Update 11/7/20: I got a cancellation email from the US Mint this morning indicating that the gold coin “was cancelled because the item(s) are no longer in our inventory and are not available for backorder.” Easy come, easy go! Bummer.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good — and this afternoon, I had a whole lotta luck. Many readers (and countless thousands of others) tried in vain this afternoon to score one of 1,945 commemorative World War II coins issued by the US Mint. As is often the case with popular US Mint deals, the website crashed repeatedly. Somehow, through the fog of error pages and messages saying I was temporarily banned, I got through an order for the $2,600 gold coin that is already being flipped by others on eBay for $10,000. It was roughly akin to getting struck by lightning and it was quite a thrill to get to the order confirmation page. Readers who have followed this deal know that despite the potential for clearly massive profit on the private market, I had opted in to sell the coin to PFS Buyers Club. I’d be lying if I said that part of me didn’t want to forget about my prior commitment and sell it to the highest bidder, but I ultimately knew that I had to sell it to PFS for several reasons.
First, I said I would sell to PFS. If I can’t keep my word on a deal involving a thousand dollars in profit for me, what good is my word on anything? Sure, it turns out that the profit potential in this case was much higher in the end. But the bottom line is that PFS offered the deal and I chose to opt in to it. It would be wrong not to honor my commitment. A deal is a deal.
Second, there is the fact that I would have been very unlikely to have known about this coin were it not for PFS Buyers Club. As I noted in my post earlier today, I don’t have direct experience with other buyers clubs who were offering to buy this coin, so I’m not on their email lists. Were it not for the PFS email alerting me to this coin, I never would have known it existed no less that it was an opportunity for a big profit (OK, so other blogs in this space would have likely covered it I guess – but I think most of them who did cited PFS). At the end of the day, how many people trip over the random opportunity to make a thousand bucks on a Thursday afternoon? Few – and I wouldn’t have been one of them if they hadn’t done the legwork to know about the deal and let me know about the deal. That’s worth something. I am going to be a thousand bucks ahead of where I was yesterday and where I would have been this week without their email, so if they also make a handsome profit, good for them.
Third, I know from past experience that deals this big are super rare. I know that some readers would argue that this is precisely why I should take advantage of the big score here and sell for top dollar. But on the other hand, I have enjoyed having random opportunities throughout the year to pick up big easy spend and a few bucks profit at the same time thanks to this particular buyers club. While I’m likely to see some of those opportunities based on the usual shopping and occasional reselling that I do, the truth is that the types of deals that PFS offers are usually for products that I would otherwise know nothing about. I noted in this morning’s post about buyers clubs (in pretty strong terms I think) that buyers clubs have inherent risk. However, when they operate well, they can be a win-win. I’ve had a number of little wins over the past four or five years with PFS, and I’d like to see those opportunities continue. I want the model to work out for both sides. I imagine more often than not, the percentage profit they are earning on these deals is far far far less than this time around. So if they scored big today also, so be it. There are other times when an extra couple thousand dollars in easy spend on a coin deal I’d not have otherwise found could come in handy and I’ll be happy to have the opportunity to pick up points and profit since a buyers club like this exists.
All that said, I think I would be remiss to ignore the fact that PFS did not have nearly the best payout on this deal. As you’ll hear us talk about on the podcast this weekend, the trouble with buyers clubs is not knowing what you’re getting into. There were a couple of clubs that I’d never heard of previously that were offering as much as $2500 in profit on this coin. I had already opted in with PFS and didn’t have experience with those other clubs, so I stuck with PFS this time around. However, the takeaway for me was to wait and see next time before opting in. Any of these clubs would have been happy to have new customers opting in as late as this morning given the resale opportunity here – I didn’t need to opt in a couple of days ago for a deal with such a low mintage.
However, at the end of the day, I have pretty high confidence in PFS coming through on their end of the bargain given that they must be thrilled to pick up the coin at such a low price point, so it’s a pretty secure win with extremely low effort and time commitment. It’s not as good a win as it could have been, but I’ll take the win nonetheless.
