Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Q: Are these coins real? Do you issue certificates to attest to that?
A: Yes, and they are guaranteed to be so, as specified in the Terms of Sale. This means that a reasonable professional effort has been undertaken to corroborate each coin's authenticity, and if at any point in the future, without time limit, based on new facts, a prevailing opinion of experts deems this not true, a full refund will be issued. We therefore do not normally issue any authenticity certificates, but there are rare exceptions to that rule, and you can contact us for further details if needed.
Q: What's your return policy?
Liberal, again as stated in our Terms of Sale. Note, however, that this applies only to our fixed priced lists; auctions are governed by stricter rules.
Q: How does one order?
A: Preferably, by using the order form that comes with the convenience shopping basket integrated with our search facility - the most convenient and direct way. Alternately, you can send a message from your own email client to firstname.lastname@example.org, preferably with the word "Order" as part of the subject line text. Again, Online Auctions have separate rules, of course, as explained below.
Q: Are all listed items always available?
A: Generally - yes, as ordered/sold inventory is basically marked off in real time. There might be occasional exceptions mainly due to bookkeeping errors - our apologies. Of course, technically, "all items are subject to prior sale" and are generally one-of-a-kind.
Q: Why are some pictures rather poor?
A: There is a certain amount of older stock accompanied with inferior pictures, even though over time we have gradually been updating these to higher resolution. It is in our best interest to describe our merchandise as faithfully as possible; good images are a key factor there, and we make every effort to excel, when possible. The nature of imaging low-contrast objects like coins makes that a challenge sometimes, and some images have lower fidelity. Always read the carefully worded description and grading along with viewing images (and remember that ultimately "we sell coins, not images"...) Feel free to ask questions about items, and to request a higher-res picture if needed.
Q: I have trouble viewing the images; what's the problem?
A: In an attempt to realize the goal from the previous section, and in light of the great variety of client platforms (variations in system, monitor, browser, etc.), we had implemented a while back image adjustment controls that typically accompany images. Occasionally, this might cause a problem on your platform, with images not showing (e.g. this will be the case if Java has been disabled on your browser), and has consequently the viewer is being phased out. We apologize if this happens, and please contact us to have the problem addressed.
Q: Can one use that image viewing gizmo elsewhere?
A: Yes, under certain conditions; please inquire at email@example.com, if this topic is of further interest.
Q: Do you send email announcements, to whom and how often?
A: We used to manually maintain a private e-mailing list of customers, for relevant inventory announcements. This has been defunct for a while, though it might be revived in the future. Our main inventory and related announcements are posted through the ACM-L mailing list. In case you are not on that list or for other reason would prefer direct email announcements, please let us know. Generally, our inventory is being updated rather regularly with new additions, and our search facility is keyed to posting dates, facilitating more productive periodic site visits.
Q: When is the next sale?
A: We generally try to position our merchandise at everyday fair prices. Most of these not being commodity items, this is not always easy; occasional price adjustments might occur over time on certain items, but we don't have sales as such. Remember - there are no "last year's models" here (only last millenia's...), these things don't have expiration dates (if properly stored, that is) and generally appreciate in value over time. For the more bargain-oriented buyers, we might recommend our auctions, group lots and visiting us at SFHB or SFANS to examine our well-stocked bargain boxes.
Q: Is there a place I can call to talk live to somebody?
A: Our business is primarily set up for the online medium, and most inquiries, clarifications and orders are best carried out over the Internet. However, if you still have a need to talk in person, that can be arranged for as well; just drop us an email.
Q: Are there any printed catalogs?
A: We fully appreciate the beauty (and labor going into the production) of nice printed catalogs, and don't think they are of a bygone era; however, for reasons that mainly follow from the previous section, we are not in position to practically produce them. For special cases of simpler custom-printed material, please inquire if needed.
Q: Do you take consignments?
A: We do. Our rates are competitive, our service personalized as always, and should you be interested, please inquire for further details.
Q: I have a question that is not listed here; whom do I ask?
A: Best, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Do I have to register to bid? Where is my personal information used?
A: All prospective bidders must register before participating; the system will prompt you accordingly, and also point you to associated legal requirements. Your mandatory personal information is for our internal use (of identifying you as a bidder) only, and does not appear or get distributed anywhere else. Your "userID" is your only public data. Separately, we take all professional precautions to protect our servers from unauthorized access to any information, including the bidder database.
Q: I registered, but have not received a password yet. What's the problem?
A: This could potentially happen (rarely) for a number of different reasons (assuming you entered your email address correctly). You can try registering again, and please contact us should this be the case.
