What about eBay?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by jody526, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. MaestroPCG

    MaestroPCG Member

    As a newer seller on eBay, I echo CoinGremlin's sentiments regarding the charges. For everything I sell, I pay a "listing" fee, a "final value" fee, and a PayPal fee. I don't like all these fees either, but it's still the most economical way for part-time sellers to get enough exposure on their items to make a decent sale. And it's certainly more than I would get from dealers.

    And, yes, I found that a slight S&H markup covers the fees. I don't see a big issue with this as long as it's not exorbitant. I'm not trying to profit on the shipping, but I AM trying to recover my costs along with some of those fees.

    Once you accept eBay for what it is, I think most would agree that it's a decent alternative for small or part-time buying and selling.
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  3. mcgrover

    mcgrover Junior Member

    IMOH Ebay has been as successful in the coin business because B&M coin dealers are just so opportunistic that their SOP is borderline dishonesty, and selling coins to a dealer can be one of a coin collector's most painful introductions into the business, especially if you need some $ in a hurry. And they'll wave this crumpled rag of newsprint at you called the Graysheet and say here, here's what your coin is worth, about 25% of retail for non-key, non-bullion pieces. This Graysheet is the dealers' way of taking advantage of people who may not know what they have. Before ebay if you didn't like one dealer's price you could go to another dealer and get the same price. Bid deal. Now the key to selling on ebay is large photos, because you can't see the coin. If dealers had such integrity and product knowledge, TPGs never would have started. And ebay wouldn't have seemed so attractive to collectors like me who got sick and tired of giving our coins away to dealers, to see them turn around and get full retail or more for what we just gave them. Am I alone in feeling this way? mike
    thomas mozzillo and bwdul like this.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    No, you are not alone in feeling that way. But a large part of the reason for that is because many collectors have little or no idea of what their coins are actually worth. The value of any item, coins or anything else is not determined by what you paid for it. It is determined by what you can sell it for. And no, I do not mean by what you can sell it for on ebay.

    The recognized market value of a given coin is determined by what a knowledgeable buyer will pay a knowledgeable seller. And quite frankly, ebay is populated to a very large degree by a bunch of buyers who are fools and know nothing. They overpay for items each and every day that they could go to a reputable dealer's shop and purchase for half the price.

    Now, if my comments offend you or anyone else - I'm sorry for that. But what I have said is quite true - it is reality. It is the way the coin market works. Everyone who has ever been involved in the coin market for an extened period of time knows this. They know that if you buy a coin 1 day for $100 and then try to sell it the next day that the absolute most you can expect to be paid for it is $80, and that's if you are very, very lucky. In all probability you will only receive about $60 - $70. Again - that's how the coin market works. And anyone who expects any different is fooling themselves.
  5. mcgrover

    mcgrover Junior Member

    I've read your post a few times and I'm having a hard time following you. Your 1st point is that the value of a coin is determined by what it sells for. Agreed. But not on ebay? Why not? Is it worth only what a dealer will sell it for? My point is that what a dealer will sell a coin for is much more than what they will buy that same coin for, usually based on this buy low, sell high graysheet vs. retail pricing structure. If you're point is that only a dealer can or should make money in the coin business - buy low, sell high- and that the collectors have to suck it up and eat the difference, than my point is that collectors can buy low and sell high too, usually without any overhead except ebay fees. I am not rah-rah for ebay, and I would rather sell to and buy from local dealers, which I've done, but they sell for too much - usually based on these retail coin guides (CW, PCGS) that you seem to dismiss in favor of market based transaction prices, and they pay too little, usually based on graysheet. And if a dealer can get twice the price on ebay than over the counter, they'll be on ebay too, which they all are, sometimes in diguise. I'm not sure why you think I might be offended, except I could take you as saying I paid too much because I didn't know what I was doing, and now I 'm not happy taking graysheet prices. Well not only won't I sell at graysheet, but I don't have to. I bet dealers are more aware of ebay completed auction prices now, than on graysheet prices. I've got many examples, but I feel I've made my point.
    bwdul likes this.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    I always did understand your point, but you have not understood mine. What I said was - "The recognized market value of a given coin is determined by what a knowledgeable buyer will pay a knowledgeable seller."

