Recently I paid for two coins on eBay via a live auction.

The auctioneer was through:

Carroll’s Auctioneers & Appraisers
1060 Boston Post Road, Guilford CT 06437
203-506-1121

The invoice for my auction was 398548 which was from two coins:

Lot# 359 1936 Saudi Arabia Ryal
Lot # 381 1904 Panama 5 centesimos

My Problems with this Auctioneer

  1. Hidden Fees: The live auction for these items said “Shipping will be calculated by the auctioneer.” I should have stayed away, but it was my first live auction… Meaning there was no set shipping charge, so the auctioneer could set whatever they wanted once the auction was over.  Indeed they did.  For two coins they charged me 6.90!  I’ve never paid so much for shipping on a couple coins.
  2. Handling Fees: The actual shipping cost was $4, they auction house added another $2 to pad their profit.  I haven’t paid a handling fee since eBay was invented. Who charges handling fees these days?
  3. Missing Item: I received a package from the auction house, it was the weirdest shipment I’ve ever received. The paper invoice was stapled to newsprint that was folded around a coin in a cardboard holder.  I never found the other coin.  In the package was a tiny paper that reverend Lot 359.  Nothing referencing the other coin was in the package.  I had made the assumption that the other coin was perhaps being shipped in a separate shipment.
  4. Communication: I tried to reach out to the auctioneer early on after the live auction event was over. I sent them a message on eBay telling them they need to change my shipping address.  I never got a response via eBay.  They sent me an invoice for the two coins I won, via email (to the wrong address.)  I replied and asked them to change the address. Several days later they said they did, and to send payment.  Their response to communication was far too slow and they ignore eBay messages.

Missing Item

  1. I wrote the auction house (Carroll’s Auctioneer’s & Appraisers) and asked where the other package was.
  2. They responded that they shipped both coins in one package.  So where was my coin? Instead of packaging the coin in a cardboard holder (as is standard – and that’s how they packaged the one coin I found in the package), they told me they put the other coin in a plastic bag and tightly wrapped it… and suggested that I review my packaging materials. Not only is that non standard, it could damage, scratch the coin in transit.
  3. I’ve never had a coin shipped like that… but I can’t verify as I’ve discarded my packaging to the trash bin several days prior.  I can’t imagine they’re right, I had to complete destroy the packaging to get at the one coin.  I didn’t see a plastic bag at all.  It should have been visible.

End Result

  1. Out a Coin: If Carroll’s Auctioneer’s & Appraisers is telling the truth, then I’m out the price for the one item I paid for due to their shoddy packaging.  I’ve never had a collectable item shipped in a way they told me.  They obviously know how to ship coins, as the other coin was properly seated in a cardboard coin holder.  They of course could be mistaken and just didn’t ship the coin, or shipped it in a separate package to the wrong address. Who knows.
  2. Overpaid for shipping: The live auction wouldn’t reveal the shipping prices.  They were “worked out with the auctioneer” post auction, which amounted to the auction house charging me $6.90.  When the package came it showed only $4 and change for shipping.  The rest of that $6.90 was their “handling fee.”
  3. Live Auction Premiums: With all live auctions you have to pay a premium. In this case it was an additional $4.40.  Which cuts in to any profit you might gain on resale.
  4. Underwater: I ended up paying $33.30 for the entire shipment of 1 coin (the price of 2 coins won at live auction + the additional shipping and handling fees + the premium.)  The value of the 1 coin I have in hand is $20-$30.  There’s no margin to make a profit off what I got.  Originally it would have been a deal I could have made some money on.  Now… not at all.  Overpriced for what I got.

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