The numismatic market was roiled when eBay, the online auction firm, sent its sellers an April 17 email notification that as of May 30 only coins that meet certain new standards will be allowed to be listed or relisted with a numerical grade in their title and in the description.
Only coins authenticated and graded by Professional Coin Grading Service, which is based in California, and Numismatic Guaranty Corp., which is based in Florida, meet these new standards, eBay’s email states.
Further, eBay’s notification said that U.S. coins with a “Buy It Now” reserve, or start price of $2,500 and above will be required to be graded by third-party grading services that meet these new standards, i.e., PCGS and NGC.
On April 18 ANACS, a third-party grading service based in Colorado, said it expects to meet the new standards by May 30.
Paul DeFelice, ANACS vice president of client relations and marketing, issued a statement to his customers:
“We want to assure that you that we are absolutely confident that this issue will be addressed by the May 30 deadline that eBay has established” with one exception that DeFelice considers a technicality.
The new requirements for grading services that ANACS and the other firms must meet are:
• Graded 50,000 or more pre-1956 coins
• Have an online population report
• Employ at least three numismatic expert graders, one of whom is a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild, and all are members of the American Numismatic Association
• Buyback guarantee for coins that turn out to be counterfeit, damaged, misgraded or misattributed
• Coins must be slabbed in “unique, state-of-the-art, tamper-resistant holders with anti-counterfeiting measures”
• The grading service must have online verification of unique serial numbers on its holders.
“Of the six standards that we have seen,” DeFelice wrote, “we feel it is important to stress that we exceed any standards set with regard to the expertise of our graders or the quality of our service.
“Of the technicality mentioned earlier: eBay is requiring grading companies to ‘enable online verification of unique serial numbers.’ There are two things we would like to make clear: 1) ANACS does offer verification of unique serial numbers, but has not made that service available online as of yet, and 2) ANACS is, in fact, in the final stages of making serial number verification available on our web platform.”
The eBay notification also said that “Good ‘Til Cancelled” listings will have until June 30 to comply with the revised policy.
One eBay dealer who emailed his notice to Numismatic News expressed his unhappiness with the new policy.
He wrote, “Have you seen this message from eBay yet? It made me furious.”
Why have these new standards been established?
According to eBay, “We’ve heard from both buyers and sellers that they’d like to see more coins on eBay graded by companies who meet high standards.”