    Now, you seem to feel that the prices listed in the Greysheet are too low. Well, they are in a way. But that's because they are wholesale prices - the Greysheet is a list of prices that one dealer will buy or sell to another dealer. But to a collector, those prices will increase by 15% - 20%. That's how any wholesale market works - wholesale is cheaper than retail. But every now n then a dealer will sell coins to a collector at Greysheet prices.

    Knoweldgeable buyers and sellers both know this, and so the Greysheet is used as a basis for market values by them. And rarely, very rarely, will a knowledgeable buyer pay more than 10% - 15% above Greysheet bid. He would be foolish to do so for he knows there is another coin just like it right around the corner.

    But you ask - "But not on ebay? Why not?" I thought I explained the reason for that rather well but I guess more explanation is in order. Or perhaps I should have rephrased my explanation. In any case - yes you can use realized prices from ebay, assuming of course that you throw out the bad prices. What are the bad prices ? I'd think that is obvious.

    Let's say you have a coin that normally sells for $100. But you manage to sell the coin on ebay for $150. Does that make this coin worth $150 ? No it does not. It only means that someone who didn't know any better paid $150 for it. That's a bad price and it needs to be ignored when trying to establish value. Of course to be able to recognize a bad price when you see one you need to already know what a good or valid price is. And if you already know, then there's not much sense in using ebay anymore to establish value.

    if you want to know what realistic retail prices are for a given coin check the auction archives on Heritage or some of the other major auction houses - those are real values. Of course you could take a shortcut and just add 10% - 15% to the Greysheet prices and you'll be amazingly close to the same number.
  7. claw

    claw Senior Member

    Ebay is not a good indicater of actual coin prices.For instance, Joe Scmoe from somewhere in the country,who does not have a coin dealer within 100 miles, is likely to pay more for an item on ebay than someone else.He also, may not be very knowledgeable in the coin market and think the coin is worth X amount of money ,cause thats the price listed in the magazine.

    There are many items that sell for more money on ebay, than in most coin shops.And there are many, many items that coin dealers sell for far more than you can buy on ebay.A knowledgeable collector can figure this out, and actually make money both ways.

    One example, the 2001 silver Buffalo proof dollar. Most dealers sell this item for $150.
    On ebay,a seller with high feedback can get around $200. This is also a good example of hype. Is the coin only worth $150, cause thats what the coin shop sells it for? Or is it worth $200(about $180-$190 after all the fees) because thats what you can get on ebay?

    Some of the auction houses, in my opinion are also not good indicaters of price.A lot of times coins end up selling for far more than there actual market price.If you include the 15 % buyers fee and other such fees associated with auction houses. (heritage, Teletrade) Some times they end up selling for less than market prices.
    Sometimes there is not an actual market price, cause the coin may be pretty rare. And sometimes a collector or dealer may make a high bid ,because thay just have to have that coin.

    All in all, the coin will only be worth what someone is willing to pay for it. An outrageous example, a PCGS graded pf-70 1993 $ 50 one ounce gold proof sold for $30,000+. It is deffinately not worth even close to that to me, or many other collectors. Or let alone, could I even afford it.
    Thats one of the worst things about collecting US coins. All of the hype!!

    Just my two cents!!

  8. bzcollektor

    bzcollektor SSDC Life Member

    "Let's say you have a coin that normally sells for $100. But you manage to sell the coin on ebay for $150. Does that make this coin worth $150 ? No it does not. It only means that someone who didn't know any better paid $150 for it."

    Quote from GDJ

    Absolute Horse S*** nonsense...........

    Moderator or not.....

    Yes, YES that makes that coin worth EXACTLY worth the $150 paid for it on ebay.

    You make the false assumption that someome "who didn`t know any better" paid $150 for a "so-called" $100 coin.


