Monday, December 22, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 2015 FUN Show – January 8 thru 11, 2015

Florida United Numismatics 2015 Winter FUN show will be held January 8-11 in Orlando FL at the Orange County Convention Center.  Details on the show can be reviewed at the following website:

Selected coins from my books, “Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” and “Fitzgerald Silver Dollar Collection – The Purple Gang Set”, will be on display in the Exhibits’ section of the FUN convention hall.  
This is one of the “must do” shows if you are interested in numismatics. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Buying Opportunities For Some Pedigree Coins

Do you think the market is soft for Pedigree coins?  To me, it appears that the market has become soft and the Pedigree collector may have an opportunity to pick up some of the higher “intrinsic value” gold coins at a bargain.  For example, one of my favorite (but lesser known) pedigrees is the Champagne Lanson collection/hoard.  Since I cover this story in my book, I will not go into detail on the pedigree other than to say it is one of the most interesting “newly discovered” finds in the last few years.  And when you consider:

1.)    the intrinsic value of the coin (the raw gold value)

2.)    the market value for a similar non-pedigree coin, and

3.)    the collectible value (premium over intrinsic for a comparable date/mintmark coin)
you will find that the purchase price for the pedigree coin contains little premium for the pedigree.   

I have also seen bargains in the Rive d’Or Collection, Wells Fargo Hoard and Suwannee River Collection.  While these pedigrees do not have as interesting stories as the Champagne Lanson Collection, they are still nice additions to a pedigree collection when you can get them for no premium addition to the purchase price.
As a word of caution, not all gold pedigree coins are bargains.  Some are still priced well above realistic market pricing - - and they are not being purchased.  This is more of a reflection of the sellers’ philosophy than the market “buying” conditions.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Big Sky Hoard - Littleton Coin Company

The “Big Sky Hoard” is another Pedigree hoard brought to market by Littleton Coin Company.  A summary of LCC’s press release about the hoard follows:

“After thirty years in a Montana bank vault, a previously unknown hoard of over 220,000 Eisenhower dollars was discovered in 2011. Put away for years by a prominent Montana family, most of the coins in this remarkable hoard were still in original mint-sewn bags and were untouched by the wear and tear of general circulation. Shipped from the Denver Mint right to a Federal Reserve Bank in Montana, the coins missed the traditional movement between the mint and local banks, and escaped the widespread use of "Ike" dollars in western casinos.”

The first nice thing about this hoard is that you can acquire an NGC graded and authenticated example for a very reasonable price.  And since the coins are economically priced, you can try to gather as many different dates/mintmarks as you can find.

The second thing I like about this hoard is that it is Eisenhower dollars.  To me, the “Ike” dollars are one of the last true “coins” that have a collector feel to it.  It will be interesting to see what other Eisenhower dollar Pedigree named hoards will pop up in the future.  We already have the Big Sky Hoard, the Golden Nugget Casino find and the Rainy Day Hoard.  I am sure there are a lot more out there waiting to be discovered.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1879-S MS66 Binion Morgan Silver Dollar - Coin of the Week

My coin of the week is an 1879-S Binion Morgan silver dollar graded by NGC as MS66.  There were only 273 coins dated 1879-S graded and authenticated in the Binion hoard and of those only 16 were graded as MS66 (only 2 coins with higher MS grades; 1 MS67 and 1 MS68).  The low population and high grade for this coin makes it a prized addition to any Binion collection.

The example shown below is one of the 16, 1879-S Binion’s graded as MS66 by NGC.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Pattern Coins – 1879 Goloid Dollar

A “Pattern” coin is a coin that was produced for consideration to be used in circulation but, for the most part, never released to the general public and not released into general circulation.  Many have interesting and detailed designs and some resemble coins that actually made it into circulation with minor differences.  Often times, the samples were given to Congressman, Senators, high-ranking government officials and Presidents.  And for this reason, I have classified them as having a “Pedigree” status. 

