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A Tale of Two Auctions



Two very different E-Bay auctions.

The purpose of this post is not to comment on the merits of E-Bay, but to describe two recent positive auction experiences. Many of you know of, and participate in the E-Bay Bucks program. With a fresh grant of E-Bay Bucks in July, I?m sure that many of you, like myself, went shopping for new coins. Two coins that caught my attention were an 1832 MS-61 Classic Head ? Cent and an 1837 XF-40 Capped Bust Half-Dollar. Both coins would have filled empty slots in ?Gary?s Type Set?. The 1832 ? cent would have been the first early copper for my set and the 1837 half-dollar would nearly complete all the half-dollar slots. Both coins went on my E-Bay watch list.

The 1832 ? cent caught my eye as a very affordable MS early copper that fell well within my VF minimum grade for the set. This chocolate brown coin had a strong strike, with lots of eye appeal.

When bidding on a coin, unless the coin is a ?must have? coin, I often watch the coin without making a bid until the end of the auction. Then, more often than not, I place my maximum bid on the coin and walk away from the auction should someone outbid me. The only question with this strategy comes in the timing of the bid, which can be critical. Up until four hours before the end of the auction, the bidding on this coin was very promising with the current winning bid well below the retail fair market value for the coin. At this point, I placed my maximum bid based on the fair market value and my E-Bay Bucks, knowing this coin would likely bid higher than the fair market value. My maximum bid became the top bid, revealing the maximums of everyone else and forcing would be bidders to guess my maximum bid. Furthermore, I was encouraged to find that my bid was still well below the fair market value of the coin. Then, with a few hours remaining before the end of the auction, along comes an E-Bay newbie and bids the coin higher with three maximum bids. Typically, when someone new bids on a lot they bid up the price with minimum bids. This person was different though in that they brought the price up with higher bids. Now with my top bid seriously eroded, I found myself in the lead with $21 left on my maximum. At this time, it appeared as if the newbie gave up and unless other bidders showed themselves, I would likely win the coin. Then, with seconds before the end of the auction, another bidder who had not previously bid on this lot outbid me with a single bid. While I would have loved to own this coin, I was not too upset because it cost more than I was willing to pay and the overall cost would have strained my budget.

The other coin on my list is a gunmetal toned 1837 reeded edge XF-40 Capped Bust Half-Dollar. As a type coin, this coin offered a reeded edge and a reverse with the denomination ?50 Cents? spelled out. The other reeded edge coin with this reverse is the very rare 1836 half-dollar with a listed mintage of 1200.

The opening bid on the 1837 half-dollar was set high, but still well below the fair market value. For whatever reason, no one had bid on this coin and with a few hours to go, I placed my maximum bid at fair market value for the coin. Then, with seconds to go in the auction, another newbie placed three quick minimum bids, but ran out of time, so I won the coin. I was extremely happy with this coin, since I won it at 17% below fair market value, add on my E-Bay Bucks and my net cost was 34% below fair market value. Additionally, the cost of this coin was almost half the cost of the ? cent and a lot less of a burden on my budget.

Finally, I hope you are all having a good buying summer. My buying summer is most definitely slower than a year ago, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, because I am acquiring good coins that meet my collecting goals. Happy collecting all!





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