There are plenty of people who like to eBash eBay. The nice thing about eBay auctions or even direct sales for the buyer is there are no buyers’ fees. The seller has to absorb all the costs involved in the sale.
eBay now has the largest coin market in the world. Just about every common coin is well represented and more rare coins appear at some time or another. The stratospherically rare coins are sometimes listed on eBay for more exposure, but still sold by the large rare coin auction formats.
As with any auction, rare American coins on eBay are sold to the highest bidder.
The nature of an auction is that the person willing to pay the most for an item, is the one it is sold to. The buyer hopes to get an item for opening bid and the seller dreads the idea. Normally, auctions run where the market price is realized for the item. Occasionally however, the item may sell for way more than its market value, or much less. It all depends on who’s there and how badly they want the coin.
eBay is set up for either auctioning items, or buy-it-now fixed price items. Generally fixed price is higher than auction, but not always. Sometimes fixed price items are very reasonable. Occasionally fixed price items are downright bargains.
eBay is set up to promote the lowest prices, but then encourages you to keep placing higher bids to raise the price of the rare coin for the most money to the seller. Auctions are set up for automatic bidding for you up to your set limit.1-click bidding makes it possible to outbid other bidders to get an item for the highest price possible at the end of an auction.
Buyer protection, feedback and seller ratings are all designed to make eBay a safe place for a purchaser to confidently shop. Photographs range in quality, so I bid what I see in the photograph. Lousy photo, not a very high bid.
Most sellers are honest and not trying to deceive buyers. eBay has policies regarding accuracy of listings and revealing flaws in the listed item. A seller selling counterfeit rare American coins, or having deceptive practices won’t last long on eBay.
The US Post office is pretty good about delivering your coin, especially if there’s a tracking number on it. Loss rate is probably half of 1%. I think I’ve only had 2 or 3 items lost out of 1,000 shipments.
Most sellers package their coins appropriately, using strong bubble wrap or plastic envelopes. Only a few are marginal, trying to use #6 paper envelopes for example.
You can check the seller profile. This makes transactions fairly transparent. Bad seller practices are visible for everyone to see. Most sellers will work with you, if there’s a problem. They need good feedback.
eBay gives you information on the competition during an auction. Find out the bid history by clicking on the number of bids above the Place Bid button.
eBay gives you a chance to ask the seller a question regarding the coin before the end of the auction, though few members use this feature.
You also can go over to the right side of the page and see what else is available from the same seller. If you see other coins you like, you can often combine shipping on them.
eBay has a problem resolution center, where they will get involved to help resolve a problem that isn’t being resolved between buyer and seller. I have only had buying problems on a couple of occasions.
Once I received counterfeit coins and the seller wouldn’t return the coin or refund my money. Then there were a couple of times when the seller simply didn’t ship the item or refund my money. eBay was great in every case, because their resolution center got action where I couldn’t, or else eBay refunded my money and banned the seller from using eBay again.
The site is easy to search with the normal search bar. You can apply several filters to your search in the Advanced search area, to refine your search to show you exactly what you want to see.
PayPal is now linked to eBay, so paying for your new acquisitions is really easy. PayPal offers credit in the form of Bill Me Later. It’s easy, convenient, quick credit for times when you over indulge and need to cover a shopping spree that got out of hand. Bill Me Later makes it easy to overspend. It will later come back to you with their 20% finance charges for revolving credit.
eBay has a great customer service department. They have answers to the common questions which are easily searched. They finally give you a phone number as a last resort to call someone and get your problem resolved while you’re on the phone. The customer support staff is great.
The Purchase History is a record of your purchases on eBay so you can see just out-of-hand your buying has gotten. Oops, I mean it allows you to budget for your coin purchases to manage your expenses.
If you are interested in buying gold or silver bullion at the lowest price, check out BullionVault.
If you are interested in learning more about rare American coin, or foreign coin collecting and investing see NumisMaster from Krause Publications.