Q: I lost my password. Now what?
A: The passwords are not user-supplied, but randomly generated by our system (originally; you can change it later to your liking). This is better for your protection, but does have the downside of not being mnemonic, and so easier to forget. So - store your password carefully; if you positively have lost it, please contact us and we'll try to fix that.
Q: Can I change my mind after I place a bid?
A: Unfortunately, not. As in most auctions, once you place a bid (in this case: click on "Place Bid"), you've legally promised to buy the item should you win. So, check your numbers and intentions carefully. These auctions are structured to defuse a rush or "frenzy" anyway, and feel free to email us with any substantive questions, should you have them before bidding on a lot.
Q: Are there hidden reserves in these auctions?
No. The minimally acceptable levels are generally controlled through the opening bids for each item, which vaguely (though not always) correspond to "wholesale" values of those items. We do not provide explicit estimates for lots.
Q: Can unsold items be bought later below starting price?
They cannot. We may relist unsold auction lots at a later time, or return them to general stock for other forms of sale. As implied above, the projected fixed price (commonly corresponding to the lot's "estimate", if there is one) is always higher than the opening price.
Q: Why can't I see who else is bidding on a lot?
Auction styles vary slightly in this respect; our preference is for more privacy. Not only does it afford more protection to active bidders, but it also approximates more closely the dynamic of mailbid auctions. On closed auctions, all active bidders (and only them) can see the Bid History - detailed, but with all participants identified only by userID.
Q: What is bid reduction?
A technique introduced in mailbid auctions, bid reduction affords bidder convenience while better approximating live auctions. Here it works automatically. Your submitted bid is treated as a maximum bid; it will always be reduced to the lowest (i.e. "next acceptable") bid level, and from there only raised as needed to counter others' new bids. No need to constantly check on progress, manually raise bids, etc. Your maxiumum bid remains confidential, as long as competition doesn't force its use.
Q: What's the difference between "next acceptable", "public" and "maximum" bid?
A: As explained above, your valid bids can be from the "next acceptable" level up, and if higher, your (maximum) bids get reduced to the "next acceptable" bid level if possible. However, the current high bidder may have a confidential higher (than public) bid, which kicks in at this point. As a result, you may not end being the high bidder, but if you do, your new public (or "current high") bid may differ from your confidential maximum, and in any case it will now determine the new "next acceptable" level, based on a minimal, percentage-based increment.
Q: Should I submit my maximum bid right away?
A: First, make sure you understand the discussion of the previous two sections. From there it follows that there is no real advantage to delay tactics or multiple bid increases on a bidder's part; however, you are free to adjust (upwards) your maximum bids during the course of the auction, at any time.
Q: What is "sniper protection"?
A: A feature in the system that does away with strict auction closing times and thus precludes last-minute bidders slipping in "at the buzzer" and taking the pot. It is a variation on the "10-minute rule" idea of mail/phone bid sales, designed with the same intent: keep an auction running as long as there is ongoing active bidding. This is fairer to all; the discussion above on automatic bid reduction, etc., should explain why there is no advantage in attempting such a tactic anyway.
Q: Do you still send out outbid notices?
A: Despite all the above, we do - as a matter of courtesy, for now. If there is a strong sentiment to drop it, or make this feature user-selectable, we'll stay tuned and act accordingly.
Q: Why do these auctions run for so long?
A: Until our auctions gain some exposure, we've set their length accordingly - this might vary in the future. (After all, these are items hundreds or thousands of years old, and bidders are encouraged to view the auctions as an exercise in contemplating time and acquiring lasting value, not instant gratification.)
Q: Is the return policy on won items the same as for your fixed price lists?
A: No, it is stricter, unfortunately - returns are possible only for reasons of authenticity on single item lots; nothing else. This is the industry standard - "auctions are not approval sales"; logically, the competitive nature of the bidding process would be compromised if it were any different. We reserve the right waive this rule under certain circumstances, but please understand that this is the rule.
Q: Can separate items won at the same time be shipped together?
A: Yes, which is why we try to post (and end) auctions for multiple separate lots at the same time.
Q: Is this auction system based on free software?
A: Yes, we support free software and this is an example of it, in the sense of the GNU General Public License. The source code for it is available upon request. The system is based on the EveryAuction 1.53 from EverySoft, who can be contacted at www.everysoft.com. Several improvements have been made (e.g. bid reduction), and other customization pertinent to specific needs of Rudnik Numismatics Online Auctions. Please contact us at email@example.com if you need further details.