|Thu Jan 19 2012 22:05:48|
eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion
By: Julia Wilkinson
eBay's changing another policy in its continuing effort to "help people shop and sell more confidently," this time within the coin category on the site - it is banning listings for replica coins effective February 20th. (See Friday's Newsflash article.) And not surprisingly, it's got sellers worried about the nuances of the policy wording, how far it will go, and how it will affect their businesses.
On the eBay Coins & Paper Money Discussion Board, one seller mused, "I wonder what will happen to collectible counterfeits, fakes and reproductions of coins?" And another wondered, "Where does someone list their 1861 Confederate half dollar now?"
Quoting a detail at the end of the new eBay coin policy "Fact Sheet," which states, "This update reflects standards across the coin industry and helps ensure compliance with applicable laws that require replica coins to be permanently marked with the word "copy"," a seller wrote, "In order to protect a buyer from buying a counterfeit copy that is not marked, they are going to disallow anybody from listing an AUTHENTIC COPY that IS marked according to industry standards??"
Another seller speculated, "You don't suppose this resulted from some perceived liability from the common practice of Chinese replica sellers listing properly marked and identified replicas here, and then shipping unmarked items, do you?"
They added, "I have to say I'm somewhat surprised. Mostly we'd been interested in forcing properly identified replicas into the appropriate "Reproductions" categories, to avoid spamming up the listings for real coins, and eBay had resisted even that." He said he was not unhappy to see them "get the boot entirely," but that it was going to cut down on listing count across the Coins category quite a bit.
Chinese unmarked copies are a problem, according to Frank Provasek, who wrote on the CoinUpdate.com site, "The coins they Chinese sellers are sending are unmarked." He posted a link to "a real 1892 Morgan and a fake unmarked 1879-S Morgan that I bought from a Chinese seller as a test."
Another seller pointed out that there is a market in replica coins, which are so marked. This US seller, identifying himself on the board as John Lorenzo, wrote, "I am one of top collectors and sellers of evasive coinage and other types in the world and respected on both sides of the pond both from my collections I have sold and my current transactions." He added that, "We may have to play word games here, but this is difficult for high-end contemporaries, which is normally collected only by high-end well-read collectors."
He said, "This replica ban has been told to me to go back historically all the way to Libyan coins (i.e., the beginning of coinage) - all the way back - so well document(ed) Greek and Roman forgeries that can bring hundreds or four figures in a Spink's or Baldwin's Auction because of their collectibility with regals or in a Heritage or Stack's Bowers Auction in the U.S. for say a Machin('s) Mills piece - which is listed in the Red Book - can now and WILL BE pulled if the word non-regal, forgery or counterfeit exist in the description." He said he planned to discuss the topic issue with an eBay numismatist."
The seller who kicked off the policy discussion thread (with the whimsical heading of "Coin Replicas no longer allowed (better title than Who Hoo)"), however, should be safe to list his replica coins because they are so large. He sells "replica coins and replica coin keychains which are three inches across (the size of a drink coaster)," and has people "who buy them to make Elvis Belts out of them in Las Vegas...coaches use them to toss at the start of a game...coasters, paperweights, etc., etc."
But this seller did speak with an eBay rep and was told, "...We define replica coins as a copy or reproduction of an actual coin, including US, foreign and other historic coins. Which would mean that because yours are much larger that you should have no issue listing them on eBay." Although he advised him to change the category he listed in.
What do you think about the new eBay coins policy? Should marked copies and replicas be allowed?
About the Author:
Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at YardSalers.net where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.