My Recent Experiences in Dealing with Heritage vs. Great Collections
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10 hours ago, Mk123 said:

I'd really love to hear Ians reply to what @Michael Longmire posted! Someone send Ian a heads up to reply to this

Agree, that's quite a big miss under fair market value in an open, well-attended internet auction, on two items. 

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55 minutes ago, LINCOLNMAN said:

Agree, that's quite a big miss under fair market value in an open, well-attended internet auction, on two items. 

 I don't see where it was established that there was "quite a big miss under fair market value".

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Something does not jive here from what I can read...let's say your coins were worth $10K each and you listed at $1 starting bid, it's hard to believe bidders would not bid prices up to where they are reasonable.  I suppose there are some rare cases where there was not much interest* and someone got lucky, but it's just hard to believe no one recognized such a crazy deal and added a bid.

*How do you know you lost $6K?  What if your starting bid was at or above realistic retail and you received no bids?  Real value of course is what someone is willing to pay, and they usually have no connection to published price guides which are always inflated over real value. 

I'm sorry to hear you don't feel good about the experience though. 

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20 hours ago, Michael Longmire said:

Just went through a GC auction. I priced my coins bid amounts and submitted to GC (Ian direct). He immediately notified me and said that I'd have to lower my "bid" amounts to be accepted. I was reluctant, so I ask him what he thought they should be. He sent me back a list by email and gave me a start price for each coin. These were prices he was "sure" would start the bidding process and get me higher prices. Long story short, I lost in excess of $6,000 on just two of my submissions. Of course I panicked and emailed him and he said there was nothing that I or he could do and the sales would be completed.  OMG, I'm really upset that this has happened because I really wanted to stay with GC on my next auction of dynamic monster toners. But now I have to go back to ebay where I at least have control.

A first blush this sounds horrible but before we get the lynching rope out some context would be helpful.  What coins did you sell (type, date, mm, holder) and what prices did each sell for, without this information it is impossible to say if you really took a large haircut on the sale or did the loss happen when you purchased the coins initially.  Markets change, factors like type of series, slab brands, even the definition of monster toners change and fall out of favor.  No matter where the loss happened we all feel bad for you, that is a real gut punch.

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8 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

 I don't see where it was established that there was "quite a big miss under fair market value".

It wasn't. 

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Actually almost every auction firm tends to do this.  Sometimes it's quite a disservice, particularly in foreign/ancients where the prices are more speculative.  To give an example, this past NYICS (New York International: the "Big Event" for World/ Ancients) the Heritage Non-signature Auction had the guy after my avatar, which is the Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus (the one after).  The pre sale estimate was 10K which was ridiculously low.  Yet had noone else bid on it you could've gotten the coin for that.  The piece realized 66K ($66,000 including 20% commission), a lot more than the estimate.   Goldberg's had a Cleo tetradrachm (ca. 36 BC) with a 24K opener.  That piece realized 258K!  The 24K was a give away as I've been researching this type for many years.  Gorny & Mosch in Munich, Germany, had a critical silver tetradrachm coin in extremely rare mint state with an estimate of 500 or 700 euro.  The piece went for 1,700 euro which was completely realistic and what it was worth.  I'm mad because I should have put in a winning bid for that piece but I got distracted, just doubled their estimate and forgot to look at my research as I've been looking for that coin since 2014.  Thus most of the auction firms insist on these ridiculously low pre sale estimates to get us collectors excited over a bargain.

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14 hours ago, History&Coins said:

Actually almost every auction firm tends to do this.  Sometimes it's quite a disservice, particularly in foreign/ancients where the prices are more speculative.  To give an example, this past NYICS (New York International: the "Big Event" for World/ Ancients) the Heritage Non-signature Auction had the guy after my avatar, which is the Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus (the one after).  The pre sale estimate was 10K which was ridiculously low.  Yet had noone else bid on it you could've gotten the coin for that.  The piece realized 66K ($66,000 including 20% commission), a lot more than the estimate.   Goldberg's had a Cleo tetradrachm (ca. 36 BC) with a 24K opener.  That piece realized 258K!  The 24K was a give away as I've been researching this type for many years.  Gorny & Mosch in Munich, Germany, had a critical silver tetradrachm coin in extremely rare mint state with an estimate of 500 or 700 euro.  The piece went for 1,700 euro which was completely realistic and what it was worth.  I'm mad because I should have put in a winning bid for that piece but I got distracted, just doubled their estimate and forgot to look at my research as I've been looking for that coin since 2014.  Thus most of the auction firms insist on these ridiculously low pre sale estimates to get us collectors excited over a bargain.

