waiting too long for a desired lot. In the past, there was no notice that this was occurring, and many bidders, including Proxiblog, thought the onsite auctioneer was ignoring bids on lots scheduled later in the auction. We didn’t know that the technology signed us out.

Now, we believe, that glitch has been fixed and a notice appears that you have to sign in again. At least we saw that in the latest McKee Auctions, which routinely schedule marathon auctions. We like and admire Owen McKee, but we often grow weary waiting for desired lots to come on the block. Add to that the technology glitches, and we just cannot recommend marathon sessions.

Do you as an auctioneer or as a bidder have some advice? Do you agree with us? Do you have better suggestions–which we welcome, of course! Please comment!

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.