Saxby's Coins

    Here I report my experience with Saxby's Coins, a U.K.-based coin seller who works through eBay.  In January of 2014 I  had the winning bid for a coin that was purported to be a sestertius of the emperor Nero (54-68 AD).  The photos showed a coin that was credible enough.  The seller's ratings were quite high -- over 99% positive with thousands of transactions, so I felt confident.  I sent payment via PayPal and within a couple of weeks the coin was in my hands.  The transaction went smoothly and I was happy enough.  I noticed shortly thereafter that the patina seemed to come off more easily than one would expect, so I started to become a bit suspicious, and I did some Internet searching on Saxby's Coins and found some reports of their selling forgeries.  At that point I became more worried and after some time passed I decided to send the coin to David R. Sear's Ancient Coin Authentication Service to have it checked out.

    In a few weeks the envelope from the service arrived and I opened it with some trepidation.  Instead of a description of an authentic coin, I was looking at a heading called "Forgery Report".  The weight was wrong for a real sestertius, the patina was artificial, and the design details were rather soft.  I was disappointed, of course.

     Remembering that Benjamin Stocks at Saxby's promises an unconditional guarantee of authenticity on his eBay Store, I wrote to him via the eBay system.  He wrote  back and was apologetic, saying that he would never knowingly sell a forgery and that I should send it back.  I did so, including a copy of the forgery report, via registered mail and did not hear anything, so I checked after three weeks on the US Postal Service website and I could see that the coin had been delivered two weeks prior.  I wrote to Mr. Stocks, again through the eBay system, but had no response, so I wrote again in two days and again had no response.  The next day, I filed a report with eBay and they promised to investigate.  This all happened within the first half of this year, 2014, and on July 12, 2014, I saw the same coin (my coin!) again up for auction at the Saxby's Coins eBay site.  It had a closing date of July 20.  It was item number 141344432920.  The weight that he reported was wrong -- David Sear weighted it at 21.02 grams (too light for a real sestertius), but Stocks said that it was 22.91 grams.   In spite of my reports to eBay that it was a forgery, it appeared to sell on July 20.

    Even the best of coin dealers might sometimes be misled by a forgery -- that's why they offer unconditional guarantees -- they are willing to acknowledge a mistake and make it right when the coin is shown to be problematic.  Then there are sellers who purposely sell fakes as genuine.  One might have suggested that Saxby's Coins is simply ignorant about their material, but here is an iron-clad case where Mr. Stocks has been presented with a forgery report and just does not care.  In this case he is also a thief because my money was not refunded.

    He has a great scam going -- by selling largely authentic but cheap coins he is able to rack up lots of positive feedback.  He can slip in a few too-good-to-be-true coins along with them -- they sometimes go for much higher prices.  Note that if you check the feedback it is almost all for items that were fairly cheap -- less than about $200 -- where is the feedback for the higher-priced more suspicious coins?  One individual on a fraud site suggested that Mr. Stocks complains to eBay when he gets negative feedback and it is removed, thereby maintaining his high positive numbers.  It really works well for everyone except those who end up with forgeries -- Saxby's gets their money, eBay gets their fees -- quite a scam.  We can only hope that reports to eBay will at some point really be investigated.  I've also reported it to the FBI, so maybe that will get eBay to notice.

    I really hope that this is the only entry that I have to make to this coin fraud site, since most of the dealers that I have interacted with are great people and are willing to stand behind their coins.

    I am pursuing this case with law enforcement in Staffordshire -- maybe the local authorities can deal with this criminal.