A British bottom feeder in 2021

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by maridvnvm, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I am very much a bottom feeder when it comes to collecting. Several areas that I collect are not valued by many and as such I can collect with a modest budget. Over recent years I have been mainly buying from the UK and Europe as in recent times there has been a shift quite often the cost of shipping from North America has become a large proportion of the cost of buying from there (30-50% of the price of the coins I collect would be added again for shipping). As such I have retreated to Europe being the source of the vast majority of my purchases.

    I buy from a range of sources but often buy on ebay as I can still obtain coins that fit my collecting themes there. As of this year however ebay has started to add sales tax (VAT) at 20% to all coins from outside the UK. This has come into existence since Brexit.

    As a result I can see my ability to collect being curtailed. I will still turn up here as often as I am able but fear that I will have a lot less coins added to my collection in coming years and a lot less to share with communities such as this.

    This is simply an observation and not a moaning session but is certainly a side effect of Brexit that I had not considered until it hit me.
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Omgosh, Martin, how frustrating to have your passion boxed-in and curtailed. I regret reading this from you. It frustrates me that I will not be able to read your posts as frequently. Although I do not focus on your area, I learn a lot from you. I hope that your UK ebay, and other local outlets are able to pick up the slack for your wants!
    Kindest regards,
  4. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    I'm a bottom feeder as well, and it's such a frustration when you want coins from certain areas for cheap! I focus on South Indian coins, as opposed to their northern counterparts this area is not as popular, so I had to look into Indian sellers, and often times they require extensive details, and I bug out as I'd rather not share things like my passport number for a coin from a dodgy site!
    But buying coins from Europe/America is no fun either, just look at this invoice from ebay! the shipping and 10% GST adds up to the price of the coin itself!
  5. ColonialCoinsUK

    ColonialCoinsUK Active Member

    I didn't realise that Ebay were adding 20% for coins from overseas - although due to circumstances I haven't bought any for a while from Ebay I was planning to in the near future now that I have some funds available again.

    Ebay should be aware the rate should be 5% for numismatic items - do they itemise it? When I have been charged 20% in the past as couriers do not read the paperwork I have claimed back the 15% difference - this has always been successful but is taking a long time at the moment!
    +VGO.DVCKS and Alegandron like this.
  6. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I sympathize. Ancient coins tend to be more expensive in Europe to begin with, but the cost of overseas shipping from the US has gotten very high. That plus the VAT has totally erased any savings you might have realized by buying from US eBay.

    I started out as a bottom feeder, buying uncleaned coins, cleaning and IDing them, keeping the ones I liked and selling the rest on eBay. If I bought 10 uncleaned coins for $10 plus shipping, I might end up keeping two coins for my collection, one or two coins that were junk and unsaleable, and sell 6 or 7, earning enough money to recoup my original investment and maybe earn a little extra so that I could buy 12 coins next time. Those days are over. By the time you add in eBay fees, PayPal fees, increased shipping costs and sales tax, it's not longer worth the effort to sell or buy low end coins on eBay. The only solution I can think of is to buy bulk lots and hope you get a bunch of keepers.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Alegandron like this.
  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Last year was the first year I only bought about 3 items overseas. Due to the taxes as well as the Covid issues.

    I've pretty much have decided I will be buying within North America, which is a shame since I have gotten many nice coins overseas. Especially France & Britain.

    But one plus is that it's saving me money and it's caused me to shift to move onto the bigger players, like Harlan. They may cost more but I get great service & coins. I still buy from U.S. Vcoin & eBay dealers, but my choices have now reduced no thanks to the high taxes & shipping overseas.
    Broucheion likes this.
  8. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I have been trawling through the HMRC guidelines and whilst coin collections and items of numismatic interest might have been able to be subject to a lower level of VAT (5% rather than 20%) it would appear that the current guidelines have some some errors and vagueness in there that means that classification is difficult and ebay are being conservative and helpfully collecting the top VAT rate on behalf of the government. Whether I will then face further VAT when the objects arrive at customs is another question as the seller has no idea that I will have paid the duty and is unlikely to mark it as such. Paying double duty is now my next worry.

    I recently bought a coin from Canada. The coin was C$ 75.00 and VAT was added at 20%, adding C$ 25 and another C$25 for shipping. Ho hum.....
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  9. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I sell on US eBay. I use eBay's foreign shipping service for any overseas sales. They calculate the shipping cost plus all import duties and taxes and charge the buyer. They make a small profit on this, but it's not the huge price-gouging scam that some potential buyers accuse eBay (or, often, me) of perpetrating.

