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About Grumps

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  • Occupation
    Senior Network Engineer
  • Hobbies
    Coin Collecting...What else?
  • Location
    Mid-South of Nowhere...
  1. PDF version with cleaner formatting: You could write a book on what to do and what not to do on eBay. Everyone has their own experiences and I myself don't consider myself an expert. I live in a rural area near a large city that doesn't really have a wide variety of coin dealers or shows that come through town on regular occasions and I'm hundreds of miles from any other metropolitan area that does have them. This leaves eBay as an excellent haven for my coin hunting pleasures. Unfortunately, as many of you know, eBay can be the devil's playground for the inexperienced dweller for the buying and selling of anything! So begins this thread. I'm not here to start a grand discussion on eBay, but to stimulate ideas and hopefully bring specific experiences to light for others that will aid everyone in having a winning experience whenever they buy or sell on eBay. I've broken it down into three parts. The attachment (see above) which will be a work in progress that contains a previous thread that was started in September of 2002 in one of the forums that was actually for comics and turned towards coins and any useful information that develops from this discussion that will be posted in the future. Entitled "Ebay What You Need To Know..." it contains what we will call the Golden Rules of eBay. The second part will be on the buying/searching process for coins on eBay and tips on how to find some great deals. Then to close it out I'll talk about the selling/listing process for coins on eBay and how some sellers make money. Please excuse the length of this if it becomes long winded, as I will try and be brief and to the point. Since one man's junk is another man's treasure, only you can say what is valuable to you. Do your due diligence before you ever place a bid on any item on eBay. How can you do this? Follow some simple rules before you start: 1. Know what it is that you are looking for before you begin shopping. Set the amount you want to spend, the grade you would like, know the date, the variety, the color, how much you're willing to pay for shipping and any other details related to the purchase. 2. Research the current market values for the piece you are about to buy. Check coin magazines, Redbook, graysheets, online reports and any other recent news to get the best data on what current prices to get a feel for what your "best" offer should be when bidding. 3. Compare your piece for rarity conditions. Find out how many were made. If they are a particular grade, look up pop reports to see how many are available. Check to see how difficult it may be to obtain the piece you are about to seek out. 4. Research authenticity factors. If your selection is a rarity and you are insisting on purchaing it raw, you should further investigate how to authenticate your purchase. Learn details specific to the coin that can't be duplicated or look for signs of tampering with a like-coin to make it appear as the coin you are going to purchase. Once you are prepared with this data, you're ready to begin searching eBay for your coin. For searching and finding what you are looking for choose your keywords carefully and know in which part of the listings to start your search. Sellers list their items in many different ways and may use different keywords from another. If you don't use the right keyword during the search, you could miss that perfect coin. This makes it essential to move closer to the root of the division sometimes in order to catch coins that may be listed in the wrong area. You get a larger listing this way, but you will get a much more accurate list that you can weed through quickly. I usually start in Coins:US Coins and then type in the keywords for the description. This gives you the maximum amount of coverage over all the coin areas. If you get too much, you can always move down a step deeper into the specific folder to narrow your search. Since your search tool is your key to finding what you're looking for, you sometimes need to come up with some other ways of finding what you're after. Remember that a single item you are looking for may be listed as a part of something else that could be overlooked. Using a wild example, say you're looking for a 1979-S Type 2 Clear S Susan B Anthony Proof Dollar. You've searched the sites and haven't found one, but did you look under Proof sets? Sometimes a seller may list a set as a 1979 Type 2 set and you miss the fact that you can pick up the dollar here and sell off the remaining Type 2 coins from the set. Use your search tool wisely and it will almost always lead you to what you desire. This being said, I should probably say something about the three types of sellers you will encounter on eBay. The first type is those that disclose all information about the item they are selling and give good information and pictures. These are the best types of sellers to deal with on eBay. The second type are those that give information and pictures, but after reading their listings you feel sometimes like they are saying more by what they are NOT saying. Powersellers tend to fall in this category many times. They give long descriptions about themselves and their policies, but they don't give very good descriptions of their product always. You'll also find many individuals that are trying to unload less than desirable items this way. This is not to say that these people are being dishonest or doing anything wrong. Just that they may have something to hide and unless you ask or inquire before the purchase you could be inheriting someone elses