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Ebay sellers listing minerals without mine or location

Posted by Anonymous User  
Keven Semple December 11, 2011 10:49PM

I am with Mark and Chris on this one - complaints about e-bay abound and I am sure that there are people out there who have been burned. Caveat Emptor!!!!!!!!
And for the record - I have stopped even looking at the Mindat Auction for the very reasons some people in the thread have beaten up on e-bay about.The lack of description in the listing etc etc etc. I have neither the time nor the inclination to open every listing so that I might have a locality for the specimen. I have raised this before however the serial offenders continue to offend. C'est la vie!

gary moldovany December 12, 2011 01:23AM
Greetings. I have followed this thread with interest. It is unfortunate that some folks were unhappy with their purchases on Ebay. I have been buying minerals on Ebay for about 1 1/2 years with very little trouble. Most of the sellers I deal with are Mindaters. I will not name them to protect their privacy, but you know who you are guys and thanks for all of the great deals. Occasionally, a seller forgets to include a label but that's rare. I have even had good experiences dealing with sellers from Europe and the UK. I guess there are a few bad apples in every bunch but I haven't come across any. I have even had a dealer replace a specimen for free that was damaged in shipping. Just my 2 cents worth. Gary
Anonymous User July 22, 2012 05:58AM
hi, personally if i think i can recognize the locality of unlabeled specimen by the matrix or some others specifications unique to only one location.I dont hesitate to buy this specimen and i often save a lot of money. cause unlabeled specimens often mean cheaper prices specimens .it's harder for minerals like quartz , tourmaline and spodumen ect ... often sell without matrix and very similar from place to place but anyway they are already so cheap and common than you can wait for choose one with label. I often buy low price unlabeled minerals just for the fun of finding the mining locality by comparing this specimen to the pictures in the gallery here on mindat.i never seen a seller forcing a buyer to buy a unlabeled mineral .i think it's the responsibility of the buyer too to send a message to the sellers about what he will receive before to buy.i think the worst thing about minerals on ebay it's new age sellers who dint even know often the real named of what they sell.
Tom Trebisky July 22, 2012 02:22PM
I don't buy minerals on Ebay and probably never will.

But I buy a lot of other things from time to time and the solution to all this is simple.
If you don't like the item or the way it is described, don't buy it!

I wouldn't buy a mineral without a location at a show either.

If the specimen was really interesting you could contact the seller and ask for
a location. The danger is that an unscrupulous seller will manufacture one for
you. The really unscrupulous ones do this ahead of time, but now we are getting
off topic.
David Garske July 22, 2012 06:22PM
I've been an eBay dealer for over 10 years and selling minerals by mail for 43 years. Several years ago I started listing specimens with limited or no locality labels, and discovered that there was a market. Apparently quite a few people just want a "pretty rock" and the label is unimportant. Same was true in my retail store, many customers didn't want the label. I sell to a worldwide audience, just not serious collectors. I would rather sell a poorly labeled specimen to a "collector" than have him (or her) buy a well documented one and then discard the label (or mix up the labels so you can't figure which label goes with which specimen).
What makes a properly labeled specimen? Country isn't enough for most collectors, neither is region "Illinois". City is probably OK for most collectors. Mine name is much better, if possibly location within the mine is best. Same with history, most specimens come with little past history, but a selection of prior labels back to the field collector along with dates would be excellent.
Many older specimens only had vague localities, look at 100+ year old catalogs and you will see Vanadinite, Arizona. The two biggest collections I've purchased were poorly labeled, but many specimens were distinctive enough to easily attribute a locality, Illinois fluorite, Brazilian brazilianite, Franklin misc.
Anonymous User July 24, 2012 06:14AM
hi, im one of mr. Garske customer and i very love the way he doing thing .when i begin my collection .i dont even care about the label but now than im more serious , i cannot say it's isn't important but with more experience i can now often find the locality by the matrix and if i can't it's a great reasons to discuss about a possible localities here on mindat . a great way to meet interresting people and learn more and more about minerals. Personally , the only one kind of seller i dont trust on ebay . it's the new age sellers. they dont even know what they offer ( probably cause they dont even care about) selling an ugly quartzite for 100$ it's the true scam.i think since long time than ebay must put them in a side categorie only for this kind of persons .the other day from one this sellers i seen a stone labeled calcite or fluorite or maybe quartz. if you can even make the difference bewtween this 3 minerals please dont sell stones.finally the solution is learn about what you buy to make the good decision
Brent Lords July 28, 2012 03:25PM

If you attribute a location based on your experience - and I agree it can often be done with a significant level of reliability - do you state that it is an attributed location on the labels? I would think that you owe buyers / bidders this.

And regarding - finding information about locations before you buy: sometimes one runs into a sweet item with little or no time for back and forth communications. So you bid and hope the dealer can reveal the information.

From my limited experience on eBay, is that there are a lot of young/new sellers/dealers there who don't realize or appreciate the importance of location. This is especially true as the specimen gets closer to its origins, and is more common where a strong mineralogical collecting community is not well established such as China and India. I look at the communications I do as an opportunity to educate. Some dealers respond to this and evolve, and some do not. But it can't hurt to try.

