Despite all efforts over many years to educate beginner coin collectors of scams on the Internet some particularly those infamously known as the Toronto Group get away with the simplest of Scams. For example on 2003 September 5th, 80 nice replica coins available on the Internet was Auctioned on eBay for a total of $14,900/- with two replicas selling for as much as $1000/-. A simple check of the sellers feedback would have shown any bidder that all of the 23 positive feedbacks was from buying stamps costing under $1 on one day about a month previously. Although eBay has suspended the same seller Dang Lieu when he sold the same replicas as genuine under various ebay user names. He uses the eBay loop hole to keep bidder names private so that others can't contact them to inform them of fraud. He does a short 3-day auction hoping he will not be detected before the Auctions closes and removes all the coin images soon after. He offers more of same to under-bidders with the claim that the top bidder didn't go through with the deal. It is amazing that there are so many Bidiots buying ancient coins on Private Auctions and fraud still does ePay on eVILBay.
In the case of coinoasis the E-mail sent by members of CFDL and Moneta-L to ebay did motivate them to investigate and cancel the registration of this seller on Monday after the Auction ended on Friday evening. ebay sent E-mail to all of the winners warning them of pending investigation and suggesting if they have already paid over weekend to consider stop payments on checks and credit card.
He was back again next Friday with a new ID stpatnumis. Listed 74 replica ancient coins at the same starting price of $49.99 (minimize ebay listing fee). 19 more coins of lower grade ( tourist fake or genuine ? as smoke screen ). This time they were not put in same 2-inch holders since that trade mark had been recognized, the 100% positive feedback had been hidden to avoid buyers noting that they were obtained from buying cheap items. Excuse We have chosen this auction format to protect our bidders and auctions from disruptive activity by other eBay members and competitors. We realize this may affect bidder confidence, therefore we welcome serious bidders only. Of the 74, 72 of the items sold for a total of $7590. I presume it will be NARU (Not A Regustered User) on Monday. E-bay defending it's own interest to ensure geting the commission on sale now makes availaible only the highest bidder identity to the seller at end of Auction. On CFDL a member reported that in the feedback stage he was selling cheap items with free shipping for one item $4 for more than one, to attract quick positive feedback as a seller.
I think the numismatic community led maybe by ANA should call on eBay to create a page for sale of Coins as they have done for stamps and request eBay to direct every bidder of a coin on a Private Auction to that page so that buyers are explicitly warned about the dangers and what they should look for to minimize their chances of getting scammed or sold fakes. Seems that APS has been more active in this effort than ANA or ANS.
The main problem is that it is difficult for eBay or USPS to prove that the item sold was a forgery. Authentication is not an exact science. Maybe if the seller is proven to have purchased them directly from a well known replica firm which is willing to testify to the sale of these replicas to the eBay seller. But by manufacturing those coins without the word COPY as required by the Hobby protection act the firm has also done wrong.
Listed below are known eBay usernames used for theis scam. All are now NARU
|ancients_ltd||2002 May||19-Dec-01||4||102 1N|
|cnsprty||2003 Feb May Jun|
|hvarotc||2003 Nov Jan04|
|bricklayeranc||2003 Dec Jan04|