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How it's like to fish for genuine ancient coins on eBay!!


JayAg47
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While I agree eBay always had fake coins, it was honestly not this bad a couple of years ago! As a beginner, eBay was the main source of my collection. But nowadays it looks like for every genuine ancient there are at least 10-20 fakes in the pages. I remember the days when only the owl tetradrachms and Caesar denarii being the most faked ones offered from some select countries, but today even a common Gordian III fakes are being sold!

 

Edited by JayAg47
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Unfortunately eBay don't do anything when you complain about fake coins (or the illegal fake discounts that are the critical part of Mr Highratinglowprice's business model). I wonder if there are legal implications for eBay if they are warned that a seller's inventory is fake and they do nothing? I note they're very quick to remove fake Loius Vuitton or Gucci.

Besides the rampant fakes, there's a lot of low quality garbage not fit for man or beast! Try searching for "Byzantine follis" and finding something good.

So on eBay, I limit my coin searches to a list of trusted sellers I have saved. If the seller isn't in Western Europe, UK, USA, Canada or Australia, i wouldn't bother. With patience, there are some bargains to be had, but it sure is frustrating.

 

 

Edited by GregH
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It's become utterly ludicrous.  The problem is that the administrations of Periclean Athens, Julius Caesar's Rome, and Eucratides' Bactria, etc. aren't around to sue eBay into sanity!  I don't think there's a single western government today that really cares about the amount of fake coins floating around eBay.  They definitely make authentic coins much harder to find than they should be!  Shame, eBay, shame!

Edited by NathanB
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Is Fakebay another way for countries to foul up the illegal supply of genuine coins trade!  If there are so many fakes out there who but the knowledgeable dare go fishin'!  Maybe it's a plot by the knowledgeable against the ignorant.  Maybe it's all a plot........ only us insiders have the gen!

The situation has got much much worse. When I started c 15 years ago with even less knowledge than I have now, I had to leap in. Got lucky and have not (knowingly) ever bought a fake!  The criminals have seemingly taken over.  However criminals have always been around  and fake ancients are collected and I mean modernish fakes, not fourrees  and imitations of ancient times!

Jonathan Wild types do exist and eBay is the classic  FENCE operation with NO penalties for the owners  who KNOW  it's dodgy!  I know, you know, they know!  Its harder to get genuine goods or ancient coins  than when I started. And far more expensive. Bad luck.

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There are still many collectors for whom exists only ebay. They live in their ebay bubble and think an online auction is for van Gogh and the like. And as long as these collectors exist, ebay will flourish.

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10 minutes ago, shanxi said:

There are still many collectors for whom exists only ebay. They live in their ebay bubble and think an online auction is for van Gogh and the like. And as long as these collectors exist, ebay will flourish.

me

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Since Covid began, there has been a bigger influx of fake coin listings being listed then there was before. I agree, I go maybe 2 pages from the latest search before I may find 1 that looks OK and priced on average. Usually, I don't bother. I haven't bought any new coins in almost 2 years now.  I just admire others new purchases. Much cheaper anyway.😁

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I still fish there and have specific sellers I buy from...Still a lot of nice coins to pick up especially at the cheaper end 5-10 bucks...But do agree with the general consensus that there are a lot more fakes and prices have risen...

$8 including postage..harsha_new_black.jpg.547d808ac1f74742e0350dd5e7451b4b.jpg

 

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I remember when Ebay was first created way back when.  The owners would come around to the Santa Clara coin show and beg us to list coins on their new site.  It took me a while but I did start listing coins there (they werent the first, but obviously are now the biggest).  Ebay was just fine in the early days.  Nothing but good dealers and collectors selling and buying coins.  Now, not so great.  I havent sold there in a long time, and there are years gaps in my sales history.  Its a crazy place where fakes are traded alongside genuine overpriced coins and it has its very dedicated base of buyers and sellers.  Its true, one can find gems in the rough, but it can take hours per day just looking and often not seeing anything worth bidding on.  Not for me.