    Yes, it's very expensive, and I feel sorry for someone who buys a $40 coin from me and then has to pay an extra $25 for shipping and fees. But all this information is included in the listing, everything is above board, and apparently the purchaser thinks the coin is worth it or they wouldn't have bought it, so more power to them.

    From my perspective, it rids me of all the overseas buyers who insist I list the value of the coin as $5 on customs forms so that they don't have to pay as much in duties and taxes. So what I lose in sales I also lose in headaches. I don't love it, but I can live with it. I refuse to perjure myself to save someone $10.
    Pellinore, +VGO.DVCKS and Broucheion like this.
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I know this is an unpopular attitude but...
    The coins we collect are found in Europe. I find it interesting that collectors there even look for coins that have already made it to the US, Canada or Australia. It would seem that there should be many times better selection there. A few years back, I knew several dealers who travelled regularly to Germany, France, England etc. (countries where coins are found) and returned with stock to sell for a profit in the US. I do not pretend to understand the tax situation for the UK or anywhere else but is it really better to buy coins that have made the round trip than those that still exist in the country of origin? I fear the increasing trend limiting what can be imported into my country and would prefer the coins that are here not go back to places from which they will not be allowed to return.
    Valentinian, Kentucky and PlanoSteve like this.
  11. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I have bought from sellers using eBay's foreign shipping service and it is fine as it is transparent and the seller buys into iy and the product is marked appropriately when shipped so customs fully understand that duty is already paid. In this case ebay are doing it on a blanket basis without the seller being informed and thus the seller does not mark the shipment as duty paid and thus there is the possibility of paying duty again on entry to the country (which also incurs handling charges).

    If I were limited to buying eastern Severans from solely British sources, which is where your point would lead to, then I think I would have less than 10 coins in my collection.
  12. Jim Dale

    Jim Dale Well-Known Member

    I use to buy coins from the Canadian Mint. I live in the U.S. in North Carolina. I might select 1 or 2 coins a year. The subject of their coins are not to my taste which limits purchases from their. I'm not sure of their charges as well as having to pay North Carolina Sales Tax on top of their taxes. Even the U.S. Mint's cost has doubled in many of their coins, so I have to be very selective since my wife and I are retired.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  13. otlichnik

    otlichnik Well-Known Member

    BFU (Bottom Feeders Unite!)

    I have not encountered your particular problem maridvnvm but I do find that I am simply not following up on more and more opportunities due to the shipping costs.

    It is bad enough when the postal costs truly go up - but I am driven nuts by things like "exporter handling fees", courier companies that always get dinged by customs fees, and "flat rate" boxes that charge you $50 to ship a $20 book regardless of the actual weight etc.


    +VGO.DVCKS and svessien like this.
  14. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    I would highly recommend checking out MA Shops. They have a couple of
    hundred dealers who have a wide variety of items and in reasonable price
    ranges. I'm not familiar with the coins you collect or the price range but
    I'm sure there are a few dealers at MA Shops who have coins you might be
    interested in. I live in the U.S. and they always work with me on price and
    shipping. Most if not all accept PayPal which is a must for me.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
    +VGO.DVCKS and Alegandron like this.
  15. Egry

    Egry Supporter! Supporter

    The global hunt for taxes has ramped up over the last few years and I don’t see it slowing down.

    I live in Australia and when purchasing anything out of Country they are forcing the 10% sales tax be paid.

    If I buy from an auction in Europe and they send it by regular post I have never had to pay the tax, but run the risk of it getting lost in the mail (which has happened a few times). So recently I’ve asked them to send with FedEx to ensure it arrives, but through FedEx they notify the Australian Boarder force once it hits our shores and hold it at ransoms until the 10% tax has been paid, then on top of that they charge an $88 fee for their trouble.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  16. Ignoramus Maximus

    Ignoramus Maximus Well-Known Member

    I sympathize with you, @maridvnvm, and everyone else who is suddenly confronted with unexpected charges.

    I live in Norway. Import tax/VAT on everything is a hefty 25%. Fortunately, coins as collectibles are exempt from duties, which makes collecting them an attractive option.

