17.5% - A ridiculous buyers premium for a less than attentive and extremely slow customer service? by wdrob
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I had my finger on the enter key with a $1k positioning bid but I still could not bring myself to follow through with the press of the button. Why? Well it certainly was not because I did not have the money - no, far from that. It was the thought of paying an arrogant company (will justify that allegation later) a 17.5% buyer's fee for what? To pay for their bloated overhead, that's what!

 

I don't understand how this company can get away with charging such a high buyers premium as well as a sizeable sellers premium. From my understanding of those that have bought through their auctions, they generally have to wait in some cases up to 45 days to even receive the item they won and paid for. That would be just one area of observed inatentive customer service indicative of a company that has become so bloated with overhead and a boat load of dead weight.

 

There is another auction firm that is not even remotely close to being bloated and at this time, the primary principal running that company has ALWAYS been extremely attentive to the customer, has (in my direct experience) never been condescending when discussing collection to be consigned or been anything but fair in their buyer and seller premiums.

 

I stated that I would justify my earlier claim of the company in question being arrogant and with that I will relate the experience of a fellow forum member who contacted the company to enquire about selling some coins through the auction house. He had detailed how he was met with arrogance and condescension as his collection was "not worthy" and a waste of time for the company to even consider dealing with.

 

As much as I would have liked to purchase a number of items I am tracking I do not think I will ever get beyond the above mentioned considerations when it comes down to making the actual bid. Granted the auction house in question (and they are not the only ones charging exorbitant fees) might attract some very nice examples but there are various other auction houses that offer PQ examples as well - at a much more reasonable fee structure.

 

With that; I think I will just have to leave the coin collecting to the "sophisticated". Will I miss out on some coins that are well within my reach that I would really be proud to add to my collection - yes, I am sure I will. But as is said many times before - "there will always be another coin that you will find equal to or better than the coin you might have to miss out on", due to a matter of principal.

 

Sadly I will not compromise my principles to pay excessive buyers premiums and will just sit it out and let some other chump pay those ridiculous fees.

16585.jpg

 

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I don't understand. The buyer and seller fees do not affect the buyer. You just have to keep the 17.5% in mind when you decide how much you are willing to pay for the coin, so you know that your bid has to be correspondingly smaller.

 

The fees affect the seller. A $1000 winning bid ($1175 total payment, and presumably roughly the true market value of the coin) gives the seller only $950 after the 5% seller fee is taken off. But if the coin is worth $1175 to you, what do you care if the seller gets only $950?

 

The $225 is just the cut the auction house takes. After all, it is a for-profit business that is providing a service to the seller. It seems to me that it is sellers who need to decide whether the buyer and seller fees are worth the service they get. Buyers just decide what they are willing to pay.

 

So I care about the fees as a potential seller. If I pay $950 for a coin, I know I have to wait for it to appreciate to $1175 just to break even (not considering inflation, etc.). And what is my alternative? Sell to a dealer? A dealer is going think about how much he or she can get for it. $1175? If so, the dealer will not pay $1175 for it. He or she needs to make a profit too. The only way to get the full value of the coin for yourself is to sell it directly to a buyer. If you have direct access to buyers for all your coins, great. For those of us who don't, the fees are a problem, but may be worth the service provided (e.g., cataloging including descriptions and photos, exposure to many potential buyers, etc.).

 

As for poor customer service, I have never experienced any poor service from Heritage in almost 12 years of frequent purchasing, through auctions and direct sales. The one glitch I've had with them (and about which I wrote in the journals) was quickly handled mostly satisfactorily. And I say "mostly" rather than "completely" because one aspect of the incident ended up costing me some money as a result of their trying to give good service! (I was not too happy at the time, but I realize that they were not really in the wrong, and, bottom line, did me a favor.)

 

And why do you not name names? The bid screen shot gives it away anyway.

