eBay has developed into the largest rare American and bullion coin market in the world. It has developed a platform which makes buying the coins you want easy and safe. With the correct mindset, you can get the coins you want at bargain prices.
As with any other rare American coin transaction, you have to know how much the coin you’re purchasing is worth. There are many sources for that information. You can even search ended eBay auctions to see what your coin of interest has sold for in the recent past.
Bidding for bargains means you’re not attached to the outcome. Using the following tips, you can stack the odds in your favor, and if you’re patient enough, you’ll score a great coin at a price the seller hates you for.
I will often bid what I would consider to be the lowest reasonable price on a coin, just in case no one is looking. I’m outbid 85%-90% of the time. But when I do get the coin coin market, I really get a bargain.
I also look for seller mistakes, and take advantage of novice sellers’ mistakes. I really like it when I can identify multiple seller mistakes in a single auction, and plan my clean up strategy accordingly.
These five tips are based on identifying seller mistakes:
Ending the auction at a bad time: I’ve found that Sunday mid to late afternoons seem to have the fewest people watching coins on eBay. I bid for bargains then.
Putting too high a starting bid on the coin: I look for sellers who are afraid to risk their coins going out at too low a price. They then put the starting bid very close to the value of the coin. No one bids on it because of this. I look for a starting bid that is low enough to be a real bargain if I get it, and then bid the opening bid amount, or a dollar above.
Charging too much for shipping: I always take shipping costs into account when bidding. The higher the shipping cost, the lower the bid. Bid amount+shipping=final cost of the coin. A seller, who charges considerably more for shipping than the actual cost, won’t get much bidding action. Fewer bids mean less competition for the coin and a better chance of picking up a bargain. If the starting price is too high, combined with a high shipping cost, I pass it up and move on.
Description mistake in the title: There is little bidding competition when this happens, because most people’s searches won’t pick it up. The searchers that do pick it up aren’t interested in that coin. Mistakes can include word misspelling, omission or wrong description.
Submitting a poor photograph: Most eBidders won’t bid on a coin with a really blurry picture. I never bid very high on something I can’t see clearly, but most people won’t bid at all.
I usually bid for bargains during the last couple hours of auctions. I bid what I consider to be a reasonable, low-ish price for the coin and not get emotionally involved with having it. I bid when I have time to contemplate all the factors, look up pricing in the CDN, or use personal experience to determine my bid amount.
I place the bid and move on. I make it a point not to be around at the end of the auction… most of the time. If I’m around near the end of the auction, I may watch my coin go out to someone else. I NEVER get in an end-of-auction bidding war. Other coins you’re looking for will come along. Just be patient.