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EBay Held Accountable for Counterfeits
June 30, 2008



EBay Held Accountable for Fakes Sold on Their Site

Big news from Paris, France today! A French commercial court decided that eBay must pay LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA $59,000,000. The french designer fashion firm sued eBay over the large number of knock-off and counterfeit products offered through sellers on eBay's auction site.

EBay does take down auctions of proven counterfeits, but numismatists know that many, many counterfeit coins slip through and are sold to unwitting novices every day on eBay. Those of us who work professionally in coins get calls regularly from eBay buyers who are just beginning to arrive at the notion that they have been taken in a particular transaction.

The trademark seams on the edge or at the rim of a cast fake, or lack of flow lines as found on a struck coin are simple things to look for when judging if a coin is legitimate. In numismatics, simple education can help a great deal in the buyer making better choices.

Perhaps eBay would be wise to enlist expert assistance in establishing tutorials designed to give participants a solid, but brief overview of specific fields of collection or high end products. They do have some on their site, but there are many areas which are not covered at all. A little shared knowledge might go a long way in policing the eBay community.

In the meantime however, you can learn a lot about coins from websites such as NumisMaster, or Ken Potter's website. Books like the U.S. Coin Digest, Coin Collecting 101, Strike It Rich With Pocket Change,Detecting Counterfeit Gold Coins can also offer valuable information to keep people from wasting time and money in bad numismatic choices.



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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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