Sometimes a Pattern coin can be traced through its’ life but most times the ownership trail has vanished.  But still, it is intriguing to know that the Pattern coin you now have in your ownership may have been the property of a US Senator 100 years ago.  

The Patterns that I particularly enjoy are the dollar coins and the half dollar coins.  Regarding the dollar coins, my favorite is the “Goloid” dollar.   Patterns for this coin were produced in 3 years (1878, 1879 and 1880).  Also, a number of varieties were produced (approximately 100 different patterns have been identified and they were struck in other metals, including aluminum, copper, normal coin silver, lead, and white metal.).

My favorite variety is the Judd-1626 variety.  The technical description is:

J-1626, Goloid metric dollar. The William Barber design. The obverse has a head of Liberty facing left with E PLURBUS UNUM above) and the date 1879 below. Miss Liberty is wearing a cap inscribed LIBERTY in incuse letters. The cap band is ornamented with ears of wheat, and cotton leaves and bolls. There are 13 stars at the border arranged seven left and six right. Reverse with the inscription 15.3: G. /236.7 -S. /28 -C. / 14 GRAMS centered within a circle of 38 stars. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the denomination GOLOID METRIC DOLLAR above the circle, and the motto DEO EST GLORIA and the denomination 100 CENTS below. Goloid alloy, reeded edge.

This particular Goloid pattern was made up of primarily gold, silver and copper.  Other trace elements were included in the content of the coin.  The mixture was such that gold accounted for 50 cents of the value and silver the remaining 50 cents.  The coinage was ultimately rejected because it was too similar to the silver dollar and could not be distinguished without chemical analysis.  The coin would have created the opportunity for counterfeiters to use more copper as a substitute for the gold and make lower-value copies.
Shown below is an example of the 1879 Judd-1626 Goloid Pattern dollar.  Please note the unique reverse of the coin and particularly:  1.)  It lists the gold, silver and copper composition;  2.)   On the top it states “Goloid Metric Dollar” and around the bottom 100 Cents”.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1976-D Eisenhower Dollar – Golden Nugget Casino - Coin of the Week

My coin of the week is the 1976-D Bicentennial “Ike” Eisenhower Dollar from the Golden Nugget stash that was brought to market about a year ago.  While this coin does not have the intrigue of other Las Vegas hoards like the Binion, Fitzgerald or Cortez collections, it still has developed a following of loyal collectors.  As a result of these collectors, the Golden Nugget Casino coins generally bring an attractive premium when appearing in auctions.

ICG was the principle grader/authenticator of the hoard except for a few coins that were submitted to PCGS.  Collectors can thank ICG for placing the Golden Nugget Casino name on the label thus protecting the authenticity Pedigree.  Unfortunately, the few that went to PCGS were not Pedigree noted as Golden Nugget Casino; however, they do have a certificate of authentication linking the PCGS slab number to the authentic Golden Nugget Casino dollar.

As a final note, many of these coins have some unbelievable toning.  I am not sure how this toning developed, but if these coins were silver I believe they would surpass the Battle Creek Collection in beauty.
Shown below is a 1976-D Bicentennial “Ike” Eisenhower Dollar from the Golden Nugget Casino hoard graded by ICG as an MS64.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – “Stacks W 57th St. Collection”

The link shown below is Stack’s press release on the W 57th St. Collection:

I have read the article a couple times and cannot get much out of it.  To me, it is not a pedigree but more of a marketing strategy to sell their inventory.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1898 Fitzgerald Morgan Silver Dollar - Coin of the Week

The 1898 Morgan silver dollar from the Fitzgerald stash is another one of the semi-rare classification varieties with a population of only 97 coins.  It does appear in auctions from time to time, but is not one you find listed for sale every week.  Additionally, for being from one of the more interesting and popular hoards, it only carries a slight premium over similar non-pedigree coins.
The 1898 Fitzgerald shown below is graded as MS65 and one of the more popular varieties because of the higher grade.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – “New England Barn Hoard” Currency

Not much has been written (or documented) about The New England Barn Hoard and most of it is “hand-me-down” information, but here is what I know of the Hoard:

Supposedly, the currency being offered came from this property. 

