Online appraisers give their views about using eBay prices This article gives a variety of perspectives about utilizing eBay to help determine values of antiques and collectibles; from a number of the online appraisers affiliated with the wiw2u.com website.
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - Using eBay to Help Determine Value
Valuation Perspectives by Erik Kafrissen and the online appraisers at wiw2u.com
When your business is providing valuation information day in and day out, it is important to step back from time to time and look at where this information is coming from. How do our appraisers arrive at these "magic" figures and just how much emphasis is placed on the eBay marketplace when determining the value of an item? After all it is "The World's Online Marketplace" so shouldn’t it be relatively accurate in regards to establishing market prices for items?
I contacted some of our appraisers recently to find out their individual perspectives within their areas of expertise. I asked them for their frank opinions regarding the prices on eBay and if they take them into account when coming up with values for their appraisals.
It certainly sparked a huge volume of replies as varied as imaginable. It seems just about everyone has an opinion about eBay and I have categorized their comments below.
Terry Husk from Buttermilk Hill Antiques comments, “eBay prices are all over the map and one must look at the descriptions to see what makes one left handed pink widget worth $200.00 and the next one only $10.00 . It is also instructive to take note of the items that did not attract an opening bid.”
Fine art appraiser Vivien Hessel goes a step further and remarks that she “… does not feel at all confident in using auction prices on eBay as anything more than a quick reference for an appraisal. The reason is that the same item can go for $25 on Monday and $100 on Wednesday. It is too erratic.”
Stamp dealer and expert philatelist Jean Lafortune states, “Sellers on E-bay range from extremely knowledgeable people who describe their material in an expert manner, to first-time sellers who cannot identify or describe their material adequately. They either price it too high, and it does not sell, or too low and it is snapped up in minutes by sharp-eyed collectors or dealers.”
Randy May of Hightower Collectibles writes "eBay is indeed a good judge of wholesale value; it has to be considered somewhere between wholesale and clearance. There are exceptions, of course, that occasionally sell for a lot more than retail price too."
“One sale does not a pricing rule make. You have to look at a range of recent sales and, taking into account condition and other variable factors, arrive at a value.”, states veteran appraiser Judith Katz-Schwartz.
This sentiment is echoed by personal property appraiser Daryl Schafer who notes “As appraisers we are expected to know the correct market for the items we are appraising. In other words, if the item commonly trades online in any auction format, then a review of recent prices and the level of interest (number of bids) is a legitimate basis for value. The key is, knowing when eBay is the correct market.”