Online Coin Auctions
Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.Visit one of our other blogs:
Filed rims are hard to spot
Spotting the hint of glare that indicates a filed rim above the T of UNITED in this image would be even tougher if you were also peering past email and advertising pop-ups.
One of the dangers of bidding in online auctions is the reliance on photographs. It is one thing to inspect a coin in your hand at a show or shop and another to view it online, with all the distractions that occur in an age of social media and insistent email and texts. This is why I seldom use a mobile phone when bidding online.
I use a desk-top screen and shut off all social media, phone and other applications. I always enlarge the photo to look for flaws.
I usually inspect coins in a clockwise manner, starting at the rim, where you can spot rim bumps, dings, bends, bezel marks and, as in this coin, the dreaded file marks.
Filed rims are unfortunate. A file here and there might add up with silver content from a coin sneak. In other eras, the file was a test mark to see if the coin, indeed, was silver.
In the past year, I have missed two filed rims in my bidding. The auctioneers didn’t mention it, and I didn’t catch it. In one case, I made the mistake of relying too much on an expert seller who writes insightful descriptions about each lot. He missed it, too.
I accept the blame for not looking closely enough at the rims.
When you get a filed rim, you might not want to holder the coin. Graders at PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG are sure to catch it, and you will have wasted more money.
In the end, the typical filed rim does not detract much from a coin with good strike and luster, so you might keep it in your collection.
But if you do spot it after a sale, you can leave feedback on Proxibid or eBay about the overlooked flaw. Some eBay sellers take returns. Auctioneers on Proxibid and HiBid rarely do so, however.