More often that not, medals on offer on ebay will be genuine enough. But there are a few people out there who think the high value of collectable medals is an easy way to make money from fraudulent copies.
Firstly, ask yourself why someone is selling a medal on ebay. Is it because it is easy, cheap, or is it because it provides an essentially anonymous platform to sell a duff item that you won't then be able to get your money back from?
A lot of people post rubbish photographs of items because they are rubbish at photography, or have a rubbish camera. That is not a crime in itself. But be wary of people selling high-value medals with blurry photographs - it may be a clever way to mask a copy. Anyone selling a genuine high-value medal worthy of dealing with will go to a bit of effort to get a good photograph. If they don't care about the photo of the product they want to make money from, will they care about you if you're not happy? Probably not.
It's also sensible to find out what recent hammer prices at auction are for medals you're interested in, and maybe even buy a book about medal collecting. Sometimes, a low price at auction will not be a real indication of the true value of a medal - it may have gone for a song because the wrong people, or not enough people, were present.
If you're really after an investment, consider carefully before buying on ebay. Despite the promises of buyer protection, there really isn't much you can do if a fly-by-night fool sells you a aluminium-foil copy! Go to a reputable dealer that offers money-back guarantees, or provides independent analysis of medals.
Be careful out there!
Buyer Beware - Do Your Research
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21 January 2008
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