Michael Bugeja

Online Coin Auctions

Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.

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Proxibid and Hibid photo comparison

Some blog posts do not need a lot of words to describe the problem with online bidding in coin auctions. This screenshot is worth a thousand words; I sent about 50 words to Proxibid in its “report the item” link without effecting any change in the lot that lacked photos of the coins inside the depicted album.

The competing auction on HiBid shows seven photos of all coins inside a similar album.

Which do you think would get my bid?

I’m a collector of Jefferson nickels. In this post you can read about how I comb through albums looking for the 5 or 6 full steps on the reverse of these nickels as they often bring high premiums and now can be found raw only in albums like these.

Usually you can snare a set for about $80, including the 1942-45 war nickels composed of 35% silver, 56% copper, 9% manganese.

In other words, an uncirculated set is a great buy.

I’ve hidden the name of the Proxibid auctioneer because outing that is not the point of this post. Suffice to say that I rarely bid in this auction anymore because this seller often omits reverses of coins and usually takes photos of the album or mint or GSA box and not the coin.

I am putting the focus on Proxibid, however. Its “report the item” link essentially does little anymore. I have patronized Proxibid for a long time, but increasingly I am bidding on trusted sellers on HiBid because, by and large, they respond to inquiries.

HiBid auctioneers who do not respond to queries are immediately crossed off my buying list.

Make no mistake: There are plenty of inconsiderate sellers on HiBid. And that platform lacks a Unified User Agreement, which Proxibid has and on which I count, paying an extra premium. But if Proxibid cannot require the basics, such as demanding that auctioneers selling coins, well, actually post a photo of those coins, then I will pay the HiBid 8% buyer’s premium in this case rather than the Proxibid 15%.

I also understand that Proxibid wants to keep its auctioneers as clients on the portal. But if bidders like me, a longtime fan of Proxibid — which is the best platform still for coins and currency — are migrating to HiBid, well, then, someone may want to enforce basic requirements.

I recommend that Proxibid take seriously its “report the item” messages and act more on behalf of the bidder or, in this case, require the deleting of the lot in question.

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