How about that Chinese seller offering a lovely British coin - perhaps an 1819 crown or a Victorian florin or crown? What about all those lovely German coins?
Well, keep your hands in your pockets, don't bid, because you are looking at a nasty Chinese forgery.
In China, it is legal to create forgeries of virtually anything and coins are big business. Do a search for "Inside a Chinese Coin Counterfeiting Ring" and prepare to be shocked by the scale of the fraud and this is just one of the crooks.
Virtually all Chinese sellers of antiques and coins are crooks. Their coins are not silver and the so-called antiques are nothing more than copies and fakes.
How do I know?
Well, in the case of coins, I have seen hundreds of fakes but ask yourself, why would anyone sell a silver coin for $4.99 when it would be cheaper to melt it down? The answer is that they are not silver and if they are not silver, they must be fake. Alternatively, consult a coin catalogue and check the value of the real item. But perhaps your coin is in a holder from a third-party grader; even then, if it's a Chinese seller, you can't trust it because the holders are also counterfeited. I usually include photographs in my guides but I'm not bothering to include them in this guide because virtually every Chinese coin on offer on eBay is a forgery. Frankly, unless you really are an expert, don't collect Chinese coins.
Ah, but what about those lovely US, UK and German coins? Well, ask yourself this, "what are these coins doing in China?" In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a high quality US coin in the UK or Germany and as for German coins in the USA or UK, forget it! Nevertheless, loads of people fall for these frauds and because they do not check what they bought or worse, don't actually know much about it in the first place, they leave positive feedback for the crooks.
Don't rely on high ratings, because eBay ignores these crooks and some are even so-called "Top Rated Sellers". If it did act, this would decimate the Chinese site and reduce eBay's profits.
I am keeping a list of known active crooks, if you are concerned about a purchase or are feeling just too tempted.
Moving on to so-called antiques, you should first check Chinese export regulations, as it is my understanding that China does not allow the export of anything of any real value. If you check what the Chinese sellers have to offer, you will see the same items repeated time and time again. You don't find the same English antiques offered by different sellers on eBay so why would you expect duplication of Chinese antiques?
If you do get ripped off, put in your PayPal claim as early as possible. If you have unwittingly left positive feedback for the crook, leave negative follow-up. If you are in the USA, you cannot be forced to return the forgery to the crook, irrespective of their location because this is against USPS rules and PayPal knows this.
Furthermore, the listing of replica coins without "COPY" or "REPLICA" being struck into them is a breach of eBay rules and in the USA, a federal offence, because it breaches the Hobby Protection Act.
Please feel free to contact me if you are concerned or if you feel that you can usefully contribute to improving this guide.