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The Downs And UPS Of Bidding Blind...

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Posted 10/27/2018   5:29 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add revenuecollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Sitting through a lengthy auction session or multiple days of auction sessions when being shut out completely on intended lots is a dangerous place to be for someone with impulse control issues.

After a while I'll start looking at lots through the lens of "that might be fun to look through" or "Ooh, I wonder what could be hiding in there?" based solely on lot descriptions, so I might sneak in a wayward bid if something is well below estimates and not expensive... sometimes just for the purpose of getting to play.

The only problem with this game is that sometimes you actually win.

Such was the case with the Schuyler Rumsey SESCAL auction. With one exception, all the lots I had interest in went well above estimates, and the opening bids on the few I might be interested in on the last day had already gone above what I was willing to pay even before the session... so the mind started wandering.

I ended up buying a collection of world cancels for well below estimates. When I've bought world "cancel collections" in the past, I've found that frequently the collector would include stamps based solely upon cancel, ignoring whether items were high catalog value or not. You might find a 25-cent minimum stamp right next to a stamp cataloguing hundreds of dollars, so finds are frequently possible. This is what I was hoping to find.

Sadly, not the case. It was pretty much run-of-the-mill world classic material (hence the reason the lot didn't meet estimates). Was it a waste of money? No, as it worked out to 11 cents per stamp when all was said and done and there are probably several hundred stamps I will pull for my world cancel collection before flipping the rest.

But it wasn't the gold mine one dreams about.

Another thing I will occasionally do is leave low bids on lots in various mail bid sales, or advance bids in sales I have no attention to sitting through live, knowing full well that advance bids have almost no chance of being successful. They rarely survive the live session, especially if below estimate.

Recently, one of the smaller auction houses had just such a lot. The lot was described as follows:


Quote:
Collection of documents, bill heads, checks, etc, many with U.S. revenue stamps, incl two bank checks from Augusta, Maine with 2c #264 used as revenues, also a few foreign bank notes in rough shape, over 60 items. Est. $75


Ok, illegal usages are right up my alley and ones from that era are usually $10-30 items without anything being special, and with some of the other documents presumably being worth at least a buck or two each, I put in a below-estimate bid.

Somehow my bid survived the live session, and I received the lot in the mail. After buyer's premium and Priority Mail shipping, it cost me $65.

The foreign bank notes were ratty garbage. The bill heads and other documents were pretty much what I expected, although a couple have cancel interest and some of the bill heads are attractive.

Has anyone noticed the potential anomaly with the lot yet? In retrospect, I should have noticed it from the listing, but it wasn't until I received the lot that it was apparent. Had I been present at the auction and thus paying closer attention, it would have caused me to examine the lot. Apparently no one else noticed it either so the lot went unscrutinized.

Scott #264 is a 1-cent stamp, not a 2-cent stamp... so something was attributed incorrectly.

As it turns out, the illegal usages were both 2-cent Trans-Missippi, on 2 dividend checks from the same company, one subsequently caught and a revenue stamp affixed, the other one not caught... a very nice matched pair of documents, each one by itself worth more than twice what I paid for the entire lot.

So this second lot was a very lovely win.

Thus are the vagaries of gambling and bidding blindly (or some might say foolhardily), many times you strike out in the hopes of the occasional home run.
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Edited by revenuecollector - 10/27/2018 5:32 pm

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Posted 10/27/2018   6:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
After all of these years I still get caught up in bidding wars. Usually it is a lot or three that I become intrigued with and fixate upon. As soon as I crack the catalog or see it online and see THAT lot I cannot stop thinking about it. I acquire, take delivery and dig into it in my mind and the anticipation of a big score builds. The day arrives and I patiently await while the sale progresses. It gets closer. I adjust in my chair and hunch forward. I flex my bid button finger and my pulse quickens. It takes what seems like an eternity to reach it and then BAM it is time. Maybe nobody else is interested. Maybe. It opens and I wait a few seconds. No bids. It is mine. No. Wait a minute. Someone bid. Noooooooo My finger extends and touches the button. I am in it now. Just a few increments. Why are they still bidding against me. They will drop out. Stop, stop, stop. One touch, two touches, three touches. Oh the humanity. After time has stood still I am victorious. Three times the estimate. I collapse in my chair and feel a twinge of remorse. But I won. Never again. Until the next time.
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Posted 10/27/2018   6:40 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Sounds like me in many an online session.

