The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 33, August 10, 2013, Article 15


Speaking of eBay, the online auction site is still blocking the sale of legal-to-own Cuban coins and banknotes. In the July 2013 issue of the Cuban Numismatic Association Newsletter, editor Frank Putrow provides an updated, republished below. For more information on the CNA, see: . -Editor

The eBay fiasco began on April 9, 2013. Word began trickling in that eBay was rejecting listing of certain Cuban collectibles. Surely, it had to be a mistake. Maybe eBay was enforcing the vulnerable point of the Cuban Embargo? Maybe the intent was to discourage sellers from listing coins, currency, and unused stamps minted under Fidel Castro’s rule (identified as the Second Republic in Numismatic terms)? WHY? Why would eBay introduce changes in their own guidelines after 10 years? There had to be a logical answer to this policy change!

Unfortunately, after more information was received from many CNA members whose listings were rejected, it became obvious that ALL Cuban collectibles were being rejected by eBay. Even cancelled stamps, known as informational, which are specifically excluded from the Cuban embargo, were rejected by eBay. WHY?

Needless to say, this biased policy resulted in many complaints to eBay management. Formal letters to eBay executives, emails, and telephone calls to Customer Service Representatives produced no reason WHY the new policy was introduced. Telephone calls to the eBay executives were impossible because the eBay telephone system does not provide access to the executive branch. Word was received that eBay customer reps were telling callers that eBay was unable to differentiate between First Republic collectibles (1915-1961) and Second Republic collectibles (1962-current), so THE BLANKET BAN was applied. They added “As a company, eBay can do anything they want and they will apply their new policy”.

My own April 25, 2013 registered letter to Mr. Michael R. Jackson, eBay Senior VP, General Counsel, was answered on May 23, 2013 by an aide, Mike Carson, Global Regulatory and Policy Management. His response is as follows:

“Thanks for your recent letter regarding eBay’s policy on Cuban-origin items. As you know, eBay’s Embargoed Goods Policy prohibits the sale of most items from Cuba (except for informational items) and does include a prohibition on the sale of stamps, coins and paper money from Cuba. While some of these items may have been made prior to the introduction of the embargo, eBay cannot determine when the item was actually removed from Cuba and therefore has made a policy decision to prohibit all such Cuban-origin items. We are not able to rely on disclaimers in the listing that the item is “pre-embargo” and we are in the process of updating our external policy to clearly state that. We have also removed the Guide to Collecting Cuban Coins.

Thanks again for the information you provided.”

I personally find the above position insulting, unprofessional, and an amateur attempt to cover up the true reason for the policy change.

I want to commend a few CNA members who have spent countless hours and their talent in an attempt to resolve this issue. Orlando Pino has written many letters to eBay addressing pertinent issues such as the intent in the embargo regulations as it pertains to Cuban nationals, as well as empirical policy. He has also petitioned the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Control (OFAC), asking for clarification regarding the sale of First Republic Cuban collectibles between a seller and buyer, both of which reside in the US.

Stan Klein, a CNA Director, wrote eBay, pointing out the extremes of the Cuban embargo, as it could apply from sugar, nickel ore, tobacco, coffee, rum, etc. J.G. Ash has written an extensive review of the contradictions of eBay’s new policy.

eBay won't sell genuine legal Cuban coins, but counterfeit U.S. banknotes are apparently fair game. Byron Weston pointed out this lot in the Colonial Numismatics Yahoo group, noting that it's the "Best deal I've seen on eBay lately." For £850.00 it offered 1,000 U.S. $100 bills. "any amount you want 1000 2000 3000 4000 i have for more" -Editor

eBay 100 dollar bills

To view the eBay lot (if it's still posted, see: $1000 $100 Bill US Dollars AMERICAN USA (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON EBAY'S BAN OF CUBAN COINS AND BANKNOTES (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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