Whether a buyer is interested in gold, silver, platinum, palladium or any other precious metals, there are always plenty of coins and bars available for sale on eBay. However, as these items are relatively easy to fake, buyers should use extreme care when buying precious metals on eBay. While there are risks, buyers can often find great deals listed on eBay for a variety of precious metal products for collecting and investing. For buyers interested in purchasing precious metals on eBay, here are some tips to make the shopping experience safer.
Check Retail Sources
Before browsing on eBay for precious metals to buy, a buyer should be familiar with the precious metal market in general. There is little reason to buy gold, silver or other metals on eBay unless they can be purchased less expensively than from other sources. Most cities of any size will have jewelry stores, pawn shops, coin shops or other retailers who deal in precious metals. If eBay sellers do not beat the prices a buyer can get locally, then the buyer has no reason to buy from eBay.
As you cannot physically inspect items on eBay before buying, it is best to only choose precious metal coins and bars from reputable sources. For example, buying gold and silver coins from North American and other developed nations should be fine. Buying bullion bars made by known manufacturers should also carry little risk. A buyer can even look up pictures of these products on other webpages to compare to the listing picture.
As with any eBay purchase, a buyer should check out the seller to make certain the seller has good ratings. But a buyer should dig into the feedback and ratings a little when buying precious metals. For example, a buyer should determine how many precious metal items that the seller has sold. A seller who deals a lot in gold, silver, platinum or other precious metals is less likely to make an honest mistake than a seller inexperienced with metals. Also, a buyer can use information from other buyers on how reliable the listing descriptions were for other items. Ideally, a buyer should choose sellers who also have a physical store (such as a coin shop) as these sellers are probably less likely to list fraudulent items.
Odd Hours / Bad Listings
Though the deals are few and far between, shopping at odd times and low demand days can increase the odds of scoring a deal on precious metals. During the late night hours and on holidays buyer demand is generally low which can keep selling prices down. Keep an eye out for listings with misspellings or bad information. For example, I have purchased “sliver” coins at a great price simply because those searching for silver coins weren’t finding the listings. Also, some sellers don’t know or don’t list the fact that a coin is gold or silver. For example, a collector would know that a 1955 American Quarter is 90% silver, but if it isn’t listed as silver, many precious metal buyers would not know the coin is silver.
An eBay buyer of precious metals should only deal with sellers who allow returns. If there is a problem with an item purchased on eBay, the buyer should immediately contact the seller to find a solution. As many precious metal purchases are for high dollar amounts, a buyer should also immediately contact eBay about any problems with a purchase.