Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wolf at the Door: HSN Uses Propanganda to Sell 2010 Proof Silver Eagles

The smiling coin salesman on HSN is like the wolf about to eat the Three Little Pigs!

When the U.S. Mint opened up sales for the 2010-W Proof Silver Eagle in November of 2010, the price was $45.95 each for consumers with a limit of 100 coins per household.   Now HSN (Home Shopping Network) is selling these very same coins for $179.95 EACH plus $9.95 shipping and handling.  HSN is a big customer of the U.S. Mint and the price they paid for each coin was way below the $49.95 that consumers paid.  On April 3, 2011, HSN was selling these coins at an alleged "Price Break" for only $159.95 each plus $9.95 S & H.

HSN charges $100 per coin over retail prices on 2010 Proof Silver Eagles.

The Wolf: Mike Mezack sells coins for ridiculous prices to consumers on HSN.
On the website, Mike Mezack is called a "Celebrity, Expert Numismatist."  Well, this blogger has seen this "Expert Numismatist" holding coins with his thumb and finger on the obverse and reverse.  Young children who collect coins are taught to only hold coins by the rim.  What Mezack is is a salesman--and only a salesman.  The website tells us that during his career, Mezack "has produced sales in excess of one billion dollars, and is regarded as the greatest numismatic salesman in the world." 

Watch Mezack and another salesman use propaganda to sell these coins at prices that gouge the consumer.

Please notice the sales tactics--propaganda--they are using.  They talk about the price of silver going up dramatically, while they are lowering the price of the coin by $20.  This makes it sound like are giving the consumer a "deal."  They don't, however, tell you what the price of silver is on April 3, 2011 (the morning that their "show" was aired).  The price that day was around $38/ounce.  Now the proof issues of the Silver Eagles do command a premium, but it is nowhere near what they are charging: $159.95 each.

2010 Silver American Eagle Coin with U. S. Mint Box
Click on the coin to purchase a 2010 Silver Eagle at a realistic price from!

The Numis Network website tells us that "...Mike revolutionized the numismatic coin industry by pioneering the sale of graded, modern issue silver and gold coins. This transformed the industry."  In other words, he came up with a gimmick to increase sales.  People are impressed with coins graded MS70 or PR70 in a certified holder.  What the HSN boys don't tell you is that the vast majority of modern coins are available in those grades.  It is the older coins that are rare in high grades.  No modern coin in an MS70 or PR70 holder is rare. 

Note how the coin is packaged and marketed by HSN.  The ANACS holder says "First Day of Issue," which does nothing for the coin's value or collect-ability.  Additionally, the wood box is just a toy that no coin collector needs.  It is just another gimmick.
Let's take a look at some closing prices of the same exact coin on eBay from April 16, 2011, when the price of silver was around $43/ounce.  That is $5/ounce more than April 3, when the above "show" aired.  First I will take five 2010 proof silver eagles that are not in ANACS certified and graded holders.  The average price is $70.20; the highest price was $73 and the lowest was $69.

There were two ANACS certified proof Silver Eagles graded PR70.  Both sold for $79.95 with FREE shipping.  The only difference was that these coins did not say "First Day of Issue," but that really means nothing to a collector.  The price difference is a whopping $100.  The price difference on the non-certified coins is a little more: $108.80.  These savings are based upon HSN's regular price of $179.95.  So if people purchased their coins on eBay at true retail prices, they would have saved $100 or more. 

Do you remember what P.T. Barnum said?
P.T. Barnum famously said, "There's a sucker born every minute."  The fellows who sell coins on HSN have taken that to heart and have improved upon it.  And they are helped by the people who buy their overpriced coins.  How?  Because most people don't bother educating themselves about the coin market and precious metals market.

If someone you know has bought coins on HSN, please send this blog post to them.  If you have personally bought coins on HSN, you can still educate yourself.  Find a local coin club.  Attend local coin shows.  Get some books on the coins that you enjoy.  HSN is counting on you not to do that.

So it all boils down to this.  If you want to spend your money foolishly, then you can believe what the charming, smiling boys on HSN are telling you.  If you don't want to be fooled and robbed by their propaganda, then educate yourself.  Coin collecting can be a wonderful hobby--if you do it right.

Copyright (C) Eric Brothers 2011.  All Rights Reserved.


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  3. interesting to note that mezack is selling a 2013 gold buffalo graded pf70 by anacs at 2999.95. apmex is selling the same coin graded pf 70 by ngc a much better grading company for 1445. a difference of 1500. who would be stupid enough to buy the coin from hsn?

  4. I bought some coins from Mezack because he said in his presentation on HSN that the grade was "Guaranteed for Perpetuity" . I called ICG who graded the coin as well as HSN themselves and neither had ever heard of such a Guarantee? Is this illegal and can it be prosecuted?

    1. When he said "Guaranteed for Perpetuity" he meant that the coin was guaranteed as being authentic forever. It was just a fancy way of that, making it seem to be more than it was. If you want to enjoy coin collecting, I suggest that you locate and join a local coin club, and then begin attending coin shows which have dozens of dealers. Then you can get a feel for the true culture of coin collecting. Please only watch HSN to see how they manipulate people with words, images, and that stupid clock ticking away.


  5. He is a scammer always lying about mintage figures of reverse proofs to make a buck.

    1. I should tape one of his shows and do some factual checks.

  6. The other evening he was selling the bicentennial proof set and the uncirculated set together for $79.95 plus shipping. That reminded me that I have been meaning for a long time to get the proof set just to have it. Bought it for $16 on eBay with a perfect box and COA. Probably overpaid at that :-). The uncirculated set is probably worth the face value of the coins. Imagine the profit that Mikey is turning on that junk.

    He isn't worth the overpriced bullet it would take to blow him to hell.

  7. Someone needs to investigate the relationship between Mezack and the other TV charlatans - such as ESN Direct - with ANACS and ICGS, both of which play a role in the con games with their meaningless proof 70 and MS70 grades on modern coins.

  8. Last night Mike was selling a 1991 $5 MS70 Gold Eagle stating it had the lowest mintage which made it a key date and very valuable.
    The problem is that the lowest mintage for that coin was 1988.

  9. Mike really needs to do the world a favor and jump in front of a train. That guy is scum. I understand everyone wants to make money, but I watched this clown last night selling mint sets and 40% Kennedy halves. The Kennedy halves he said as he kept quoting prices from a "nationally recognized coin guide" were worth $20 each. What price is that he keeps reading from?

    1. The "nationally recognized coin catalog" is from Littleton, another famous coin company that sells coins for 2-3 times their value.

  10. I was once told by a former grader whose employer will remain anonymous that HSN spends so much money that they actually can dictate the grade they want and how many of that grade. I defy Mr. Mike to tell the difference between his MS69 & MS70.


I look forward to reading your comments.