 

It is your choice as to whether to do business with any of the big auction companies. But it seems to me that "I want coins that they are selling". So I'm going to try to 'win' some in their auctions. That would change if I found out they were selling girls into sex slavery, or some other deliberate unethical or illegal activity. But I do not have any such information.

 

Just my thoughts.

Alan

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I agree with the others; adjust your bid accordingly. It really shouldn't be your concern of how much the auction house pays the consignor and how much it retains.

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What if its the exact same market situation , ie the same coin and market values are in place except the auction house fee is now to 20%. Your final and winning bid is $800 and now $960 total instead of $ 1175. Would you now be more likely to bid or still be so outraged by the even higher fee % as to decline this savings ?

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All my experiences with Heritage have been positive. At times, they have been relatively slow in sending the coins I won, but it wasn't anywhere near 45 days. Maybe 14 days at the worst. That is the only "negative" I can think of with HA.

 

I believe you are referring to GC as the auction house that gives great customer service, favors the seller more, has lower BP and ships quickly. I do agree with all your points. I'll just say that HA has overall better coins to choose from and most of them have no reserve. When I browse GC inventory, it seems their starting bids on many of the coins I'm interested in are very high.

 

I also participate at Legend, Stack's and Scotmans. I always factor in BP when bidding on any coin, no matter the auction house.

 

 

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I may be wrong (but I don't think so) But his biggest complaint about this company is there total disregard of the way they treat there sellers and buyers. That on top of there high fee structure is enough to upset anyone. If we are thinking of the same company they also told me my collection was not worth there time. Well the joke was on them I sold most of my coins here in the forums for a very nice profit.

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I had my finger on the enter key with a $1k positioning bid but I still could not bring myself to follow through with the press of the button. Why? Well it certainly was not because I did not have the money - no, far from that. It was the thought of paying an arrogant company (will justify that allegation later) a 17.5% buyer's fee for what? To pay for their bloated overhead, that's what!

 

I don't understand how this company can get away with charging such a high buyers premium as well as a sizeable sellers premium. From my understanding of those that have bought through their auctions, they generally have to wait in some cases up to 45 days to even receive the item they won and paid for. That would be just one area of observed inatentive customer service indicative of a company that has become so bloated with overhead and a boat load of dead weight.

 

There is another auction firm that is not even remotely close to being bloated and at this time, the primary principal running that company has ALWAYS been extremely attentive to the customer, has (in my direct experience) never been condescending when discussing collection to be consigned or been anything but fair in their buyer and seller premiums.

 

I stated that I would justify my earlier claim of the company in question being arrogant and with that I will relate the experience of a fellow forum member who contacted the company to enquire about selling some coins through the auction house. He had detailed how he was met with arrogance and condescension as his collection was "not worthy" and a waste of time for the company to even consider dealing with.

 

As much as I would have liked to purchase a number of items I am tracking I do not think I will ever get beyond the above mentioned considerations when it comes down to making the actual bid. Granted the auction house in question (and they are not the only ones charging exorbitant fees) might attract some very nice examples but there are various other auction houses that offer PQ examples as well - at a much more reasonable fee structure.

 

With that; I think I will just have to leave the coin collecting to the "sophisticated". Will I miss out on some coins that are well within my reach that I would really be proud to add to my collection - yes, I am sure I will. But as is said many times before - "there will always be another coin that you will find equal to or better than the coin you might have to miss out on", due to a matter of principal.

 

Sadly I will not compromise my principles to pay excessive buyers premiums and will just sit it out and let some other chump pay those ridiculous fees.

16585.jpg

 

See more journals by wdrob

1) The buyers premium is the margin collected by the auctioneer and is part of the final price of the sale. As others have said, you are supposed to factor this in when bidding.2) This post would have been more effective had it explained first-hand, negative experiences, and not second-hand hearsay. I deal with said company on a weekly bases and have never had such a problem. They ship within 4 days of receipt of payment 99.9% of the time.3) The company in questions runs different tiers of auctions, and requires a minimum value for consignments to various auctions. If the coins' value falls below this threshold, said company may have told him they were not interested.4) I think the hearsay and a misunderstandings endured by a third party are preventing you from enjoying the hobby, even though you have not experienced a problem. I think that's a shame.

