Prices Asked, Prices Sold and What's Real?
Over the past year I've seen several occasions when a writer or even a collector is trumping up the high values on a particular item. it could be a cookie jar, a Beanie Baby, or something similar. The article or blog goes viral and soon folks are touting the perceived values of such items. The two items mentioned above have been brought to my attention several times, as in "wow, I can't believe my jar is worth so much money, now where can I sell it".
In the case of the Beanie Babies, a few sellers, for reasons unknown to me, decide to offer their "treasures" as a Buy it Now item on eBay. But they offer it for many thousands of dollars. Browsers see the auction, assume that is the value and all of a sudden theirs is worth that much too. As I've mentioned before, anyone can put any price on an item. It's finding the buyer that will actually buy it is a problem.
The reason this gets a strong reaction from me is that I start getting emails from people desperately trying to sell their collection. And I can't help. The other ploy which has happened a lot over the past year is something I've noticed in the Cookie Jar auctions, but I am sure takes place with other collections. A brand-new seller (zero feedback) will put an average jar up for auction and all of a sudden the bidding explodes on it. Twenty or thirty bids start driving the price up and soon the average jar has sold for $950. So now other collectors think the same thing as mentioned above, "wow, where can I sell my Cinderella jar for $900.". They can't because the whole auction is a fraud.
Closer examination will show the bidders (except for the first few) mostly have zero feedback and are also brand new. I feel safe in saying the auction wasn't legitimate, no money changed hands and no jars were sold. There have been several instances when eBay has responded to complaints and completely removed the listings, but that is usually after the auction supposedly closes, and too late for many unsuspecting browsers.
Deciphering the Sold Prices
• eBay Closed Auction Search -- If you have the item number of auction or link, you will be able to check for a few months after an auction has closed to see what the final price was or if the item actually sold. Also, eBay allows you to search closed auctions for approximately two weeks. • If the price seems out-of-line, always check the bids -- click on the link that shows the number of bidders to see if they look legitimate. If it was a Buy It Now price, check to see that it's actually sold before taking the offered price as gospel.
• Terapeak.com -- Terapeak is my go-to spot to find out what's been selling, sell-through rates and auction prices. This is a paid service, but it allows a person to search throughout the past year's auction, in ninety day increments. It has really helped me make sense of the auction prices, what's selling and what's not. The service sorts by highest price first, but also shows then starting price, number of bidders, average price, average shipping and the sell-through rates. It's a bit too much information for me, but all works when trying to decide whether to offer a jar for sale or looking for something to find out the price ranges.
In a Nutshell
Don't believe a simple screen shot of an auction price or value without verifying for yourself. Check the resources available to find out more about the sold item or even if it sold at all!
All Prices Posted Are In U.S.D. Currency
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