For those wondering how I managed to score the coin, I imagine it is in large part a stroke of luck, though I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of getting previous Mint deals. I am very persistent in refreshing as soon as the page has loaded (or failed to load) and I follow the directions on things like looking for the bag to pop up as soon as the coin is added to the cart, clicking it once, and this time I found that using Chrome enabled me to populate credit card information faster than using the Mint drop-down (which seems to just get bogged down). The Mint site always crashes to a halt on these deals and it is often a matter of patience and persistence to score big – but if you’re able to sit at the computer (or a couple of them) and dedicate yourself completely to the cause for 20 or 30 minutes, it isn’t impossible to get most of the deals (though it was nearly impossible this time).
I also scored one of the silver coins. As fate would have it, I didn’t opt in to sell that one, so I’ll try my luck and see if I can get a slightly better return with that one via eBay or the like. All in all, it was well worth dedicating part of my day and I’ll sleep fine feeling thankful for the unexpected windfall. I’ll just need to try to avoid refreshing the eBay search page I have open in another browser for the next few days…..
I had one in my cart that crapped out due to too many refresh attempts…I’ll note for the future that the mint limits hits…
I am not sure you read pfs opt in terms now that you haven’t gotten the coin and thus sent it to them when you agreed to the terms your on the hook for possibly owing them for their profit lost as listed in the opt in terms of agreement which is exactly why I didn’t opt in myself as though I def had every plan to try I also wasnt able to secure a coin so I def didn’t want to leave me on the hook for something out of my control not sure they will actually pursue that but if you looked closely at the opt in fine print its something they can.
I am not even a little bit worried about that. As I said previously, what would the end game be for them? To file a thousand lawsuits and rack up legal fees on each of them in the hopes that they win a case that’s weaker than IHG’s elite benefits? The business would be toasted as nobody would ever opt in to a deal again. And if they did decide to throw away their business to pursue that as you’re interpreting it, there’s no way it would hold up. We talked about it on this week’s podcast. I have absolutely no fear of them coming after me because the Mint canceled my order and if they do I have absolutely no fear that any reasonable legal mind would find in their favor.
They didn’t come after me last time. Odds are that you can’t get most coins.
Did you sign the same contract as they have now for this coin offer
Easy come, easy go. Got a cancellation email from the Mint this morning saying that my order “was cancelled because the item(s) are no longer in our inventory and are not available for backorder.” Bummer!
Never count ur Chickens till they hatch ..Most people would have spent the money on Amazon already.
wow, i’m impressed. I hardwired in my laptop thinking that would help, but no such luck. I had one in my cart, but couldn’t get through checkout before they were all gone. Oh well, got a silver one as a consolation prize.
I was fortunate to snag one as well. Which card did you use to purchase the coin? Unfortunately I’m not working on any sign up bonuses but I had a $1000 spending offer for 10,000 points on my bonvoy brilliant I took advantage of. Now I’m debating if it was the best option…
I had several accounts set up and ready to go, each (obviously) with different credit cards. I would have liked to have gotten the coin on the BOA Premium Rewards card for 2.625% back (with Platinum Honors), but as fate would have it the window where I got it in the cart and checked out was loaded with my Venture card. Not the end of the world as I’ve written before that I’ve got this weird redemption in my account where I can redeem Capital One miles at a value of 1.4c each toward certain hotel gift cards (including Marriott, Fairmont, and Four Seasons).
I definitely wouldn’t be unhappy with that 10K Marriott offer — so you’ll end up with more than 15K Marriott points, right? Nice score IMO.
Yes, Nick is doing the “right thing” people, by keeping his side of the deal and selling it to PFS. Now you go do the same, so that PFS will keep its side of the deal with Nick and pays him thousands of dollars in referral fees. That’ll nicely make up for the lost $$$ from selling it to them in the first place. Just be sure that if it weren’t for the referral $$$, Nick would be hawking his coin on eBay right now. Preaching for you to mail it to PFS is just so he’ll get his money.
Really, he only heard it from PFS? Well, he must not be online much, as I heard it from 15 blogs and 6 buying clubs (each of which offered significantly more than PFS). It’s just a deceptive practice: hype the low payout buyers club, then push people to send in their coins (giving up thousands of dollars) and collect a fat referral check himself.
