eBay has allowed collectors to swap coins and significantly add to their collection without relying on chance encounters at the local coin shop. As any coin market – eBay has its pros and cons.
Using eBay to buy coins has several big advantages:
With a click of a button you have access to many different kinds of US and international coins, and going to eBay for coins means you will have great variety to choose from. Because of high volume of coin sellers you will find eBay prices more affordable. There are also auctions where you can get a rare piece for significantly less than expected. In short, buying on eBay means you have a good potential for getting a better price.. but it comes with a risk.
eBay has few (but noteworthy) disadvantages:
- Amateur sellers
- Coin certification issues
There are thousands of coins being sold on eBay every day. Many are sold by professional coin dealers who own expensive and rare coins. Some, however, are sold by amateurs who do not always know what they’re selling or by unscrupulous dealers looking to con buyers out of money. In general, purchasing form China and/or Hong Kong based sellers is not recommended. Close to 90% of all fake coins on eBay come from Chinese/Hong Kong sellers. Finally, cheaper coins sold on eBay usually lack certification. While it is tempting to go for cheaper coin, it also means you may end up with low value or fake coin.
Using eBay to buy coins all comes down to few precautions:
- Check the seller’s feedback
- See who seller does business with
- Check seller’s shipping origin
- Go for certified coins
And above all, make sure you are covered by buyer protection programs such as:
If you bought a fake coin or seller did not ship your product, go ahead and open a dispute with Ebay and PayPal. You will be asked for some purchase related documents and likely recover a good portion of the amount you paid (if the claim is substantive). Make sure you do not wait too long – even the best buyer protection program has limitations.