SURVIVING ON LINE COIN PURCHASES AND SALES:
1. If the coin is rare/expensive, save yourself lots of grief and buy only certified coins from one of the major coin grading services (PGCS, NGC, ANACS, ICG, etc.).
2. Never ever buy any coin without the seller offering a reasonable return policy. Just because a 'no return' policy is not stated in the seller's ad doesn't mean he can later thru dispute or claim be forced to return your money.
3. Watch out for scams. Believe me, there are plenty of them. Many other guides have covered all the 'bait and switch' and 'shell' games going on, so I won't belabor that point.
4. Know your coins, and know how to grade them! Just because someone offers a coin using their subjective grading expertise doesn't mean they are 100% correct. Again, certified, graded coins are the safest way to avoid disappointment later.
5. Watch out for deceptive advertising. If it sounds to good to be true, it no doubt is. Remember TNSTAFL? It's still true....'There is No Such Thing as A Free Lunch!'
6. Bid/buy with your brain, not your heart. Emotional bidding spells disaster. Bid what you think the item is worth and stop! Don't get into a bidding war with anybody. Shill bidding is alive and well, and hard to prove.
7. Coin collecting is a wonderful hobby, but it only takes one bad experience to turn a very happy, expectant outlook grim.
8. Do your homework. Use recognized pricing guides to determine what the fair market value of coin that caught your interest is before you buy.
9. Remember, dealers only have a small profit margin on most of their stock, so don't expect huge discounts when you buy coins. There aren't any.
10. Finally, sell coins only to a reputable dealer who is willing to give you at least 70% of fair market value.