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Everything posted by declanwmagee

  1. I have eight for you, two of each. I'll post two at a time - sixpence No Hearts first...
  2. I think that's pretty fantastic actually, Madness
  3. I've pretty much done every job there is over the last 35 years, but I had two "careers" during that time: Lab technician testing construction materials during my twenties, spent my thirties in I.T., ran away to join the hippies at my mid-life crisis at 37, then ten years as a freelance gardener/tree surgeon. Gradually realised I was making more money from buying and selling coins than I was from the sweat of my brow, so laid my chainsaw down for the last time at the end of 2015. Now a full time coin dealer
  4. Here's an article that I wrote for a Facebook group about a year ago - it might be of some use... "I often have a quick look through eBay on a Friday night. I find it’s at an altogether more sensible pace than the madness of Sundays. “A quick look through eBay”? How can you have a quick look through eBay? Wading through acres and acres of utter junk takes hours, doesn’t it? Perhaps I should share one of my trade secrets. Don’t tell anyone. This is a filtering mechanism that I have developed over many years, and tonight, it reduced the list of what was presented to me from nearly a quarter of a million results to 66,000. That means that 75% of the list is removed before I even see it, and if you sort your query by Ending Soonest, it means that I really can have a quick look through eBay to see if there is anything finishing tonight that takes my fancy. Make a cup of tea at this point if you’re still with me – I am going to go into some detail. All the examples I’ll use are my own personal preferences but I do understand that what I consider to be tat, others may consider to be treasure, so do forgive my ruthlessness. I start by listing everything in the British Coins category, sorted by Ending Soonest. Tonight it was around 225,000 items. I use a three-stage process to reduce this number to something a little more manageable. Stage 1: eliminate things I don’t want to see, like 50ps and 20ps. Stage 2: eliminate sellers whose tat I don’t want to see Stage 3: set a maximum price so I don’t see things I can’t afford. Stage 1: Eliminate terms used in an items description, in my instance, this could be things like “50p, 20p, pound, proof, gold”. You do this in the top search bar in eBay, using the syntax: -(xxx,yyy,zzz) I don’t want to see decimal coins, so a lot of my exclusions are dates. You cannot use wildcards. You used to be able to, but that’s a different story… Soon, after playing with this a little bit, you’ll run up against a character limit. eBay think that it is 100 characters, but I have found a workaround to extend that limit to 300 characters by enclosing three separate 100 character strings in three separate bracket pairs: -(100 characters here) -(100 more here) -(and another 100 here) Go one character over and it goes a little bit haywire, but you can always go back a page in your browser to recover it. 300 characters will keep you going for a while, but eventually, you’ll run up against that limit too, so you’ll want to use your 300 in the most effective way. Some terms exclude thousands of items, and some only exclude a few. “50p” excludes 35,000 records, while “brooch” only knocks out 127, so I rank the search term exclusions by how many records they exclude, and only use up my 300 on those that are worth using. As we are limited by character, a small term, like “50p” (3 characters), is a lot more economical than a long term, like “enamelled” (10 characters). This is where it can get complicated, and I leave it up to you, and the level of your own Asperger’s how far you want to go with this. It gets complicated because items have more than one word in their descriptions, and you may already have eliminated an item with an exclusion already used. Take gold sovereigns, for instance. A search using “gold” brings up 6,500 results, so we can knock out 6,500 items by including “gold” in our exclusion string. A search using “sovereign” brings up 4,000 results, but we cannot exclude a further 4,000 by using “sovereign” because most sovereign listings will also use the word “gold”. In fact, only 650 listings used “sovereign”, but didn’t use “gold”, so by including “sovereign” when we’ve already used “gold” we only reduce the list by 650. “Sovereign” is 10 characters, so at 6.5 items/character, “sovereign” is a very inefficient exclusion term. Once you are happy with your query, save it. I tend to save it in a text file, because eBay’s query management is not very intuitive. The last time I did this exercise, in January, it was all about getting rid of Beatrix Potter, now it’s all about eliminating pound coins from the list, so I refresh my query three or four times a year, as trends change. My 300 characters removes more than half of the items in the British Coins category, about 100,000 listings. That’s more than 300 per character, but it has taken many years to get it refined to that level of efficiency! Stage 2: Seller exclusion. Anyone who spends any time watching eBay will already know the sellers that they tend to skip through, and there is a facility to remove those sellers from your query, in addition to the exclusions settled on in Stage 1. Scroll down the left-hand side of the listings page, and you’ll see “More Refinements”. A tab in that section is marked Seller, and in that tab, there is an exclusion box. Select “Only show items from”, then “Specific sellers”, then choose “Exclude” from the drop-down. The text box to the right is intended to contain a comma-separated list of sellers to exclude. However, there is a bit of sloppy eBay programming in this form that needs a little workaround. You cannot add seller names to this list one at a time without breaking the query before long – it adds spurious commas and spaces all over the place and the database just can’t handle that, so I keep my “eBay blacklist” in a trusty text file, using the syntax: Seller1,seller2,seller3 No spaces, a single comma between names, and no carriage returns. There’s 100 odd sellers on my list, but I’ve been building it for a while. To update the seller list, update it in the text file first, then copy and paste the entire list into that little text box in eBay, in one hit. Editing the contents of eBay's text box directly never ends well… My seller list removes a further 40,000 items. Finally, Stage 3, removing items that are too expensive. This bit is easy, there’s a little box on the left-hand side that for once, is quite self-explanatory. I change this every time I run the query, depending on my budget that day, and it usually reduces the list by a further 20,000 items or so. If you made it to the end, congratulations, and I hope that’s helpful!"
  5. My pleasure Mick. I do something similar with Newly listed Buy-it Nows as well, and find a surprising number of bargains. I used to treat it as an "if I get time" kind of job until quite recently, when I found a 1904 halfcrown very close to VF for £15. Sold a couple of weeks later for £150. Worth doing.
  6. Ah now, careful with that, Mick. eBay, in their wisdom, do not recognise the pound sign, so if you exclude £1 and £2, you are also excluding anything with the numeral 1 or 2 in the title. "2 bun pennies", thus will be excluded because you have put "£2" in your exclusion list.
  7. Somewhere in Tony Clayton's site is a list of which die numbers have been found for which dates, but I can't remember whether he goes down to Davies number detail, and he certainly doesn't go into relative scarcity...
  8. declanwmagee

