Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Apr 18 2012 10:02:17

Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers in niche collectibles rarely agree with eBay's policies that affect their categories, and this week was no exception. eBay is instituting new standards in coins and worked with numismatic authority John Albanese, founder of CAC and NumismaticConsumer Alliance, to develop standards that must be met for grading coins on eBay.

eBay announced the change through an alert sent to members of the media, and some coin dealers said they received an email announcement.

Dealers seemed particularly upset that eBay would no longer accept grading from ICG. eBay policy currently states that when listing a certified coin, the coin must be certified by one of the following authorized grading companies:

- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
- Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS)
- Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)
- Independent Coin Graders (ICG)
- American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS)

But beginning May 30th, will only allow Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

Wrote one coin dealer on the eBay discussion boards, "I am simply stunned. Ebay has lost touch with their sellers and assumes to know everything. This is so disappointing. They always say this is what their sellers and buyers want. No one ever contacted me and I am a top rated seller in coins. I should also mention i am always a buyer in this category also. ICG and ANACS are two of the Nations oldest and most trusted third party graders. Approx 1/2 off my collection are graded by ANACS."

eBay also announced it was working with six dealers in a promotion showcasing a collection of more than 300 Morgan Dollars, valued at more than $1 million. A few years ago, it would have been unheard of for eBay to do deals with a small number of sellers thanks to eBay founder Pierre Omidyar's insistence that eBay provide a "level playing field" for all sellers. But despite Omidyar's role as eBay's Chairman of the Board, eBay now routinely does such exclusive deals with select sellers.

What do you think? Is eBay making the marketplace a safer place to shop with these new standards?




Comments (14) | Leave Comment | Permalink

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Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 18 10:42:59 2012

great quote......"Ebay has lost touch with their sellers and assumes to know everything."
what else is new?!

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 18 11:51:51 2012

Does this mean that one can't give a numerical grade for a raw coin?

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

This user has validated their user name. by: Roger Rabbit

Wed Apr 18 12:06:03 2012

San Jose, CA:
eBay announced today they will be constructing a chain of sales kiosks on the planet Pluto because buyers have indicated they want it.

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Apr 18 12:10:54 2012

About right for eBay - Pluto is not a planet anymore.....

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Apr 18 13:49:03 2012

While I do not buy or sell coins, the limited lead time of this announcement is grossly unfair to coin sellers.

Changing the rules of the game at halftime is nothing new for eBay's inexperienced management. Blame John Donahoe for cleaning house and replacing most of eBay's top management with individuals who have never bought or sold regularly on eBay, and then rubber stamping their poorly chosen policy decisions.

No doubt there are many sellers who have invested in inventory and the added expense of having that inventory graded by one of eBay's presently approved services. Eliminating some of those approved services on such short notice seems unfair to sellers who obtained inventory, followed eBay's rules, had the inventory graded at great expense and now will find the value of those coins significantly diminished all because some out of touch management pulls the rug out from under those sellers.

Inexperienced management has once again shown their ignorance and their disdain for sellers by failing to allow sufficient time for sellers with inventory graded by no longer approved services to clear their inventory under existing rules. To be fair to effected sellers, eBay should have announced this change with significantly more lead time, Six months or maybe even a year would have been fair to effected sellers.  


Has eBay decided to monetize grading service approval?

Perhaps eBay is receiving undisclosed compensation from grading services in order to be on the approved list, and the services that have been disapproved chose not to pay tribute to eBay in order to remain on that list. Perhaps one of the services that have been disapproved will come forward and reveal the skeleton in eBay's closet.

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

This user has validated their user name. by: Frankcoins

Wed Apr 18 14:28:18 2012

There are many good coins in ANACS and ICG slabs which will now be
unmarketable and unsearchable on eBay with these new rules. I spent
several thousand dollars with ANACS recently on grading varieties and ancients
which are two categories that people will (rightly so) never buy unless attributed  and certified by a reputable grading service. Now eBay will consider these raw.
John Albanese was a founder of PCGS and NGC, and nows owns a new company called CAC which puts approval stickers on PCGS and NGC coins.  For eBay to ban competing reputable companies ANACS and ICG based on Albanese's recommendations is like asking Ford to recommend that Ebay not ''approve'' of Chevy or Chrysler.  The MARKETPLACE should determine what companies the buyers prefer.  

