Has a coin's written description ever affected your online buying decision .

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Dough, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. Dough

    Dough My brain is open

    When detailed images are available, does the written description matter? I would do a poll, but I suspect the effect is varied by venue - e.g. yes on ebay, but not on HA or on private dealers' sites.
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  3. jester3681

    jester3681 Exonumia Enthusiast

    Best Answer
    Absolutely yes. A written description can explain flaws if present, differentiate between post mint and as made damage/errors, give information about pedigree and ownership. In some cases, the description is more valuable for the purchase decision than the photos.

    For example, I just purchased a Civil War token that is fairly nondescript. It is not particularly rare, and is nowhere near mint state. But the pedigree associated with the token is a who's who of CWT collecting, and it was used as the plate image in the 2nd and 3rd edition of the store card guide. If I just looked at the images, I'd have passed it by. But given the description, I'd have bought it sight unseen.
    Moekeever, Michael K, Dough and 3 others like this.
  4. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    For background information it can have an influence on me. In terms of what it looks like though no, we all know it's going to be marketing for that.
  5. longarm

    longarm Just another Jewish Carpenter

    It matters some (especially if deceptive), but not as much as a good picture.
    Harry S likes this.
  6. Jason Hoffpauir

    Jason Hoffpauir World Coin Collector

    When initially the ad says Free Shipping and then in the description it has a random shipping charge. This, to me, shows laziness and makes me wonder what else they forgot to omit or add in regards to the coin. Take pride in your description; all the great sellers do. Its the little things, that make up the whole.
  7. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    A written description, like photos, can have a positive, negative, or neutral influence on my bidding.
  8. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Dan Carr's description of the broken-sword Peace design was pretty darn compelling.
    TopcatCoin likes this.
  9. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    Written descriptions can be essential. Absolutely true if there are only close-ups of the coin itself in pics. Need description for grade, grading service (if any), variety in some cases, type and condition of edge, and sometimes even the metal in the case of patterns (e.g. goloid vs silver vs aluminum). Descriptions can be a back-up for your own eyes and make you look again at the pictures ... like a scrape on Miss Liberty's jaw, a scratch in the field, weak strike in part of the motto, etc.

  10. V. Kurt Bellman

    V. Kurt Bellman Yes, I'm blunt! Get over your "feeeeelings".

    I use major auction house catalog descriptions to expand my vocabulary of color names. :D:D:D
    Kentucky, ToughCOINS and calcol like this.
  11. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    Also teaches new ways to damn with faint praise. :)

    oval_man, SuperDave and ToughCOINS like this.
  12. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    Absolutely yes. There are some honest sellers that mention details about some of their coins that aren't immediately obvious in the pictures; especially those who don't take the best photos of their coins. It doesn't always turn me away but does affect my bid. I've had good experience with most of them and I'll be a return customer. Those who sell detailed coins as original lose my business.
  13. IBetASilverDollar

    IBetASilverDollar Well-Known Member

    If the written stuff isn't the same for every listing the ebayer has then I put some stock in it for sure. Recently bought one and the seller wrote something like "I normally don't say this but the eye appeal is way nicer in hand than these pictures" and I looked at his other listings and he indeed never made that comment. He was also correct it was way better in hand.

    Other's will post something similar and it will be posted on every one of their coins so I put zero stock into it.

    I also appreciate when sellers mention negative things about the coin in the description, those are the sellers I save as favorites.
  14. Dough

    Dough My brain is open

    If it was a toned Morgan in an old fatty NGC holder, then this world is even smaller than I thought. :)

    In any case. It's encouraging to know that honesty met with trust - and a pinch of verification - to your mutual benefit.
  15. IBetASilverDollar

    IBetASilverDollar Well-Known Member

    haha no not that small apparently. It was a toned Morgan but it was a PCGS one not an old fatty
  16. V. Kurt Bellman

    V. Kurt Bellman Yes, I'm blunt! Get over your "feeeeelings".

    You know my second ex-wife? Small world indeed!
  17. Dough

    Dough My brain is open

    I returned a wizzed and retoned coin recently. It hit me a few days later that the seller was going to turn around and sell it again....and again...and again if necessary. By returning the coin to the seller, I was putting a lie back on the market. Not a good feeling.
    btw: Has anyone figured out how to block a seller on ebay?
  18. tmoneyeagles

    tmoneyeagles Indian Buffalo Gatherer

    I've been compelled to buy coins when pictures are in conjunction with a phenomenal description, and I've shied away from coins that are lacking even an adequate description. The lack of proper grammar and appropriate paragraph breaks give me pause as well. If you can't capitalize the letter "I," if you're using the wrong form of their/there/they're, and if your description is run-on after run-on sentence, I foresee it being a pain to communicate with you if the need arises.

