How I did on that US Mint American Eagle Platinum Coin

(Hat tip to Miles Per Day for the title inspiration)

Good afternoon everyone.  Back in July, there was a lot of commotion about the US Mint American Eagle 20th Anniversary Platinum Proof Coin.  The platinum coin went on sale at 10am PT on July 6 for $1,300 and there was a private group who would buy the coin from you for $1,325 (and provide a free shipping label), so you could make ~$20 profit by buying this platinum coin and then selling it to this private group.  Since this was a limited release, I figured I could sell the coin on eBay for much more than $1,325 and make more than a ~$20 profit.  So, how did I do?

Since I wanted to be one of the first people to have the coin listed on eBay, I paid an extra $15 for expedited shipping.  My total cost was $1,320.95.

I tried selling the coin for $1,499.99… no bites.  How about $1,449.99… no bites.  How about $1,399.99…no bites.  How about $1,349.99…no bites.  By this point, I had listed and relisted the platinum coin multiple times over ~2 months.  I was sick of this platinum coin and wanted to get this platinum coin sold and out of my life.  I eventually accepted a Best Chance Offer (Buy It Now price that the buyer and seller both agree on) for $1,2750.00.  Ouch, that hurt.  I was looking at a loss of $45.95 ($1,320.95 – $1,275.00) before taking into consideration eBay fees, PayPal fees, and shipping costs.  The largest fee was the eBay Final Value Fee which is 10% of the selling price, so I paid $127.50 to eBay.

Then it was the PayPal fee which is 2.9% + 30 cents, so I paid $37.28 to PayPal.

Then I shipped the item via UPS Ground with insurance and signature confirmation for $25.43.

When I added up selling the coin for a loss, plus eBay fees, PayPal fees, and UPS shipping , I had a total loss of $236.16.  Ouch, I did terribly.  I knew eBay fees would be 10%, PayPal fees would be ~3% and shipping would be ~$25, so I would have had to sell the coin at $1,547 just to break even ($1,547 – $154.70 in eBay fees – $46.41 in PayPal fees – $25.00 in shipping = $1,320.95).  I overestimated how popular the platinum coin would be and took a big loss.  In the future, I will skip coin reselling and stick to what I know best: gift card reselling, where I know the buy price, sell price, and I can calculate the profit/loss before buying a single gift card.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great weekend everyone!

67 thoughts on “How I did on that US Mint American Eagle Platinum Coin

  1. dhammer53

    I’m still amazed at all my travel freinds that go to lots of efforts to make a few dollars. I include going to Stamples to get a few dollars off $300 in gift cards. Seems like a lot of work for a very limited payoff. YMMV.

    dhammer53

    Reply
        1. Ferris

          I couldn’t agree more. Spending 20 minutes driving, in the store and driving for maybe $20 of UR points, plus a few bucks on gas, then a few minutes mailing in a rebate. You’ll net around $15 for half an hour maybe. I honestly have to think some people must have nothing to do with their life. I love churning and making a profit, but I can think of 20 things I’d rather do than a Staples GC run.

          Reply
          1. Gerald

            I can walk a couple of blocks to a Staples store from one of the places I work. It takes less than a minute to submit the rebate online. I haven’t been shut down by Serve, so liquidating the Visa or MC gift cards I get at Staples is simple at the two Family Dollars I pass on my way to/from work. The $20 Visa gift cards are perfect for doctors’ copays (or for loading onto my Amazon balance). I’m not greedy — I abide by their one offer per household limit — so it’s not a lot of extra work.

          2. Jimbo

            My last staples visit earned 6,000, cost $0 besides 6 miles total of gas, and took about 15-30 minutes total to buy and empty. So that’s 6000 * 0.015 = $90. Even if it took 30 minutes that’s $180/hr. Worth it for me.

  2. Bryan

    Sometimes the first offer is the best offer…. Should have used your gift card instinct and took the sure thing instead of the gamble…if you wan to gamble go to vegas where you know the odds.