Bill Morgenstern July 28, 2012 04:30PM
If I see a specimen on eBay with no label or mislabeled from a location I recognize or may already have in my collection, I buy it at a good price as a duplicate or upgrade. I have added some really nice specimens this way some of which were probably sitting next to each other when collected. After over 45 years collecting I have learned to store a lot of info from personal observation and correlate this to certain locations, example a fine fluorite from the Blackdene Mine, Weardale that was mislabeled Elmwood.

Each to their own but becoming knowledgeable through astute observation pays off for me.
Owen Lewis (2) July 28, 2012 07:14PM
I can see that many collectors of mineral specimen are passionate about the requirement for accurate detail as to where the specimen was collected. This is an absorbing interest in itself. I'd also agree that whatever reliable information there may be on the origin of a specimen, it may be useful to some that it is preserved and kept with the specimen ever more. However this very often does not happen and, in some cases, if it did it could be fairly meaningless. E.g. for minerals dredged from the sea bed.

A very large proportion of people, I'll guess, have collected one or more stones in the course of their life, having had some appeal to their owner when first seen - enough to stoop, pick it up and bring it home. Some of those will go on to learn more about their small collections and even about minerals more broadly. Then there are the gemstone owners, who also represent a very large slice of humanity; they very rarely collect uncut stones and, when they do, more often than not, have no interest in knowing whether a source was mined in the 8th or the 9th adit of the X, Y or Z mine - even were that information available and almost without exception, it is not. So, to each their own interests.

The question must be asked, however, for those whose interest is absolute specificity and authenticity in site information, what the level of accuracy is in the statement that a collector receives where an item is not self-collected. It seems to me that those particularly concerned as to the absolute accuracy of these statements should either be self-collectors or to trade only with like-minded self-collectors. For very good reason 'hearsay' evidence is considered always as suspect and frequently as inadmissible in serious matters. Apply this level of evidential rigour to mineral collecting and it would mean that any self-collected piece could be sold on just once with a high level of assurance as to the correctness of the statement of origin and any second or subsequent owner would not be able to pass on that statement to another party when transferring ownership. And hence false or mis-represented statements would vanish ;-) Hardly likely to happen though is it?
Barry Miller August 02, 2012 12:57AM
Location information is very important to me and certainly must include more than just the country. So the only way that I will even consider bidding for a specimen on eBay or buying a specimen from a dealer is if the mineral's description (on eBay or the dealer's website) specifies the locality. Then I can check the internet to see if the locality given is credible before I bid or purchase. If no locality information is given, I move on.
David Garske August 02, 2012 02:50AM
Read the descriptions! If a dealer has just size and a locality, s/he is probably a "GD label reader" (in the terms of the prof who taught me beginning mineralogy). If they can't give a good description, crystal size, abundance, arrangement, associations, they probably are not too good at recognizing the minerals they are selling.
Trevor Dart August 21, 2012 02:32PM
I have found eBay to be a great source of mineral specimens over the past few years and I have had my share of sellers who did not fully label their material, sometimes this was to my benefit!

So far I have scored two top class specimens due to the mislabelling of the sample, including a $10 yellow calcite that turned out to be a superb mimetite from Mount Bonnie and just recently I bought a $4 green tourmaline that was actually a doubly terminated 2 inch long epidote floater from the Kayes region of Mali. Knowledge is the key... If you can recognise a mineral for what it is worth, then you will always spot the bargains first. It is not the mislabelling or lack of labelling that concerns me, but the very poor photography and exuberant postage costs that get up my nose.

As far as labelling is concerned, I'm not one who cares for a label with the specimen unless it is historical. A newly printed label only helps to fill up a box in my top drawer, after I have catalogued the sample and placed my self-printed "life-saver" label on the piece. If the listing on eBay has a good description, then it really doesn't need an accompanying label - I can just cut and paste the info into my database from there.

As an eBay seller, the printing off of labels can be a waste of paper if you only have to do one or two and adds extra time and cost to your listing. I try and make the information on my listings comprehensive with everything that I would want to know if I was a buyer of mineral specimens.

The extra cost to print off individual labels is another thing that increases the starting price for my listings. This is especially valid when eBay take their cut, then PayPal don't honour the exchange rates when they take their cut and then Australia Post keep upping their postage cost without much prior notice. Selling your excess minerals on eBay will never make you rich, but it has given me some free cash to go and buy those samples I did not have in my collection.


Cheers, from my little piece of the Sunny Australian Outback...
Anonymous User August 22, 2012 07:16PM
hi, i discuss about this topic with a friend of mine and he tell me than he received strange request about the exact collecting date of the specimens he offered . i want to know if someone really care about the date or years when the specimens was collected before to buy it. my friend always giving the full label for the specimens he offered but the date i find this exaggerated..bye
Paul Yih August 22, 2012 10:14PM
I guess, any extra data or information that we can collect will not be of any harm -- the more info the better they are for the future references. I know many folks are reluctant to show the origin of the stones or specimen -- due to fierce competition and all . But when we can, I think to show the region or the location of any gemstones and specimen is a great gesture by the contribution of more knowledge . I am all for it and I do so myself with items form Brazil and wherever else.
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