Investors in Time Limited
Following the collapse of Essex coin dealer Gold & Silver Bureau, several new companies seem to have appeared in the Essex area, some of whom may have connections with Gold & Silver Bureau .
We first notice somebody calling themselves Investors in Time Ltd , advertising from a prestigious address in New Bond Street, London, but with a P.O. Box address in Essex. We originally suspected it may be have been run by the previous owner of ' Gold & Silver Bureau', but were trying to get more information.
We have now been contacted by Investors in Time Ltd, who assure us that they have no connection with Gold & Silver Bureau, and that they are a perfectly respectable and well established company. It follows from this that we would withdraw any previous advice we may have given about exercising care or discretion in dealing with this company.
Update September 2006 - Rip Off or Fraud?
Investors in Time Rip Off
Don't get ripped off by this company.
Gold & Silver Bureau of Ilford Essex
Back about November 2002, Gold & Silver Bureau of Ilford Essex, run by John Coppin, went into liquidation owing millions to customers who had paid for krugerrands, sovereigns, or other coins.
One of our web pages from earlier carried out a price comparison with Gold & Silver Bureau, showing that if you bought 35 items from their catalogue, and the same 35 items from us, you would be much better off.
On the 35 items listed, you could have bought them from us for £2,2821.73, compared with £4,047.75 buying them from our nameless competitor, a saving of £1,226.02, or just over 30%. Looked at another way, you would have paid over 43% more buying elsewhere!
The closest item, at only 5% saving, was a current year's coin, where we sell at a similar price to the Royal Mint, and presumably our competitor feels constrained by the Royal Mint's pricing. Similar considerations apply to two other newly released items. The maximum percentage saving was 86%.
Gold & Silver Bureau Spawns...
Investors In Time Limited
Head Office: 72 New Bond Street, London, W1S 1
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2084, Canvey, Essex, SS8 7WJ
Some time after Gold & Silver Bureau closed down, we notice a few new names offering coins for sale from the London or Essex areas. We tried to find our who was behind these new dealers, as we suspected it might be John Coppin setting up once again. It seems that a couple of his ex-managers, or ex-employees had set up their own business, possibly using Gold & Silver Bureau's database and mailing list, and were selling similarly overpriced sounding coins. They were also using a prestigious sounding London West End address, which is actually only an accommodation or forwarding address, we believe. We created a brief page about them on one of our websites.
Shortly after we were contacted by Steven Lawson, a director of Investors in Time, and told that he had seen our web page, but it was inaccurate. He had no connection with Gold & Silver Bureau, had never worked for them, and would we correct or remove our page. It seems that we removed or unlinked it, but will now check our archives. We were also reliably informed by a number of other dealers that Steve Lawson used to work on Telesales for John Coppin.
A year or so later, an eBay member biggysmalls1976 started bidding on a number of our eBay auctions. We remember them paying too much for a Proof Krugerrand set, about £775, against our website price of £650, and a trade price of perhaps £600. It turned out to be Investors in Time! They later changed their eBay identity to makeveli41276.
On their last bids, we never got paid, and filed a NPB strike against them, which we rather naively withdrew when they told us they would send us a cheque immediately. It never arrived, and we never got our eBay selling fees back.
They are now shown as "Not a registered eBay user", as of 31st August 2004.
We wondered how much they charged their customers if they were paying silly prices on eBay when any other dealer in their right mind would have bought direct at lower prices. We recently found out, as we made an offer to buy a coin "collection", all of which had been bought from Investors in Time. The lady selling it was already aware that IIT we more than a little suspect. Here are a few highlights from the collection, taken from the invoices which accompanied the coins...
We recently bought most of a coin "collection" which a lady bought, all from Investors In Time Limited. Almost everybody her at Chard's, including all our staff, find it hard to believe that prices this company had the nerve to ask, and get, for almost every coin in the collection. In addition to absolutely incredible prices, many of the coins were inadequately described. Any reputable and honest dealer should and would know enough about the coins, including medallions and unofficial pattern coins (replicas), to have described them as such, but many of the items are described in such a manner as to lead us to believe the descriptions are either negligent or fraudulent.
Overcharging is Not Illegal, But...
1 x Queen Elizabeth II 2001 Four Coin Proof Silver Britannia Set... £295
(We sell the same set for £85, and note that there are currently a few on eBay, at Buy it Now prices from £85 to £100, and two auctions, one with a first bid of £49.91, the other still waiting for a starting price bid of £0.99, but with an extortionately high postage and packing cost of £8.50, by Royal Mail 2nd Class Recorded (Recorded specifically excludes compensation for coins!). (Some eBayers complain about us charging £2). IIT were charging 3.47 times our price!
Although it is not illegal to overcharge, this price represents a complete rip-off,
This invoice was signed by Alan Worby, Sales Advisor.
