Help with International shipping costs

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Libby007, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. Libby007

    Libby007 Member

    Greetings - Ok, here's my situation ... I buy a lot of coins from international auction houses. On average about 1 in 15 coins come back from NGC Ancients as "Not Genuine". I only deal with auction houses that will accept NGC's determination of authenticity. The issue, upon which, I need some input on is that when I send a coin back to the auction house, I incur about a $30. to $60. shipping cost via USPS. I send the coin back Registered Mail insured. Has anyone a better (read: cheaper) way to send coins Insured internationally? Any helpful input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Stevearino likes this.
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  3. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    In my opinion the auction houses should bear all return costs here. I'd ask them what kind of shipping they expect you to use.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    When I have mailed coins outside the Continental U.S., it is always expensive. Generally speaking, mailing OConus costs between $11 and $13 just Fist Class mail.
  5. Libby007

    Libby007 Member

    Bing ... do you insure your shipped coins? Because that seems really inexpensive.
  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    It is automatically insured up to $50 I believe. I'm not sure what insurance costs beyond that provided.
  7. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    International mail starts at about $8 or so for Canada, but most of the world is about $13-14 for one ounce or two. Registered Mail is around $13. It does add up. But what gets you is the insurance. It just depends on how you wish to approach the expense. You can put a coin in a padded mailer for a couple of dollars, but has no security or tracking. I suppose it depends on the value of the coin you are sending back.

    Also, I note you say 1 in 15 are not genuine. That's a really high percentage. You may want to stop doing business with those houses.
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    May? Did they refuse to reimburse your postage? It is not like you were returning for a shaky reason. They are selling fakes and got caught.
    buckeye73, Stevearino and red_spork like this.
  9. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Aaaah at last I’m vindicated for preferring to buy graded examples;)

    I once had 2 coins purchased from Roma turned down by NGC. Has made me very cautious about buying anything unslabbed.
    Stevearino likes this.
  10. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    The thing about buying an ancient coin that is already slabbed is that you are trading an unconditional guarantee of authenticity and ability to return (from the auction house) for the admittedly very expert OPINION of NGC. If you break it out of the slab to do further verification you cannot return (at least at CNG) which effectively nullifies the guarantee.

    With ancient coins every auction sale is an opportunity for an expert to give their opinion on authenticity. NGC might be the best opinion out there but they are still only ONE opinion. By slabbing the coin they ensure they are the LAST opinion. As ancient coins need to be handled and examined this means that fake coins that could be outed by further study or new discoveries are protected from detection by the plastic.

    If NGC offered a guarantee of authenticity (I realize this is not feasible) or offered their ancient service without a slab I would be their biggest fan. While NGC has my respect I am not sold on slabbing for ancients and never will be.
    Stevearino and Orfew like this.
  11. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    This is incorrect. NGC does not offer any guarantee of any type for ancients. It may be a matter of semantics as they wont slab it unless they feel its genuine, but there is no guarantee. And I understand this stance. Experts very often disagree with one another and feelings about a coin may swing one way to the other depending on who is looking at the coin. As for returns, that is a matter that depends entirely on the dealer and varies so wildly one needs to understand the policy (written or otherwise) of the dealer you are buying from.

    So, after re-reading your post, I am not sure I am addressing the right comments. Not sure, but I think we are ultimately on the same page.
    Stevearino likes this.
  12. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    I think you misinterpreted my post. The auction houses offer a guarantee of authenticity and ability to return. NGC offers a very respected opinion.

    If you buy a slabbed coin from an auction house and crack it out and find it is fake you still cannot return it because you removed it from the slab (read CNGs terms of sale carefully). This is trading a guarantee for an opinion which is a bad value proposition in my opinion.
    Stevearino likes this.
  13. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    I thought I might have been reading it wrong. But ultimately I think what we are talking about is liability and who is responsible when a coin comes up as fake (and when as well). I can understand CNG's stance on the issue. They dont own the coin. If a coin sells the consignor is paid and all is great. But if two years down the line a coin is cracked out and determined to be fake the original consigner is likely long gone and CNG would have to incur the loss by themselves. I understand that. But my personal feelings as a dealer I back everything I sell, slabbed or not. If I made a mistake I will make it right.
    Stevearino and Curtisimo like this.
  14. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    I've been bit by a mistake made by NGC where a plated coin was slabbed as solid. This was apparent once I got it out of the slab and could actually inspect the surface and edges close up, but it wasn't possible to confirm while the coin was in the slab and I couldn't return it once it was cracked out. For that reason, I won't buy anything slabbed that I can't get a refund on once it's cracked out. Ultimately it's my responsibility to know what's in my collection and I can't fully analyze a slabbed coin nor can I trust NGC to have looked closely enough so there's no place for them.
    rrdenarius likes this.
  15. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    When returning coins internationally it would be best to have a signature on the receiving end. That said, registered mail is the safest way to send coins and get a signature. It's also cheaper to insure and there should be some insurance included in the initial cost.

    The only other way I can think to send a coin and obtain a signature would be by express mail. That also comes with insurance and may prove to be a little less expensive. Not sure about your local post office but it may help to talk to one of the employees there about your options. If the clerks can't help you then you should speak to a manager.
  16. Libby007

    Libby007 Member

    Thank you all for the valuable information you have pressed forward. I'll check into International Express with signature - Arrivederci per ora e grazie.
    red_spork likes this.
  17. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    I still really recommend checking with the seller for what it's worth. I've never had a problem getting my shipping refunded on a problem coin, I've never even had to ask for it, I just tell the seller how much it's going to cost. Admittedly it's been like two coins the entire time I've been collecting, but last time I returned one I got shipping both ways plus the full cost of the coin refunded.
  18. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    A methodology of needing a coin to be considered genuine by both seller and grader seems a reasonable precaution if one is not an expert. Good process.

    Still the raw figure of one in 15 returns from NGC surprises me. Knowing my own area, I'd estimate one in 100 as being a more typical of fakes or significantly altered coins in any reliable random large auction (and I rarely buy from unreliable sellers). My own proportion is lower still as evidently I avoid buying the fakes. "International auction houses" covers a range from highly reliable, to sellers known to sell many fakes. Just being on Sixbid/Numisbids is no guarantee. Some sell almost no fakes, or at least only the very occasional and difficult to assess fakes (e.g. NAC, CNG, Kuenker). Perhaps rather than aiming at lowering the cost of returns, it is possible to be selective about who to buy from to start with. I'd tend to think of the postage costs as a cost associated with a decision to buy from less reliable sellers, maybe offset by coins being on average cheaper.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  19. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Yes! I see this as the most important part of the matter. When people with money patronize the ignorant or the dishonest, they further the appeal of doing business that way. Certainly the best experts will make a mistake every so often but it seems the best interest of the hobby as a whole would be served by encouraging the big sellers to hire and train people who know what they are doing and who are more interested in the long term reputation of their house than in the profit from this one sale.
    This is the attitude I can not understand. The problem was not with the coins being unslabbed but with a seller about which you should be "very cautious". Your continued patronage of regular sellers of problem coins insures there will be a continued supply of problem coins. Consignors who have a collection full of problem coins will know that they can consign them to a house that will not know or care about the problems while sending them a proper house would result in them being exposed and refused. When we pay high seller/buyer's fees and receive flea market level service it would seem we might question our choices.
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