US Coins

Ban on replica coin sales at eBay starts Feb. 20

Replicas of U.S., world and other historic coins are being banned from being offered for sale on, including examples of contemporary counterfeits like the counterfeit 1830 Capped Bust dollar with engraved reverse, top, or below, a Bolens copy of a 1792 Washington, Getz pattern cent, even though the word COPY appearing on the reverse to the left of the eagle’s tail feathers meets the requirements of the Hobby Protection Act.

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Domestic and foreign sellers on may no longer list, effective Feb. 20, for sale into the U.S. marketplace replica U.S., world and other historic coins of any kind.

Violators of the new policy risk having their eBay selling privileges suspended.

In an exclusive interview Jan. 18 with Coin World, eBay officials said that its major policy change in the coins category represents the online auction company’s commitment to improve the buying, selling and collecting experience on eBay, including reviewing listings that may violate eBay’s policy prohibiting the listing of counterfeit coins.

As part of the policy update, new listings and relistings will be prohibited starting Feb. 20. Items that were listed for sale before Feb. 20 with later closing dates will be allowed to continue until their date of expiration.

The policy change even extends to the listing of replicas marked COPY as required under provisions of the Hobby Protection Act.

“We are disallowing all replica coins, even the ones reportedly stamped with ‘copy,’ ” said Johnna Hoff, media spokesperson for eBay. “Because of the nature of our marketplace — specifically that we don’t control the inventory — we’re not able to confirm before purchase that a coin is truly stamped.

“Customer feedback told us that often coins shown in pictures as stamped [with COPY] weren’t delivered that way.”

The policy change also extends to contemporary counterfeits of U.S. coins produced to circulate alongside genuine issues, but does not prohibit the sale of paper money replicas.

The policy change affects listings on, but does not extend to eBay’s other online auction sites in countries outside the United States.

PNG involvement

The policy change follows a number of discussions between eBay and the Professional Numismatists Guild.

As part of its collaboration with PNG, eBay anticipates establishing a program to better educate collectors about the PNG and its trusted member-dealers, and to ensure the coin experience on eBay meets industry standards.

EBay officials made a brief presentation about the proposed policy change Jan. 4 during a PNG members-only meeting held in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists convention.

PNG President Jeffrey Bernberg and PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman in a Jan. 19 statement said, “eBay is working closely with law enforcement and third-party grading services — as well as using a number of internal tools — to review listings that may violate eBay policy prohibiting counterfeit coins.

“eBay is continuing to work with the PNG to help ensure the coin experience on eBay meets industry standards and is an effective destination for customers selling or shopping for coins. As part of its work with the PNG, eBay expects to set up a program to better educate collectors about the PNG and its member-dealers who provide trusted experience in the coin space.”

Level of confidence

During the Jan. 18 interview with Coin World, Hoff and Brooke Segaran, eBay’s senior manager for emerging verticals and who is overseeing the coin category initiative, said they expect the policy update will provide eBay customers an enhanced level of confidence that the coin listings on eBay are authentic and that buyers receive the most positive eBay experience possible.

EBay officials are taking pro-active steps to improve the eBay experience, Segaran said.

EBay developed and implemented the policy change after receiving extensive feedback from both dealers and collectors who buy and sell on, according to Segaran.

Feedback suggested buyer and seller confidence was being eroded and a policy change was warranted, Segaran said. Before the change, it was difficult for eBay to enforce the existing policy once products were received by the buyer from the seller, she said.

Segaran said eBay will impose consequences for violators of the updated policy on a case-by-case basis, up to and including suspension of eBay privileges.

EBay policies will continue to be examined in an ongoing process to improve the coins category of the online auction site, Segaran said.

“We’re committed to building an even better experience for coins,” Segaran said. “We know there is a lot of opportunity. We’re excited to go after it.” ¦

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