This week, eBay sent a message to sellers who listed coins and currency for sale on the site to announce new listing policies for coins.

As coin collecting continues to grow and thrive on eBay, customers have told us time and again that knowing they can buy and sell with confidence is important. “We’ll be updating eBay’s Stamps, currency, and coins policy to help foster that confidence—this update may impact your coin listings,” read eBay’s note.

Starting May 30, all new listings and relistings in coin categories will need to meet the following requirements:

  1. First, listings for coins will be allowed to include a numeric grade in their listing title or item description only if the coin grading company meets certain objective standards.* Coins that haven’t been graded by these companies will be considered raw or ungraded. Currently, eBay has determined that only the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) meet these standards.
  2. Second, for US Coins only, grading by companies meeting these standards will now be required for all coins listed with a Buy It Now, reserve, or start price of $2,500 and above.

A footnote for the asterisked line says, “These standards will be posted on eBay’s website shortly.” The policy page has not been updated to explain the standards which the decision is based.

By this rule, coins certified by ANACS and ICG have now been reduced to second class status even though there may be nothing wrong with them. Nice coins still in old PCI holders with J.T. Stanton’s signature are also reduced to “irrelevancy” becuase of eBay’s undisclosed decision.

This is not the first time eBay has made arbitrary decisions about coin collecting based on questionable advice. In January, eBay banned the sale of replica coins where they said they worked in conjunction with the Professional Numismatic Guild to come up with a policy.

“We’ve heard from both buyers and sellers that they’d like to see more coins on eBay graded by companies who meet high standards,” read the eBay release. “These new requirements are an important step toward meeting these marketplace demands.”

As both a buyer and seller, I have never been asked.

By making this statement, eBay and not experts or the numismatic public is telling the marketplace that they know better. By making this statement, eBay will not allow me to search for or buy that old ANACS photo holder or the ICG graded error coin verified by CONECA because ANACS and ICG cannot be used in the title and description.

Rather than managing its market place, eBay has now turned themselves into an enforcement bureau making policies that could be considered a restraint of trade by telling independent sellers what they can or cannot sell that would be legal elsewhere.

Ebay has a right to limit the type of item sold on via its service. Ebay has extensive policies regarding prohibited and restricted items as well remedies for violating these policies. Now, eBay has branched out from prohibited and restricted items to practically banning LEGAL products because they do not meet arbitrary and capricious standard that they have yet to divulge.

Restraint of trade is a common law doctrine relating to the enforceability of contractual restrictions on freedom to conduct business. By eBay telling me and other sellers that we cannot properly list and sell any other coin but those encapsulated by PCGS or NGC is restricting my freedom to conduct business. Ebay will not let me sell or advertise the ICG graded error coins or the artist signed state quarters also slabbed by ICG. In other words, I would be restrained from appropriately advertising LEGAL inventory by contractually restricting my freedom to conduct business.

If there is an alternative to eBay for selling legal coins, I would like to know. The extra coins from the divesting of part of my collection will be listed there. Ebay is no longer a viable outlet to sell collectible coins.

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