The weird world of eBay.

I sold regularly (not sporadically, like I do now) on eBay for a while — at least a couple of years, and I was always so amazed at how much the world of eBay creates its own little laws of supply and demand. Randomly, I would discover, on accident, an item that fetched a way higher price on eBay than it ever would in the real world. Then, of course, I would pick it up if I ever saw it at a thrift store or yard sale. Because no one can know about everything that enters this weird universe of out-sized pricing on eBay, you can usually still find some of this stuff for cheap. Some examples of items I sold many years ago that went for much higher than I could have expected:

Photos from oragracevintage and passionateflea on etsy

These aren’t the actual photos of the things I sold — it was about six or seven years ago and I can’t find them — but they’re pretty close. The purse bank craze on eBay had them selling for between $100 and $150, even with chips. The one pictured sold for a little over $50, so that’s dropped, but it’s still fairly high for such an item, I think. I had a set of eight of those Westmoreland fruit plates: I found them with some other random milk glass items in a laundry basket on the floor in the Brown Elephant on Clark (oh, how I miss that store. I got some great stuff from that location.) They had it all taped over, like they do with dish sets, which drives me crazy, because you can’t really see what’s inside — but I asked a price and was quoted $12 for all of it so figured it was worth a risk. I didn’t even do research on these plates before I put them up — didn’t even label them Westmoreland, because I didn’t know they were — and they sold for a little over $200. A set of six recently sold for $60, so that was a passing phase as well. The tole TV trays sold for around $150 — and a quick check tells me they’re still selling for around $100 for a set of four. I do not get that.

I was looking to find a starting price for the paper lanterns I want to list on Etsy and the vintage Christmas seals I’m finally ready to get rid of all together when I found a few other things that boggled my mind.

I grabbed this from Google images — but it links to an inactive Etsy page so I can’t give credit. Please let me know if you recognize it.

These vintage papier mache Halloween are selling for ridiculous prices right now — between $100 and $500! Have they always sold for that much or is this another craze?

Sorry for the tiny photo — only one I could find.

Several sets of these Christmas seals sold for between $100 and $125 recently! For 25 seals! I mean, what do you do with these once you get them home, knowing you spent that much money on them?

In a way it’s awesome when something you totally weren’t expecting to sell for much explodes its price at the end of the auction. But in a way, it’s not, because it doesn’t seem like a fair price. It’s like the Beanie Baby craze, when everyone lost their minds and were paying hundreds of dollars for these stuffed animals, convinced they were going to be worth so much money in the future. I don’t like to be a part of the machine when people lose their senses like that. Makes me feel kind of bad. There’s also the whole competitive side of eBay, where people become determined to win an auction, no matter the cost, just because someone is bidding against them. People end up spending way more than they should because of that factor as well. Of course, none of that is my business! If they want to spend the money, they should spend the money. Just my anxiety-prone, controlling nature taking over, as usual…and the truth of the matter is, I still put some things (like barkcloth, for example) on eBay because I think it sells better than it would on Etsy.  But all in all, I’ve come to appreciate the straight-forward nature of Etsy — I price it, if they like the price, they buy it, if not, they don’t. Pretty simple, right?

January 24, 2012 - 10:35 am

Shara I’ll always be an ebay fan for certain things. This weekend I sold a set of teak candlesticks for $46.00 – I paid 50¢ for them. No way would I have put them on Etsy or in one of my booths for that price. I love it when bids start going up, up, up! I like etsy too, but lately all my time is taken up by two booths and ebay. (Oh yea, and a husband a a homeschooled kid….)

Are you still thinking about moving back to Arkansas?

January 29, 2012 - 2:27 pm

Tough as nails. » Zero to Twins […] someone else. To a fault in some cases, such as when she tells me how she hates people paying her too much money. Once you know her a little better, some of her passions rise to the surface: Politics, education, […]