I’m not preaching or pushing you into doing anything. You do what you want to do. Feel free to read every post I’ve written – I haven’t once said that anyone should do business with PFS or any particular buyers club (and in fact I wrote pretty extensively about the risk in dealing with any of them). I’ve shared my personal experience with PFS just like I shared my personal experience at the St. Regis Bora Bora or my personal experience using credit card cell phone protection or anything else I’ve written about here as a means of sharing what I’ve done and how it has worked out. I earn a salary here – whatever FM may have gotten in referrals (I have no idea whether the blog got any) doesn’t weigh into my decision at all.
As I’ve said repeatedly, I didn’t hear about this coin from 6 buying clubs because I haven’t done business with 6 buying clubs and I’m not really interested in chancing it with an entity I’m not familiar with when I’ve got one I’ve had good experiences with. If you’ve had good experience with 6 different clubs, that’s great. Sell to the one you like. I have no argument at all against that.
So much cynicism huh?
I am subscribed to three buying groups and follow several blogs in this space religiously. I too learned about this deal from PFS first – at least 24 hours before anyone else mentioned it. Thus I opted in with them before I learned about anyone else making an offer. Could I have backed out? Yeah… but would it be lame of me to do that? Yeah…
Additionally, instructions from PFS was way clearer than any other buying group or blog. Understanding my odds and the logistics was tremendously helpful to someone who’s otherwise clueless about the coin hobby. I’m not saying these things should make me loyal to a buying group, but you see at least some people regard these as important reasons to keep their words.
I’m not suggesting you or anyone who opted in shouldn’t sell the coin to PFS, I’m just pointing out that Nick is pushing the point that it’s the morally right thing to do. That may be true, but why is he making that point so explicitly? In other deals I never hear him about morals? Well, I suspect it is because last time many people did not end up sending the coin to PFS and this time to avoid that they “would appreciate it” if Nick would suggest to his readers that they should, if he wants to receive the referral $$$. That to me is deceptive.
Look, there are two models for buyers clubs: high payouts, low referral bonus, or high referral bonus, low payouts. PFS is the leader of the low payout, high referral, and that works just fine for Nick, given referrals are more important to him than payout, but that’s not true for the rest of us.
All that is fine, and he’s not forcing anyone to participate, but I object to the moral blackmail applied.
Again, when Staples puts a limit on fee free prepaid cards, Nick is all about visiting 5 stores to find the clerk that didn’t hear about the terms, but now, suddenly, he’s advising us on what’s the morally right thing to do? Many of the practices, including for manufactured spend, are morally dubious and it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves what they’re comfortable with, that’s fine, but that’s not what’s at play here, this is not what Nick is comfortable with, this is about referral $$$
Hey thanks for the reply. I understand and appreciate the level-headed explanation.
Your position reminds me of my comment calling out JM Hoffman 3 years ago on this blog, for what seemed to be a paid article for the Uber VISA card. It’s certainly disappointing when a blogger appears to be misinforming or manipulating the audience, even if it’s not intentional.
Perhaps I am more inclined to cut FM some slack because I’ve grown over the years to really trust this team for their integrity, especially when compared to some of the biggest brands in the travel blog industry. If FM is willing to forego the massive cc affiliate revenue (when it’s not in the readers’ best interest), I don’t believe they’d be pushing a much more niche audience to PFS for a few bucks.
And – I don’t want to put words in Nick’s mouth – the talk about “morals” is probably just something to help justify the decision at the end of the day. I did pause briefly yesterday between PFS’s $150 offer for the silver coin and PointsMaker’s $160 offer. I went with the $150, telling myself it was the right thing to do. There were other considerations such as convenience and past experience, but it felt good to pad myself on the back about having made a moral decision.
@Aaron: When we speak at events, we often talk about how everyone has a different line – there are things in this game that I might do that you wouldn’t and that you might do that the next person wouldn’t, etc. That’s fine. I don’t claim to be the litmus test of morality for anyone. I wrote about what I chose to do and why. I’m not sure why that makes you feel blackmailed.
In terms of this fantastical idea you seem to have about referral bonuses, let me say this: there’s a reason you don’t see the TPG’s of the world writing about buyers clubs. The referral bonus paid to members ($20 for general members, usually less I believe for blogs) is not enough to influence the content of any blog even if it were available on scale and not a deal where fewer than 2,000 coins were even minted.