    HOW do you know this person "didn`t know any better"? Perhaps this person has been an astute collector/investor, that saw a bargain on ebay. Never mind what the greysheet bid or redbook says it is "worth" this week. Or this year. He saw something perhaps that has future value, and was willning to pay accordingly. I do it all the time. I also "steal" cheap items WAY under graysheet on ebay. All the time. Does that mean that the seller "didn`t know any better"? Other bidders "didn`t know any better"?

    Your thinking on this baffles me. I have probably been around at least as long as you have. Perhaps some bids on ebay have something to do with newbies. If newbies always overbid, we should all be rich. If 50 newbies always bid $265 for all the 1938-D walkers in VF, than that is what they are worth. If 10 newbies bid an average of $135, then that`s the price. 1938-D Walkers are available by the thousands. Some other coins by type and date do not come up that often. Prices are what the are. Perhaps that $100 coin that sold for $150 is especially clean, and scratch, and ding free. Well worth the $150.

    To claim that a" $100 coin" that happens to sell for $150 is due to someone that doesn`t know any better is ludicrous......
    bwdul likes this.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    We're not talking about a coin that a buyer recognizes as some rare variety or error, because if it was then it would be worth more and the buyer would be making an astute purchase based on his knowledge. We are talking about a coin that can be readily purchased for $100.

    You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but regardless of what you pay for a coin, it's only worth what you can readily sell it for to a knowledgeable buyer.

    Now I ask you - what earlthly reason could a knowledgeable buyer have for paying 50% more than a coin is worth ? Even in the case of a buyer who needs just this one coin to complete his set - if he can go to any shop and buy it for $100 - why would he pay $150 ?

    But if the buyer is not knowledgeable - what then ? What about all the coins sold on the TV shows, they're no different than ebay - are they worth what the buyers paid for them ? And realize, by worth I mean what you or I, or any other knowledgeable buyer would pay for the same coins.

    So, if you find that ludicrous - OK.
  10. mcgrover

    mcgrover Junior Member

    Whatever prices knowledgeable buyers and sellers buy and sell to each (e.g. many dealer to dealer transactions ), you are avoiding addressing what dealers pay to those sellers "who don't know any better" for their coins, which is as low as they can possibly pay, and then take it or leave it, with no give above greysheet. "Every now and then a dealer will sell coins to a collector at greysheet prices" is the exception that proves the rule - they buy at greysheet and sell higher. I know Heritage claims that they would rather "wholesale" to their customers than other dealers, so they offer a Make an Offer option available, for dated inventory . I have no problems with Heritage, with whom I've spent good money for good product, and some other online dealers. But I do have a problems selling to local B&M dealers 1999 silver proof sets for $200, refusing to go to $220, because their piece of the pie would not be big enough; or who routinely offer MS60 prices for raw Unc. coins without making the effort to offer pro grading on which to base fair value. Sure they need to pay the rent, but because sellers or buyers are unknowledgeable, does not mean the knowledgeable party gets carteblanche to take advantage of their superior position. I haven't seen a greysheet for a while, but last I looked, retail prices were more than 10% to 20% above greysheet, the price you seem to indicate smart, experienced collectors pay. And it' s my experience these local dealers I know build in a 50% (or 100% depending how one computes it) markup. This is a very limited view of how to prosper in business, the short view, and ebay, and other larger online dealers are the beneficiaries of this shortsightedness. regards. mike
  11. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    No, Mike I'm avoiding it at all. It's just a different subject. But since you brought it up - you are quite correct. There are plenty of unscrupulous dealers out there who will pay collectors less for coins than they should. And every single time that I hear someone tell a story like that - I recommend that they find another dealer.

    But if a dealer is offering a collector Greysheet bid for a coin - that is a very fair price and even better than the industry standard. Most reputable dealers will typically offer only 15% - 20% less than Greysheet bid. That is the industry standard.