    My coins

    Yes of course The figures are from V.R. Court's heroic survey, of which I am sure you are aware...
  9. declanwmagee

    My coins

    I'm slowly building a more general Collectors Reference on my website. It isn't intended to be as detailed as the more specialised sites mentioned, but it does go to the level of Freeman and Davies. I've done 1911-1967 so far, and will get around to E7 soon I hope, and eventually it'll go even further back. Here's the George V shilling page, for instance. http://www.declanmageecoins.co.uk/G5S.html
  10. declanwmagee

    1887 sixpence

    Welcome to the forum, George. Glad you found us, this is where proper coinies hang out...
  11. declanwmagee

    Load of old tosh

    Crikey, imagine the state the country would be in of everyone started believing the Daily Mail. Oh wait...
  12. declanwmagee

    Ebay's Worst Offerings

  13. declanwmagee

    More Pennies

    If you don't get your reserve. Steve, I'd be very interested in the Bramah. I have all the others..
  14. declanwmagee

    Ebay's Worst Offerings

    Bloody Catawiki operate out of the Netherlands, and you can certainly be held accountable there. This was the closing statement of the report I did for them: " It is my professional opinion that we do ourselves serious and long lasting reputational damage by not carrying out basic due diligence, and that allowing ourselves to be used as a conduit for the forgery industry is the biggest problem we currently face. " As this issue was highlighted to them eighteen months ago, they can no longer claim ignorance. In my view this borders on complicit. I am so glad I got out when I did!
  15. declanwmagee

    Ebay's Worst Offerings

    I produced a dossier detailing Hibbs' activities while I was working there, but a lot of it covered fakes that had already passed through Catawiki unnoticed, so it didn't go down particularly well, politically! That Newark siege piece was one of the first to alert me that there was something fishy going on - he attempted to submit it (or an identical one) for auction in April 2016. It didn't get past me, but many of his coins had been approved before I started there. Sadly, I'm not surprised that he's at it again. Although he has registered under a different name, many of the coins he is selling are, like the Newark, identical. The Edward the Elder penny in the recent Catawiki auction was rejected by me in May 2016.
  16. declanwmagee

    Ebay's Worst Offerings

    Incidentally, a lot of the coins that Michael Hibbs attempted to get past me while I was at Catawiki are available from this eBay user : https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/silvercoincoppy/m.html?_ipg=50&_sop=1&_rdc=1
  17. declanwmagee

    Ebay's Worst Offerings

    I used to work at Catawiki as their British coin auctioneer and was horrified to see that they had allowed this guy to register under a different seller ID and start selling his fakes again. I told my old boss but it doesn't seem to have changed anything. I fell out with them while I was there over exactly this issue. That's why I don't work there any more... The seller is an extremely well known seller of fakes called Michael Hibbs. Last year he was operating out of Istanbul, now it's Bulgaria. Anyone who has been in the Anglo-Saxon field for a while might know the name. Tony Abramson devoted a whole chapter to him in his cracking tome on Anglo-Saxon counterfeits.
  18. A very interesting can of worms, Mick. It introduces the idea of the condition rarity - coins that are common in low grade, but disproportionately scarce in high grades. The best insight, over and above my own findings (which, after all this time, are not inconsiderable), I've found is the book "the Standard Catalogue of English Milled Coinage", written by Cope and Rayner, published 1975, in which they give relative rarity ratings for coins in a range of grades. Rob Pearce sold me my copy, he may have some more, but it's an excellent reference...
  19. declanwmagee

    Artificial Toning

    Ah, thanks Dave, so it's the way it's processed. I thought it might have been an allotrope I hadn't heard of
  20. declanwmagee

    Artificial Toning

    What's flowers of sulphur, Dave? Chemically speaking, I mean