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I don't understand. The buyer and seller fees do not affect the buyer. You just have to keep the 17.5% in mind when you decide how much you are willing to pay for the coin, so you know that your bid has to be correspondingly smaller.[/quote

 

Well I am certainly very much aware of the mathematical implications of a bid as it relates to a buyers premium, and if I were not educated enough to figure that out -- they post what the total will be with buyers premium. That is not the point at all.

 

As for poor customer service, I have never experienced any poor service from Heritage in almost 12 years of frequent purchasing, through auctions and direct sales.

 

I can not speak to this directly as I have never purchased or even placed one bid with the company. I am basing my conclusion on the fact that rarely does anyone mention Heritage to another in a referral context without also mentioning "It takes forever to get your purchase."

 

Now compare that with another (GC) who happens to have a fee structure that is considerably more friendly to both the seller and buyer, yet they are able to get my purchases to me from California to Georgia in no more than 3 days. That is what I call customer service. However I would not consider having to pay shipping rates higher than that of GC and wait 2,3 4 or more weeks to get your purchase adequate customer service. In my opinion, they have your money so they are in no hurry to ensure you have your purchased item in a timely manner.

 

And why do you not name names? The bid screen shot gives it away anyway.

 

You seemed to have answered your own question. What need was there if I was planning on posting a screen shot that would identify the primary subject. Notice I said "primary Subject" as I also made mention that their were others who were just as top heavy and bloated as I perceive HA to be as well.

 

It is your choice as to whether to do business with any of the big auction companies.

 

Absolutely, and I ended the post by saying exactly that - I would not be doing business with them.

 

Thanks for the comments Alan.

 

 

 

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Would you now be more likely to bid or still be so outraged by the even higher fee % as to decline this savings ?

 

Outraged? Really?

 

For the record Rich I am not even close to emotional over this particular item (nor any of the others I was tracking) much less "outraged". :grin:

 

My contention was, and continues to be that the company is bloated. If they were not bloated and top heavy then they would have no reason to maintain such a high buyer and seller fee schedule, unless of course their objective was to maximize profit no matter what, which is fine. This is America and capitalism is alive and well (and rightfully so).

 

If one steps back and looks at my opinion I am actually giving the company the benefit of the doubt and assuming they 'have' to maintain rates at such a high level to cover their enormously bloated overhead and not because they are out trying to put the screws to every buyer and seller that they can.

 

It is up to each and all to make the distinction and I have made mine. Eventually a coin will come around to an alternate venue that equally motivates my attempt to purchase it. A venue where the overhead and fees are not quite as steep. ;)

 

Thanks Rich

 

 

 

 

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Great Collections is a great company, but is also a smaller operation that, to my knowledge, does not have official lot viewings. That lowers the overhead considerably. When collections like Newman, Gardner, and Pogue come up or ultra rarities come up for sale, there is considerable time and money spent on security, cataloging, and marketing the items. I think Stack's/ Heritage's overhead is more than what you probably think.

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From my understanding of those that have bought through their auctions, they generally have to wait in some cases up to 45 days to even receive the item they won and paid for.

 

I have never had that problem. I wonder what those people bought and how quickly they paid. If payment is slow, I could see it taking time to sort through and pull it from its extensive inventory.

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1) The buyers premium is the margin collected by the auctioneer and is part of the final price of the sale. As others have said, you are supposed to factor this in when bidding.

 

2) This post would have been more effective had it explained first-hand, negative experiences, and not second-hand hearsay. I deal with said company on a weekly bases and have never had such a problem. They ship within 4 days of receipt of payment 99.9% of the time.

 

3) The company in questions runs different tiers of auctions, and requires a minimum value for consignments to various auctions. If the coins' value falls below this threshold, said company may have told him they were not interested.

