WW2 German Medals - The Perils of Listing

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You have probably noticed that there are very few genuine WWII German medals listed on eBay and, when they are, they sell for higher than average prices due to their infrequent appearance on the listings. You may have one or two yourself, and so eBay appears to be the perfect platform for you to sell your medals with the return of a healthy profit. However, before you rush to list your Iron Cross, West Wall Medal or Eastern Front Medal my advice is this - don't. I'm writing from a position of experience here, so please do take heed of my warnings.

1. True, some such medals do see their listings through to the end date and true, they do sell for a good price. However, what you may not know unless you have bid on them or have listed them as I have, is that MANY are removed by eBay for breaching their policy. 

As a seller, you log on one morning to check on the progress of your medal only to find an alert informing you that your listing has been removed. This is because it contained a prohibited symbol - the Swastika. You didn't show the Swastika on the photograph, so why on earth does this constitute a breach? You will notice the breach is because it 'contained' a prohibited symbol, not that it 'displayed' one. Many sellers try to get around this by not showing the side of the medal that bears the offending symbol, but those guys at eBay Trust are quite well-informed, and their knowledge of these medals means they know what is on them. You are not allowed to hide the Swastika, alter the image, obscure it, put a smiley face over it - nothing. The medal can only be sold if the Swastika has been permanently removed - and it's easy to see the difference between one that has been digitally altered to one done physically.

So drawback 1 - you paid your listing fees for nothing, no refund is given. No great shakes, it might as little as 16 pence or as much as a 2 pounds depending on your content. But it's still your money.

2. Well, it might well be worth the risk to list these medals anyway. You've sold many such medals and, okay, some have been removed, but you've made a hell of a lot of money and so it's paid off. 'It will continue to pay off, so I'll take my chances, thank you very much', I hear you say. Except, the time does come when it doesn't pay off and. what's more, can cost you a lot of lost money. It happened to me. A few items were removed, I could live with that, but not when on the last day of my listings, all three of the WWII German medals I had listed had been removed. Now whilst that was really, really annoying because they had already built up a good sale price, was to have a further alert that my account was restricted for a day! On a Sunday! The prime day for ending auctions and, so it works out, for starting them too! I had 9 items scheduled for listing, and they never saw the light of day. Not only did I lose about 9 pounds on listing fees, but it also meant a week went by with no income from eBay. A week's worth of sales had been lost. For me, that was worth about 200 pounds.

Drawback 2 - loss of more listings fees and your eBay income set back a week. 

3. Well, perhaps you don't rely on your eBay income like I do, and the odd few pounds lost here and there in listing fees is far outweighed by your income on sales. Except however, when you read your next alert you find that ALL of your account functions have been suspended for a month or, worse, your account closed. Imagine the pain of that happening! Whilst these medals may not be your only source of revenue, you have lost ALL sources of revenue for any items you sell and, not only that, you can't buy ANYTHING. Not a thing. You can't open a new account either, because at some point you will be required to give your same details - on Paypal for example.

Drawback 3 - Sundays will never be the same without being able to buy that really useful nose-comb for 99p on eBay.

4. It's not been so bad in your experience of having your medals removed. You've been quite fortunate in that, out of the blue, you've received an e-mail from a bidder who desperately wants that medal, wonders why it has gone, but offers you a price for it. You know the offer is far less than the sale price you would have got on eBay and maybe just about cuts your losses, so you accept it. Job done. Well what you have to bear in mind is that what some people do is to report you to eBay themselves, and then that very same person is the one who makes you the 'break-even' offer! It happens, I am sure of it. Think about it, it's quite a good idea really isn't it? 

Drawback 4 - you've been had. The person who has had you over won't feel bad about it because a) you tried to have eBay over by listing an item you know to be prohibited and b) they've got a nice medal at a very reasonable price.

So, there you go. Don't sell your medals from World War II Germany which have Swastikas on them. Set up your own website as I have. Another warning though, don't link to your website from eBay on your listings or from your profile. It's a breach to refer to sites that sell items which are prohibited on eBay and you face the same penalties for doing so. Stick to other medals, do your research, find out what can go for a good price and you can still enjoy healthy profits.

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