Sunday, May 12, 2013

Winning ebay Silver Auctions!

I have been buying silver and silver coins on ebay since 1998. In that time I've learned a few things about winning auctions for US junk 90% silver, uncirculated, proof, and bullion coins.


Pick a particular section of the silver coin and bullion market and become an expert. Research ebay guides, review hundreds of auctions, search the internet for every article about 90% junk silver if that's what floats your boat. If not, then become an expert in uncirculated Kennedy and Franklin halves, Morgan dollars, US Mint bullion products, etc.

The coin or bullion you decide to specialize in doesn't matter. Silver is basically silver. What matters is that if you're going to start spending hundreds or thousands of dollars that you know what you're talking about. Too many people on ebay and in other silver buying sites have more money than brain cells. I heard from one commenter about how happy he was with his purchase of old 1957-1967 Mexican peso silver coins. It broke my heart to tell him that the coins he bought weren't 90% silver as he assumed based on his experience with old US dimes, quarters, halves, dollars, but only 10% silver! He had no business dipping his toes in a pool that was to him nothing but a murky oil slick.


Research the counterfeit silver sites. Learn about the counterfeits flooding the US from China. After you think you're an expert - then read some more. Our Chinese friends have no appreciation of intellectual property, copyright, or US counterfeiting laws. Morgan silver dollars are probably some of the most counterfeited coins on the planet, especially the CC Carson City, NV minted silver dollars. Based on this problem, I would strongly suggest you avoid buying very rare and expensive coins online. Even coins in PCGS and NGC holders are being counterfeited. Sometimes the holders are real and the coins are fake. Sometimes both are of Chinese manufacture. Stick with coins that have most of their value in silver content, not numismatic rarity. More common coins aren't faked as often, and potential losses are much less.

Buy from Auctions:

Auctions have been shrinking for years now as ebay tries to compete in Amazon's playground. But all the Buy it Nows and ebay stores in the world can't beat the sheer exhilaration of winning that last minute auction. Moreover, the chance of winning a steal in a "Buy it Now" environment is virtually eliminated. For my money, if I want to just outright purchase something at the going rate I'll click on Amazon.

Just last week I won a roll of 20 2004-S Kennedy 90% silver proof halves that some entrepreneur liberated from proof set packaging for $176. The going rate is $250 and up!

Having an Edge

I'm a silver coin bargain hunter, and I win 20% of the auctions I select to bid on. That's pretty darn good with a category as hot as US silver coins! How do I do it? I use sites like,,, and various Sniper sites. My attitude is if it's allowed by ebay's rules, then take advantage of it. Of all the sites I listed above, the ones that really get ebay user's juices flowing are sniper sites and sniping. Many feel it's unfair or ineffective. Well, I snipe, and I do pretty darn well. Sniping keeps you out of bidding wars and last minute foolish bidding. I set the sniping program clock for 5 seconds, and my bid hits automatically at that preselected time. No muss, no fuss. I can watch the auctions or I can sleep, work, watch TV, etc. Using the ebay automated prebid system is like telegraphing your punches. All a competitive bidder has to do is to continue to bid to expose your high mark. Heck, I've seen my share of what looks suspiciously like the ebay sellers bidding on their own auctions to get the bids up. I have no interest in playing their little games - just winning silver coins auctions.

Auction Hunting

Use your Watch List to store and manage your selected auctions. Do your homework, and don't wait until the last second to locate and auction and bid. That leads to sloppiness and wasted money. Many auctions are straightforward, but others are either intentionally or unintentionally vague. If you're not sure if the proof coin is clad or silver, DON'T BID. If the photos are blurry, non existent, stock, or don't match the heading, DON'T BID. Chances are, something is fishy in the State of Denmark.

Do look for auctions with low bids & views, misspellings, and incorrect categories. Bidding during the week can be inconvenient, but usually nets lower competitive bidders than does a weekend night between 8-10 pm. can help you discover low bid auctions even when there is no counter on the auction page.

Selecting the Seller

Sometimes for fun I'll read negative comments left for some sellers. They can be quite entertaining, from a grammatical, as well as a sociological, psychological, and sometimes pathological viewpoint. However, I have zero sympathy when I see a buyer leaving a negative comment for a seller that has already racked up hundreds of negative feedback! Why would you buy from a seller like that? I can only conclude that the buyer didn't do their due diligence on the seller before bidding - caveat emptor my brothers and sisters! I remember one buyer left negative feedback because he didn't get silver in his "unsearched roll". When I was five my father told me you don't get something in this world for nothing. The unsearched rolls are probably the biggest coin scam on ebay today, and this seller had hundreds of negative feedback from other disappointed, if naïve, buyers to his discredit. If you willingly swim with sharks, you WILL GET BITTEN!