All the examples I have seen have been authenticated and graded by PCGS with the pedigree notation “New England Barn” Hoard, carry the “Apparent” designation indicating grading problems, were dated 1914 and carried the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston seal.  That is not to say that other dates and Federal Reserve Bank seals may be included in the Hoard.

The following photo is courtesy of Denom currency dealer.  Denom is marketing notes from this hoard as well as many other interesting currency hoards and collections.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1896 Fitzgerald Morgan Silver Dollar - Coin of the Week

 The availability of Fitzgerald silver dollars to the collector fall into 3 groups:  rare, semi-rare and plentiful.  I consider anything with a population of 50 to 100 coins to be semi-rare.  The 1896 Fitzgerald Morgan has a population of 98 coins that allows it to slip in the semi-rare classification.  While it is not scarce, it is a little more difficult to find and does not often appear in auctions.

I like the rare and semi-rare coins in the Fitzgerald collection for the simple reason that not many are available to the collector and as the population report for the hoard becomes more well known the Fitzgerald collector should start appreciating the harder to find coins.  My thought is to get them know before everyone figures out the scarcity.
Shown below is an example from the 1896 date/mintmark category from the Fitzgerald Collection.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Reno Casino Hoard 1996 - Littleton Coin Company

Reno Casino Hoard 1996

My final lost hoard from 1996 is the Reno Casino Hoard.  Again, thanks to Littleton Coin Company, the hoard has been remembered in an article they published on coin hoards:

“For 20 years, Rudy, a Reno, Nevada casino worker, traded his own money for Carson City Morgans whenever he spotted them in the coins he sorted through daily. As Morgans grew scarcer, he began “saving” all silver dollars. By Rudy's retirement, he had amassed 4,100 silver dollars including more than 3,312 Morgans. In the hoard, Littleton's buyers discovered scarce “O over S” Morgans, created when a San Francisco reverse die was repunched with an “O”.”

Littleton Coin Company has served the coin collecting hobby since 1945 and provide a wide variety of coins and coin supplies.  I purchased from them in the 1970’s and received outstanding, professional service.  And I continued to make purchases from them as recent as last year (the Ike dollar from the Big Sky Hoard that appears in my book “Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency”) and still receive the same professional service I received 40 years earlier.  Browse their website and if you have any questions, give them a call.   I think you will be impressed with their service.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1937 Omaha Bank Hoard Buffalo Nickel - Coin of the Week

The Omaha Bank Hoard provides the Pedigree collector with a variety of ways to build sets from that hoard.  The way that best interested me to collect Omaha Bank Hoard coins was to focus on the more difficult to find coin varieties.  I have five favorite selections and they are examples of:

Buffalo Nickel
Mercury Dime
Walking Liberty Half Dollar
Morgan Silver Dollar
Peace Silver Dollar

My example from this hoard, and the coin of the week, is the 1937 Buffalo Nickel shown here.  It has been authenticated and graded by NGC as MS65.  Additionally, it has been CAC certified.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Vermont Yankee Hoard 1996 - Littleton Coin Company

Vermont Yankee Hoard 1996

Another lost hoard from 1996 is the Vermont Yankee Hoard.  Thanks to Littleton Coin Company, a reprint of their story on the hoard follows:

“Frugal Yankees A.K. and Imogene Miller lived a spartan life in Vermont. She wore raincoats made from plastic bags. He pedaled a 1903 bicycle with patched tires. Yet, after they died, an estimated $3,000,000 fortune was found hidden in the buildings and beneath the floor of the schoolhouse on their property. Littleton purchased first-year Uncirculated 1878-S Morgans, scarce $500 and $1,000 Federal Reserve Notes, and the rare Miss Drury tokens – calling the stash the Vermont Yankee Hoard.”
With the absence of modern day coin grading companies, many of the treasures from this hoard have escaped historical pedigree preservation.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1879-O Fitzgerald Collection Morgan Silver Dollar - Coin of the Week

My coin of the week is the 1879-O Morgan silver dollar from the Fitzgerald Collection.  While I am the proud owner and high bidder in a recent auction for this coin, I had to pay dearly thanks to some very informed collectors that used the population report in my book “Fitzgerald Silver Dollar Collection – The Purple Gang Set” to identify this jewel and gave me some very healthy competition to acquire it. 

