Many home hobbyists buy coins online from auction portals like eBay, Proxibid and iCollector, to name a few. A “portal,” in and of itself, is not an online auction. Rather, it provides a uniform digital platform through which dozens if not hundreds of small auctions, timed or live, are occurring at any given time on any given day.
Unlike sessions on portals, major auction companies (Heritage, Stacks and Bowers, Great Collections) usually offer only holdered coins from top grading companies. Hobbyists with little numismatic knowledge can bid with confidence, certain to get an authentic coin, usually at a reasonable price.
Auctions on portals offer slabbed coins, too, not only from those top companies but also from bottom-tier ones that grade every coin — even ones damaged, polished or altered — as high Mint State. To bid successfully here, buyers must know numismatics, or else they risk losing hundreds of dollars on inferior coins, including counterfeits.
So why do hobbyists bid on portals? You can find magnificent coins at below-wholesale prices that have lain dormant in bank boxes for a half century.
Don’t register and bid via a portal unless you trust the particular auctioneer. …
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