    Yes I know that many collectors feel that this is unfair and that dealers should offer more - but they don't and that is to be expected. That is the way that the coin market works and always has. The biggest problem is that many collectors don't know this because they seldom sell anything. So when they do they often feel like they are getting ripped off because they receive less than retail value. But they aren't - they are being offered fair prices. I've been on the selling end before and I can tell you that 15% below Greysheet bid is about as good an offer as you will get - from any dealer. If they paid more than Greysheet - they'd go out of business - very quickly. And before you ask, no I am not a dealer - never have been and never will be.
  12. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Thalia and Kieran's Dad

    The amount of overhead required to run a brick and mortar shop is orders of magnitude larger than running an eBay business out of one's house. (For one thing, the "paperwork" requirement, i.e. sales tax filings, income declaration, can be avoided, but that's another story.) So you'd expect that a dealer would take the difference between the buy and sell price as a margin large enough to make a decent living.

    I can understand looking askance at a dealer who really lowballs a seller, i.e. the "Ignorant Widow" syndrome-- "Gee, this 1804 dollar isn't really worth all that much, I'll give you a break and pay you $5 for it"-- but so far I have not run into anyone even close to that dishonest in this field. (Though I have in other hobbies, for sure. A word to the wise that I don't like to think about: make sure that someone you can trust understands the true value of your collection before it's too late.)

    What's missing from the equation is, of course, what the typical eBay professional dealer (as opposed to the casual seller) paid for the coins that he or she is selling. That could be pretty low as well, and of course it's not likely that we will know. No specific examples or accusations here; just an observation.

    Speaking further of that Internet Auction Community: I had an example of a potential bargain on watch the other day: a common date Liberty (V) nickel that was described as Uncirculated went for just $28. (I already deleted the listing so I forget the date, maybe 1911 or 1912, definitely a 19xx without mintmark.) That's a reasonable price for an AU, for example, according to the price lists I have. Problem was that only the obverse of the coin was pictured, making the reverse an unknown. I think that made the transaction risky; I might have taken a chance at that price point (had I actually remembered to bid-- oops) but it would have been taking a chance for sure.

    This is just one of many examples of why the eBay marketplace can be a minefield. Poor photos, bad descriptions, ridiculous terms, arrogant verbiage, outrageous shipping... they can all contribute to a lower than "expected" sale price. On the other hand, it only takes two, ah, let's say "Highly motivated buyers"?... to push a final price well above what most of us would consider to be "normal range." As I've noted before, I am very comfortable buying model trains on eBay; and was selling before the nickel and diming got to be too much for me as a casual seller. But for coins, it's been mostly "window shopping" there, followed by a trip to my local dealer with the question, "Do you have this?"
  13. 900fine

    900fine doggone it people like me

    ... and also why slabbing by TPGs has lessened the risk.

    Seems to me there are two ENORMOUS factors that complement each other, and have revolutionized the hobby:

    TPG slabbing
    the Internet marketplace

    The Internet would be FAR more dangerous, and thus far less populated, if not for TPG slabbing.

    I'm not saying that TPG slabbing is perfect - a quick perusal of the "About MS70 grading" thread, still very active, proves that.

    I'm just saying that TPG slabbing is darn good and has given a lot of confidence to a lot of folks who might otherwise stay away - particularly for the better pieces.

    It's interesting to note that prices for better coins escalated dramatically in the late 80's - just as PCGS and NGC were comin' on strong.

    We're in another surge now... as the "TPG slabbing + Internet" combo continues to mature.
  14. De Orc

    De Orc Well-Known Member

    A coin or any other item is worth precisly what someone will pay for it, it matters not if that person is knowlagable in the given field. Graysheet/Redbook/Beckett etc are nothing more than Price Guides (the emphasis is on Guide) As for a knowlagable person not paying over the odds for a coin LOL then what if that coin is the one needed to compleat a run ? or a coin they have been after for a long time :D
    Ebay weather we like it or not has changed the world of coin buying for good, and in the long run I belive the average dealer will have to adapt or go out of buisness, my reasoning for this is more people will begin to sell there unwanted coins on the bay in the knowlage that they might well get more than is offerd by a dealer.
    How often do we see in regular coin auctions selling for well over estimate? well then they have reached there true value, the same can be said of the coins that do not sell, on that day they were over valued to that market.