problem. Be cautious with these types of sellers. The third type of seller is sometimes hard to distinguish. I call them simply inexperienced. Whether it is the first time they have sold anything on eBay or whether it is the first time they have ever sold a coin on eBay, they give you the appearance that they really have no idea what they are doing. They may even tell you this in the description of their item. You have to be cautious with these types of sellers, but I will also say that these are usually the people where you get your greatest deals. This brings up some morals and ethics that you need to consider in your dealings with these types of people because you don't want to take advantage of them, but if handled properly you can make great deals that will make both parties happy. As one example, one time I had a gentleman that listed an auction for 109 half dollars. His listing didn't describe the half dollars it just said basically old half dollars from his grandmothers estate that he wanted to get rid of for $300. No one was bidding on it. I sent him an email and inquired further into what type and the condition. Come to find out 95 were Walking Liberty, 8 were 1964 Kennedys and the other 6 were Franklins. He said the dates on the Walkers ranged from 1916 through 1947 and were worn. He said he had talked with someone who told him they were worth around $3 a piece, so he listed it at $300 to see what he could get. He didn't have any pictures and I told him he may have been misinformed and that depending on the dates and condition they could be worth more. He said he didn't care he just wanted to get rid of them because he needed the money. I put in the $300 bid on it and no one else ever bothered bidding. When I got them, there were many early key date coins and the later coins were in higher grade condition. I already had a completed Walker set that I rotated over 25 better grade coins into the set, then sold all the individual coins and made over $500 profit. I could tell similar stories, but I'll leave it up to you to make your own success storeies like this. Now on to selling/listing coins that you may want to sell on eBay. First let's talk about some of the ways sellers make money on eBay. The two main ways you'll see a seller list coins is through an Auction or "Buy It Now." Selecting "Buy It Now" simply purchases the item at the price it is listed. In an Auction, the price can go as high as anyone is willing to bid on the item. In both cases, the first thing that you need to investigate on an item is any "additional" charges that may be associated with the item outside of its sale price. This usually includes shipping, handling and insurance, but could also include other charges. It is not uncommon for a seller to add extra charges to cover his costs. It is up to you to determine whether these costs are ridiculous or reasonable. You as a seller will also be evaluated in this way when you list your items for sale. Be just and fair when you set up your auctions by using the following rules: 1. Identify clearly what your charges are up front, if possible. Most postage charges can be determined before the auction begins. If not, use the postal calulator provided in the auction listing. 2. Some sellers include an additional charge with postage that falls under handling. This may cover taking the package to the post office, the time to package the product, packing materials, or it may even include the costs to cover listing the auction on eBay. The point is that it is ok to include these as long as the amount is not too high. Some sellers put entirely too much in here and try to make a profit off of each auction. 3. Offer discounts to buyers who win more than one auction. If you only have to ship one package, you don't have the same costs listed above so you can afford to give the buyer a discount on shipping. Cut them a deal and they'll love you for it. 4. Identify whether insurance is required or not and don't play games with the buyer. If the buyer purchases insurance, don't ship it without insurance to make a few bucks. At the same time, don't overcharge for insurance either. Most buyers know what the insurance rates are for USPS and UPS. Now on to selling your coins. You'll have to go through your own learning curve in setting up listings on eBay, but you're going to need a few things for a successful sale. First you'll need a clear picture or scan. These are sometimes difficult to obtain. You want them as large as possible so that the buyer can see all details and you should include obverse and reverse. Unfortunately, if you're a tightwad like I am, eBay only allows you one free picture with your listing so I usually combine my scans to keep from having to pay an extra 15 cents. This doesn't alway give a good clear picture. You can; however, have larger pictures available and include in your description that if the person would like to see larger more detailed pictures that you will be glad to email them. This together with a detailed description of the item you are selling is everything that a buyer needs to make an informed decision before he makes his purchase. Combining this with the rules above for setting your shipping, handling and insurance should produce a successful listing for your item. Just remember...your experiences may vary. In a perfect world the buyer and seller are happy at the end of each sale and that's our objective with eBay whether you're a buyer or a seller. Hopefully some of the information shared here will lead you to this type of experience every time and if it does congratulations! If you have experiences or tips of your own, please share it so we can continue fine tune the Golden Rules of eBay and make everyones experiences a happy one. Thanks for listening! Greg