Editor’s Note: This is a two-part column on coins holdered by non-top tier grading companies. Part I provided background information on holdered coins sold in online auctions and Part II, below, shares tips to adjust for exaggerated claims of a coin’s mint state and worth. You can find Part I here.
In Part I of “Hyped Holders,” we covered eBay rules about listing coins. You can find those rules here.
Also in the last column, we provided a picture of a cent said to be worth between $2,500 to $10,000 based on its MS67 Red grade. I deemed it to be AU55 Brown and worth a penny but allowed for other viewpoints up to MS65 Red, worth $10, showing just how hyped the description was on Proxibid.
Yet I bid on hundreds of coins on this auction portal every month, including ones in hyped holders.
In fact, I purchased MS63 coins holdered by the same grading company that judged the 1957-D cent mentioned above to be MS67. I treated these coins as if they were raw. When I received them, I cracked open the holders and resubmitted the coins for a truer grade by a top-tier company, having them returned at AU55 or AU58, about what I expected, so I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, given what I paid for them on Proxibid, I was satisfied.
You can be satisfied, too, by relying on your grading prowess and numismatic knowledge in bidding for coins graded by companies other than NGC, PCGS, ANACS and ICG.
Here are tips:
1. Ignore in titles or descriptions any reference to PCGS’s online price guide or the “Red Book” (A Guide Book of United States Coins, edited by K. Bressett) unless purchasing a coin by PCGS or by a top-tier company, respectively.
2. Practice judging luster, or brilliance and shine of a coin, the most important component in a grade. Then lower that grade by one or more notches to adjust for the image as photographed digitally and processed by your monitor and computer.
3. Look for bag marks, rubs, scratches or any other mark or discoloring and then lower your bid accordingly.
4. If the auctioneer only provides one photograph of the obverse of a coin, contact the company and ask that the reverse be posted or at least described to you over the phone.
5. If you feel your bid was too high, call up customer service and retract it based on the overstated description by the auctioneer or in the holder.
6. Keep a record of your winning bids and grade your coins again upon receipt, acknowledging whether you would purchase the same coin from a local shop if you saw it in person rather than online.
7. Learn from your mistakes and earn a profit on smartly bought coins from online portals.