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eBay Lends Name to Gold Bars

You can now purchase real gold bars on eBay that bear the eBay logo. The online marketplace has been fascinated with bullion going back to at least 2011, and now you can find eBay-branded gold and silver bars for sale on its marketplace.

Coin World first wrote about the deal, saying the new products debuted on January 19, 2016. It said the two products currently available are a 1-ounce .9999 fine gold bar fabricated by the Perth Mint and a 10-ounce .9999 fine silver bar produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.

But details of the partnership were unclear; is it a licensing agreement, or something more than that? In fact, a reader wrote to us, wondering if eBay had an ownership stake in the Bay Precious Metals, a subsidiary of the seller Coins ‘N Things, and said he wondered if eBay was now selling its own merchandise like Amazon.

We asked eBay, and Mark Flaa, eBay Category Manager for Coins and Paper Money responded with the following statement:

“About mid-way through 2015, eBay was happy to welcome Bay Precious Metals to our marketplace. Bay Precious Metals (BPM) is a subsidiary of Coins ‘N Things (CNT) – a precious metals wholesaler based in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. BPM, who has relationships with sovereign mints from around the world, has partnered with both the Perth Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint to create branded bullion products.

“We saw a great opportunity to associate the eBay brand with two respected sovereign mints, who produce some of the highest quality bullion products in the market. The branding also creates awareness of eBay being a trusted destination to purchase precious metals. We are very pleased with the beauty and quality of both products, which clearly show the craftsmanship of both mints.

“These eBay products are offered for sale on ebay.com from Bay Precious Metals, and eBay simply receives insertion and final value fees.”

But the reader raises an interesting point – will we begin to see more products bearing the eBay logo? The bullion agreement leaves the door open to such possibilities.

Currently you don’t see a lot of eBay-branded goods aside from tchotchkesque goods promoting eBay. In fact, the only instance we can recall of eBay licensing its brand was when under the leadership of Meg Whitman it licensed its brand to IGT (International Game Technology) in 2007 for video slot machines.

In November, eBay pitched bullion as a great holiday gift, reporting that its business had grown over 60 percent year-over-year. Bullion shoppers feel so comfortable that over 25 percent of bullion purchases on eBay are coming from mobile devices, the company said in its November release.

So how are shoppers paying for their eBay-branded gold bars? According to this listing, “We accept PayPal payments during checkout.”

But be aware that the price of these products changes frequently. The same listing explains, “Please note that with our dynamically priced items the spot price will be updated at a minimum every 10 minutes. Items in your shopping cart are subject to change in accordance with the spot price.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.