 

4) I think the hearsay and a misunderstandings endured by a third party are preventing you from enjoying the hobby, even though you have not experienced a problem. I think that's a shame.

 

 

 

I have looked all around and I fail to see a bailiff, a stenographer, a jury, or even a judge. What on earth would make you think the rules of evidentiary proceedings apply here in an informal discussion.

 

Was that an "Objection your honor!" that I just heard?

 

As I stated above, it has been said so many times, by so many people on this forum when suggesting auction sites to new members - when they come to HA there always seems to be a stipulation attached. That stipulation is more often than not "Heritage is one of your best bets but it takes them forever to get your item out to you once you have purchased it.".

 

If we are bound to follow your rule of no hearsay then fine -- although I might wish to point out to you that the written word is not hearsay and is effective demonstrable evidence in even the most highly publicised civil matters.

 

Item #1 - Has been addressed.

 

Item #2 - The post would have been a LIE if I had addressed something that has never taken place. You have your purchased items "shipped within 4 days of receipt of payment 99.9% of the time". OK. I have my items in hand from another more attentive company in 3 days 100% of the time!

 

Item #3 - I know nothing about that. Want to know why? I have searched and searched for even the simplest fee schedule on selling or consigning through that auction site and they do not list it from what I can tell. All I did find is a section that said if you had items you wished to consign then contact us and we can discuss it. I guess I am just old fashioned in that I prefer transparency over the method they have chosen.

 

Item #4 - Whoa!!! News flash there chopper -- a person does not have to buy through HA, Legend, Morphy, etc... to enjoy this hobby. Unbelievable!

 

Once again, it is not the "misunderstandings endured by a third party" that has me staying away from bidding on HA --- IT IS THE 17.5% BUYERS FEE!!! :eek:

 

 

Always a pleasure watching you play devils advocate Sam. :grin:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by wdrob

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From my understanding of those that have bought through their auctions, they generally have to wait in some cases up to 45 days to even receive the item they won and paid for.

 

I have never had that problem. I wonder what those people bought and how quickly they paid. If payment is slow, I could see it taking time to sort through and pull it from its extensive inventory.

 

That would be a legitimate question to even ask those that claim a few weeks. I am just curious why they can't send it out immediately just as others do. Do they not have a shipping and recieving department?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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why do you seem so outraged about a company that sells coins at auction and charges a fee to make money? if you don't like the b/p, then don't bid. and what does it matter to u if there's a sellers fee? that's no skin off ur back. I don't believe auction houses charge a b/p and a sellers fee anyway. I could be wrong but I think it's one or the other. I have acquired ALL of my coins at auctions. never heard them advertise what they are charging the seller. and don't care. but I do know what the b/p is before I bid. sometimes it works out sometimes not so much. but if I want he coin, then I bid till I get it if I think its worth it. its part of the cost of acquiring the coin or coins. u have to consider it. you just gotta get a coin below fmv to make it worthwhile. that's what an auction is all about. hopefully u don't get in bidding war but if the cost is too high then let the next highest bidder deal with it.

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Heritage has told me in the past the reason they are so slow is that they transport the coins to a show that may be in Atlanta or wherever and then have to bring them back to Florida before they ship. This is exactly the reason Great Collections can ship the day after you pay. I have had Heritage ship before I even paid for an auction before. I have had them wait almost 30 days to ship as well.

 

My experience from them is they charge 5-8 times what it actually costs to ship the coins and then instead of using the upcharge for something like say Insurance they put it directly into their pockets. I am not opposed to them making a little bit off the shipping but to charge based on the sales price and then ship in a cardboard envelope with no real padding is preposterous.

 

I have received 2 coins out of about 50 that came with a chipped corner on the case. No apology from them when I contacted them about it. No offer to have them re-holdered. They offered me an answer that made me feel like they thought I was scamming them. The pictures clearly showed a coin with all 4 corners and the corner was in the package 1 time and not the other time.