Further, if affiliate / referral commissions had any influence on our content, you would see a lot more “top 6 reasons I love card XYZ” posts and zero – I repeat zero – posts about fee-free gift cards from Staples or bulk gift cards at Simon Mall or bank account bonuses or shopping portal stacks etc. There are some banks we don’t have credit card affiliate links for because we write about manufactured spending. If we’re not going to stop writing about manufactured spending in order to open up ongoing regular revenue streams, the thought that a buyers club that has a deal a couple of times per year would have the pull to be able to ask us to write anything even if the referral bonus were hundreds of dollars per customer rather than tens of dollars is so completely off-base and ridiculous that I’m not going to belabor the point further. PFS had no idea I was writing this and didn’t ask me to write anything and if they had it certainly wouldn’t have had an iota of influence on what I had to say.
You’e clearly going to believe whatever assumptions you want and I accept that. But I think that if you stick around and read our content regularly you would know how far off base you are. I’m not going to engage this point further as I don’t think I’m going to convince you of anything and you obviously can’t convince me of something that I know not to be true, so I wish you the best and hope you enjoy the next post more than you apparently did this one.
How did you do it? I set-up everything ahead of time, but kept having to reverify myself as a non-bot, and then the site told me I was blocked. I have purchased one coin in the past. Did anyone else experience this?
Yeah, pretty much everyone experienced that I think. It was like winning the lottery basically – just a matter of luck. I had two different browsers on my computer with multiple windows tethered to my cell phone and my wife was on another computer connected to the home internet. She just got blocked out like most people. I did have to do the captchas twice, but got my order through (eventually got the “banned” message when trying to get a silver through the same browser / account — got the silver in another browser.
Great you got the coin, but why all the moralizing about it only being the right thing to sell it to this particular group? And not mentioning that you do have a business relationship with them is super shady. You had the referral link up in the post, and per their terms it’s not allowed to be put on blogs. So, clearly you have a business relationship with them. Greg better watch out for the integrity of this blog because it’s going down the drain with slick Nick.
It’s the right thing because it’s what I committed to do. If I hadn’t opted in, of course I’d sell it for more.
Greg did reach out to them about putting a referral link in the post that he wrote about the deal and they OK’d it (and it is well noted in that post).
If you think that Greg getting a few referrals is why I kept my commitment, you’re just wrong. If breaking that commitment would show you more integrity, then I’m not interested in your kind of integrity.
“If breaking that commitment would show you more integrity”. You’re missing the point. You are making it sound as if you are doing the morally right thing and that is guiding you. But it is not true, you are doing it because of business interest. And, morals are not generally guiding you, or are you busy writing stories about why you would never sign up for a business card if you don’t actually have a business, or buy stuff to resell if the retailer clearly does not want you to do that? Even after Walmart banned you for reselling you happily kept it up.. how’s that keeping your side of the deal?? Just don’t moralize, sell the coin to them if you want, but don’t morally blackmail others into doing the same thing just because it’s in your business interest. That’s just deceptive
Thanks for all the great information you post and help out with. I have a different question though not on the coin – but timely nonetheless, as it’s deadline-related – I just downgraded my Reserve to FU today in the Hope i can get the Sapphire Pref tomorrow night or Sunday a.m. before the 80k bonus expires. Is doing this within 24-36 hours going to work? they say the Reserve doesn’t cancel in the system right away? any advice is appreciated…
No, that probably isn’t going to work. It likely won’t clear the system for a week or two. You can try, but you’re probably going to be out of luck.
I also had it in my cart, but when I hit “send” with my credit card info it was “this product is no longer available”. Congrats, because I’ve never been successful on the hot items.
I hope you’re getting more than a $1000 profit from PFS. I negotiated a much higher pay out from PFS for both gold and silver coins. In the end though I agree with a lot of the comments, I won’t sell to them again. This is the first time I’ve done one of these deals. I will buy/sell on my own in the future.
May i know the price you negotiated it for?
Good $$$$ now go to Vegas !!!
