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Thu Jan 19 2012 22:05:48

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

By: Julia Wilkinson

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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.




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: Donn Pearlman
Web Site

Thu Jan 19 23:10:40 2012

This is a huge, important and positive policy change by eBay.  As the Professional Numismatists Guild and several other prominent hobby and trade groups pointed out several years ago, many people in the secondary market are deceived by fakes.  For additional information, see: http://www.pngdealers.com/item.php?item_id=120&category_id=2

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: Rich

Thu Jan 19 23:59:59 2012

I think this is a good rule change.  I hope Ebay is able to enforce it. A separate category can be set up for replicas but fakes and replicas should not be on the same pages as real coins.  Good move by Ebay on this one

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
Web Site

Fri Jan 20 00:12:14 2012

I feel that this is a positive change but only if it is enforced evenly.  No favorites please!

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: sparky

Fri Jan 20 00:55:50 2012

This had better not influence tribal jewelry which show authentic and fake coins as dangles.  If the tribal items end up kicked off sites, lots of problems will arise.

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: another side of the coin

Fri Jan 20 01:47:37 2012

Will all coin jewelry, coin crafts, and coin items such as trays, plates etc be banned? Will these items be allowed to be listed in the coin category at all?

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: alaska

Fri Jan 20 02:52:34 2012

It's about time. The same problem exists with historical photographs. eBay allows unscrupulous sellers to offer fakes of important antique photographs. These aren't marked in any way as fakes and are often mounted on original cabinet card mounts or CDV mounts. They paste the fake photo over the original portrait. Even if the seller states that they are reproductions they will make their way into flea markets and eventually back onto eBay as originals. This will be a nightmare for eBay to deal with down the road. Having to look at reproductions in the ''Collectibles > Photographic Images > Antique (Pre-1940)'' category has ruined the buyer experience and has driven away countless buyers and sellers. eBay should ban reproductions of antique photographs or make a special category just for reproductions. Their Reprint, Unknown, Not Specified, Date of Creation, etc, criteria are not working.

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Jan 20 03:36:10 2012

I don’t doubt that this is all talk and there will be no substance (like eBay’s claimed  “sophisticated and pro-active system” for detecting shill bidding); certainly there is no way that eBay will police this matter manually: if a computer algorithm can't do it, it won't be done, ergo it won’t be done; anyone who thinks otherwise is naïve in the extreme …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: Tiffee Jasso

Fri Jan 20 03:58:26 2012

I imagine there will be no leeway for anyone. You cannot sell souvenir photo ID cards for Marilyn Monroe or Elvis or any star for that matter as they are considered forged ID Cards and are illegal according to Ebay. Put one and it will get yanked off and you will get a warning. I imagine that will happen with any coins that are any type of copy, commemorative or reproduction, including some of those minted by our own U.S. Mint. Why? Because the Chinese have copied them all. What Ebay ought to do, is ban all Chinese sellers from selling coins to American buyers on Ebay. That would help cut the fraud down by about 90% or better.  

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: OhForPetesSake

Fri Jan 20 07:11:49 2012

The only thing that should be allowed in the coin catagories IS REAL COINS.

The fakes, replicas, jewelry, indian stuff should all be shown in their own catagory. Nothing is more flustrating than to have to weed through all the garbage to get to the coins you are interested in.

Finally Fleecebay made a good move which will make the highly profitable sellers of coins very happy.

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: John

Fri Jan 20 07:59:59 2012

I posted links to a Chinese counterfeiting operation, which included images of morgan $, and dozen of other coins, the type of machine used to make them abut two years ago give or take on the discussion boards.

The link also showed row upon row of Chinese Antiquity items made all fakes designed and designated for the U.S market.

I became interested when watching an item Griff sold on hie page. An oriental lantern of such. It was listed at a time when eBay was being flooded with counterfeits.

I am not saying his item was  counterfeit. It just happened to be listed at the time eBay was inundated with these items, and there were complaints and discussions about counterfeits on eBay all over the place.

Replicas should be clearly marked but....How will eBay deal with sales claimed to be counterfeit, especially gold coins. Will paypal order the item destroyed like their violin fiasco. Is the buyer the  grader and decider if the coin is real or fake.

Donahoe wanted to market the Chinese. Well he's got them.

I hope the policy works problem free. Only time will tell. Glad I no longer sell there.

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: AC_in_Mich

Fri Jan 20 10:03:42 2012

Hmmm.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I think that if the item is clearly marked as a replica/fake/etc then it should be allowed to be listed.  Maybe there should be a separate category of Fake items.