 

If you have ever witnessed the post office throw a package sometimes 20 feet into a big 3 foot tall plastic bin you will understand that corrugated cardboard and then more cardboard is not what you want to protect your coin. A simple bubble mailer with a thin piece of bubble wrap around the coin is not only cheaper to ship but it is ultimately better for the condition of the coin.

 

These are just my experiences.

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I would say about the shipping issue that they actually do a good job. You have to figure that the coins are shipped to the auction location (whatever national level coin show at the time). They are available for viewing ( many of these high end coins would never be purchased unless somebody can hold it in their hand ). The live auction takes place and then the coins that are not paid for and picked up in person are inventoried and shipped back to Dallas. Once they arrive back there they are promptly mailed out. You are right it definitely takes longer but I see no real way to speed up the process and have adequate security. Wdrob just tell me what coin you want, I will purchase it and sell it to you for 0% commission. Only because we are fellow gold hunting friends!

 

Lyn

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I have no quarrel with either company. I've never sold or bought anything from either. That said, anyone who thinks that by "lowering your bid accordingly" you've rendered a 17 % Buyers Premium a non-factor doesn't know how auctions work.

 

Sure, you may give up the bid and let the competing bidder win the item but, when the item sells, the first party to make money is the house. The second party to be paid (substantially less than deserved) is the consignor.

 

The sad thing here is that if Buyers and Sellers just accept 17% then the auction houses will become emboldened and go higher. They were 15% just a year or so ago, right?

 

The day will come when YOU (or your heirs) will need to sell that coin. By accepting the status quo, the shoe is then on the other foot.

 

Posts like this should be of concern to auction houses because the day may come where some new player may enter the game at significantly lower Buyers and Sellers fees and take their easy money away. Lets face facts, there are many other companies that sell coins using a different business model at lower fee rates. What happens if one of these gets the next Newman or Pogue type collection?

 

Rut Row.....

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why do you seem so outraged about a company that sells coins at auction and charges a fee to make money? if you don't like the b/p, then don't bid. and what does it matter to u if there's a sellers fee? that's no skin off ur back. I don't believe auction houses charge a b/p and a sellers fee anyway. I could be wrong but I think it's one or the other. I have acquired ALL of my coins at auctions. never heard them advertise what they are charging the seller. and don't care. but I do know what the b/p is before I bid. sometimes it works out sometimes not so much. but if I want he coin, then I bid till I get it if I think its worth it. its part of the cost of acquiring the coin or coins. u have to consider it. you just gotta get a coin below fmv to make it worthwhile. that's what an auction is all about. hopefully u don't get in bidding war but if the cost is too high then let the next highest bidder deal with it.

 

Interesting, I have never heard of an auction house that doesn't charge both. Great collections is the only place that has no seller's fee that I know of, but only on items that sell for over $1,000. Heritage and all other auction houses charge some sort of fee for consigning to them. The only exceptions may be the ultra rarities where they are already making tens of thousands of dollars on the BP and they also use the coin for marketing purposes. Any regular "Joe" off the street will pay to consign for certain...

 

Now with regard to the OP and Heritage, I have to say that I personally have been very happy with Heritage. The longest I have ever waited to receive a coin I purchased at auction was around 10 business days. I don't see what the big rush is to get a coin anyway -- if you're a collector, why does it matter if it's 10, 20, or 30 days to get a coin that is truly a once in a long-time purchase. Patience didn't used to be my strong suit, but after having purchased a few coins from international dealers I have learned that good things come to those who wait.

 

Yes, Heritage has a minimum value to accept your consignment, but at the same time, they have to justify their time and effort required to catalog and auction the items. They are not an auction house for low dollar items. Then again, neither is Great Collections -- low dollar items (e.g., < $100) are hard to move no matter where you sell them. I consigned 120+ coins to GC at the beginning of February -- a decent number of modern "lowish" dollar coins. In particular, my entire set of PF70UC Roosevelt dimes from 1977-2014. The interest in the coins was almost nil, and I actually ended up paying GC to sell more than a couple of them. After the $3 listing fee, the shipping to get them there insured, and the 5% that GC took from the sales -- many sold for less than $5. These are coins that regularly sell for $20-25 on eBay -- but who wants to photograph and post 120 such coins on eBay? Not me. My time is worth more than that...so I just chalked it up to a "learning experience" and was glad to free up some space in my coin boxes.