I will say though, I have far more regrets about lots that I didn't bid on or bid higher on, than ones I have won.

It's also important after the fact, whether it be eBay, online auctions, or live auctions, to not get caught in the trap of thinking about what "the other guy" got it for... as you have no idea what the other party's maximum bid was. It's easy to persuade yourself that you could have gotten it for the next increment, but that's unlikely.

I find it's easier on the mindset to convince yourself that the other guy's max was double yours and you wouldn't have gotten it any way, no matter how high you might have bid.
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Posted 10/27/2018   7:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I got into it at Spinks last auction and payed way more than I had planned for a lot that other bidders had the audacity to like just as much as I. After it was over I rationalized my behavior by telling myself that the other bidder was only $250 below me and it was close. Three times the estimate close. I need a philatelic twelve step program.
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Posted 10/27/2018   7:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add modernstamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting post revenuecollector.
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Posted 10/27/2018   7:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Philatelic Twelve Step Program is called "Give your bids to an agent".
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Posted 10/27/2018   7:38 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yeah, but that's no FUN!
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Posted 10/27/2018   7:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 10/27/2018   7:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Neither is seriously overspending, apparently. One has to take the lesser of two evils.
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Posted 10/27/2018   8:00 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"He who dies the farthest in debt wins."
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Posted 10/28/2018   02:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
It's also important after the fact, whether it be eBay, online auctions, or live auctions, to not get caught in the trap of thinking about what "the other guy" got it for... as you have no idea what the other party's maximum bid was. It's easy to persuade yourself that you could have gotten it for the next increment, but that's unlikely.

Oh so true. A couple of times I've bid on eBay for items (one a cover, one a postcard) written and sent by L.L. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto. I'm not rich, so I can't afford to spend large amounts on stamps, but these were the two largest bids I've ever placed for any postal items in my life. And both of them went for the next increment to someone with deeper pockets.
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Posted 10/28/2018   09:04 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If the person who won an item only bid once, then you can be all but certain the actual bid was more then just one bid over. If the person had been bidding all along, then you are never really sure.
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Posted 10/28/2018   12:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mirman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The joy of winning a lot and the agony of being beaten by a larger bid. I have to agree with Revcollector that sometimes one bid increment would more than likely not mean that you would have won that lot anyway.
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Posted 10/28/2018   8:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rogdcam, you're description of bidding is absolutely fabulous. It reads like a playbook followed by more collectors than either of us probably realize.

Thanks for sharing that!
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Posted 10/29/2018   07:18 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add crispinhj to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm always amazed how the regrets when I miss out on that lot I absolutely had to have before the auction are so small and vanish so quickly after the event!

I have missed out on some things that looked very promising but hey ho such is life. I don't have huge amounts of money to spend but even so I seem to exceed my self imposed limit every month

I also think when you're beaten by that annoying single increment that the person who won had probably set their limit at least ten times that amount above my bid .......at a level I probably wouldn't have been prepared to go.

The ones I do regret are where I've been trying to be "clever" and keep my bid low and the winning bid has been at a level I'd actually have been prepared to reach
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Posted 10/29/2018   11:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I first started buying stamps at auction - when something key, that I needed went by, I "had" to have it. I would submit my bid, usually to an agent, and anxiously await the result. This was way before SAN. During the anticipation leading up to the sale, I would definitely continually re-evaluate the item and my bid. When I didn't win a lot, my first reaction was that the world was going to end, since I didn't get this one key item that I had to have for my collection.

After a few such experiences, I realized that was not a healthy way for me to enjoy the hobby. I then made a pact with myself, that I can fully enjoy the chase, or pursuit of an item. Once the hammer drops at auction, however, if I am not the winner, I get 30 seconds to get over it, and that's it. I'm done with that item. Next. That is truly the way I process things now, and I'm not bothered one bit anymore by not winning a bid, but I fully enjoy the chase, as much as ever.
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