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Ebay Vs Traditional Auction House And What You Pay For Your Stamps

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Posted 08/11/2021   7:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add rogdcam to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I sat through some auctions at eBay today prior to Cherrystone starting their 1:00 session. The prices realized for the items on my wantlist were a bit shocking and I ended up with zip. The seller is a quality seller but the prices are out of whack vs retail and traditional auctions. Lots of bidders and watchers and cash flowing. Interesting.

Cherrystone starts and bidding is slow, very slow. Lots of passed lots and hardly any bidding. My lot came up, lot 1144, Russia C40-9 airmails set MNH. Opens at $240 and I bid $250. Sold to me. Just got the invoice for $314 with tip, postage & handling and 3% CC fee. This is a $1,200 set.

I went to eBay Search and looked for comps. For C40-4 MNH there was a June auction sale for $361 and a May auction sale for $402.10. For C45-9 there was a May auction sale for $241.50. So the lowest combination of pricing was $602.50 for the C40-9 MNH set.

I have noticed the same thing vis-à-vis recent Kelleher and Raritan auctions. I ended up buying at those firms because they are solid and I know who they are AND the price was less than eBay final auction prices.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. This is a trend that I am noticing with more and more frequency.
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Posted 08/11/2021   7:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add percyjgp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Personally, I have purchased less in the last year from eBay than from traditional auction houses. Most of what I am looking for seems to have no appreciable discount on eBay anymore. I feel that much of the eBay material is substandard compared to earlier last year and prices are just ridiculous on some things. I also agree that it seems some of the auction house pricing seems to be climbing into the same territory. I guess I'll see what things look like as things settle back towards normal if that is ever allowed again.
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Posted 08/11/2021   9:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It's not an equal comparison because eBay has better buyer protection. The buyer almost always gets a fast refund on eBay for item not as described, but some auction houses will fight you on the basis that you had an opportunity to inspect the lot. And charge pretty stiff fees for card payments.
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Posted 08/11/2021   9:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Very true Chris. It was not intended to be an equal comparison, just my observations. Good point on all auction houses not being equal. As far as the CC card fees all buyers should know all of the cost components going into the auction.

I should add that one of the eBay comp sales that I used had a badly faded key value that was obvious from the scan and I am not sure that Cherrystone would have lotted it in the first place. It did not deter bidding however.

Lots of ways to look at these things and that is why I asked for comments. Thank you.
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Posted 08/11/2021   9:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As a new collector, it is surprising me to that this is remarkable--I was afraid after reading the post title, the poster was going to conclude the opposite. I started on eBay and used to be part of general public who bid up high prices and overpaid for lots, and it took me quite a lot of research to 'discover' traditional auction houses. Even then, they are quite a bit less convenient than eBay...you have to show up at specific time, you need to preregister and provide references. No surprise eBay lots go way higher. Was there ever time when eBay was cheaper than traditional auction houses?
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Posted 08/12/2021   12:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The issue of "cheaper" is complicated by the apples and oranges thing. Are two similar items the same in terms of condition and quality and centering. One thing that is invaluable to me when I purchase at traditional auction houses that I have vetted is that I know the owners or employees faces, I can call or email them and I can even walk in their front door if I want. Add to that the lesser cost and my decision is an easy one. In my example above I purchased a set of better quality (no faded key value) for at least half the eBay price and if I have an issue I can talk to Paul. The eBay refund policy means little to me. I don't want to go through the eBay process anyway but rather work any problems out with an owner. Worst case = Chargeback or no further business from me. I want clear extension policies. The list goes on.

I just cannot wrap my head around so many collectors that are willing to do multi-hundred and thousand dollar transactions across the World with the eBay wall and rules in between as well as communicating through eBay.

It will be very interesting to see how the upcoming Noble Spirit "real" auctions go on eBay and if it will threaten the traditional auction world. I am not talking Siegel here but rather the material that those of us that are not Titans of industry purchase.

Goodnight all. Hope to hear from more people with more POV's.
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Posted 08/12/2021   01:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Prices are starting to climb again at the large public auctions ,areas that for years that sold for close to opening bids have started to show more interest and bidding has gotten active .

Also some of the odd items that would attract one or two people seems to have taken on some very active buyers .

I was very impressed with the high bidding for worldwide collections that are mounted in albums .
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Posted 08/12/2021   01:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The question has two sides of equal import; are you looking to sell or buy? One cannot exist without the other. My question is why are sellers giving items to a brick and mortar auction firm where as you noted, they could get far more money perhaps nearly double by selling on eBay after all of the fees.

Remember, in straight shooting auctions it take only two buyers to run up a price. That said your examples did not support the "This is a $1,200 set" value comment. Seems the "value" for this set should only be 25% (your purchase) up to 50% based upon the eBay prices. Where is the set trading at $1200? It could be characterized as B&M auctions are either the wholesale or "Titans of industry" market, eBay is discounted retail and full retail is the show and store retail dealers.

