I have collected coins for overheen 35 years. Ter that time, the hobby has switched significantly. eBay has permitted collectors to exchange coins and significantly add to their collection without relying on chance encounters at the particular coin shop. I am writing this guide because I have read a few guides by eBay members, and they have bot obviously self-serving (i.e. advising to only buy from sellers that have a rating equal to or better than their own, with ratings overheen 5000 and 99.9% positive, for example). I dreamed to write a guide to help people that are fresh to buying coins on eBay and offerande what I have learned from my individual practice spil a collector. My intent with this guide is not to instruct you about coins or coin collecting. That is an immense subject about which many books have bot written. My hope is that you can build up from the information here to help you purchase coins more effectively on eBay.
1. The eBay terugkoppeling ratings mean almost nothing since many buyers are reluctant to give negative terugkoppeling. What is significant is the content of the terugkoppeling comments. Read terugkoppeling comments cautiously before making a purchase, especially looking for negative comments. Usually just looking through one or two pages of buyer terugkoppeling is sufficient. If there are negative comments like ",coin wasgoed cleaned", or ",coin wasgoed not BU spil stated",, etc., even if the comment is marked spil positive, this is a sign that you should avoid that seller. One or two negative comments don’t necessarily mean much, but if you find this to be a consistent theme, it is a bad sign. Also read the sellers responses to negative comments. If the seller responds that they are sorry and offerande a refund, this usually means that this is an unusual occurence and most likely an fair error. Seller ratings are also individualized for several categories with anonymous terugkoppeling.
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Two. ",Power Seller", status means absolutely nothing. All this means is that they have sold a loterijlot of stuff on eBay. And it usually means that they are moving large volumes and don’t know their inventory well. Since each coin is different, knowing what you are buying and selling is very significant te regards to coins. I actually attempt to avoid ",Power Sellers",. They usually have more bids on their items, indeed over-hype their coins, describe them spil much better than they are, and the chance of finding a true bargain is utterly low. I have also had my worst practices with sellers who have some of the highest ratings – poor shipping, misrepresented items, refusal to give refunds, etc. I look for sellers that are fairly fresh, but that have some terugkoppeling spil a seller, and I sometimes take chances on totally fresh sellers. I have gotten my best bargains this way.
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Trio. Look for coins sold te Lots. If an individual is attempting to just make a rapid buck off of his coins, many times he will sell them together te a Loterijlot. If you are looking for a specific coin, often you can find it spil one of the coins ter a Loterijlot, and get the coin much cheaper. I have bought coins ter Lots, and have purchased the entire Loterijlot for the value of the single coin that I wasgoed searching for, then I kept the coin I dreamed and waterput the other coins te the Lotsbestemming up for sale and have gotten my entire purchase price back.
Four. Never pay more for a coin than what you would pay for that same coin te AU58 condition, no matter how good the picture looks or how good the seller’s reputation is, unless the coin is graded and encapsulated by a reputable company (I will include information about coin grading companies below). Pictures are unreliable, they can be doctored, and there is no way to tell the difference inbetween an MS65 coin and an AU58 coin from a photo – no matter how good you are at grading. If a coin is indeed valuable, it will have bot sent to a grading company to be encapsulated. That is not to say that I toevluchthaven’t found some true gems on eBay that were worth many times what I paid for them, just that you can’t tell from the photo what you are getting.
Five. That being said, you most likely have photo editing software on your pc. If you don’t, get one and learn to use it well. This is your best friend when attempting to grade coins from a photo. You can increase the resolution and teleobjetivo te on the photos. Something lacking with most eBay postings. Even those postings with the capability to enhance the photos sometimes need enhancement.
6. Buy coins, not slabs. Despite the quality of the grading of the better grading and authentication services, one coin te a particular grade is not the same spil another. The only evidence you need of this is to search selling prices of coins on major online coin auction sites, like Heritage. Different coins ter the same grade sell for vastly different amounts. A grade is a reflection of harm that has occurred to a coin since minting, and ter very high grades, a reflection of how well struck the coin wasgoed during minting. It is NOT a reflection of the aesthetics of a coin. Attractive toning, for example, will not lower a grade. However, it does not raise the grade either, but it will make an enormous difference ter selling price.