GC's opening bids are not really the same thing as pre-sale estimates.  (Many of their opening bids are $1.) But your point is well-taken as a low starting bid can lead to false hope and probably does entice more bidders than a realistic opening bid.  I've often used $1 or a very low unreserved floor as an opening bid on eBay, which has worked well but always makes me nervous. Did sell a book on eBay once for $1, should have just donated it to the library. 

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On 1/30/2019 at 8:23 PM, Michael Longmire said:

Just went through a GC auction. I priced my coins bid amounts and submitted to GC (Ian direct). He immediately notified me and said that I'd have to lower my "bid" amounts to be accepted. I was reluctant, so I ask him what he thought they should be. He sent me back a list by email and gave me a start price for each coin. These were prices he was "sure" would start the bidding process and get me higher prices. Long story short, I lost in excess of $6,000 on just two of my submissions. Of course I panicked and emailed him and he said there was nothing that I or he could do and the sales would be completed.  OMG, I'm really upset that this has happened because I really wanted to stay with GC on my next auction of dynamic monster toners. But now I have to go back to ebay where I at least have control.

I've had similar, but nowhere near such a loss; another option would have been to have the lots pulled.  The problem with an auction especially a lot smaller than Stack/Bowers or HA's signature auctions is the bidders may not be there or that strong in their bidding.  It never hurts to contact leading experts at Stacks or HA to see what they would offer on a given item, I have had luck doing that.  Or you could get someone to list items on ebay where it may take 6 months or even over a year to find a reasonable buyer.  

Edited by Nutmeg Coin

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On 1/30/2019 at 7:43 PM, Mk123 said:

I'd really love to hear Ians reply to what @Michael Longmire posted! Someone send Ian a heads up to reply to this

Thanks.

This was a situation where a client sent a list of coins with his proposed minimum bids/reserves (before shipping us coins).  I responded saying I could not offer at those numbers (since they were above market in my opinion).  He asked for numbers that I was willing to list them at, which I provided to him.  He ended up consigning some of the coins.

Although a few sold for above his initial numbers, one particular item was a modern group with fancy labels that he paid full retail (it came with an impressive wooden box).  I think the consignor paid too much originally and the secondary market is much lower on that type of material.  Obviously, I couldn't cancel the auction after it had sold.  He understands this I believe.  I think he realized the loss until a few days ago when he posted in this thread (whereas, I believe the loss happened when he bought those coins).

I haven't posted on here since NGC changed their system and my dealer login wouldn't let me access the chatrooms.

Regards,

- Ian

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On 2/1/2019 at 9:46 AM, LINCOLNMAN said:

GC's opening bids are not really the same thing as pre-sale estimates.  (Many of their opening bids are $1.) But your point is well-taken as a low starting bid can lead to false hope and probably does entice more bidders than a realistic opening bid.  I've often used $1 or a very low unreserved floor as an opening bid on eBay, which has worked well but always makes me nervous. Did sell a book on eBay once for $1, should have just donated it to the library. 

None of the client's coins started at $1.  They all had fairly high minimum bids - either set by him or by us - but obviously with his approval prior to him shipping us the coins.

We have many coins that start at $1 in our auctions each week.  I recommend this for many types of coins.  Many of our repeat consignors select this their preferred option.  It is the consignor that can set the minimum bids, although, if we feel they are too high, we might not be able to offer them.

- Ian

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That's why it's impossible to comment accurately on individual coins; if consignors are looking up prices on PCGS or NGC price guides or Numismedia retail, Coin World trends, they will almost never be able to expect those prices in an auction unless they are upgrade coins or fantastically toned.  

It is relatively easy to look up likely ranges of prices on coins through the NGC or PCGS auction results or Heritage Auctions--free to join and huge archives.  But keep in mind the extra costs tacked on that the buyers are anticipating.  

Edited by Nutmeg Coin

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Thanks for taking the time to comment on this Ian, Helps to bring the situation into more focus.

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2 hours ago, GreatCollections said:

None of the client's coins started at $1.  They all had fairly high minimum bids - either set by him or by us - but obviously with his approval prior to him shipping us the coins.