Yes or NO on Taxes as in a 1099 ???
I’ve never gotten a 1099, but always claimed the profit.
Congrats Nick. As far as I’m concerned you deserve good Karma for all the tips you’ve given us readers over the years that made our travels so much cheaper than I ever thought possible. I personally only got the silver coin and plan to give it to a charity to auction off so they can make some money off of it.
Congrats Nick. After hours of battle planning, and clicking the refresh page 25 seconds before 9 AM (PST) , I had to pick bicycles and Boats. Did all that several times, but it seems I not a human being , but a Robot (per US Mint) and I was temporarily banned from the site . As a consolation in the midst of all this confusion, I i managed to get a silver coin in another browser. Though $62 is nowhere near $1000, it is better than $0. Again, congrats.
Glad you came out with something! I only got the boats, but eventually I got temporarily banned also. Lucky to have gotten an order through for each!
Congrats! I had the coin in my cart/bag but while checking out it then became unavailable. Ah so close. I do think a lot of it is luck.
Congrats! This is like winning the lottery. I tried in vain but no luck. It crashed. I have bought several coins with PFS so they are legit but to be honest I wouldn’t have sold to them if I scored as other buying groups were paying more than double so I would have sold to them instead.
I was able to get it into my basket after only a few refreshes (and I live on a mountain with S-L-O-W internet), but by the time I raced through the credit card part and clicked to buy it, it was “no longer available.” Then I spent an hour trying to get the silver one, which I finally did, but the gold coin kept showing up in my basket and wouldn’t go away! When I got beyond that, it was multiple freezes, yeah, the bikes, more spinning, refreshing each step a dozen times, opening new windows and backing up.
I was blown away when the gold one showed up in my basket, but I’ll take the silver. I have done half a dozen deals with PFS and never had a problem with them. Similar to Nick’s comment, I never would have known about this without being on their list, and I’m happy to stick with them rather than speculate somewhere else. I hope they make a lotta dough on this one. (It’s a beautiful coin and I’d like to keep it — my dad served in WWII.)
Exact same thing happened to me! Finally made it all the way to the cart and plugged in my C.C. security code and “no longer available” Arggg. It was IN MY CART!
Thrill of the chase… maybe next time.
Same thing happened to me! We were all sooo close! Yes if I did get the gold coin I would have sold it to PFS. I actually have met Aron in the past and he’s a great guy. I live in NYC and whenever PFS allows me to drop the coin off in Brooklyn, I’d do that.
I too was able to get both coins. I chose to go solo as the profit potential given limited supply was already high. I would have known without PFS mentioning it.
That said, they’re a legit business and they do right by their customers. I’ve done at least 4 transactions with PFS over the years so reading attacking comments (everywhere) about them is getting old and just isn’t fair criticism.
No one forced you to agree to their price and terms. If they’re able to get $X price for the coin then why do you care if it’s not your money? The market is set by high and low offers. If they don’t get enough business with lower offers then that’s their prerogative and maybe it works out or maybe it doesn’t. That’s business.
On another note, anyone here thinking about getting it graded before selling? I’m not in a hurry to sell the gold coin.
I absolutely would get it graded knowing what I know now.
After an hour and 10 minutes of trying, I was able to purchase a silver coin. Website kept kicking me off and showing errors. I saw those the silver sold out later too. Oh well .
I’m probably not the only one that would love to NEVER see another buying service related post here. Congrats on the “win”, but to throw away $3-4k is just asinine.
I got a silver coin and I’m happy with it and will hold for a bit
Perhaps it has something to do with integrity instead… Which is obviously rare these days…
Not a lot on integrity here in this story. Not a buy group but an individual buyer, not even an LLC or an organization
Nice score, Nick. I was hit by error, refresh, captcha (boat or bicycle), temporarily ban, then it is gone. I do not remember seeing that in the similar deal last year. Seemingly T-mobile helps you win. ^_^
I got the boat a couple of times. The secondv set of boats was my armada apparently.
Yes the CAPTCHA boats… I remember them. One of them sailed away with me in it.
I’m amazed at anyone that got the coin. I have gigabit internet and all I got was blocks from my IP and broken pages over and over. Congrats to anyone that won the lottery!
