eBay Guide for buying Australian Banknotes
Buying banknotes through the internet does not have to be a traumatic experience.
I have made many purchases at eBay with a 98%+ success rate.
There are now many highly respected ANDA members who are listing at eBay. They have finally realised that they are able to list their notes for sale 365 days a year, not just 3 or 4. The notes are (nearly) always graded and all come with a Return Policy.
Many sellers have a Return Policy for banknotes, which is clearly stated …
Unconditional 7-day return policy (for any reason) for all my auctions.
All Purchases Come with a 14 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee.
BUT, the cost of the return is met by the buyer, so for low priced notes do your sums first.
No Returns Accepted
Alarmingly, more and more sellers are now using this policy.
I believe much of this is due to poor grading.
This is the first thing I look for.
No return means no bid.
Scans and Grading
Many sellers use the banknote image as part of the description.
The majority of ‘scans’ are pathetic, because they are not scans but very poor quality photos – many of which are taken with a mobile phone. The seller then expects the buyer to use the image as part of their assessment.
The usual disclaimer of accurate grading is …
I am not a note dealer and therefore I do not professionally grade.
In very good condition – that’s only my opinion.
Please look at the scans and you be the judge as to the value and grading of the note.
Crisp and clean but PLEASE decide on condition for yourself.
Please note any stains, folds, nicks, tears or other imperfections carefully before bidding.
UNC…but please form your own opinion after viewing the detailed scans provided.
Please study photos carefully as they are the best description I can give.
And THIS is what you are expected to make a judgement on.
Even perfect quality scans do not reveal the tiny imperfections that may be in a banknote.
This is a scan
of a banknote graded as EF. This is a perfect scan, but if you can grade the note from this scan then you are my hero. So, where does that leave us? Unless there is something in the scan to indicate the grading is incorrect [I have seen distinct folds in banknotes offered as UNC], then you purchase using PayPal or ensure that the seller has a return policy.
Read the description
Many notes are advertised as UNC, but when you read the description you will find …
These notes have a slight centre fold, otherwise in UNC condition.
These notes are UNC….light centre fold….also light fold in corner
And one of my favourites is …
This is in excellent condition, very crisp clean note with light folds, not dirty and possibly UNC.
This usually happens for two reasons.
The description for many of these notes relate to their history rather than to their condition.
The seller [who has no idea of grading] is reselling a (badly graded) note that they previously purchased.
Some sellers use a generic photo for all sales.
In the ad you will find disclaimers about the photo and serial numbers.
“Images don’t match notes for sale”…”serial numbers may differ from image”
Be sure to read the ‘fineprint’ if you are considering a purchase.
Whatever the reason, you MUST read and examine the description of the banknote very carefully.
THIS is an example of a note has been listed as aUNC, yet the description proves it is EF, at best.
Most ads quote the ‘CV’ – Current Value.
The prices quoted are from The Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes by Greg McDonald as they are the highest listed CV prices. These are also the prices you ’might’ expect to pay when purchasing from a dealer – but not from eBay. By all means use these prices, but as a guide only.
Prices paid for auction purchases should not be anywhere near the CV price.
A quick look through the “Buy It Now” option will soon reveal that there are many banknotes selling for only 35% – 65% of their CV.
Many sellers use a CV price for a note that is graded higher than the note they are offering for sale. This, I presume, is to lure you into a rash bid. Read the description carefully.
Postage costs are an important factor to consider with low priced notes.
The last issue r78 $1 banknotes [UNC] are currently selling for between $4 – $6.
Postage costs vary from $2 [Regular] – $10 [Registered mail].
Recently there has been an increase in postage costs for buyers. Some sellers will explain that it’s due to an Australia Post increase in charges, yet some still only charge $6, unlike a large seller who has just put his price up to $10. Personally, I don’t care if he charges $25, it’s up to me to do the math and determine if it all adds up.
Before purchasing you must check your TOTAL cost.
A $5 banknote purchase with a postal cost of $6 means you have just paid $11 for a note with a CV of $7. Don’t be lured into a rash purchase because of “Free Postage”.
This r78 banknote sale is a great example of this. I was amazed at the sale price. This trick worked a few more times before buyers became aware that their REAL cost in purchasing an $7 banknote was twice its value.
I have used the r78 notes as an example because they are the cheapest UNC banknotes to purchase, and if you then pay $10 for postage, even for a run of 10, you unit cost has just gone from $5 to $6.
Are you buying banknotes as an long term investment or to resell when there is a small increase in value? If you intend to resell through the internet then the postage is recoverable and does really not need to be considered. Of course, if you are buying a banknote of higher value, then the importance of the postage costs diminishes.
Most sellers will combine postage for multiple purchases. Of course, they need to have the notes you are looking for, but it is something to keep in mind. Don’t forget to read the fine print – some sellers only combine for purchases made on the same day.
The Holy Grail of eBay. This is meant to “help the millions of buyers and sellers in the Community build trust”. For each transaction, buyers and sellers can rate each other by leaving Feedback. Each Feedback consists of a positive, negative, or neutral rating, and a short comment. The Feedback Forum at eBay gives a rundown on the subject.
A sellers rating is no guarantee of a perfect transaction. I have purchased banknotes from a “Top-rated seller” which did not come close to their advertised grading. The situation was resolved, but, a sellers rating should not be a major consideration in your assessment of a purchase.
Positive FEEDBACK is appreciated and will be reciprocated.
You will come across this very often. It means the seller will not leave feedback to you, as a buyer, until you leave your feedback for them. I am surprised that even some ANDA members take this approach. [Shame…shame…shame]
I have never left feedback for a seller before I have received mine.
Why – because I bid, I win, I pay…my obligation is complete.
Feedback should be left from the seller for the buyer straight away.
Only sellers who think they might receive negative feedback because notes are not as described insist on buyer feedback first. They will present various reasons for their actions, but they are only feeble excuses. That is the reason I have a feedback total of only 350 instead of over 800.
Use the sellers Feedback only as a guide. If the feedback is only 85% then you may have concern, but you will find that most sellers have a feedback percentage of 97.5 or better.
You should pay for all your purchases with PayPal.
No ifs, buts or maybes.
The buyer incurs no charges and is offered a safety mechanism.
PayPal Buyer Protection can help recover your money if your item doesn’t reach you or if your item is significantly different [read incorrect grading] to the seller’s description.
Other dubious information offered by sellers
Grading: You will come across all sorts of grading terms.
GEM UNC is my favourite. It’s like saying the “most unique”.
Either a banknote is UNC or it is not – there are NO degrees of UNC.
Rare: Or even “Very Rare” … It’s highly unlikely.
Also included in this category is “becoming hard to find”.
Error: Not much I can say here, but some notes described as “errors” are stretching credibility to a new level. If your interest lies in this field you will have to assess the note as to its potential as a genuine error note.