    Reply
  3. David T

    Ouch, that hurt! I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I participated in the sale and sold it to the group. Funny thing is, I actually debated doing it the same way as you! I thought it would be super popular but I’m glad I stayed cautious now! ;-)

    Reply
  4. Jeremy

    Not worth it for such a small profit margin if you’re trying to do this as a side-gig, etc…
    The reason you would want to do something like this is primarily for manufactured spending or credit card churning (whether to meet a minimum to get bonus points on an intro offer or to take advantage of % cashback e.g. 5% Staples or 5% Target Redcard).
    The real dependencies to make the deal are
    A) Buy a discounted Ebay gift card (sometimes Target/Target.com will sell them and you can get 5% back using RedCard) if possible
    B) research various coins on Kitco or exchanges to resell directly to
    C) track pricing for the said coin(s) on Ebay (look for sellers offering free shipping… usually APMEX)
    D) if the price is lower on Ebay than the payout from Kitco, etc, immediately place a sell-order on Kitco for the appropriate coin(s), buy the coin(s) on Ebay using Kitco’s shipping address as the shipping address, and reference the Kitco sell-order #. (This way you don’t have to worry about additional shipping costs, etc.)

    I did this twice to help meet spend minimums for credit card bonuses and it worked out very well. Fairly easy and the risk is not too high.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Amendment/clarification on step D:

      The price typically will *not* be lower on Ebay than Kitco’s offered purchase price. That’s OK though if you were able to buy the Ebay GC(s) at a discount. For example, I paid $1310 for a 1oz Gold Royal Canadian Mint bar shipped free on Ebay from a private seller and sold for $1297 to Kitco. This is a $13 “loss” in of itself, however, I bought $1000 worth of Ebay GCs from Target.com prior using my Redcard for a 5% discount (so $50 discount). So really, I came out ahead at $37. I did this a second time with APMEX, and got slightly less of a cash return but I did earn ebay bucks off that order, which I think I used to buy a Paypal digital gifts gift card (at the time you could buy those GCs with ebay bucks). So really the greatest dependency here is if you can purchase Ebay GCs at a discount (at least 5% or more).

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Is this still possible? I did this for years, not to resell, but rather to buy silver and gold below market value. I thought quite some time ago, though, eBay ended the ability to use gift cards to purchase bullion, and even longer ago, stopped paying eBay bucks on bullion.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy

          Not sure… I did this back in May/June of last year so it was working then. I think the Ebay bucks on bullion was YMMV – somehow it was offered with certain sellers but not others. I know APMEX was one where it was being offered. They may have done away with it completely or it may have been a glitch. As far as using gift cards on bullion, I don’t know – I figure, if it’s a gift card, they should care less what you use it for. I would understand if this were a coupon and they imposed those limitations but not for gift cards. Who knows though – maybe they’ve become more restrictive with GCs too.

          Reply
          1. NinjaX

            haha. and where have you been Jeremy? everything you said had been shut down way long ago, but its not like you had any ill intentions. but there are tons of n00bs around here looking for handouts. ur story may get them into deep shit. so FYI, for anyone reading this, eBay and PayPal and Target had shut down this party train down way way long ago. if drop shipping to kitco was still going on, it would be all over reddit like AGC Venmo.

    2. Jeremy

      Ah nm… apples to oranges. Your process to make a profit was a little different but generally with the same end-goal. That said, if i were to try to make a profit off coins, I would never list on Ebay. I’d only sell directly to interested groups/individuals where there’s no additional cut into the profit OR I’d sell to an exchange. And the only way I’d sell to an exchange is if they are offering more than what I paid (duh) OR if I got the coin(s) under market value prior (whether that’s by using Ebay GCs I got at a discount to purchase them on Ebay or whatever)

      Reply
  5. Joe

    I think part of it was a marketing ploy to generate interest. I’m pretty sure within a week, they even lifted the purchase restrictions, so it wasn’t such a “limited release” as advertised. For things like these, I would think you’d get more value holding on to them long term and hoping that the value goes up through metal prices or just the rarity / collectability of them.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      If I was a collector of platinum coins, I would definitely want to hold on long term, but then again, if I was serious about platinum coins, I would buy a MS70 graded coin and hold on to that for a long time.

      Reply
  6. Earl Lee

    Couldn’t you have just sold it to this “interested group” ? Or did you have to commit to that early on? They had no interest in buying it after the fact?

    Reply
    1. Justin

      You had to register in advance with the buyer and they were accepting a limited quantity. I found out about it the day after they offered the deal (before the coin even went on sale) and their quantity was already taken.

      Reply
  7. Carl P

    Did you still have the option of selling for the $1325 with no/less costs being incurred, rather than going OBO route, or was that gone?