The three best known companies are ANACS, PCGS, and NGC. Thesis are all solid and reliable companies. I have dealt with all three of thesis companies, and I will include specifics of each company from my private practice below. Two other companies that I have not dealt with, but that are good companies are ICG and PCI. Avoid any other companies unless you have individual skill of their quality. There are a loterijlot of grading companies that over-grade coins just for the price of putting it te a holder, and even very bruised circulated coins may get a high uncirculated grade from thesis companies.
ANACS: This wasgoed the very first company to grade coins. It originated spil a part of the ANA, thus its similarity ter name, but straks branched off into a separate company. Beginning ter 1972, it originally issued a ",Photograde",, which described both sides of the coin and issued an individual grade for each side, along with a photo of the coin. After PCGS began encapsulating coins ter 1986, ANACS followed suit. The fresh ANACS holders are by far the most attractive of the three companies. They are the only one of the three companies to grade ",problem coins", (e.g. cleaned, holed, whizzed, etc.), and they place them te a different type of holder that is labelled with a description of the problem. This means that if you send a coin ter for grading, you are going to get it back graded and encapsulated, unlike PCGS and NGC, which will take your money and send you back a un-graded coin with little explanation. ANACS also seems to mij to have the highest grading standards of the three companies, and ter my practice, the most consistent grading. This fact can be very profitable, spil I will explain te ",Helpful Hints", below.
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PCGS: This is the best known of the three big name companies, and their coins sell for the most money. PCGS began ter 1986 spil a ensure to coin dealers that they were selling coins with equal grades. To submit coins to PCGS, you still either have to go through a network dealer or pay a large toverfee for the privilege of submitting coins directly to them. Basically, PCGS is an insurance company for dealers that the quality of their coins is the same spil another dealer’s of the same grade. They have a strong ensure of authenticity, and will reimburse the purchaser for any coin that has bot graded by them but straks found to not be authentic. What this means to the submitter is that they reject any coin that has even the slightest hint that it might be a ",problem coin",. From my individual practice, they will reject about many of the coins you send them without an explanation and keep your money. If you want an explanation spil to why it wasgoed rejected, you have to go through the time and expense of re-submitting the coin and pay an extra toverfee for the explanation. But, again from my private practice, if you feel that nothing is wrong with the coin, it is better to re-submit the coin for grading den novo, and you will have a 50% chance that it will be graded the 2nd time around. This wasgoed the very first grading company that I used because it had the best reputation. I stopped using them because I got frustrated with having to submit coins numerous times to get them graded, and this is very expensive. I cracked all my coins out of their PCGS holders and sent some to NGC and some to ANACS. To my verrassing, about 30% of the coins I sent to ANACS came back with a LOWER GRADE!! And I never merienda got a higher grade on a coin! Evidently, PCGS’s grading standards are slightly lower than ANACS’s, despite their better reputation, a fact that can be enormously profitable, spil I will explain te ",Helpful Hints", below. I am still a Platinum member of PCGS, but I only use them if I intend to sell the coin. Their holders are also hideously ugly ter my opinion, and they have the absolute worst customer service of any company I have dealt with.
**UPDATE: PCGS has just recently begun encapsulating coins that are ",problem coins", and certifying them spil simply ",authentic", (if they are, that is) without issuing a grade. Therefore, if your coin is sent te, it will now be encapsulated before being returned to you. No more assets bags!
NGC: This is the official coin grading service of the ANA. They are te most respects a doorslag copy of PCGS. Their grading standards are toughly the same spil PCGS, you have to submit coins through a dealer or pay a toverfee for the privilege of submitting directly to them, and they reject any coin they suspect might be a ",problem coin", and keep your money (they even rejected one of mine that had bot previously graded by PCGS). Their holders are generally boring and non-descript.