    De Orc
  15. skm06

    skm06 Member

    The funny thing is you're all right to some extent, in my opinion anyway. If you need your collection to be liquid,and sell it at a moments notice, then Ebay may not work, making it worth only what any collector will pay for it right now,(knowledgeable buyer) or dealer unfortunately. Like De Orc said though, sometimes even in people with knowledge, impulse takes over and they just want that coin now.
    But we've all seen ridiculous bids on ebay I'm sure. Some buyers will have a bidding war when a listing still has 5 or 6 days to go.
    I've had it happen plenty of times. Put up what should be a fair bid, only to keep being outbid by some to whom it's just the competition. They just don't care what they pay,they're going to beat you. Sometimes I'll just keep bidding out of spite because you can just tell they will keep bidding. Luckily , it hasn't cost me yet and always stop before it's too late.
  16. eddyk

    eddyk New-mismatist

    That's not very nice :)

    I got outbid on all the current state quarters on UK ebay (BU)...they sold for £20 ($40) in the end.

    So I started looking for them again...come accross things like this...http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/all-38-US-STA...920QQihZ011QQcategoryZ521QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    One of only 2 complete quarter sets on UK ebay.

    Which work out at $1.73 per quarter...RIP OFF

    So I waltzed on over to US ebay, and found a guy selling an up to date set of state quarters for £6...29 cents each...and they were in a folder.

    If you're looking for bargains (compared to UK ebay) UK buyers...check out US ebay.
    Check the postage though.
  17. PJGS

    PJGS New Member

    Well, ebay is a two-edged sword.
    Variety is huge but we can be led into wasting some money. When it comes to buying coins, a clear pic does wonders as the seller's description can be very misguiding. S&H is one thing that really puts me off. Some sellers seem to use that as a source of extra income. Maybe a way to avoid ebay's fees.
    One thing is for sure, ebay is changing the market for the average collector, at least in Portugal. I, for instance, bought a coin for €30 while the street price is around €80. It was a unique opportunity, but many coins are cheaper than the street price. How will the dealers deal with that?. I don't know.
    ebay USA is even cheaper than the european ones, especially due to the exchange rate but I may get caught by the custom office and duties are heavy. :(
    As a seller, I think ebay isn't very good for low cost items. Ebay+paypal take a nice chunk out of the final price but not accepting paypal reduces the number of potential clients, thus things will sell for less. It's some sort of catch-22 situation.
  18. When I want to sell low priced items, I usually end up selling them as a lot. I also charge the real shipping rates, not making money off of it. I also give a few options for shipping, including plain old first class USPS.
  19. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    I agree that ebay's fees are far too high, but whatis the alternative?
    Until someone somes up with a better auction site, where can you go to dump the stuff that you don't want to keep?
    However, that said, the best lots for prices realized are apparently junk coins, and miscl. lots.
    Even after fees you still walk away with something for the coins that you don't want for your collection, and some cash to buy something that you do want.
  20. bzcollektor

    bzcollektor SSDC Life Member

    Right now, Ebay Traffic and Sales are at thier PEAK. So are Gold and Silver prices (at least in recent months)
    Now till Chrismas is the best time to sell on Ebay. Probably the worst time to look for bargains. The coin market continues to be strong. New products, new interest.

    If you have been thinking about Ebay, now might be a good time.
  21. mmh1980

    mmh1980 New Member


    On eBay, I like to view completed auctions by checking the box on the lower left part of the page and clicking search. It's a quick way of establishes an eBay "market" price; it also shows that apparently nice coins sometimes get low-balled.

    For buyers who frequently check the Morgan and Peace auctions hoping for good prices (like myself), I've put up a small website with links to Morgan and Peace dollars by grade (e.g. MS-65 only), mintmark, and key dates. The idea of my site is that frequent bidders who rapidly conduct alot of searches will find it more convenient to click on links rather than retype search terms. The site, called Silver Dollar Finder, is at http://silver-dollar-finder.com. Please feel free to visit the site and offer me any suggestions. You may email me at mmh1280@hotmail.com

    Thank you
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