If you do a search for ''Mona Lisa'' there were 3800 listings, including some portraits, but I certainly don't expect to get the real one on eBay!  LOL

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: Warren D. Smith
Web Site

Fri Jan 20 10:32:41 2012

I sell legal replicas of ancient and modern coins to  major museums,collectors who cannot afford originals, and theatrical producers. My coins comply the Hobby Protection Act of 1973.

My eBay store, Warrens Coins was started in December of 1998. I'm a eBay top seller. Throughout the years this store has provided a large part of my retail income.

I learned of eBay's new policy yesterday in a curt one line eMail message.

As I begin my 36th year of business, I want to thank my eBay customers for their business and support.

Warren Smith    

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Jan 20 11:36:33 2012

I've seen COAT BUTTONS that look like coins. With just a passing glance, it's easy to see what's being sold. It's doubtful that anyone would mistake it for the real thing. These coin-design buttons differ from REAL coins because they have common convex button shape and the little shank on the back side for sewing it to the coat fabric.

I wonder how the policy will be applied to those items.

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Jan 20 14:20:25 2012

If you call it a coin, then it's a coin; if you call it a button, then it's a button; obviously, the category in which the item is listed will have a bearing; if you list an item as a "fake" or "replica" in the coin category, then you most probably will have a problem. How else do you think the clunky eBay can police this policy other than simply filtering descriptions in the coin category for the words "fake" or "replica"? ...

There is no way in the world that eBay is otherwise going to police this policy unless, of course, they do it via the Philippines.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Jan 20 15:38:43 2012

I have to disagree with Philip based on past observations.

Ebay will enforce this new policy for a few months and then -- like the prohibition against mentioning paper payments in product dewscriptions -- it will quietly fade into algorithm oblivion.

This new policy is, after all, little more than more empty ebafia pr.

Enforcement will be limited, of course, to non Chinese sellers (guess where most of these fakes originate) and then only if ebafia/PreyPal receives a double ecret number of complaints from buyers who will then be told to destroy the alleged but unproven counterfeits.

More BS from the creators of the biggest BS pile in Silicon Valley.

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Fri Jan 20 17:41:26 2012

Hey, Ming, that sounds like the same sort of "faux" (you know, "fair and balanced") system that they have in placet for controlling shill bidding, or not.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Jan 20 21:05:25 2012

@Philip

Mostly "or not."

They'll start pulling down listings, and their zealotry will last until all the North American and European sellers are exterminated leaving the Chinese to illegally manufacture and sell fakes as "genuine."

It's all part of the pro Communist Chinese, anti American, seller exterminator Ho's "three" year plan.

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 20 22:42:43 2012

Does this go along with the decision to allow the CHINESE to import things via the US Postal System CHEAPER than we can send things domestically????

And do people REALLY list things like the Native items with the real and faux buffalo nickels in the COINS category?

I get a  message EVERY time I dare to list things in the "native" category that I am going to be shot at dawn if I DARE to continue in my wicked ways and cannot produce the exact Native artisan who crafted the ring or bracelet I am listing.  In my house.  where I have been stashing them for oh-- what--- 100 years?  Those artisans must surely be bored by now.  

ANd if they REALLY want to police fakes how about the Pre-Columbian category--something I don't expect is a huge seller but the number of outright FAKES I see there is staggering.  How about the "replica" or "tribute" points in the Native arrowheads and spear points section?  Now we are going a bit far afield but these are things I know and look at so you are kinda stuck with my areas of expertise.  A LOT of flint workers (knappers) will "copy" a style of point in a beautiful stone and will TELL you that this is what the item is.  How exactly ARE you going to permanently MARK flint????

Not exactly the same as some one TRYING to deceive but you get the drift.  I have bought exactly two low value coins off of ebay to be made into rings and I was very pleased with both transactions.  I did not get fakes,  I did not use rare and ancient artifacts,  and I and my husband have two gorgeous rings that people ask about all the time.  So keep the fakes of this category and EVERY OTHER category IN CHINA thank you very much.

Oh I ALSO get the ARE YOU LISTING A FAKE ITEM warning red box for almost ALL of the used clothing I sell---even if there is NO brand name on a VINTAGE item.  Who exactly thinks these things UP?????

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sat Jan 21 00:44:10 2012

@comet,

Stop worrying, all these messages are triggered by a computer algorithm written by imbeciles; the real problem is that the firing squad triggers are also computer controlled—and there is absolutely no appeal to a logical person.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion   eBay's New Coins Policy Buys Troubled Discussion

by: cod3rd

Sat Jan 21 10:03:40 2012

This new policy is designed to help coin collectors. The fakes and replicas will find a new home somewhere else on e-bay. Bottom line, CONGRATS to e-bay for doing the right thing!

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