    I learned to describe my coins from the best in the business: @Lehigh96

    Reading Paul's descriptions of coins make you want to open up an encyclopedia, thesaurus, and a color wheel when it comes time to sell yours.

    I'd like to analyze an example of one of Paul's current coins for sale, one of my favorites from his collection:


    "An absolutely exquisite toned Jefferson from the famous Appalachian Hoard. This coin is outstanding in every respect. Near flawless surfaces, booming luster, and excellent strike account for the grade. However, the incredible toning makes this coin one of the most eye appealing Jefferson Nickels in existence. The obverse is bathed in commingled orange gold, bright pink, light green, and aquamarine. The reverse is impressively toned in several shades of green and pink."

    Seeing the coin's pictures alone are impressive enough for one to put it on their watch list and give it serious thought, but Paul takes it a step further: he's going to tell you everything about the coin. Obviously when you take a look at the pictures you're going to notice the colors, but are you going to say that the coin is "bathed" in those colors? Lest delve further into what derivative of those colors they are--"aquamarine," hey I'm hooked! A couple nice touches in this first paragraph as well: Paul mentions it is from a famous hoard that one may not have heard of before, and he also gives you some food for thought: is this coin "one of the most eye appealing Jefferson Nickels in existence," and if it is, why wouldn't you want to own it?

    "This coin resides in it's original generation 8 NGC holder with the "T" designation for exceptional toning. The NGC generation 8 holders were only used for a 4 week period spanning August-September of 2000 making this holder extremely rare. In addition, this coin received the equally rare "T" designation which was only used by NGC from mid 2000 until mid 2002. It is my guess that the only coins still available in an NGC 8 holder with a "T" designation are remaining Appalachian Jefferson Nickels that have not yet been re-holdered. Prior to February 2004, NGC did not recognize 5 full steps and only graded coins with the FS (full step) designation if they had 6 complete steps. This coin is a solid 5FS coin and grades 5-5-5-5 by the quarter step method."

    As if the coin itself wasn't enough, WHAM! the holder itself is a selling point! The appropriate research has been done on this coin and the holder it resides in, and it's duly being passed on to the potential buyer. He also brings up designation history of the TPG that graded the coin, and explains why it may have a different designation if it was to be re-holdered. This gets you thinking more: hey aside from the coin being beautiful, it's in a rare holder, and it meets criteria for an additional designation. These are all things that pictures alone wouldn't be able to tell the untrained eye.

    "Upon resubmission this coin would (100%) obtain the star designation, 5FS, and 233 more registry points. However, I don't know why anyone would jeopardize the rarity of the current holder just to obtain registry points. In it's current state, it is worth 102 points in the NGC Registry."

    A callback to the previous paragraph, and to boot he did the NGC Registry point research for you already. No need to have a bunch of tabs open, the information you need is right here in this one auction.

    "The Appalachian Hoard of Jefferson Nickels appeared on the market in October of 2000. The story was that a dealer came upon a hoard of nickels in an estate near the Appalachian mountains and had the coins certified by NGC. My investigation into the subject has yielded four different certification numbers for the Appalachian Hoard and they are:

    More research duly being passed on to the potential buyer. This could be useful if one wanted to seek out Appalachian Hoard nickels in the future.

    "Price guides simply don't apply to monster toned coins of this magnitude."

    Whoop there it is! Yeah, this coin is at a high premium over what the price guides would tell you, but what good are those for a coin like this? Price guides can't paint the whole picture, and by the end of Paul's description you've gotten to see all the reasons why.

    Not only do price guides not tell the whole picture, but neither do pictures.

    My histology professor in undergrad used to always say this to us:

    "They say, 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' and I ask, 'which thousand words?'"

    Learning to accurately describe things in a way that is captivating to others is a key life skill, and one that certainly can't hurt in numismatics.

    Obviously not all coins warrant a description as thorough and lengthy as Paul's for this particular coin, but all coins certainly deserve more than, "FREE SHIPPING INSIDE CONTINENTAL USA. pictures dont do the coin justice the coin you see is the coin you receive. happy Bidding."
    oval_man likes this.
  19. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    See, I could've been a strong buyer, but he blew the "its/it's" thing in the description. :rolleyes:

    (yeah, that coin totally reflects the quality of the stuff I collect -- in certain dreams...)
  20. V. Kurt Bellman

    V. Kurt Bellman Yes, I'm blunt! Get over your "feeeeelings".

    In defense of nearly everybody who gets caught by this one, auto-correct REALLY fights you on the non-apostrophe version.
  21. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Not to mention logic. I'll observe English rules, but I won't defend them.
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