The 1879-O Morgan silver dollar from the Fitzgerald Collection is an extremely difficult coin for the Fitzgerald collector to find.  There were no “hard” graded 1879-O Morgans in this collection.  That means the only possibilities for an 1879-O in the Fitzgerald Collection would have to be either “soft” graded or simply authenticated.  Shown below is a “soft” graded 1879-O Fitzgerald classified as “Brilliant Uncirculated”.  The obverse and reverse of this coin have a solid strike with MS63 qualities.  Minimal bag or clatter marks appear on the obverse and none on the reverse.  This is the first and only 1879-O Fitzgerald that I have seen in any grading classification; “hard” graded, “soft” graded or simply authenticated from the Fitzgerald Hoard.  Good luck at finding this date/mintmark for your collection.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – New York Subway Hoard 1996 - Littleton Coin Company

New York Subway Hoard 1996

Another long, lost hoard is the New York Subway Hoard that was brought to market in 1996 – long before the popularity of NGC, ICG, ANACS and PCGS identifying coin hoards on labels.  The history of the hoard is shown below and comes from a Littleton Coin Company press release:

“For years, a certain New York subway token seller sifted through change seeking scarce coins. Many coins were marketed through George Shaw, a rare coin dealer. After Shaw's death, Littleton Coin buyers acquired the many coins, including Type I 1916 Standing Liberty quarters, 1916-D Mercury dimes, 1914-D Lincoln cents, and other key‑date coins.”

Unfortunately, the Pedigree collector lost the heritage of many interesting hoards because the coin collecting hobby had not yet advanced (or recognized) the preservation of the history that is now offered by NGC, ICG, ANACS and PCGS.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1881-CC Fitzgerald Collection Morgan Silver Dollar - Coin of the Week

My Pedigree “Coin of the Week” this week is the 1881-CC Fitzgerald Collection Morgan Silver Dollar.  The 1881-CC has a population of only 29 coins in the Fitzgerald Collection and is a difficult find for the Fitzgerald collector.
Shown below is one of the 29 coins graded by NGC. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Population Reports for Pedigree Coins

Population reports (or sometimes referred to as “census reports”) for pedigree coins give the pedigree collector an advantage in buying and selling coins within their favorite pedigree.  The Pedigree that is generally the most active in “pricing the market” based upon populations is the GSA’s Carson City release.  The population report is well distributed and buyers and sellers understand and utilize the population report for evaluating pricing premiums.

Three other pedigree collections that have population reports, but are yet to capitalize on the population statistics are the Binion Collection, the Fitzgerald Collection and the Nevada Silver Collection.  Now there are some astute and educated buyers/sellers that are aware of the relative scarcity of date/mintmarks in the hoards but for the most part the common pedigree collector has not caught on yet. 

Two recent examples from the Binion hoard are the 1879 and 1884-O Morgan silver dollars.  The 1879 Binion has a population of 2 “hard” graded coins from the hoard.  I purchased one graded as MS62 for $67.  The 1884-O Binion has a population of 4,234 “hard graded” coins from the hoard.  One graded as MS63 just sold on Ebay a few days ago for $69.  So, you could choose a Binion coin with a population of 2 for $67 or a Binion coin with a population of over 4,000 for $69?
Education and population reports are great tools for the Pedigree collector in assessing acquisitions.  The latest Fitzgerald Collection population report is included in my book Fitzgerald Silver Dollar Collection – “The Purple Gang Set”.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – Rocky Mountain Hoard

The Rocky Mountain Hoard is/was a hoard of Morgan silver dollars owned by a private collector in Colorado.  Coins I have seen from this Hoard have been graded and authenticated by ANACS.  I have never seen any in NGC or PCGS slabs.

