It’s a penny Penny Auction live on the Internet.
Right now, there’s a few ways for Coin Collectors (Numismatists) to buy coins. They can go to a coin show and meet their favorite dealers live, they can go to the ever-disappearing local coin shop and pick up what they’re craving, or they can buy coins on-line, through dealer web sites or through on-line numismatic auctions.
The margins are tight for dealers and the market is well-saturated for collectors, so the chances of getting a coin for less than “book” value is slim or none.
Rusty Scropper, proprietor of CoinSniper.com, had the idea to apply the “Penny Auction format” to numismatics to a) make it more fun for collectors and b) allow them to potentially buy coins for less than their normal value with a mix of skill and luck.
Here’s how it works (and you can read about it on the CoinSniper.com site here or watch a video about it here):
Coin buyers buy packs of bids. The bids cost about $1.00 each. When they see a coin they want, they place a bid on it. This increases the cost of the coin $0.01 and adds 10 seconds to the clock to allow any other “CoinSnipers” an opportunity to out-bid. When time runs off the clock, the winner gets the coin shipped to their address for free.
Rusty explains how he came upon the idea: “When I got tired of waiting for the big show to come my way and found all the dealers I like closing up shop, I turned to the Internet, to eBay. I found I had a great time buying coins by ‘sniping’ the auction. I’d put a bid in at the last second and hope it was enough to get the coin I couldn’t live without. With the penny auction format, that whole experience is condensed and magnified.”
Unfortunately, there are some bad players in the penny auction business. “I have no interest in running anything but a completely legitimate, honest business.”
And if you read Scropper’s articles in the CoinSniper.com Numismatic Learning Center, you’ll see he has a lot of experience and great advice he’s willing to freely share with both the experienced and inexperienced numismatist alike.
“Theoretically, this whole thing should be cheap for buyers and over time, I should be able to eek out a small profit.”, says Scropper. “The trick for the buyers is to make sure they win once in a while using a bit of patience. If you watch your competition carefully, you can figure out when to put your bid in. The whole process is a lot more fun.”
The first auctions are set to end on July 4th, 2012, with four coins per day selling until demand requires more. On July 4th alone, there’s well over $100 up for grabs, and since all of the users are new, there’s a good chance that they could win the coins with their free first 25 bids.
We wish Rusty the best of luck with his new venture and the bidders the best of luck winning some great coins. Congrats on your new site, Rusty! It was a lot of work, but we’re all sure it’s going to pay off.