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Does the buyer have a leg to stand on?

When a coin comes back in a body bag from a third-party grading service, submitters are quite naturally disappointed that it wasn’t what they thought it was.

What do you do with such a coin?

A reader brought to my attention that in one case, a body bagged coin was simply posted on eBay for bids.

The coin is now marked sold.

The coin in question is a 1937-D Buffalo nickel that appears to be of the valuable three-legged variety.

In one of the posted photos, the coin is in a bag that says:

“1937 D 5C



This is a return from Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

It has the firm’s logo under the bar code at the bottom.

This photo appears with three other images, that of obverse, reverse and enlargement of the missing leg.

The description of the lot reads: “1937 d 3 leg Buffalo Nickel coin Error XF NGC”

Most coin collectors would not expect to see such a listing online.

Body bags usually imply finality.

I have had angry phone calls from hobbyists who have gotten coins back in body bags from third-party authentication and grading firms.

This is why the reader made a phone call to me and sent me a link.

He thought it was curious.

The auction is over.

A winning bid of $290 is posted along with the information that there were 10 bids, which started at $209.

Now, a genuine three-legged Buffalo is worth considerably more.

It would retail for between three to five times that amount in the posted grade.

So who is the buyer?

Someone who doesn’t know what a body bag is or a slab looks like?

That is hard to believe after three decades of slabbing.

Someone who thinks they know better than the grading service?

That also is not too likely, but it is possible.

Someone who wants to buy an altered coin?

There are people who do collect them as references.

Or is the buyer someone who thinks he can get a higher price down the road?

That makes you think, doesn’t it?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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