The Follies and Foibles of eBay.com Replica Notes

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Op-Ed – Inspired by a forum thread at forums.collectors.com – Some of the best information and news in the paper money hobby comes out of online forums. If you’re not sure what a “forum” is, it’s a website where people gather with a common interest, post discussions, and share their knowledge. Forum sites serve all kinds of purposes: they keep enthusiasts aware of breaking trends, notify fellow collectors if bogus notes are being circulated, offer supplemental knowledge about notes you wouldn’t know unless you asked an expert in person, and bring buyers and sellers together in a trusted environment to conduct business.

I was browsing the forums.collectors.com website today and happened upon an interesting thread about replica notes being offered for sale on eBay.com. Forum veteran “numbersman” wrote a post lamenting the sheer number of replica notes found when searching through eBay’s paper money section in an attempt to buy authentic United States currency. Click Here to Read the Thread Now. Other forum members wrote follow-up posts in resounding agreement.

I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who gets annoyed when trying to dig through eBay.com’s thousands of paper money listings. Before I wrote this article, I went through eBay.com and found a few replica and novelty items that probably belong in their own completely separate category. Sure, these items are fun gifts and conversation pieces, but for a hardcore paper money collector they can strain the eyes when hunting through eBay.com for that special note.

$10,000 Replicate Notes
When these puppies flew past my screen during my eBay.com search, I was shocked. WOW, the find of a lifetime: two $10,000 notes for just $0.99 starting bid. Oops, upon giving them a second glance, they’re just reprints.

$1000 Note Replica
Egads! These normally go for more than $25,000 USD at Heritage Auctions. The one digit starting price looked like one hell of a deal until I realized…….it was a replica. 🙂

$2 Grand Canyon Note
This interesting find is a standard $2 bill remade to commemorate the Grand Canyon. It’s a neat piece for sure, but still a bit of an eye sore for those looking for classic 1976 $2 bill rarities among the sea of other small size notes listed for sale at eBay.com.

$2 Gold Dollar
These particular collectibles make appearances now and again: 2 dollar bills forged in metal with gold on the outside. Gold prices being what they are these days, somehow the auction starting price of $59.95 seemed to good to be true.

$1 Novelty Piece
This interesting creation also pops up consistently in the “Small Size Notes” section. The colorized George Washington and draping flag are cute, but still a bit cumbersome for $1 bill fanatics trying to find a truly rare item.

$2 Bill Origami
This one was my favorite by far: it’s a $2 bill dress shirt folded together following the art of Origami (Japanese Art of Folded Paper). This one is actually pretty cool and would look great on my office desk as a conversation piece but for its small size. You probably either love or hate this auction. True $2 bill aficionados might have a heart attack knowing that a choice uncirculated $2 star note was refashioned into a mini-dress shirt. Others who have paper money collectors on their gift lists might think it the perfect gift, making this particular auction definitely worthwhile on eBay.com, but NOT in the authentic small size notes section.

Returning to the thread at forums.collectors.com, we can find some wisdom on what to do with these anomalies. Some suggest creating an entirely new category for novelty items. Anyone posting a novelty item or replica would be restricted to this specific category only, so that they can’t pay for an additional listing in the authentic note sections. Another proposed solution was to ban them outright, but this would be against the spirit of eBay and also unprofitable for them since people do indeed buy reproduction pieces. Finally, one poster concluded that it might very well be impossible to truly weed out these items, since it would require eBay.com to invest money in developing special programming for the entire paper money category. In these difficult economic times, most companies are NOT looking to spend money unless they have to, so this option goes out the window unless a mass protest and petition effort was put together to scare eBay into changing its ways. 😉

I have a couple solution of my own worth considering:

  1. Shop at PaperMoneyAuction.com – we don’t list replicas, gift items, or other passing fancies; just 100% collectible United States Currency. Furthermore, we conveniently categorize notes by denomination, type, and Friedberg number, allowing you the ability to compare prices between offerings from the hobby’s best dealers. When was the last time you could surf eBay.com by Friedberg number? Most of the time you’re lucky if you get the right denomination and series listed properly for an auction lot.

Wow, that was a short list of solutions, look’s like this article’s author is a bit biased!

Yes, he is! With more than 2,000 notes to choose from, PaperMoneyAuction.com dispenses with all the cockamamie shill bidding and schemes that plague eBay auctions and simply lists notes for purchase only. If you make an offer using our system, the respective dealer is notified and you can negotiate further terms of sale on your own. PaperMoneyAuction.com only makes money if a note sells. Otherwise, it will get picked up each week by our software until it is removed from a dealer’s listings at their own website.

If you’re a dealer with a website full of currency and you’re interested in getting your inventory listed at PaperMoneyAuction.com, take heart: you don’t have to lift a finger. We automatically index your inventory for free, saving you hours of wasted time. We also save you money because you won’t have to purchase automatic bulk listing software that many dealers use on eBay.com.

So, if you’re tired of the Mickey Mouse notes and Muhammad Ali $2 bills, have a look at our pages instead. I’m confident you’ll find a great buy offered by the hobby’s top dealers at the SAME price listed at their official websites!

Origami $2 bills can’t be found here, although if you know of any advanced paper money folders we’d be interested in a bulk purchase of those fortune telling pieces!

This article is opinion only and not based on any scientific study or research. The author’s motivation for writing this piece is purely selfish in that he hopes you shop at PaperMoneyAuction.com instead of wading through the smorgasborg and clutter that makes up the current eBay.com large and small size paper money offerings.

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