 

Live and learn. But, I am certainly not going to ignore one of the largest auction houses in the world because of shipping time or a BP that I can calculate into my maximum bid. There is no other comparable auction house to Heritage that handles a lot of the world coin material that I collect. I'm not a huge purchaser from Heritage, but I usually buy one or two dozen coins from them per year.

 

Best, Brandon

 

 

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Bill, I suggest you give HA a try as a buyer. I notice that you have been collecting some world coins and I think HA has the best selection of world coins to choose from. Maybe not the finest but certainly a great variety. My experience with long shipping delays has been with Stack's Bowers, never with HA.

~jack

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Jack, I may very well give in as I think I could throw a bid high enough that no one else would top it but swallowing that 17.5% is my first hurdle.

 

Incidentally, I had composed this response to the earlier replies but the forum decided to take a smoke break and it did not post. Luckily I copied what I typed out prior to its malfunction (or my internet malfunctioning).

 

____________________________________________________

 

Wdrob just tell me what coin you want, I will purchase it and sell it to you for 0% commission. Only because we are fellow gold hunting friends!

 

Lyn

 

Hahaha!

 

Lyn you are one generous person. ;)

 

 

I have witnessed some very good explanations, rationalizations, and suggestions in this thread and some of which has offered seemingly legitimate reasoning behind the slow shipments that some have voiced in this forum as well as in this thread. I think the "hearsay" argument can be put to bed now.

 

Some respondents (JoeF and RichH in particular) have either failed to read the previous posts in this thread or otherwise decided to ignore them based upon their initial opening remarks. You might do well to simply read the title of this thread and then go back and possibly reconsider the "outraged" characterization that both of you had used. Maybe if there was a exclamation point after the title then you would have a leg to stand on --- but a question mark? Come on.... "17.5% - A ridiculous buyers premium for a less than attentive and extremely slow customer service?"

 

Disdain -- OK. I will accept that, but outrage? And yes I am aware that the word according to the dictionary could be considered appropriate along with many other synonyms but it seems a little on the harsh side to me.

 

For those that have went out of their way to tutor me in mathematics, I appreciate the gesture however I am not someone that has neither bought or sold through auction sites (no I am not talking about eBay). Great collections dispersed about $9k - $11k worth of a collection for me a little over a year or possibly two years ago. I am very familiar with how GC's consignment system works as well as the auction process and buyer and seller fees.

 

I am not opposed to a company making a profit as I stated earlier when I said capitalism is a good thing. I am not suggesting a company should be capped on what profit margin they target. The market should take care of that. I simply question a company that has one of the highest buyer/seller premium systems in play that, in my original opinion has less than adequate customer service.

 

Now it is put forth a rational opinion of why they take so long to ship to some customers and I think I can understand it better now, and could overlook that particular perceived lack of concern for the customer, as there seems to be a genuine reason behind it.

 

I will exit by saying that Raisethis2 is absolutely correct and understood the entire reason of my questioning the "status quo". His points on the buyers and sellers premiums being so high as to affect the outcome is accurate, although some do not seem to be able to see past the elementary 10 - 7 = 3 when it comes to bidding. There is much more to it than that. He did a fine job of outlining the essence so there is really no need for me to do the same, unless of course another person comes in with the habit of not taking the time to actually read the entire thread before responding. That happens all too often. :(

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I think I could throw a bid high enough that no one else would top it

 

Must be from the proceeds of all that gold you found on your property! Congrats! :grin:

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I have no quarrel with either company. I've never sold or bought anything from either. That said, anyone who thinks that by "lowering your bid accordingly" you've rendered a 17 % Buyers Premium a non-factor doesn't know how auctions work.