Make sure your seller has over a hundred positive feedback, and at least 2 years with ebay. Check their feedback and look for anything weird or off. Do they have 50 recent positive feedbacks from folks to whom they sold a $1 worth of crap? If so, avoid them. They're covering up something, or setting themselves up for a major score at your expense. Instead, look for the experienced seller with a plain no nonsense auction, good pictures and clear description, reasonable shipping, and a past history of selling coins. If your roll of uncirculated Franklin halves are more AU than BU, then don't blame the dilettante seller - blame yourself!

Finally, I want to re-emphasize that I buy coins on ebay whose value is primarily due to their silver content. They may be junk silver or uncirculated 1963 Franklin halves, but at least 85% of their value is silver-related. Some "super counterfeits" being turned out by the Chinese can only be detected by an expert with a magnifying glass, caliper, and a scale. Amateur photos taken of coins on the kitchen table under glaring light will never expose the tiny flaws in these clever fakes. Moreover, if the price is way to good to be true...



  1. Rick:
    I just wanted to say "THANK YOU" for all of your youtube videos and blog posts! I am probably slightly older than you, with a daughter slightly younger than yours too! I have been into coins/numismatics since the 60's. I have quite a collection! Lately,(past 7 years or so) I have mainly been getting higher end Morgans and Indian quarter eagles. I'll go into more detail at another time. ! am still going thru all your posts and videos, you are very good at explaining everything and I really appreciate your time. I was wondering why you are not making videos much anymore? Btw, I don't do much in the area of blog posting(if your wondering) but I used to be active in a few years back til Chuck shut it down due to other family responsibilities..well anyways.
    The prices of the metals has plummeted lately and rather quickly, I don't see silver getting into the high teens and I am somewhat mystified seeing it in the below $25 range. It seems like a shake out intentionally by Crimex or others geared towards the weaker players in these markets, but thats a theory obviously with no supported facts on my part.
    Thats all I have for now, if you have any comments I will look for them here I guess(?).
    Thank you once again.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting on the article. Look at the current silver takedown as an opportunity to purchase silver at below true market rates. The paper silver manipulators were trying to take silver down into the teens, but failed when massive demand for the physical metal kicked in as the price went down. The current price level won't last forever because it can't. Witness the large premiums over spot being demanded by silver vendors who are requiring weeks to fill orders. The paper price may be $23 and change, but real physical silver can't be had for anywhere near that on ebay, APMEX, Gainesville Coins, etc.

    The whole story of the manipulated precious metals markets reminds me of old Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. At one point in the movie he's always down, with someone beating him like a pinata. It can be uncomfortable to watch, but you know he's going to win and the bad guys will be pushing up daisies before the end credits roll!

    We hope to make new videos soon.


    1. Rick:
      You really gotta wonder about these silver sellers tho..I mean, I hate to sound negative but its as if they are 'holding out' on selling silver near a small percentage of spot price just in the hopes it'll get back up to where they want so they can earn higher profits. In the meantime, they claim they don't have the available silver, makes you wonder? Do you feel the same way? Some of these premiums over spot are just outrageous like double digit percentages. But I hear what your saying about the disconnect what ebay bidders are paying for silver vs the paper spot price. For other avenues to buy you can do better sure as long as you have $10,000 to buy all in one shot.
      For now I'll be patient, and try to nibble a lil along the way. Thanks!

  3. Hello Rick, and anyone else who might read this. My name is Daryn, 27 yr old poor family growing up always worked for the things i have, which isnt allot, but having to much has proven time and time again to be a down fall more many who got there wish. Its unfortunate I never had any family or friends(EVEN NOW) who might have had enough..wisdom (sense) to give some good advice about money,savings,future inventing ideas,anything to really catch a young mans interests in his future. I have within this year find myself lacking in so many things concerning savings,future policies and what effects they might have on me..NOT to mention any children i might have.I am a Ron paul supporter and he was my inspiration to start saving gold/silver. After listening to him explain REAL past events and how to understand where we are headed...I did allot of research lol ALLOT! I could be crazy and thats fine as long as I'm prepared for whats coming. I have been reading and following a gentlemen by the name of Mike Maloney, the Author to (The Hidden Secrets of Money) I enjoy allot of what he has to say and i do believe there are many truths to what will happen. These low prices were meant to happen, printing 45billion a month till the "crises" calms down is not helping only those who are purchasing silver and gold.

  4. Hey Rick, i also forgot to mention that, from 1920-1940 we had made a huge amount of silver bars in the industrial revolution and what many (most) people dont seem to realize, is that silver is far more rare a metal than gold . There will be a time where silver could possibly be worth more due to its diverse usage, and or Rarity factor. That wont happen in any of our life times but still, the 20s 30s and 40s the Industrial boom completely layer waste to thousands or tons of silver. If you dont believe me look it up. Silver back then and even some people today never recognized silver as a precious metal due to all the industrial uses it had. Even today there are many companies that use silver in even heated sweaters.