    Antiquities, however, are a completely different story.
    To give an example: I recently bought this Greek dish.
    56 (2).jpg 56_2.jpg
    Greek pedestal dish, Hellenistic period, ca. 4th cent. BC.
    Height 7cm, diameter 17cm.
    Workshop: 'Master of the Wobbly Plate.'

    It auctioned at 260 GBP. 'Great buy! Lucky me!'
    Next: 26% auction fees. 'Fair enough'.
    Next: 64 GBP in shipping. 'OK...'
    Next: 25% import tax/VAT. 'Ai,ai,ai!'
    Next: 'service fees' from DHL. 'Have you lost your minds, you ..!'
    ( turns out, DHL 'generously' advances the duties to the Norwegian customs as a service to their customers, supposedly to 'expedite shipping', but really as a thinly veiled ( and, in my opinion, legally highly questionable) excuse to slap an extra 60 Euro onto the bill... And this 'service' is compulsory, not an optional extra.
    I can live with all the charges, it's part of the game, but this 'service' from DHL to top it off pisses me off).

    Well, you get it. I'm not complaining,(ok, I am:_)). I love the dish and I knew ( or should have known) what I was in for when I bought it. But when you add it all up... well, let's just say, you have to really, really, really want something before you hit that 'bid' button.

    But it does take some of the fun out of collecting antiquities. A shame really.

    Better stop ranting and enjoy what I have...

    Now the dish sits nicely on top of my nightstand just behind a nice Alexander tet ( I always have at least one coin on display). And man, do they complement each other! The plate lends body and substance to the coin, silver Zeus on his throne, in turn, lends refinement and dignity to the plate. In a year or two, three I'll be living in my own miniature museum...

    Who said life was bad?:)

    So, things can be worse than 20%. Hope that's consoling. And, more importantly, the UK has a thriving local market for both coins and (ancient) antiquities, so there's a lot to be found without looking abroad. As for Norway...:(
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  17. montynj3417

    montynj3417 Active Member

    This is quite the normal thing to see when making a purchase on Ebay. If anything is going to scupper online commerce, it'll be shipping costs and of course, its Mini-Me, sales taxes.
    JayAg47 and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    MA Shops is definitely best for people who live in Continental Europe. It's my impression that the substantial majority of dealers are located there, primarily, it seems, in Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. (I stay away from German dealers right now, given all the issues I've had.) Harlan J. Berk is the one major US dealer I can think of that's on MA Shops.

    I think VCoins is best for people who live in the USA and the UK -- I think the majority of dealers are in those two countries, along with a number in Spain and elsewhere on the Continent. I also believe that there are many more dealers on VCoins. If I do a search for a particular type of coin on MA Shops vs. VCoins, there are often 5-10 times as many results on VCoins. Where the dealers also, in general, are willing to work with you on how an item is shipped. They all accept Paypal so far as I know.
    Ignoramus Maximus and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  19. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML, along with heartily endorsing your endorsement of MA and Vcoins, I could toss in Delcampe. It's Belgian, but attracts a lot of French dealers. I've never had a bad experience with it.
    ...Now, ebay, only most emphatically the US version, is, hmm, a little different. Again, I've had lots of good luck, notably from French and British dealers. But you have to approach it kind of in the attitude of being in a Mad Max movie. Watch Out! --And, even where medievals are concerned, this isn't just about the obvious, and only most screamingly Central European fakes.
  20. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    I’m currently getting daily messages from DHL about the customs that I don’t have to pay, but they still send payment reminders for.
    I’m going to write to the auction house and inform them that I will no longer be customer to those using DHL. Maybe that’s a start.
    It seems that their expensive service provides little security too. I have twice found their envelope in my open mail box. So no more DHL.

    As for Norway, it’s a great country in so many other ways, kamerat. But I probably don’t have to remind you.
    Ignoramus Maximus and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    DHL drivers twice delivered packages for me to the wrong apartment building near mine, even though the number was clearly visible on the package, and is clearly visible above the entrance to both buildings! One time the person to whom the package was wrongly delivered was kind enough to bring it over to me, and the other time the driver realized his mistake, retrieved the package, and delivered it to me. I was lucky, but it's pretty disturbing that two different drivers were so careless they didn't bother to make sure they were delivering the package to the correct address. On the other hand, that's only two mistakes out of more than 20
    DHL deliveries. What do I expect, perfection?
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
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