We have many coins that start at $1 in our auctions each week.  I recommend this for many types of coins.  Many of our repeat consignors select this their preferred option.  It is the consignor that can set the minimum bids, although, if we feel they are too high, we might not be able to offer them.

- Ian

To be clear Ian , I'm a fan for a number of reasons, have always let GC set the minimums and have had no regrets. 

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All of my coins are worth exactly whatever someone else would pay for them....

 

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4 hours ago, MAULEMALL said:

All of my coins are worth exactly whatever someone else would pay for them....

 

Sorry, but I strongly disagree.

Lets’s say one buyer would pay you $500 for your entire collection, a second buyer would pay you $1000 and a third one would pay you $2000. Based on what you wrote above, your collection is worth each of those three different amounts. And that’s even if a fourth buyer would pay you $100,000+.

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I am sorry Mark but you just proved my point.

Everyone else is the indicator of your coins value.

 

 

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Your coins are worth what they sell for right ? If they are sold then they are no longer for sale and worth no more than what was paid. If higher offers were presented they might be worth more but only if you were willing to sell. Of course if you want to sell then they are only worth half of what someone tells you they are worth. Any takers on that one ? :whistle:

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The idea that coins are worth what the market determines neglects all the conditions of a sale; having collectors or dealers bidding, and willing to pay strong.  There are a lot of coins that go below market, on ebay, GC, even HA, why?  The bidders weren't there at that point or the maximum one was willing to pay was not competed with other bidders.  So if someone was willing to pay 50% over what a coin sold for the seller was unlucky not to have other bidders bring it up to that price.  

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The point of the adage "a thing is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it" is that whatever YOU think something you own is worth may not be relevant. The market determines the value of something, which is determined when it is sold. Market timing and luck are huge determinants as pointed out above, but all those uncontrollable variables are what defines "the market", which is not perfect. Not understanding this can only lead to disappointment, at least on occasion.

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Almost all of my auction experience is with Ebay, I get some unbelievably discounted coins there. They are usually raw and almost always because of the seller's poor photo's.  This has spoiled me somewhat.  I only have about 550 coin sales on ebay but zero returns. Even though I always start at $.99 it is very rare that I get less than 80% of "book price" for a coin I auction.  I have been watching GC's auctions for a few months and have yet to come across a coin that is far enough below market  to make it worth buying for a quick flip. They must be doing something right.  It is not that hard to accurately describe a coin and take really good pictures of it. 

I hate returning coins and have to do it often. I bought a raw "problem free" 1913 MPL on Ebay  from a seller with no returns. Besides having an almost brass like color when in hand, under very high magnification, the cleaning scratches were obvious. Against the seller's wishes, I had my money back within 2 weeks of the day I paid for it. I have some bad things to say about Ebay, mostly relating to their total lack of concern they are braking the law (CCPA/HPA) by allowing a seller to continually sell counterfeits, even after dozens of listing removals by Ebay. If Ebay can service return requests so well, a "higher end" auction company should be able at least match that. If I can accept returns when selling on ebay and pay return shipping on all my items regardless of the buyer's reason for wanting to return it, why can't an auction house that makes millions do the same? 

I do a lot of online window shopping and feel that GC's pictures are at least as good as HA's. GC's blow up bigger than HA's and seem to have higher resolution. I don't know about the quality of the pictures of gold coins, but I know GC's are as good if not better with small cents.  

I bought a raw coin on ebay that became a little out of my league after getting slabbed and making top 10 finest graded. I had heard some good things about GC and wanted to know what they were like.  I mean really KNOW what kind of people I would be dealing with if I were to let them consign it. So what I did was, I sent an email straight to Ian, knowing full well how busy he must be.  I sent it late Sunday night after the auctions assuming Monday's are hectic days there. I received a detailed, obviously well thought out reply Monday morning before 9AM from Ian.  I responded with some questions and was treated as if I had a 1913 Liberty. That is how customer service is done. It sure was far more than I expected and GC will be definitely the auction service I use when the time comes. 

Just my observations

 

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Can't beat GC for customer service.  The level of attention is outstanding and the best I've ever encountered.  I've been surprised most times when it's Ian answering the phone.  Most these days drop the ball right after they hang up.

As far as their images, I've found them more than adequate.

Edited by casman

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