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If you have the time it's probably still worth it for some, but to me it feels like its mostly the same stuff over and over again and any interesting item gets lost under piles of garbage and wannabe scammers. If you don't have go-to sellers, it's mostly a waste of time. Sure, you might be lucky to stumble to a store that has an interesting offer, but this happened to me just twice in the last 2years. On the other hand, I no longer have the time to alot to sifting through ebay 2hrs per day, so I might be missing out because of that. But seeing pages upon pages of same old somehow makes me doubt it.

Edited by seth77
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Ebay got me into the hobby. I was on there searching something completely unrelated when this coin was suggested to me.

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Not very pretty, but I couldn't believe a piece of ancient history could be had for around $10USD shipped. I bid on it and won. It came from Romae Aeternae, who I found out after the fact does sell genuine, if overpriced on BIN, coins. I've been collecting gallienus zoo coins ever since, abs have found quite a few gems on ebay. It helps that my niche is so hyperfocused so I'm not wading through thousands upon thousands of coins. 

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The majority of coins in my British ruler portrait series have been from eBay. It's relatively straightforward when you're searching for something specific like "Henry VIII groat", and you can sort your results by price. There aren't an overwhelming amount of results from such a search, and the dodgy dealers are easy to weed out.

For Roman coins, where there's a lot more product available, it's a lot more difficult to find those gems. I'm in the process of upgrading my Roman emperor portraits - Valerian, Carausius, Florian etc. It's much easier to do this with a more refined and curated inventory from a major auction house (CNG, Roma, Nomos etc) than with eBay.

I still think eBay has its place, and you can get good coins below retail price - but you have to be very specific with your searches and know the coin well.

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Imo the sellers aren't the problem. Fakes were sold hundreds of years before. But Ebay IS. Like someone already pointed out, they do absolutely nothing against it. I'm not new to collecting but I'm not an expert, so I stopped looking for coins there. The chances to buy a pretty good fake are too high for me. I prefer to pay a 100 bucks more and get a nice provencance with an auction house.

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25 minutes ago, Mucius Scaevola said:

Imo the sellers aren't the problem. Fakes were sold hundreds of years before. But Ebay IS. Like someone already pointed out, they do absolutely nothing against it. I'm not new to collecting but I'm not an expert, so I stopped looking for coins there. The chances to buy a pretty good fake are too high for me. I prefer to pay a 100 bucks more and get a nice provencance with an auction house.

Absolutely. I love Russian coins, but i don't know them well. There are "novodels" - copies of old Russian coins manufactured from official mints that look exactly like the original issue. How do i tell the difference? I don't know. I won't be taking my chances on eBay for Russian coins!

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There are a few reputable VCoins dealers, like Lucernae in Spain, who also sell their coins on ebay. If a coin is listed on both platforms, is there a benefit to to buying that coin on one place as opposed to the other?

I look at ancient coins on ebay only once every few months, and only when I'm completely bored or procrastinating. It seems to me that there's been an overwhelming predominance of fakes for unslabbed coins for a long time. As for the (presumably genuine) slabbed coins, a lot of them seem to be common coins that, because they're slabbed, are priced at several multiples of what a raw example would cost at VCoins or MAShops or at auction. So, basically a scam as well.  (Which brings us back to Mr. High Price Low Ratings and his fake discounted prices -- which are clearly illegal in many states under consumer protection laws, if they were never actually offered for sale at the supposedly original, undiscounted prices.)

I used to buy British coins and historical/commemorative medals regularly on ebay back around 1998-2000, and fakes really weren't much of a concern at all.  (Even now, the market for British historical medals is so tiny that I doubt there are many modern forgeries. It simply isn't worth it to create a convincing one. But one does have to be a bit careful of contemporary counterfeits, which were plentiful, although for the most part they were obviously much more crude than the genuine articles.)

What I've said about ancient coins applies double to antiquities. I believe that except for a few reputable antiquities dealers who both have their own websites and sell through ebay, the overwhelming majority of antiquities offered for sale on ebay are fakes. Perhaps especially Egyptian antiquities, but it applies across the board.  One must also be wary of anything labeled "Viking," especially if its origin is in Russia or Ukraine. Such artifacts may possibly be genuine, but they're very unlikely to have anything to do with Vikings!