The Rocky Mountain Hoard is very similar to the Lincoln Highway hoard although not as plentiful.  From time to time, silver dollars from this hoard appear on Ebay.  So if you would like to add one to your pedigree collection, keep an eye on Ebay listings. 
Shown below is an 1882-S Rocky Mountain Hoard Morgan silver dollar graded by ANACS as MS67 that is currently listed on Ebay.  For easy reference, it is item:  121447659227
Photo couresy of Ebay seller: 2013jasper0911

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Phony Pedigrees

If you are purchasing a Pedigree coin because it carries a Pedigree name on the label, be sure to check the authenticity of the claimed Pedigree.  There are more and more coin vendors starting to apply their names, trademarks or slick titles on NGC and PCGS labels to give a false “enhanced” value to sell their items.  Some are even applying stickers to the slabs.  Don’t be tricked by these hustlers.  Buy smart and buy legitimate pedigrees.

“Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency”  - available at GreatCollections Auctions, on Ebay and Amazon.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rick's Pedigree Coins – 1880 Fitzgerald Collection Morgan Silver Dollar - Coin of the Week

My Pedigree Coin of the Week this week is the 1880 Fitzgerald Collection Morgan Silver Dollar.  This is an often over-looked rare date/mintmark in the Fitzgerald Collection with a population of only 45 coins being “hard” graded.  With a census of only 45 coins, a lot of Fitzgerald collectors have an empty slot in their collection for this date/mintmark.
Shown below is one of the 45 coins graded as MS63 by NGC.  Since I have 2 examples, anyone interested in this coin can write me at

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – California Coin Cache 1997 - Littleton Coin Company


California Coin Cache 1997

“A California hoard that had been accumulating for years yielded 3,671 Flying Eagle cents dated 1857 & 1858. This was believed to be the largest group ever to be purchased at one time. The three previously known largest Flying Eagle cent hoards contained only a fraction of the coins comprising this cache. The entire group contained 8,467 U.S. type coins from the 18th & 19th centuries.”

Littleton’s complete article can be found at:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Buffalo Nickel Hoard - Littleton Coin Company

Buffalo Nickel Hoard 1998

[photo: Littleton's buyers purchased a hoard of 300,000 Buffalo nickels]

"Buffalos stampeded into Littleton after the company bought a hoard of 300,000 – the largest one-time purchase of Buffalo nickels in the firm's history. Sold by a western states dealer, some were still in Wells Fargo bank bags. The 3,300-pound delivery arrived at Littleton's headquarters in a Brink's armored car."

Littleton’s complete article can be found at:

The Eisenhower dollar from the “Big Sky Hoard” shown in my book Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” was purchased from Littleton.  Check out their website at:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – The Stetson Collection Gold Coin Hoard

COINLINK Coin Collecting News had a very interesting and thorough article on The Stetson Gold Coin Hoard on March 5, 2010, written by Doug Winter.  I am quoting part of the article below:

“One of the more interesting (and lesser known) gold coin auctions that I’ve attended was the sale of the Stetson Collection which was conducted by the old Bowers and Merena in May, 1993. This was an instance where the back story (or stories in this case) was nearly as interesting as the coins themselves.

Beginning in 1992, an amazing hoard of gold coins started to quietly enter the market. This hoard consisted of tens of thousands of coins dated from the late 1830’s through, I believe, the 1920’s. It included large quantities of semi-key St. Gaudens double eagles, extensive runs of Carson City eagles and double eagles, large quantities of New Orleans eagles from the 1880’s through the early 1900’s, sizable quantities of San Francisco rarities and much, much more.

