Recently I had a discussion with a client about the liability of an auctionhouse. The client stated that with the presence of a notary, the authenticity of the goods was guaranteed.
Sadly the reality is different: the notary is only present to oversee the selling proces. And even there not all is perceived. If the auction conditions are read carefully, they often state that the auction is held on behalf of the owners. Mostly this is not the auctionhouse. In that respect, the auctionhouse is only an intermediary without liability and can it be a difficult proces to obtain redress. Also, the possibilitie to file a complaint is often limited to two weeks. To find out if a coin is authentic takes usually more time.
When it comes to a trial, this usually takes place in the country where the auctionhouse is based. For most buyers this results in more costs and problems. Often these costs outweigh the purchaseprice of the coin. It may be clear that for buying at auctions the old “Caveat emptor” certainly holds true.
So, it is no superfluous luxury at all to have the advice of an expert when you purchase at auctions. It will result in a small percentage extra costs, but you are asssured that your purchase won’t give you headaches later on.