I am growing weary reporting exaggerated descriptions in online coin auctions hosted by major portals, such as Proxibid and eBay. While it is difficult for those portals to monitor all lots in multitudes of auctions, it nevertheless hurts the hobby when hyped descriptions are not reported.
Here are just a few recent examples. I could provide many more, but these deal with coin rolls, raw coins, and holdered coins by eBay-approved and unapproved companies.
Let’s start with the “never opened” roll (hover cursor over images to zoom).
First of all, the so-called roll doesn’t have a side view to test its originality. And it does look opened.
You can learn about home rolls, Federal Reserve rolls, bank rolls, plastic rolls, and “bait” rolls—those that seemingly have rare coins at each end—in this comprehensive article in Coin Update.
Note the exaggerated description in the Proxibid lot stating that each coin is worth “thousands.” Many knowledgeable collectors would call the description outrageous. At best, these appear to me to be MS-65 to MS-67 Red and Red Brown examples, based on the photos. PCGS states retail values at less than $1 for MS-65 to $20 for MS-67 Red. In other words, if you holdered each of the 50 raw coins, paying for shipping and fees, with each cent coming in at MS-65 at “regular” submission level (because you’d list each coin as being worth “thousands”), you probably would lose about $2,000 in the process.
Are hobbyists that ill informed? No, for the most part. But yes, I have seen more than a few inexperienced collectors with credit cards. And all you need is one in an online auction to make someone’s day.
I get irked reading hyped descriptions that reference PCGS Price Guide or Coin World Values for raw coins. Here’s another Proxibid example:
This coin is decidedly not MS-65. I peg the grade at AU-53 with the possibility it is damaged (see sections near Lady Liberty’s lips, chee,k and eye). Here’s an NGC-holdered comparison at M-S65:
Exaggeration also abounds on eBay. Look at this common, toned 2006 Reverse Proof silver Eagle in a PCGS holder:
The “Buy It Now” price of $2,495 is hyped by about $2,400. (You’ll find its PCGS certification and $100 value here.)
Equally as bothersome are exaggerated values for older PCI coins whose grade and listing should not appear in title or photo, according to eBay rules.
A PCGS-holdered PF-70 Deep Cameo sells for about $60, according to recent auction prices.
As always, the key to avoiding these bidding pitfalls is to know grading and current auction and retail values, in addition to rules of the portals hosting coin auctions.
What do you think? Do you believe in “buyer beware” and think sellers should state whatever value they like, however exaggerated, because hobbyists should know more about collecting? Do you believe online coin auctions should monitor hyped descriptions and lots more closely? Have you ever had an experience, good or bad, concerning a hyped coin sold online? ❑