1 x 1831 King William IV Proof Full Gold Sovereign £1,000
In our strong opinion, this coin is not a proof. The proof version has a plain edge, and although this coin does appear to have a plain edge, it has also been mounted, and the mount removed, leaving an obvious solder mark, it is also worn, scratched, and creased. The edge appears to have been filed off, probably t remove the mount, but this has also removed its original edge finish leaving it appearing to be a plain edge. Even this is not very convincingly executed, and the workmanship is laughably crude and bodged. In our opinion, this coin is worth little more than its scrap value of about £75 to £80.
We believe that any dealer selling this coin as a proof would be committing fraud.
This invoice was signed by Ashton Seymour, Director.
Alright it is not a criminal offence to be semi-literate, but...
Among the other copy invoices we have seen, we noticed a number of other outrageous prices, but some of the spellings and other errors in the descriptions also caught our eye...
- Extremelt Rare
- 1 x 1658 Oliver Cromwell 1 oz Gold 24 24 Carrat Medalion
- 1828 King George V Wreath Crown
- 1830 King George V Wreath Crown
- 1 x 1710 Queen Ann Guinea
- 1 x 1728 King George I Gold Third Guinea (a One Off Type) The Smallest Coin Ever Struck
- 2 x Queen Victoria Gothic Full Gold Sovereigns
It's doubly frustrating for us to deal with the matter of appraising, making an offer, and buying such a collection. The first frustration is that somebody could be stupid enough to allow themselves to be conned into buying such a large number of over-priced coins, many in lower grades, or with problems such as heavy edge knocks, mounting marks, creasing, tooling, and more. To see unofficial pattern replica material sold and certified as genuine and authentic is enough to stir up numerous emotions. This lady could have come to us, or any number of other dealers, and obtained similar or better material, for about half the price on average. If she had gone to any BNTA member she would have got a fair deal. In most places, she would have got friendly and helpful advice. Instead she got ripped off and conned.
The second frustration is that, when somebody has overpaid by such a large factor, it will always be difficult to buy the collection at a reasonable price, as the owner faces the truth of crystalizing their loss.
Call the Police?
We try to advise the owner about their legal rights, and discuss possible lines of action. Much depends on the person. If he or she is so angry at being "taken", then we would encourage them to make formal complaints to the police, Trading Standards Office, or any other relevant or regulatory body. On the other had, there is much to be said for putting everything down to experience, and putting the whole matter behind you. This is probably the best thing from a personal health and well-being point of view, but it does depend whether you can shrug your shoulders and carry on, or whether it will continue to nag at and haunt you for the rest of your life, in this case, making and progressing official complaints is probably the better action.
Bad For Business
One of the other reasons for our anger and frustration is that this type of thing is bad for the coin business. It is likely to put off not only the original buyer, but many others also. It is likely to create distrust of coin dealers, and bring the numismatic hobby into disrepute.
One reason we publish information like this on our websites, is to try to bring these matters into the open, deter other potential mugs from being caught out, and at the same time, to let people know that we care enough to go public about these things.
We have been asked to point out that Coin Connection, also of Essex, have no connection with Investors in Time. They are genuine honest traders to the best of our knowledge.
Fair, Objective & In the Public Interest
We have to try and steer a careful course on our websites. As you may have noticed, we try to comment on coins in general, and not just use our website as a sales catalogue for our own coin stock. We try to comment on matters which we think have sufficient public interest to justify our time and effort in creating opinion and comment pages. When we criticise anybody, we try to be fair and objective. When we criticise a competitor, direct or indirect, we have to be extra careful to be fair in our approach and comments. We need to remain aware that the laws of libel and defamation are quite rightly there to help protect against unfair and unjust comment.
More to Follow
It's already past midnight, and we have already set our alarm clock for 6.30 tomorrow (today really), so we will cut this short for now, and try to add more later...
Update May 2008
The Investors In Time website now reads: " This business is CLOSED. All enquiries regarding Investors in Time Ltd should be made by telephoning 01634 895700 ext 5775"
This is the telephone number of The Insolvency Service, part of the Official Receiver's Office.
Regency Coins (UK) Limited
Successors to Investors in Time with a similar Modus Operandi.
Regency Coins in High Court
Update May 2012
Regency Coins has ended up in the High Court in London. See our page.
Gold & Silver Bureau & John Coppin
Forerunners of Investors in Time.
Please see our "Copyright" page for further information.
Copyright Infringements Remedies
Our suggested draft remedies for copyright abusers dependent on category - competitors, bloggers, pseudo-expert & advice sites acting as eBay & Google portals, eBay & other auction site sellers.
Other Copyright Abuse
Other Copyright Abuse
Stack of Gold Bars
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Reverse of Baird and Co. 1 Ounce Gold Bar
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