    Reply
  8. Adam

    Should have had more patience what day did you sell it on? They are currently on back order for $1350 and soon to be $1400. Plus if rumer is true the obverse lady liberty might be the last year. I got mine graded at Denver ANA show for $75 got PR69 Ultra Cameo. However I plan to never sell maybe 20+ years from now but I have 2009 to 20!7 with exception of 2010 which I hope to by a PR70 for under $1500. I think you might really regret selling so soon. Plus it’s so beautiful especially since I don’t have a 1997. I almost bought a bullion 2016 just for the design. Next stop palladium Eagle!!!!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I believe I sold the coin last weekend. If I was more patient, I could have sold it for more, but after trying to sell it for 2 months, my patience was running low. I’m glad you are a passionate coin collector :)

      Reply
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  10. Beth

    I think folks on this blog were concerned the private group buyer was a shady deal but it worked fine and I was paid promptly. No reason you couldn’t do that next time in addition to continuing your gift card MS.

    Reply
  11. Bob Gilbert

    I live in New York City, and I’ve typically sold my coins to Bullion Exchanges in the Diamond District. It looks like they also have the option to ship to them in if you live elsewhere:
    https://bullionexchanges.com/sell-to-us
    I’ve sold some new and old coins to them and they consistently offer more than what I would be able to get on eBay.

    Reply
      1. Bob Gilbert

        But if you have to ship to them, the equation looks less attractive. But find a bullion dealer in your area and sell to them.

        Reply
  12. Sam

    Enjoyed reading your article. I’m very sorry that it didn’t work out for you. One of those things, where you put it in the bucket of “live and learn”.

    I did buy the same coin on the same date for $1300 + regular shipping, with an agreement to sell it to a mint buyer for $1330. Little bit of profit + credit card points have made it worthwhile for me.

    Reply
  13. Paulie

    Just a note. I purchased also. Minute I saw limits removed I sent back to mint for refund. Only out of pocket cost was return shipping $10

    Reply
  14. Spencer

    Last year (Summer 2016) eBay clamped down on MS via precious metals. Until then you could buy $1000’s in discounted eBay gift cards, wait for a good eBay bucks day, and buy precious metals well below spot price after your savings. All you had to do was receive the precious metals and sell to bullion dealers at sport price. Since then, eBay blocks the use of gift cards on all precious metals categories.

    Precious metals = bullion for this discussion. Collectible coins are still fair game, but are very hard to resell for what you pay since they are always valued at the metal value + the collectible value.

    In the end you lost over $200 selling back via eBay and Paypal. It might have been good to check with a few coin shops locally who might have been willing to pay $100-$200 under original purchase price.

    It’s all risky in the end. I was a “bag holder” of $1200 in discounted eBay gift cards when eBay pulled the plug on bullion. I had to buy some high end computer parts from newegg’s eBay listings and build a new gaming rig for my son. At least my “loss” was a “gain” for my son!

    Reply
  15. s

    “Since this was a limited release, I figured I could sell the coin on eBay for much more than $1,325 and make more than a ~$20 profit.”

    You were at a loss even with your initial ~$1500 offering. How much were you expecting to sell for?

    Reply
  16. JG

    In the future you might want to consider opening a store for $25/month, which you can cancel at any time. Having a store reduces the final value fee for coins from 10% to 6.15%, which would have saved you about $50. Even with the store fee you would’ve come out $25 further ahead.

    Reply
      1. JG

        Thanks, you too! FWIW, I’ve been bitten by coins too, so I understand (I had this platinum coin in my cart and only passed on it after a lot of hand-wringing). More generally, Ebay stores are something to keep in mind before any kind of reselling. E.g., the fee for video game consoles, iPads, etc. drops from 10% to 4% with a store, so it usually makes sense provided you’re selling more than one.

        Reply
  17. Danny

    I think people are being too hard on you. Sometimes you win and other times it doesn’t work out for you. There’s no fault in trying to gamble for more profit. I’m sorry you lost on this one.

    I do think that there potential for profit but it will require the right opportunity and lots of demand and excitement. I think its a mistake to entirely rule it out for the future.

    Reply
  18. Rose

    Just wanted to say kudos for being so open and honest about your experience. Refreshing and helpful in a world of being led astray by so called “gurus” on the net, who are generally not inclined to tell the truth.
    It takes guts.
    Hope your next move is a winner again:)
    Looks like this coins value may still go up enough for a nice profit in the not too distant future.
    I think coins may not be a good choice for a quick turn around or instant gratification. Still there was some good information to be found in this comment section.

    Reply
  19. Nick

    Sorry it did not pan out. I will not knock you for it. It takes a degree of risk to hit on something that just might pay. It tells me that you have balls. Personally, I like to dabble in ETH, BTC, and various E20 tokens. Research for at least 6-months and then do some test runs (small deposits, small trades, small sells) to get the hang of it.

    Reply
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