Buyer Beware on eBay!
There are many good bargains to be found on eBay. On the other hand, there are traps and pitfalls, too. Below are some important lessons I’ve learned from 10 years of buying coins on eBay.
Use the same caution on eBay deals that you would anywhere else. “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.”
There are two ways to bid. One is to find something you want, bid the maximum you’re willing to pay, and hope the bid holds up. The other way, sniping, means sitting on an auction until the last seconds and hoping you get the last, winning bid in.
Learn to interpret seller’s feedback. I avoid anyone with less than 99% positive; selling coins honestly is not rocket science! I would not make an expensive purchase from someone with only a few feedbacks. Compare a seller’s buying and selling feedback. There might be a big difference in these two sides of another eBayer. Investigate the feedback of a seller with thousands of transactions. Go to toolhaus.org and enter the seller’s ID. This will show only his neutral and negative feedbacks.
Suppose a dealer is offering a $2,000 coin you’re interested in. Does this dealer usually sell beanie babies and suddenly have high end coins for sale? Or, is he a regular seller of nice coins?
Don’t buy anything from another country. It drives up the shipping costs, and if there is a problem, you might not have any recourse.
Don’t buy anything from China! China is notorious for producing fake coins for the express purpose of cheating honest collectors.
Never share your credit card info in an email. They say this is not safe. A secure website where you give this information starts with “https” in the address line. The “s” indicates it is a secure site.
I dislike listings with tons of text. I feel these are a smokescreen to hide disclaimers or other negatives.
Some sellers use stock photos. Make sure the photos are of the actual coin—both sides—you are bidding on.
Never bid on an auction where the feedback or bidders are “private.” What are these people hiding?
I won’t bid if there’s a “no returns” policy. If it’s something you really, really want, another one will be along soon, with a fair return policy.
Don’t bid without knowing the shipping charges. Think of shipping charges as a part of the maximum you’re willing to bid.
Avoid listings that are for “mystery lots,” “grab bags,” and “estate sales.” In fact, for a group of coins, I want a really good idea of what’s in the lot. I’m also wary of sellers that say “I’m not a coin collector” or “I know nothing about coins.”
From other articles, you’ve read where I’ve said, “don’t gamble more than you’re willing to lose on a raw (unslabbed) coin. “ That means PCGS and NGC coins are at the top of the heap, with ANACS and ICG somewhat behind them in stature. Avoid all the others!
Want to learn more about coin collecting? The Brown County Coin Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month, at 7:15pm, at the Austin Avenue Church of Christ. There’s probably at least one club member who shares an interest with you and would guide you in the basics. Get involved in coin collecting!
The Brown County Coin Club hopes to see you on October 11, at 7:15pm, for their next meeting. Call Bill Cooper at 325-642-2129 or Bob Turner at 325-217-4129 for more information.