It has never been revealed where these coins came from (although it is widely rumored that they came from an Eastern European central bank; given the time they were sold it would suggest that they were dispersed by a former Soviet bloc country in an attempt to infuse some Western capital).”

The complete article can be found at:

For years, I have tried to locate a coin from the Stetson Collection graded by NCG or PCGS with a label reference but have never found one. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Steamer Trunk Hoard - Littleton Coin Company

The following is quoted from a Littleton Coin Company article on coin hoards and collections:

Steamer Trunk Hoard 2000

Littleton's team bought 171 $20 Confederate Notes with consecutive serial numbers from an original brick issued more than a century ago. Since the Crisp Uncirculated 1864 notes might have languished unnoticed in a piece of luggage, Littleton's buyers called the stash the Steamer Trunk Hoard.

Littleton’s complete article can be found at:

The Eisenhower dollar from the “Big Sky Hoard” shown in my book Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” was purchased from Littleton.  Check out their website at:
I have purchased from Littleton in the past and always received superior service.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Alabama Hoard - Littleton Coin Company

Littleton Coin Company published an article on a number of Coin/Currency Hoards and information shown here comes from that article:

  Alabama Hoard 2002

One family held a stack of 1864 State of Alabama Southern States Notes for more than 135 years. Still looking much as they did when printed in Montgomery over a century before, the Crisp Unused $5 and $10 notes presented a window on the Confederacy with their vignettes of plantation life. Littleton's buyers purchased over 300 of the Confederate Notes, each of which was individually hand signed and numbered.

Littleton’s complete article can be found at:

I have purchased from Littleton and if I recall correctly, the “Big Sky Hoard” Eisenhower dollar shown in my book Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” was purchased from them.  I have always found Littleton Coin to be very pleasant and accommodating in my transactions with them. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – The Las Vegas Collection

GreatCollections Auctions had a rare offering from the Las Vegas Collection in their auction this week.  It was a 1901 Liberty $20 gold piece graded by NGC as MS65.  The Las Vegas Collection was once owned by a private collector living in Las Vegas.  Over the years, many high-grade/end coins from this collection have been offered in various auctions.   All the coins that I have observed from this collection that have the “Las Vegas Collection” notation on the label have been graded by NGC.
Anyone knowing more about this collection can write me at my blog and I will update this information.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – PCGS & NGC Grading Standards For Problem Coins

At times, some pedigree coins cannot be graded because they have incurred environmental damage or some other type of grading issue.   Pedigree collections affected include (but are not limited to) the Binion Collection, Tuscaloosa Collection, Champagne Lanson Collection, Saddle Ridge Collection, Suwannee River Collection, Wall of Greed Hoard and many shipwreck recovered coins.  Both PCGS and NGC have expanded explanations for problem coins and they can be found at:

PCGS:  (Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the more for detailed explanations)

NGC: (Additional information is available by clicking on the grading problem listed to the left of the explanations)
The “Improperly Cleaned” explanation is always a favorite of collectors.  Recently, a fellow collector that I met at the Ocala (Florida) Coin Club meeting told me he is still waiting to see the NGC slab that says “Properly Cleaned”.  Amen!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Ebay Return Policy – Selling Coins on Ebay

Okay, one more shot at Ebay and then I will get back to Pedigree coins. 

In addition to the excessive seller fees that the coin seller is faced with on Ebay, they are also faced with an unrealistic and poorly thought out return policy if they want preferred selling status.  Basically, what Ebay wants to force on the sellers is a 14-day no questions asked return policy. 

Here are a few reasons (experiences) why this is a poor policy:

1.)    The buyer has an opportunity to purchase a coin and then if he finds it cheaper within the 2 week period from another source (on Ebay, at a coin show or in a coin shop), he returns it for refund.  

2.)    The fluctuation of gold and silver prices make this policy idiotic.

3.)    A buyer has the opportunity to “load-up” on inventory and then attend local coin shows and flip for a profit.  What he does not flip gets returned to the Ebay seller.

