Hot under the collar

July 13, 2008

I get hot under the collar when people start criticizing me for restoring these nickels. Some of it shows through on my FAQ page. I should probably just let it slide when it happens, but I seldom do.

It's amazing how many comments I've received over the years that, in so many words, are trying to tell me that what I'm doing destroys the value of these coins. For those of you who think this way, let me break it down for you: I take worn out nickels that have NO DATES and greatly diminished details and through the magic of chemicals I reincarnate that coin to pretty close to what it must have looked like back in the 1920's or 1930's when it was in VG to VF condition.

How does THAT destroy the value? What value did it have BEFORE I worked on it? What would you give me for one Buffalo Nickel that has no date on it? Probably somewhere between NOTHING and 5 cents, right? What if I restored that Buffalo Nickel and it turned out to be a 1913-S T2 with a nice, full horn? What if I then GAVE you that nickel at no charge? Would you drop it into your pocket change and then use it to buy a Pepsi from a vending machine?

Only if you're stupid, stubborn or filthy rich.

You wouldn't do that because you know that coin now has value. A nicely restored 1913-S T2 would have significant value, but even a common 1916-D (common by MY standards), when properly restored, has gobs more value than it did when it was dateless and unrecognizable from all the other dateless, worn out nickels.

I would never try to mislead anyone into thinking that my restorations are better than original date coins. Heck - I have my own personal, complete set of Buffalo Nickels and not a single one of them is a restored coin. They're all original dates. But, you know what? I started that set back in 1964. I've had a LOT of time to get it into the condition that it's in today. Along the path to where it is now that set had a lot of holes in it and it had some really scruffy looking original date coins, too. As I got older and I had a few more dollars to spend I slowly upgraded the whole thing to where it is today, but back when I had less money and the set had had holes in it and really crappy looking original date coins, I would have been glad to buy some inexpensive, good looking restorations - if they had existed!

Back in "the day", the only restorations available were those where only the date was restored - and usually - horribly! People developed a bad attitude about these coins back then, and deservedly so - THEN! But those days are OVER now. The big, ugly acid spot on the date no longer exists. The whole coin is uniform and it looks GOOD. It has value!

If I took a Buffalo Nickel with an original date and tried to improve upon it by treating it with my chemicals, THEN you would have a point in telling me that I'm destroying the coin, but that's not what I do.


eBay socks it to us again!

July 6, 2008

Is it only me or does anyone else notice that every time eBay announces a change it turns out to be BAD news?

Their most recent change (effective on 2/20/08) was to the pricing structure sellers pay for listing and selling their items. They heralded this change with a bunch of fanfare that said something to the effect of, "You spoke and we listened." Hel-loooo..?? If that's the case, exactly WHO are all of the STUPID sellers out there who asked them to CHARGE US MORE??

Here's what they did: They took a nickel off the listing fees for items with a starting price of under $25.00 and they threw in GALLERY for free, a savings of 35 cents. BUT THEN, they raised the final value fees from 3.25% to 5.75%. Guess what? That's nearly a 67% increase! If you do the math, the way it will work is that as soon as an item exceeds $12.34, the seller begins to lose money versus the old fee structure.

Can you say "pass-through to the BUYER?" Well, even if you can't, inevitably, that's what will happen. Sellers will raise shipping and handling or refuse to accept PayPal or come up with some other innovative ways to recoup their costs.

I was talking this over with another seller and here is an exact quote from him that I found to be dead on: "Notice how eBay easily and conveniently insulates itself from the buyer by increasing fees which eBay knows WE will end up "passing thru" to the buyer one way or another!"

Personally - I do NOT expect to immediately raise my fees to buyers. I will take a "wait and see" approach. As a buyer, however, you would do well to let eBay know that you don't appreciate this latest change BECAUSE YOU KNOW DARN WELL IT'S GOING TO HIT YOUR POCKET AND NOT JUST THE SELLER'S.