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

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

Wed Apr 18 15:07:19 2012

Sounds like a ''sweetheart'' of a deal for NGC and PCGS.

I assume that ALL of the other grading services are respected in their field and that with only minor differences, they are all competent and professional and provide similar grading scores.

So what happened to them between last month and this month? Why did they suddenly fall out of favor? Did these other coin grading services suddenly ''go bad''? Or is there something more going on?

In the same way that PP has an ''exclusive deal'' with eBay... did the lucky two coin grading services pen their own exclusive contract?

Was there exchange of cash or any other thing of value? Were any promises made? What's the unseen quid pro quo?

What possible benefit could there be for eBay that would make it so worthwhile for eBay to cause such a disruption to those other organizations and the other sellers?

There's more to this than meets the eye. These are probably not as cut-and-dried as they may appear to be at first glance. Follow the money and you'll find the truth.

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 18 15:12:18 2012

It is the old "Nothing personal just good business" philosophy. Ebay has struck a deal with the Coin appraiser and will get a kick back for every coin appraised. Simple as that.  

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Apr 18 15:12:45 2012

I didn't know that ebay had standards.

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

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

Wed Apr 18 15:16:53 2012

Is there anyone out there who still naively believes ebay doesn't operate exactly like the Mafia?

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

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

Wed Apr 18 20:32:09 2012

AnonymousAnnie wrote;

"Follow the money and you'll find the truth."

Exactly!! This type of vulture corporatism is what Omidyar wanted to avoid with his "level playing" field concept which is now perpendicular to the planet.

It also demonstrates how thoroughly addicted to money and his Santa Claus charity work Omidyar has become that he prefers to help poor southeast Asians while helping his hand picked assassin, The Ho, exterminate American small businesses and the people who actually believed Negged Meg Whitman wheh she said quit your day jobs and sell on ebay.

Also I have to wonder how many ebafia executives pocket undeclared, under the table the bonuses (aka bribes) for these sweetheart deals with The Chosen Few.

How this despicable corproate gang of liars and thieves fgailed to make the Top 30 of the worst American corporations suggests the vote was rigged probably by ebafia's reputation defender, LieWorld.

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Thu Apr 19 01:25:44 2012

I was in the coin business back in the 70's & '80's. I could write a whole dissertation about the grading services but I will refrain and just give you a thumbnail.
ANACS was set upi by the American Numismatic Association the premier collecting group for coins in the US. ANACS was originally set up to give certification to coins as to whether they were real or counterfeit.
ICGS came along and were doing a certified grade on coins since many were being sold to unknowledgeable collectors/investors at higher grades then they actually were and to try to add some stability to the "investment" market.
ANACS grading was always extremely conservative and is the preference to any coin dealers who also have a collection.
ICGS was a little more liberal.
John Albenese came along and started the PCGS and NGC which are very liberal so they would get more coins to grade and therefore make more money.
I am sure that they made some deal with eBay to get this done as I assume Albanese would no doubt do.

ANACS was, is and will always be the best certified coin out there. Any experienced coin dealer knows this.
Through the years I have seen many PCGS and NGC slabbed coins that were graded 2 to 5 numbers over what they actually were. The dealers that sold them knew this and it was one of the reasons that I got out of the business.
It is a shame that eBay would allow this to be because there are still many dealers who will only deal with ICGS and ANACS coins only.
eBay has demonstrated that they do not care about cheapening the marketplace since they allow all of the Chinese dealers on there selling knock offs so their move does not surprise me.
All knowledgeable buyers will also leave and go to places like BidStart and others.