 

Was this referring to me? I did write "You just have to keep the 17.5% in mind when you decide how much you are willing to pay for the coin, so you know that your bid has to be correspondingly smaller."

I do understand how auctions work. I believe my initial response was clear enough on that point.

 

I did not mean to suggest that the BP is a non-factor. But I do maintain that the BP is a non-factor to the potential buyer, as previously explained: As a bidder, just decide what you are willing to pay, and bid accordingly, taking the BP into account. As a buyer, why care how the consignor and auction house (or dealer) split up the money? Just be concerned with the total you are spending. That was my point.

 

But getting to wdrob's point about bloat at Heritage: As acknowledged, some have already given some reasons to justify Heritage's fees. I have another. Their website blows the competition away. Just be glad they didn't pay as much for it as we all did for healthcare.gov.

Edited by Electric Peak

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But getting to wdrob's point about bloat at Heritage: As acknowledged, some have already given some reasons to justify Heritage's fees. I have another. Their website blows the competition away. Just be glad they didn't pay as much for it as we all did for healthcare.gov.

 

I agree 100% with you regarding their website. The HA site is by far the easiest to use. It's the best at laser focus searching for the exact coin you're looking for without having to wade through a clumsy interface. Navigating from point A to point B is clean, again easy user interface. Their auction archives are second to none. I use it all the time determine FMV for coins even if I'm buying/bidding on a different site. Their live auction software is also much better than their competitors.

 

On each auction page, they provide very good pictures of the coin with whole screen views that you can scrutinize the coin before bidding. They give you 9 different price guide points that you can use to determine what you might want to bid. It's all there on one page. For the more expensive coins, they have nice write-ups about them as well.

 

They also have a mobile app which is top notch. I could go on and on about this, but if you buy from any of the major auction houses, it becomes readily apparent that none come close to HA's electronic interface. All of this costs money to initiate and keep running. I can't remember a time when their software was glitchy.

 

Week in and week out, they have the best and widest selection of coins to bid on as well. If it was so bad for the sellers and buyers, I don't think this would be the case.

 

I've bought dozens of coins, more than I care to count, from HA. I find their customer service to be excellent. They've re-holdered 2 coins for me because they arrived damaged. No charge. When I've called for various reasons, I'm given the attention I desire and the situation is handled promptly and courteously.

 

While I'm not particularly happy with paying a 17.5% BP, if that's the going rate to participate in their auctions, I just deal with it if I want to acquire the coin I want.

 

As was suggested by another poster, I too believe there is a BP threshold that once crossed will reduce their buyer traffic. I also believe open competition will determine that rate.

 

I edited this to clarify my thoughts and correct grammar/punctuation errors.

Edited by jpcienkus

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Today 17.5%, tomorrow 20 or 25%?

 

I have bought from HA many times and like their website and system a lot. Yes, I have to wait for weeks to receive my coins but I am sure their site, promotion, cataloging, etc are expensive. And yes, they make a penny out of these. No question that as buyer one has to factor all these. If I want my coin to sell I need to be sure that everyone is aware that the coin is on sale, that everyone has access to a decent picture and description, etc. I think both Stack's and HA (as well as others) do that. I have used GC too and they do a fine job but their offering cannot compare to HA or Stack's. The Goldberg's due a fine job too but they are also smaller. That said all these services cost money. I do not know if the 17.5% + seller's premium are fair and why 17.5 instead of 15. But if one wants to avoid the fees there is eBay. you have to catalog, you have to take the pictures, describe, and mail, etc. And then the total fees are only about 10%...

 

Now, as far as seller's fees one has to remember that these are usually negotiable. All depends on what you bring to the table. If you think that Gardner or Newman or Pogue paid the same fees that anyone that brings 5 coins to auction, well that is not the case. In fact I would not be shocked if these collections in fact even reach a deal for a negative fee. But if I show up with 3 double eagles yes, I have to pay.