 Catawiki (including dealers like Pax Romana) is just as bad as ebay for antiquities. There are regular posts on the ancientartifacts email forum at io.groups about fakes for sale at Catawiki, including a monthly article summarizing all the fakes there. Just yesterday, an expert in the group commented that Catawiki is as bad as ebay, "but with the added deceptive pretence that lots are vetted by "experts". Even eBay didn't stoop that low."

 

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14 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Catawiki (including dealers like Pax Romana) is just as bad as ebay for antiquities. There are regular posts on the ancientartifacts email forum at io.groups about fakes for sale at Catawiki, including a monthly article summarizing all the fakes there. Just yesterday, an expert in the group commented that Catawiki is as bad as ebay, "but with the added deceptive pretence that lots are vetted by "experts". Even eBay didn't stoop that low."

 

Yes completely agree Donna..

"but with the added deceptive pretence that lots are vetted by "experts".....

I don't understand, especially here in Spain, why so many young/ newbie collectors still buy from here and send/bring me the coins to ascertain if they are genuine?.Many leave with sullen faces!....And I'm no expert but a great deal (especially Denarius) are awful replicas!..."Where are the  vetting by experts"?

I'll still add though that if you have time you can still pick up some gems on ebay especially ancient Indian if you know where to look.😉

I guess this thread is really showing how things have changed over the years...It's a lot more difficult to find legitimate coins outside of the mainstream auction houses or the middle man/woman seller on sites such as vcoins etc...

I still love the hunt though!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

 If a coin is listed on both platforms, is there a benefit to to buying that coin on one place as opposed to the other?

Sometimes yes! I've seen dealers prize their coins 10% more on ebay to account for the fees, but if I went to their own site it's much cheaper.

Edited by JayAg47
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1 hour ago, Spaniard said:

Yes completely agree Donna..

"but with the added deceptive pretence that lots are vetted by "experts".....

I don't understand, especially here in Spain, why so many young/ newbie collectors still buy from here and send/bring me the coins to ascertain if they are genuine?.Many leave with sullen faces!....And I'm no expert but a great deal (especially Denarius) are awful replicas!..."Where are the  vetting by experts"?

I'll still add though that if you have time you can still pick up some gems on ebay especially ancient Indian if you know where to look.😉

I guess this thread is really showing how things have changed over the years...It's a lot more difficult to find legitimate coins outside of the mainstream auction houses or the middle man/woman seller on sites such as vcoins etc...

I still love the hunt though!

Is catawiki also known for fake ancient coins as well as artifacts? I've never bought anything there.

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I only use eBay yet and have to say you can get prices no professional auction house will ever offer if you are lucky and watchful. But your big sacrifice will be all the time you have to scroll through hundrets of fakes that get listed everyday anew. But the fact that the same fakes get listed everyday at least shows that noone buys that stuff. You can learn alot about fakes scrolling through ebay and the few fakes I did buy throughout my time all where very low priced so the loss wasnt to big.

My biggest win yet has been a big lot of silver coins that was so badly described and pictured that noone bid on it. So I won around 300€s in german silver coins from 1923-1938 for the starting bid of 10€

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Hoards of fresh NewStyles used to be on the Bay, not now. I have some records  cos I bought into  them  and got some rarities . Haven't bought a fresh coin for ages and ages.  I think my NewStyle collecting days are over!

 

NSK=John

All the below were bought via ebay  from fresh hoards  mainly via Hubert Lanz  when he wasn't so much a naughty boy!  Thanks Mr Lanz, those good ol' days are long gone. Diokles came "out of the blue! and I watched it for ages wondering about it, eventually plunged in  and got it for £165 plus postage from Liverpool. An absolute bargain! A very, very late NewStyle R5-R10!

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Edited by NewStyleKing
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Diokles as it appeared on ebay, I looked at it for ages, just from an ordinary casual seller not a collector or shop. I looked and looked and looked, OH well I done as much due diligence as I could  and won it with no competition!  £165 total!   I put it in lemon juice or vinegar  and got the nail brush out  and Hygiea scrubbed up well, as she should do  cos she likes being fresh and clean and...hygienic!  OH SO RARE  R 10 truly!! What's  the coins modern history? I asked but nothing is known but had original crud on it!  Look how different it looks from other NewStyles!  Look at the tri-partheit ear ornament!  What a bargain. She comes to the prepared!

 

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