I think it was about a year or so ago that Banknote World announced they were going to start releasing Banknotes with their TAP (Total Authentication Promise or something like that) notes with these blue labels.
Up to that point Banknote World had been a very good source for me on PMG-graded notes. But then they had these things and a lot of their marketing started focusing on these and less on PMG and they never got any newer releases in stock as PMG graded notes – they’d stopped sending things to PMG it seemed.
So, this led me to conclude pretty early on that they had either gotten tired of paying fees to PMG or they’d gotten tired of getting saddled with a lot of notes in 65/66 EPQ holders that they had to sell at a loss because they aren’t good at screening notes for submission.
But, in either case, they seemingly had decided to “break up” with PMG (and PCGS, but, who cares about them anyway when it comes to banknotes).
They made this even more clear about 2 weeks ago when they announced a “clearance sale” and put all PMG and PCGS graded notes on inventory on sale for 25% off. I think the funniest part of their announcement of the clearance sale was them talking up PMG and PCGS graded notes and how recognized and respected they are... and no prominent mention of TAP in that email... Interesting...
And now, after abandoning eBay like 3 years ago, they’ve started listing a number of their PMG graded notes on eBay, I’m guessing because their clearance sale didn’t do as much as they’d hoped to clear this inventory they’ve been sitting on for a while. So I take it they are just really desperate to empty out their inventory of these notes.
I know I didn’t order from that sale even though they had some 68 EPQ Zimbabwe notes I wanted. Why? Their order minimums – which they keep increasing.
It used to be, in 2019, I could spend $20 and pay $4 shipping and get a couple of note I wanted, but if I spent over $50, I’d get free shipping. Then you couldn’t order at all unless you spent $50. Then you couldn’t order at all unless you spent $100. And I don’t always want to spend $100. Sometimes all I want is a small impulse buy.
There was more than one time when Sam was in the hospital, and we didn’t have a huge amount of money to throw around and I got to order 2 notes on a 50% off sale for $20 and pay the shipping and get out with 2 notes for my Zimbabwe set for $24.
Then in 2020 their customer service became absolute garbage. Every time they screw something up it takes 3 weeks to get a $10 refund from them. And those corroded Zimbabwe coins I got? That was from Banknote World. Never ordering coins from them again. Ever.
But, here’s the thing with TAP, and I’m just going to say it: TAP is garbage. Absolute, total, garbage.
They put grade RANGES, of 60-70 on notes… which is meaningless. Utterly. Totally. Meaningless. “It could be spun gold (70) or it could be worthless (60-63)! We aren’t going to say! But it isn’t a fake! Which is a promise you’d hope any dealer would make and stand by!” It's like they woke up one day and completely forgot the entire point of Third Party Grading - that, when buying sight unseen, it's nice to know you're not just taking the word of the person selling it to you that it is in good condition and authentic. This is like asking the fox to guard the hen house after serving a few years on supervised probation with a sheep dog.
So… Yeah. Garbage.
I hope they know what they’re getting into, because especially after PCGS Goldshield cratered, there is 1 sheriff in this town, and that is PMG. PMG owns this space. And they would have almost no chance on a good day, but they are crippling themselves with these non-grade, wishy-washy grade ranges.
So. Yeah. Have fun with the “Clearance Sale,” guys. Pack ya bags and “clear” yourselves out. I’m almost certainly never ordering from you again and I’m never order a TAP banknote, even second hand. I’m not helping you establish a market for your dreck.