Buying Antiquities On-line, Ethically

I want to get a gift for a coin collector, and I was considering an old coin, Roman or other ancient civ. I don’t want to contribute to the illegal trade of antiquities, so how do I find sanctioned dealers? I have a feeling EBay is a bad way to go, am I correct?

There are plenty of reputable dealers on eBay. Choose a dealer with 100% recent feedback rating and buy from him with full confidence. I do it all the time.

Is there a way to check that they’re not illegal goods, though? I’m not worried about getting ripped off, I’m concerned whether or not they’re legally obtained.

Thanks for the reply.

Paging Samclem . . .

Well…there is almost no way to check any dealer’s source regardless of where they sell their goods. I would say that if someone is selling stolen property on ebay they are stupid. Cops check ebay all the time for stolen property and items like stamps and coins are normally easily identifiable.

I found a suitable coin locally, serendipitously, from a person I know and trust, a US 1895 silver dollar. I am still curious to know the answer to the OP if anyone knows.

Start here:

or here:

Or buy a magazine for coin collectors, reputable dealers advertise in them. Find a dealer who is a registered member in good stanging with the coin dealers association.

My understanding is that Roman coins aren’t all that rare and aren’t considered antiquities.

Thanks for the good advice.

Sure, but that’s an extreme example. Ebay has lots of Roman coins for under a hundred bucks.

No, that’s just one example. Go to ebay, dial up the Roman coin section and sort by Highest Price. The first 200 examples are all over $1000.

(You can also buy a Mercedes for $100 bucks, but it will be a rust bucket.)

There are 48 pages of results, with 200 items on each page. So I’m not surprised that a few of them are over a thousand dollars. There are many more that are far less than that.

Most Roman coins aren’t rare by any stretch. They aren’t really limited in supply either because people keep finding new caches of them all over the former Roman Empire.

I always wanted to get a kit from Dirty Old Coins. They give you 5 uncleaned Roman era coins and the tools to clean it for about $40. They could be anything in the end but most of them are worth a few dollars but it is still a really cool idea.

Yes there are less expensive varieties. However, your initial post was:

My understanding is that Roman coins aren’t all that rare and aren’t considered antiquities.

All I was trying to point out is that there are indeed rare Roman coins (btw, anything before the middle ages is considered “in antiquity.”)

ps- Sort by Highest Price First to view the 200 most expensive items. Much easier.

Most coins aren’t rare by any stretch either, regardless of origin.

I clicked your link, that looks like a blast!

Seriously, if you want coins buy them from a coin dealer. Not from a surplus dealer. Notice the ad says “supplier” that is the dealer and buying from him direct will save you the middleman’s cut. Numismatics is not my area (I’m a philatelist) but the same principle applies. Never ever buy coins (or stamps) from a “recently discovered hoard” from an ad in a magazine or the shopping channel, etc. You are throwing your money away.

The absolute best way is a coin show, and you can find the nearest one to you here:

Find a dealer that will answer your questions and that you feel comfortable buying from, and one that will stand by his merchandise. Always ask him “can you do better” and they will often take 10% off, or more if you are spending a lot of money.

Collecting and trading rare coins (or stamps) is a rewarding hobby that will last a lifetime, and can be very profitable. It has also been proven statistically that collectors live longer because the hobby requires study and that keeps your mind active. Chicks dig it, too!