4.)    Buyer’s remorse.  What about the remorse of the seller who could have sold it to the next highest bidder but after the coin is returned 2 weeks or more pass and the next highest bidder has moved on to other interests?
The dynamics of the coin market simply make this return policy stupid.  I have purchased coins through the mail for years and I can safely say that when I open a package, I know immediately if it is acceptable (as advertised and viewed in photos) or not.  Two weeks are not needed for that decision.  Two minutes, maybe.   

Friday, September 5, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Ebay & Pals Fees – Selling Coins on Ebay

If you are a coin buyer on Ebay and you are evaluating the purchase price of a coin, you are oblivious to Ebay fees.  But sellers have to consider these fees and they are reflected in the selling listing price.  On average, these fees add about 20% to the gross selling cost / list price.  For example, a coin listed at $100 breaks down like this:

$100 – Selling or List Price

10% of the selling price goes to Ebay
3.5 – 4 % goes to PayPal
4 – 5%  goes to USPS/Shipping cost ($2 to $4 for postage, $1 for padded envelope)

So there you have around 18% out the door to Ebay & Pals and they have no investment cost in the coin or risk associated with the transaction.  The seller still retains the transaction risk and the cost of delivering to the post office as well as shipping material cost.  Sure, the postman can pick it up, but that adds at least a day delay in shipment and the seller gets dinged by the buyer for being a slow shipper.  Conservatively, the post office is 5 miles away (round-trip) and the mileage allowance (IRS 2014) is 56 cents so that is $2.80 or another 3% on the cost to sell.  Plus padded envelopes run from 50 cents to $1 each.  And that takes your selling fee to 20% of the gross sales or more.

Now here is a real-life example:

$     9,686
Gross sales, 80 transactions
 $     7,796
Investment cost in coins
 $     1,890
Gross Profit before Fees
 $       973
Ebay fees / Gross Profit
 $       302
PayPal fees / Gross Profit
 $       166
USPS fees – Gross Profit
 $         84
 $     1,525
 $       365
Net Profit

For sharing in none of the risk and having no investment costs, Ebay & Pals take 80% of the profit while the seller makes a 5% return on the investment cost and has all the risk and work.

So when you see a coin that is listed at what you consider a high price on Ebay, discount it by 20% and then see what the price looks like.  The 20% difference – or premium if you wish – is all Ebay & Pals.  Not the seller price gouging.  And Ebay & Pals are taking 80% of the profit.  Amazing, 80% of your profit goes to someone else – and we have not even given the IRS their cut yet.

The two major competitors to Ebay in coin auctions are Great Collections and Heritage Auctions.  Both beat the pants off of Ebay as far as cost to the seller.  While postage may be a push, you may save in that you can send several coins together – saves postage cost and material cost.

Great Collections only charges 5% for their services and they take care of the listing and picture taking.  And, if your coin sells for more than $1,000 the selling fee is zero!  They also take care of the shipping and they absorb the transaction (PayPal) cost.  So you pay Ebay & Pals 20% or Great Collections 5%.  And Great Collections pays sellers within a week  - plus or minus a few days.

Heritage is a bit more complicated and fees can be negotiated, but still are lower than Ebay & Pals.  Additionally, you can list for free if your coins meet certain criteria.  Like Great Collections, Heritage takes care of all the listing work, photographic work, shipping and payment collections.  (Negative: Heritage is very slow to pay sellers.)

Buyers in both Great Collections and Heritage auctions share the listing cost to some extent because they are required to pay a buyer’s premium.  
And for these reasons, coin buyers may find higher listing and purchasing prices on Ebay than on Heritage and Great Collections.  As a matter of fact, I frequently see coins that have sold at those two auction sites and then relisted on Ebay for 2 to 3 times the selling cost.  On the flipside, I have never seen a coin purchased on Ebay and listed on Heritage or Great Collections for a higher price. 

The Wall of Greed