Bill  

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

This user has validated their user name. by: Frankcoins

Thu Apr 19 15:41:18 2012

Did some "following the money" research, and I think I have the answer:

Notice the ebay guy talking to the PNG here announcing that ANACS and ICG and higher price raw coins are no longer allowed on eBay.

http://youtu.be/4ifz7_12XEI

Notice he is listed as "Gene Cook, eBay General Manager, Emerging Verticals"


"Vertical market" in commerce is where one company or group of affiliated companies controls the entire top to bottom distribution chain, thus controlling final supply and price while making money during every step.  An example of a vertical market is an oil company which owns the oil field lease, the drilling rig, the pipeline, the refinery, the tanker trucks and the gas station.  

Here, this is all about eventually eliminating the ability of the collector to buy and sell coins unless they are bought, graded, and marketed through an alliance of insiders.  And the Ebay guy's twice mentioning the goal of being able "to sell at higher price points." is what this is all about.  More profits for the big PNG dealers, more profits for eBay, more profits for the "chosen" grading services.

Perminate Link for Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards   Coin Dealers Question eBay's New Standards

by: Ebay Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 19 17:25:30 2012

It is a sad day for most dealers and collectors that ANACS is no longer approved.  It was the grading service that cared about the collector and set up at many shows in order to pre-grade coins so that submitters would have less chance on wasting money on ungradables.  But ANACS has not kept up with the competition.  It does not offer a registry where collectors can list their coins and it has lost ground to PCGS on varieties, which was an ANACS specialty.  Ebay's decision effectively dooms ANACS and ICGS.  In a current Heritage auction, for example, decent collector ANACS coins are bringing very low bids, probably in response to ebay's decision.

Ebay has made a smart decision for itself.  It can sell certified coins for a lower commission than the major coin auction houses, and is in an excellent position to compete with them, especially since most of the winning bids at coin auctions (which do have floor bidders and are at major shows most of the time) are internet bidders.  Bidders primarily rely on the photos and the certified grades and don't need to sit there for hours to get the few coins they want.  The vast majority of expensive coins sold at auction are certified by either PCGS or NGC so those are the big ticket coins ebay would like to get in its auctions.

The problem for most sellers of certified coins on ebay isn't the limitation of the two grading services - it is the threat of preference to the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) members.  These are most of the wealthiest full time coin dealers, whose ethics are no better than non-members even though they like to imply they are.  Only a tiny percentage of coin sellers on ebay can ever qualify financially for PNG membership, which is strictly by invitation.  Ebay is now partnering with PNG, which could result in less competition by coin sellers on ebay if they are given preference.

It needs to be pointed out as well that to the extent graded coins give protection to buyers, it does not matter who they buy the coin from on ebay so long as they get the coin they ordered, and there are no big problems in that area.  So just as there is no reason to go to a big coin auction to buy a certified coin when one can buy the same coin on ebay with no buyer's fee (coin auctions charge buyers 15-20%), there is no reason to buy a given certified coin from any particular dealer.  The large dealers used to claim they had more grading expertise, but this expertise is now with the grading services.  And the large dealers did most of the most damaging overgrading.  So the collectors benfit from non-PNG dealers who sell certified coins.

Most of the big dealers have more overhead and thus have to charge higher prices than their current ebay competition.  So PNG would love to monopolize ebay to put the other coin dealers out of business.  

As regards the other technical aspects of the ebay decision that apply to non-graded coins, yes, it is overboard on a theoretical basis.  But it is a good decision to get rid of numerical grades in raw coins since that can create unnecessary controversy.  I've just eliminated them myself recently - hard to do since many of us in coins do know how to grade and grade with reasonably accuracy - but finally necessary.

Ebay also needs to understand that most coins are not worth enough to pay for grading, which is usually in the $20 area per coin with shipping.  Any many collectors want to put coins in albums.  So there is a place for these ''collector coins'' and collectors as well as dealers would be hurt by eliminating them.

Ebay will have to take another look at its $2500 rule if gold and platinum go up in value.  That's because the U.S.A. certifies the authenticity of its coins for collectors and the gold and platinum ones are up around $2,000 right now.  Many collectors want the coins in the original government packaging, not in ''slabs'' i.e. certified coins.



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