May 19, 2008

Selling Coins In Ebay…Is it still profitable?

I should have put this article in the “Ebay Tips” section but I don’t want to miss the opportunity of giving a fresh opinion regarding Ebay’s eccentric policies. Ebay Australia has officially announced that transactions will now be carried out via Paypal, Ebay’s official payment system. Bank and other payment services are filing complaint against this move, and other active Ebayers are now looking for alternatives to counter Ebay’s monopoly. Now, would it still be profitable for Seller’s like us to sell coins on Ebay?

Honestly, I have already turned-off my Ebay Selling account and I am now only active on buying and bidding participation. Before, I assumed that I could make money on Ebay by selling my collection. Yes, I made profits from selling but the surging cost of Ebay fees, made me discontinue my Ebay selling activities. Ebay Philippines was once a totally free site and the platform that was “Free”, plain and simple. Post as many as you want, pictures, options, and other features were totally free of charge. There were only a small number Sellers back then and I could still remember each and every one of them. It was Ebay’s Golden Age, I have never seen so many coins in my entire life and most of them were really rare coins, such as the 1885 Four Pesos Alfonso VII Gold, the Manila Counterstamps of 1828 and 1830, and other rarities. Even other numismatic rarities from other countries suddenly came out, the old hoards broke-out and there were so many rare coins that I wish I had the fund to purchase some. I saw how Dealers made tremendous income just by selling coins and other similar stuffs on Ebay, some even became millionaires.

I decided to join the bandwagon and sold part of my collection. I had little or no knowledge at all in some issues regarding Coin selling, so I don’t know how to describe my coins properly because I don’t know anything about coin grading, appraisal, and authentication. Though I sold some items, but it was not easy to convince others that Ebay was safe for such transaction. After so many trial and errors, I started exploring Ebay international and decided to post items in Ebay US. It was a feeding frenzy because some of the stuff I was selling that time were very rare coins started only at 0.99$. I don’t have any idea what would be the final outcome, I just assumed that since I acquired most of it by inheritance I would profit from it because I thought anything beyond 0 is profit since no single centavo was invested. I only realized Ebay fees when I sold my first item. The exchange rate was 1$ to 55 Php so selling coin was really profitable.

There were so many disastrous transactions because there was no payment option such as Paypal for Philippine based Sellers. Some Sellers had to open bank accounts in the US or used third party payment services such as Western Union, Bidpay, and Xoom. Confident buyers even mailed their payment just to keep the whole system running. Those were the days of pure trust and confidence, everyone has to rely with each other just to make Ebay a better market place. Our belief was that if we could sustain this trend and help Ebay in establishing ground, the company would return the favor to the Ebay community.

When Paypal was opened to Philippine based Ebayers, I was jumping and running around the house to announce the news to everyone. It was a real breakthrough, I told myself. I even announced to the world that this time, I would make a fortune.

Though Paypal is already available, Ebay still allow free posting on its sites. For the first few months, selling with pictures was still a free service. Then, as time goes by, they removed free picture post. It now cost 3 Php to have your picture shown to viewers visiting the auction page. Then as time goes, the Ebay fees increased and posting requires that Paypal should be a payment option even to local buyers. If you’ll check Ebay PH right now, the page is already cluttered with advertisement and the auction page is just a small section occupying the page.

When I joined Ebay, I saw Ebay as an opportunity especially for the typical Pinoy like me who just want to earn money aside from taking-up part-time job that doesn’t give money…just job! You could still buy old coins then at affordable prices; you could even find some from the neighbors’ clutter. Right now, it is more expensive to buy coins on the street of Quiapo than Ebay. Even Numismatic organizations such PNAS (Philippine Numismatic and Antiquarian Society) did not escape from the sudden transformation of the marketplace. Coins being sold there are more expensive than buying that same coin via Ebay. With the rate of the coins being sold outside the Philippines, the rate of coins melted for aesthetic purpose or re-coining, loss of some coins due to calamities and other disastrous events, and the way Ebay escalate fees and control, reality would soon set-in. We have to admit that the law of supply and demand applies to all commodities and that includes precious metal which most of our historical coins are made of. The materials of historical significance being sold on Ebay right now by Philippine based Sellers are still part of the old hoards that were dismantled a few years ago. These hoards will run dry of materials just a few years from now and you could observe that those active Ebay Sellers who used to sell hundreds every week now rarely post on Ebay. Why? It is now more expensive to buy materials from their sources than on Ebay. Then why not buy on Ebay? Those items they are selling on Ebay are still part of the hoards they acquired from the sources I mentioned. Pathetic!

I admit that I was part of this crowd before, but I guess I became part of that system because that was what they taught me. I envy those clubs who would willingly share knowledge to neophyte so they could make this hobby less stressful and otherwise profitable in some ways. I am lucky that I realized that mistake at an early stage and now correcting my errors. I have a portion on this site that teaches the techniques on buying on Ebay, but temporarily I apologized if I am otherwise bias on the Selling aspect because I don’t want to let those what is left of the Philippine heritage escape from its right place through these greedy individuals.

If you’ll ask me if it still profitable selling coins on Ebay, I will answer you “yes”. But it will be more profitable and sustainable for you to collect. As I expand the subjects on this site, I will reveal to you that trade secret and I will help you assemble your collection and earn from it without even sacrificing your most treasured piece.

Happy hunting!

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