So Ebay ripped you off – whatchya gonna do about it? This blog is devoted to a seller on Ebay. He recently sent me what he thought was a 1919 double dot Melbourne Penny (the coin above). He shared his misgivings at getting involved in coins and Ebay, so I thought I’d share my own development as a numismatic dealer in order to help Brad (not his real name) understand how one can respond to these hurdles we face in becoming experienced collectors.
1. I started a mentoring relationship with a dealer. Spent money at his store. Picked his brains. Learned the game. That dealer was Eric Eigner of Drakesterling.com. I believe in the teacher/learner relationship. This world of must have NOW individualism and ego has created a cesspit that results in places like Ebay. It is the denizen of BS and rip offs. Somewhere along the way from medieval guilds and small craftsmen, the “self-made man” of the industrial period become the bigoted idiot of the modern American styled economy. Finding the nuggets of gold in the crowd from people worth knowing has become a skill of its own today. I devote significant time and resources to that end.
I think of it like the movie The Big Short. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it as a great portrayal of how a few curious souls connected with the right people, asked the right questions and developed relationships and understanding – and backed their mouths with money! It’s going out on a ledge and being curious enough to make those connections with informed people – that’s the tricky part and it doesn’t happen in complacency. As an aside, I know pretty quick when I talk to someone else if we’re going to connect when we turn to politics and economics. As one collector recently let slip – he’s expecting gold to go higher and security to deteriorate, so he bought a shotgun (legally). Yep, I totally understand where you are coming from!
2. However, Eric didn’t give me a fish. He recommended that I learn how to fish with PCGS. Keep sending the coins for grading, reflect on the feedback and the body bagged (details graded) product and learn from the results. Long story short – after thousands of $$ of crapola, I began to “get it” and subsequently improved the ratio of gradable, quality coins against the garbage. It’s the only way to win as a dealer – a numbers game that requires selling enough good stuff to cover the (hopefully) infrequent error that costs money. However, I appreciate that many do not have such funds to lose, so I turn my thoughts to modest subscriptions to help launch others in their numismatic goals with hopefully more tenable results in less time.
3. There is a reason I build relationships with people, communicate politely and effectively with them and even proffer a hand to help them – IT PAYS! The old adage of being nice to others so they are nice to you really does work. To prove the point, Top End Coins is noted with thanks in the latest edition of Marsh’s The Gold Sovereign. Top End Coins’s library is filled with literature that other numismatic enthusiasts have painstakingly researched, published and given permission for me to share. That leads me to the final point.
4. I use that literature gifted to me to research the product I buy. Thus Fred Lever’s excellent research on the 1919 Penny was whipped out upon delivery of this coin and the simple but effective Prism Optical microscope from Australian Jewellers Supplies was put into action to quickly ascertain that this coin was PM’d (i.e, post-mint damage). I couldn’t quite tell from the original Ebay photos – as quality photos are few and far between on Ebay – so I leveraged the Ebay guarantee to take a look at the product and determine its veracity after purchase.
Ebay Ripped You Off Dude