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I think I could throw a bid high enough that no one else would top it

 

Must be from the proceeds of all that gold you found on your property! Congrats! :grin:

 

 

No, no, no ... :/

 

That was misconstrued as it was meant to imply that the coin was not a very expensive coin in the first place (under $2k) and that I could throw a bid up there that anyone would have to be CRAZY to challenge, which of course would make me insane. :insane:

 

 

Everyone has made some very valid points, at it would seem that some of the horror stories I have heard could be due to a number of different factors.

 

Joe, you mention that HA has re-holdered a couple of damaged items for you and provided very good customer support. However if you read 8 posts previous you will see another forum member say exactly the opposite. There could be many factors involved as to why they were so pleasant to you and decided to close the door on him.

 

Was Wells possibly an unreasonable customer? Perhaps he did not spend as much money with them or purchase the type of goods they deem worthy of consideration? Do they only roll out the 'good' customer service for repeat customers and deny the first time buyers or the occasional customer? Or did he just happen to draw a 'bad card' that day such as another forum member did when they were basically laughed at in regards to his collection he was looking to consign?

 

We may never know the answers. (shrug)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bill, I did read his comments and that's why I shared my personal experience.

 

I can't explain why they chose to help me and not him. It was very early in my interaction with them when I had the first one re-holdered, so I don't think how much I spent was a factor. I just want to share my experience with HA in this thread.

 

I understand the main point you are making is, in my mind, how do they justify the 17.5% BP: can they reduce that if they were a leaner organization.

 

I can't answer that and I don't want to speculate either. In my mind, HA is a excellent place to find and participate in coin auctions. At the end of the day, all that really matters is my final "all-in" price for the coin I'm wanting to add to my collection.

 

 

Edited by jpcienkus

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Fortunately I have had great customer service as a buyer with most companies, including Heritage. But I do agree that these buyer's fees are getting ridiculous. There is actually one auction company that charges a 0% buyer's fee. It is a small but noble company called Davissons Ltd. They primarily deal with British coins. If they can auction coins at zero percent to buyers, then I imagine that these large companies can tone their high fees down a little. I have seen as high as 20%. But I doubt they will unless people stop buying at their auctions. And for some reason I don't think that that is going to happen either. I think 10% would be a fair rate.

 

Now as far as selling is concerned, I have used a few companies and have not been impressed at all by a couple of them. One screwed up by having someone not experienced with handling coins that I sold through them, and admitted as such and tried to make up for their mistake to a small degree. And one company basically tried to rip me off and did a terrible disservice to me as a seller. Of course they will never again be considered for any type of selling purposes.

 

Sadly, the big guys are here to stay, for now anyway. I'd like to see of of them try to compete better in favor of both the sellers and buyers. There must be a happy medium in this "game".

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I agree with the statement "factor BP into your bid". It is hard sometimes when the lot you are tracking pops up and the heartbeat increases. If the BP increases, I will limit my use of HA.

 

As for customer service, Ive had good experiences and bad experiences. To be honest, I cant name a single company that Ive had 100% positive experiences with.

 

Lastly, cant say any of my winning arrived within 14 days of auction end. On average it takes about a month. One was about three months and after many phone calls (might have been misplaced). That is the only gripe I have with HA.

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The point I was attempting to make earlier in this thread is that the bigger auction companies have to be made to understand that the market can only bear so much.

 

Looking at the big picture it would be reasonable to assume that major collections coming to market over the past 2 years or so was probably known to them years in advance. As was stated, the owners of these collections probably negotiated a zero Sellers fee (or close to it +-) accordingly, the Buyers are saddled with a 17 1/2 % hit they needed to try to get a handle on.

 

Once the bigger collections have been redistributed and the market has been sufficiently diluted, reselling those coins or bringing smaller or less important collections to market in the years to come might get sketchy. If the bigger auction companies see they're making less profits and working harder for them, bumping Buyers Premiums to 20% might make sense to them.

 

If we don't object now, good luck objecting when BP's go up when things are slow.

 

 

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