All three of thesis companies (ANACS, PCGS, and NGC) have horrible customer service from my practice. My practice with ANACS is the most satisfying of the three companies, but I still have had a difficult time getting answers to plain questions. I have seldom gotten responses to emails, and the customer service representatives who reaction the phone are incapable to reaction any questions of a technical nature (e.g. what is their qualification for Utter Split Bands, etc.), and you cannot talk to anyone that is able to reaction thesis questions. I have also never gotten a terugwedstrijd phone call when one has bot promised. At least the people at ANACS who response the phones are friendly and polite most of the time, unlike my practice with PCGS and NGC.
ICG: This is the official grading company of CONECA (an ",organization dedicated to the education of error and diversity coin collectors",). It is an enormously good company, with a reputation for quality on par with any of the three big names above, but not spil well known so they usually sell for less. This can be to your advantage since you can buy coins graded by ICG, and get them crossed to PCGS and resell them for a profit, similar to ANACS spil I will explain ter ",Helpful Hints", below, albeit I don’t know how their standards compare to the other companies.
PCI: This company has had some problems te the past, albeit they have bot a fairly reliable company, but with some minor problems with their reputation. J.T. Stanton, a renowned numismatist and, along with Bill Fivaz, is author of the ",Cherrypicker’s Guide",, wasgoed appointed CEO of PCI ter Nov. 2006, and he has told mij that he intends to make some very positive switches at the company. Unluckily, he has not indicated that he has any intention of switching the holders at this time, so it would be unlikely to differentiate inbetween coins graded before or after thesis switches have taken place. Still, I think his appointment is a signal that this company has made a giant leap forward.
1. Spil stated above, buy coins, not coin holders. You will have to a pay a premium for coins graded by PCGS, and you can buy a better coin for less money that has bot graded by ANACS, ICG or PCI. Albeit all coin grading companies use the 70 point Sheldon scale te grading coins, they use their own standards with regards to this scale. Te my private practice with using thesis companies, I have found that PCGS’s standards are slightly lower than ANACS’ (meaning that a coin graded MS64 by ANACS may get a grade of MS65 by PCGS). Since some coins sell for much more te an MS65 grade than what you would pay for a coin te MS64 grade, you could potentially make thousands off of just one purchase if you buy an ANACS MS64 coin, crack it, and send it to PCGS and get an MS65 grade. Also, even if the coin doesn’t get a higher grade, it will at least cross for the same grade. Coins ter a PCGS holder sell for 10-20% more than ter an ANACS holder. So even if you are one of the fanatics that just has to have all your coins graded by PCGS, it would be cheaper to purchase an ANACS graded coin and have it crossed to PCGS.
Two. You can get terrific bargains on coins graded by ICG and PCI since thesis companies aren’t very well known and their reputation isn’t well established. Thesis are high quality companies, but the coins graded by them sell for much less, often 50% or more under the value of a PCGS coin.
Three. If you’re willing to gamble a little, coins with indeed bad pictures (blurry, hard to see), can be superb bargains because few people want to risk buying them. I’ve gotten terrific deals on some coins this way. Also, if a coin looks like it has fine detail, and is described spil ",brilliant", or ",shiny", or spil having ",superb cartwheel",, something to that effect, but looks enormously abate and lackluster te the picture, it is most likely a scan instead of a photo. Scans accentuate defects, and often defects will emerge ter a scan that is not even visible to the naked eye. Thesis coins can be a auténtico bargain too because they are much nicer coins than they emerge to be. However, bad pictures can hide grinding and other harm so be cautious.
Five. Get a Bid Sniper software. This permits you to waterput ter your maximum buying price and it will automatically place a bid for you at the last few seconds so nobody can outbid you one increment at a time. This does two things: 1) it prevents someone from enhancing their bid until they outbid you, and Two) it keeps you from getting caught up te the excitement of the bidding or competitiveness and over-spending for the coin. Believe mij, if you want a certain date/mint mark coin, another one will come along if someone is outbidding you for this one. Let it go and look for another one.
I hope you have found this guide helpful. If there are any questions or comments about what I have said here, please feel free to email mij.