Lastly there is the "need" factor and that is very personal. If $304 (25% of cat) is the price you were willing to pay, just how long had you been waiting to buy the set and how much longer would you be willing to wait for that price? The overlay which even affects that answer is how frequently do such sets hit the market? An ability to wait will may allow you to buy at your price unless of course the market for same is rising.
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Posted 08/12/2021   02:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I must admit my spending habits have not changed - my idea of what a stamp/set is worth is based on what I knew it was a couple of years ago. Thus, I am outbid all the time on eBay. My eBay purchases have almost dwindled to nothing - I am bidding, just not getting. Then when I go back to compare my bid to the 'sold' price, I am often shocked. I kind of figured the COVID price spike was just that - a spike with a sharp 'up' component and a sharp 'down' component. At least that is what I was counting on. Granted the COVID isn't over (will it ever be?) so I would not expect the 'down' portion of the spike yet. ***OR*** maybe this is, in fact, a semi-permanent inflation of stamp prices.

Anyway, I am a dinosaur and am living in a world that is 2 years past. I just wonder when my mindset will change and accept the new normal?
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Posted 08/12/2021   06:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It may not be just COVID per se. The economy has been flooded with money and that can drive up prices. The stock market is another example.
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Edited by angore - 08/12/2021 06:21 am
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Posted 08/12/2021   07:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The question has two sides of equal import; are you looking to sell or buy? One cannot exist without the other. My question is why are sellers giving items to a brick and mortar auction firm where as you noted, they could get far more money perhaps nearly double by selling on eBay after all of the fees.


That is a question that I had as well. Different sources and/or types of material perhaps? Ie purchased AT the "Titans" auctions in the first place? Is the eBay material consigned? In Cherrystone's case they charge 10% to the consigner which is in line with eBay I believe.


Quote:
Remember, in straight shooting auctions it take only two buyers to run up a price. That said your examples did not support the "This is a $1,200 set" value comment. Seems the "value" for this set should only be 25% (your purchase) up to 50% based upon the eBay prices. Where is the set trading at $1200? It could be characterized as B&M auctions are either the wholesale or "Titans of industry" market, eBay is discounted retail and full retail is the show and store retail dealers.


The $1200 comment refers to Scott cv and was meant as a basis for comparison. Many faults with that approach and a discussion that deserves it's own topic. Based upon my experience in recent years Scott values are increasingly and completely disconnected from reality with the pricing usefulness becoming moot.

When is the last time that anyone has seen a trade at full cv? You may be able to bring an example but it will be a lonely one.


Quote:
Lastly there is the "need" factor and that is very personal. If $304 (25% of cat) is the price you were willing to pay, just how long had you been waiting to buy the set and how much longer would you be willing to wait for that price? The overlay which even affects that answer is how frequently do such sets hit the market? An ability to wait will may allow you to buy at your price unless of course the market for same is rising.


The C40-4 watermarked subset in MNH condition is the one that is hard to find and when it came along at Cherrystone as one unit to include C 45-9 and had a reasonable opening it was a no-brainer. The sparse eBay comps confirm the paucity of the MNH sets.

Here is a thing that I find very interesting out of all of this. In the middle of a Summer weekday there was major bidding activity on this particular seller's eBay lots. At Cherrystone it was sleepy. Very sleepy. eBay had buzz; Cherrystone had crickets.

It would be interesting to auction my newly acquired set on the Bay and see what the flip brings. I want the set though. But still…….
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Posted 08/12/2021   6:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stamps101 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think tsmatx brought up a good point regarding convenience. This may be particularly true given the increased philatelic purchasing activity in the past year or two. If it is newer collectors or rejuvenated previous collectors who are newer to online stamp marketplaces, the relative simplicity of eBay for locating and purchasing items may be a big factor. I also say this from my own experience. I have used eBay for years for all manner of transaction and there was an auction several years back at a traditional auction house for a more rare item that I was interested in. After trying to navigate a non-mobile friendly SAN site, figure out how to register and understand fees, how to actually bid, etc etc etc, I actually gave up. Yes this may all seem simple to those with experience using these avenues, but it can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar. The massive prices on realized auctions and estimates may also cause apprehension as I have walked away from even bothering to play in the sandbox based off this deciding that "meh, I'll be outgunned so why bother".

One can argue eBay has its own complexities for registering and buying, or that sold prices prices may be high, but sometimes the Psychological aspect is less about what the reality is and more about the perception. At the end, if convenience and ease of use ends up being easier, sometimes it's more about this accessibility than it is about hunting for the cheapest deal. I don't shop at the cheapest grocery store here more so because I'm familiar with the one I use, whether I get the best steak price or not. Such is!

I may be wrong. But you wanted opinions and viewpoints and this is just another one :)
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Posted 08/12/2021   8:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Stamps - Good take on things. And part of the convenience is having stamps available 24/7 in case you need that scarce set at 0300 and are sitting on the throne reading about Mongolian postal history while eating a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.
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Posted 08/12/2021   8:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stamps101 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Been there. Minus the fried part. Ha
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Posted 08/12/2021   11:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jamesg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm with mootermutt987 - having a hard time adjusting to the new reality and seldom winning any auctions on eBay. What is the new price point (% of cv), anyway?

At least for US material, the auction houses don't really play in the less expensive individual items, so what percentage of collectors are looking for $500+ items and how many of those items can they afford?
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Posted 08/13/2021   08:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stallzer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I haven't bought on eBay for quite some time. For good US material pre 1930 I either don't trust many eBay sellers or they have dreamer prices. All of my pickups over the last 2 years have basically been through auction houses. There are a couple of sellers I do follow on the Bay for Commonwealth material.
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