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ATTN/Nightmare Auction w/ Olympus: False Listings, Withdrawn Refunds, Legal Threats


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Hello folks --

Passionate collector of Greek/Roman/Parthian/Byzantine coins. Love the hobby, look forward to participating on this board. Sorry to have a negative first post, but I am motivated to join partially to share my warning and experience for other collectors. Everything I am about to write is entirely documented and provable.


So I have had the worst, and actually the only bad, auction experience of my ancient coin collecting hobby lately.

I participated in Olympus Numismatic UG's Auktion 5 on Biddr. I spent a total of 383 Euros, and the only reason I bid at all was to obtain three unusually large Roman/Byzantine pieces. I bid on others because I already had to pay the premium and shipping so tried to make the most of it.

The first problem is I had to write two weeks after the auction to Olympus because they had not put the goods in the mail yet. They let me know they'd do it the next week.

When I belatedly received the package, I was somewhat stunned. Unfortunately, all three of the pieces I had bid in the auction for in the first place were wildly mislabeled and misrepresented -- by between 8-11mm apiece.

Lot 663 Diocletian -- listed at 38mm

Lot 786 Justinian -- listed at 44mm

Lot 787 Justinian -- listed at 43mm

All of these coins in reality were between 8mm-11mm smaller than listed. I am generally inclined to be generous to folks in our hobby, but the fact that not one but three separate coins were so wildly mislabeled did not feel like something I could ignore, especially since I had paid such a premium for them.

Please see the attached photo: https://imgur.com/a/tTNY5Gi

Here you see my three Olympus purchases bookended by a 24.25 mm quarter and a 38mm Byzantine Anastasius 1. The three coins in the middle are allegedly 38mm, 43mm, and 44mm.

As you can see, the "38mm Diocletian" is slightly larger than a 24mm quarter, and is outright dwarfed by the Anastasius that's supposed to be the same size. The "43mm+" Justinians are clearly smaller than the 38mm Anastasius.

All three of these coins being off by ~10mm is grossly deceptive.

Because I am busy and it would be onerous to return everything, I wrote to Biddr and Olympus asking if I could simply have a 100 euro refund for the amount I wildly overpaid for their three falsely listed coins. I offered to happily move on and said I was otherwise happy with order.

I received a response from "Cetin" at Olympus that read in part: "ich werde Rücksprache halten dann kann ich Ihnen genaueres zu Ihrer Rückerstattung von 100€ sagen." In other words, I will get in touch with you for your 100 Euro refund.

I heard from Simon at Biddr (great website, no problems with them) that he agreed with my concerns and that further mislabeling would have consequences for Olympus. He did however indicate that his communications with Olympus indicated they'd probably not give me the 100 euro refund.

I then heard from Olympus that they'd either refund me everything if I personally repackaged my entire order and sent it back to Germany at my cost -- or they'd give me a 50 euro coupon (!).

They received nearly 400 euros of my money by enticing me with false listings; had me overpay by 100 euros for those specific coins; agreed to get in touch about my 100 euro refund; and then offered a 50 euro coupon for my trouble.

I have a very busy life as some of my friends on this page can attest, and am a serious and responsible collector. I had already catalogued and filed away my pieces when I received the initial acceptable reply from Olympus.

When I expressed that a 50 euro coupon was an insult as I would obviously never do business with them again, and that causing me to take off my workday to un-package, repackage, and spend $30 to send them everything back itself was costing me even more money, they again offered me a 50 euro coupon.

I told them this was obviously all a giant waste of my time and horrible business practices and that I had a duty, as a collector, to share my experience with others.

Again, I had done nothing wrong. Regardless, I took off an hour of my workday to get this package together and send it -- and after sharing photos of the package and tracking number, asked for an immediate refund. Again, Simon at Biddr supported this request.

Again, Olympus refused a full refund, now saying they would give it to me in two weeks once they received their package. I have an extensive history of purchases in this community from multiple houses and, having involved Biddr, obviously wasn't lying...but now 383 euros of my money would be sitting in their account until they felt like giving it back.

In addition, I was threatened with legal action if I published my story.

So I wrote "Cetin" an impolite response regarding his threats and am now publishing my experience. My frustration with being misled, overpaying for mislabeled goods, having those goods delayed in the mail, promised refunds that were withdrawn, and now threatened with frivolous legal threats have led me to spend too much time translating angry English to German emails.

So, highest degree of warning against Olympus.

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