This is the kind of issue that eBay has been combating since 2008, allowing consignors to hype coins by citing Coin World or PCGS values for lots that exaggerate worth.
The above coin has many flaws, from probable cleaning to bag marks and scratches. It is not worth $12,000. It’s only our opinion, but we place worth at about $50.
Compare it to a real MS66 courtesy of CoinFacts (which every auctioneer should subscribe to for latest values and data about every US coin).
As for grading companies, and knowledge about which are reputable, see this article by numismatist Susan Headley.
Some auctioneers know better and still hype worth. This is hypothetical, but imagine how an unsuspecting buyer would feel taking a coin that may be damaged to a dealer to make good on the investment, only to learn that the coin was worth a few dollars over silver melt?
We have been noting how eBay has made the playing field more level in recent months. Check this earlier article on Proxiblog.
The best way to combat hype like this is for each bidder to make a decision on whether to patronize Proxibid sessions that hype coins. We know what we’re going to do. Do you?
This is a great post! Owning my own coin shop/auction service I see it everyday. People come into our shop with coins that have been slabbed by a self slabber and the buyer paid huge money for them. The looks on there faces when I tell them the truth about there coin(s) is very disheartening and some get very upset and angry. Just about six weeks ago a gentleman came in with three coins. A 1878 S & 1884 O Morgan dollar in an ANGS holder and a 1885 Morgan dollar in a SGS holder. All three graded as MS67. The holders look great with certification numbers a barcode and the whole works. He told me that he paid in total over $8,000.00 for the coins and had a receipt for them from about 2 years ago from what appeared to be a legitimate coin company. He wanted to know for sure so he asked us to send them to NGC for him. So with him still present, we photographed the coins, filled out the grading service papers and sent them off. We received them back last week. The 1878 S graded “Unc Details, Improperly cleaned”, 1884 O graded “MS 63, and the 1885 graded “MS64. So in all there might be $200.00 worth of coins a total loss of around $7,800.00 + the grading fees. This is one of the largest losses I have seen, but I am sure it happens all the time. I would tell a buyer to check companies return policies as well as get educated before buying that ($12,000) coin for $500.00. If it looks too good to be true it probably is and if it isn’t NGC, PCGS, ANACS, ICG make sure they have a good return policy. Sean Cook
Thank you, Sean. You are one stand-up dealer with whom we are so pleased to do business. Your story here is testament to the harm that self-slabbers do. Yes, buyer should beware; but in this case, with a hyped $50 coin said to be worth $12,000, the auctioneer should beware, too. We appreciate your comments and hope everyone reads them.