by Al Doyle - exclusively for CoinWeek.com .......
In recognition of the strong and growing market for precious metals, eBay and APMEX have teamed up to launch the APMEX Bullion Center on eBay. Beginning October 16th, eBay customers will be able to access APMEX's inventory and current prices from the home page of the popular on-line marketplace.
eBay general manager of emerging verticals Gene Cook explained how the two well-known firms came to an agreement.
"We have been aware of each other for some time,We initiated a deeper conversation and did our due diligence. Bullion is a key traffic driver for us.... We have definitely seen that it helps the collectible coin volume as well as other categories. We think it's a big deal for our broader selling community on eBay."
As eBay recognizes the importance of coins and related items in the firm's overall business volume they have also reached out to the numismatic community. John Albanese , founder of Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) observed, “eBay has taken some pretty significant steps in the industry this year, including building its relationship with the PNG and making the decision to restrict the sale of replica coins. I see this as a positive development for the industry as a whole – a win-win for buyers and sellers of precious metals and bullion.”
The multitude of local dealers and part-time bullion vendors on eBay will still be able to offer their products for auction. Current rules and commissions rates will remain unchanged.
John Feigenbaum owner of David Lawrence Rare Coins in Virginia Beach, Va. serves as a rare coin consultant to eBay. He sees the synergy with APMEX as a step in the right direction.
"I personally think this is a very logical extension of the changes eBay is trying to make with the rare coin and bullion communities," Feigenbaum declared. " What if you want 250 silver Eagles? There's a certain scale it takes to have the proper amount of bullion inventory. APMEX does what they say, and they have a really polished, professional appearance. Embracing bigger dealers legitimizes the eBay platform and brand."
The alliance with eBay didn't come together quickly, according to APMEX executive vice president Paul Montgomery.
"We've been working on this project for more than a year," Montgomery said. " eBay has been very interested in this for a long time. It's a completely different marketplace for us. It's a whole new world. and it's impossible to quantify how many new people will come into bullion through eBay. This is going to be a game changer for our industry. "
"One of the biggest challenges for us was updating prices on a regular basis," Montgomery said. "On eBay, once you have a price, it stays on unless you go in and change it. They've never had this [regular automatic price adjustments] before on eBay."
Price updates in the APMEX Bullion Center (on eBay) take place once every 10 minutes .
Unlike most other retail products, gold and silver trade at razor-thin margins. If anything, the normal eBay commission is equal to or higher than the typical buy/sell spread on bullion. None of the parties interviewed were willing to discuss the commission scale in the APMEX/eBay deal, but it's obvious that the normal rates aren't going to apply.
However customers using the APMEX Bullion Center on eBay have an added benefit of knowing that all their purchases are covered by eBay's buyer protection plan. That is a major plus for the consumer.
Both parties are involved in the Bullion Education Center that will provide information and guidance to novices in gold and silver buying and investing.
"Even though there are a huge number of active coin buyers and sellers on eBay - I've heard as many as a million - there are a lot of people who don't know much about coins," Feigenbaum observed. The Bullion Education Center will provide a resource for buyers unfamiliar with the precious metals markets.
"We hope to remove some of the mystery of purchasing bullion for consumers," Gene Cook added.
While it's too early to say what kind of impact the eBay/APMEX collaboration will have on demand for precious metals, it's a major step in creating much greater awareness for tangible assets among the general public.
APMEX Bullion Center on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/Apmex
Bullion Education Center: http://www.ebay.com/bullion-education-center
Video from ANA Money Show in Dallas
Gene Cook, General Manage Emerging Verticals, eBay, Paul Montgomery, Executive Vice President, APMEX, Interviewer: David Lisot.
All kind of coins and collectibles trade on eBay but precious metals have always represented a challenge due to the small price premiums and volatile markets. Now APMEX and eBay have announced a new trading platform for gold and silver. Hear from their respective representatives why this new venture has been created.
Copyright © CoinWeek LLC. October, 2012
ANA Money Show