Yep same. My laptop was directly connected to my home router and have GB internet too and was not able to buy it. I was close though. I think with these it’s mostly luck. Ah well… hope we’ll fare better next time.
PFS is such a shady place where others are paying so much more. Is this a paid story by PFS?
I mean, I’m selling the coin to them for a thousand dollars profit as I say in the post. But they didn’t know I was posting this, no. Have you had an issue selling to them before?
As I note in the post, I know that there are other ways to get more. Had I known for sure on Monday that I could sell for ten grand, I probably wouldn’t have opted in. But I did opt in and I’ve only had positive experiences with them – always gotten paid as agreed and on time and apart from one reader earlier today who said that his coin got lost in transit (and didn’t answer when I asked why he wasn’t able to recover with an insurance claim since these things ship insured), we’ve never had a reader report not getting paid.
Believe me, if I had past experience with a club that was offering more before I opted in with PFS, I’d have obviously taken more. But I didn’t. C’est la vie. A win is a win.
Now your mattress run will be cheaper. Sold mine for 7k on another buying group.
I’m happy for you. Jealous, yes (it definitely crashed on me) but no sour grapes here (unlike others). Good going actually getting through. It was a fair fight.
Having seen PFS for the past several years, I only jumped in for the first try last week with the Nike’s Air Jordan – didn’t score – but the process makes me feel a lot more comfortable with future deals. I’ve nevered heard of anyone not getting paid or bounced checks.
I will say that I appreciate PFS walk-through with arrows and circles (just wish I had paid closer attention to the last part (skip phone number for tracking) and clicking the opt-in box.
I had it in my cart and used Roboform password manager to Autofill CC info- similar to Chrome. I did try have 4-5 attempts (first for some reason my Exp date was 2020 instead of 2025 – was’nt Roboform – I digress about the 5th or 6th attempt it had pop-up showing sold out about 9:06AM PDT – I ordered the Silver with Confirmation by 9:12 AM PDT.
I had no issues with multiple tabs or refreshing after the page loading timed or finished. DId’nt even get a CAPTCHA. Also didnt use Chrome. Set up my US mint account yesterday. rebooted computer about 8:30 and opened three tabs per PFS direction. Comcast cable with 300Mpbs.
In a few slack channels people were crushing this story About how you are gushing about the lowest paying buying group that’s not even a group, not an llc, not anything but an individual. Please add a disclaimer because one-day you’ll get called out at chicago seminar or somewhere you can’t hind behind internet and it won’t be pretty. For someone who goes after nickel and dime everyone felt you were laid or sold yourself out or have a business arrangement going on here. Usabuying is paying 5k, an established llc buying club
I don’t think so years ago Nick was doing online deals like Greg .They go after all $$ deals which I have done none of.Their not telling u to do anything BUT their telling what their Doing .By that way ” People are in the Game ” but costs them Nutthing.
I guess I’m late to this. I’ll just say I did the palladium deal and the box arrived opened from the mint/UPS so I contacted PFS and they were like – we don’t want it— so I had to return it. So total fail- Lot of hassle, not their fault but be advised- there is risk involved.
What’s with all the hostility here? Geez. Do what you want with your own gold coin – nobody is calling you unethical – and leave Nick alone.
I’m with Nick here. Scored (only) a silver coin and will ship to PFS for $60 rather than going for $300-400 profit on eBay. I was planning to do the same if I had snatched a gold. All similar rationale as listed above. In addition, while their instructions could seem a bit micromanaging to the more advanced players, I am grateful that PFS walked me through the process step by step during my first couple attempts. Not sure I’d be comfortable with reselling / buying groups without that experience.
A fact worth recognizing is that, unlike banks and travel companies to which churners represent a tiny portion of the customers, buying groups deal exclusively with the profit-driven deal-seeking people like us. If we treat commitments with them as put options (e.g. only honor our end of the deal if no better bargain is found after the fact), they’d go out of business in no time. That would not be in our best interest, would it? I’ve done coin deals with PFS before where demand was far less than expected and people could buy directly from the Mint even days after – PFS paid my commission anyway despite it being possibly a money-losing arrangement (for them or their downstream buyer).