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.
Manzi’s comments illustrate a perfect example of this. She remarks that “For certain artists’ work, eBay can be the main currently active and researchable venue, especially for artists that the main auction houses don't handle like Kinkade, Erte or Nierman.” Lisa goes on to elaborate further by noting that “eBay has, in some ways, brought a bit of reality into some artist's markets, particularly the artist's that may be very heavily hyped in retail venues. It can certainly be hard to argue that a Kinkade print is worth $2,000 when in fact they are selling on eBay on a regular basis for a fraction of that price!”
Jeff Motsinger from Millius Estate Services affirms that “eBay is a legitimate market and I use results from there whenever appropriate. The key is, knowing what kind of market eBay represents for different items-wholesale or retail. Understanding the limitations of buying just from photos and then waiting for the shipment to arrive is important. Items that are mass produced and identical will achieve a price closer to retail than items that are unique and need close inspection to assure value.”
Location, Location and Location
It was no surprise that many of the appraiser’s comments were in regards to the variations in prices which arise due to the location of the items. Even eBay recognizes the necessity to provide clear and easy links between their sellers and buyers in their local area.
Long-time antique dealer Cathy Sykes emphatically states that “Location makes a huge difference on the price of items. Issues of shipping, nostalgia, appreciation, local demand, rural vs. urban and basic business acumen of the parties involved all play into the final value.”
Jean Lafortune continues this line of thought while reflecting that “eBay remains a very useful place to sell all kinds of merchandise not easily sold in a person's immediate area of residence, especially for people who live in small or remote communities away from major urban centers”, to which Judith Katz-Schwartz summarizes “eBay constitutes a worldwide market. Values may vary in different locales, so that has to be considered when determining a value.”
Are eBay Prices Reflective of the Market as a Whole?
So what about all of those prices on sold eBay auction items? As it turns out the general consensus is that just because you see an item similar to yours listed on eBay, it doesn’t necessarily mean that yours is worth the same amount.
“eBay has done a lot for the antiques and collectibles world” remarks dealer Elizabeth Parodi. “It has made a lot more items available for sale to the buyer or collector, but has also brought down the market values that people would have been willing to pay, say, three to five years ago.”
This sentiment is echoed by long-time eBay seller and autograph expert Lon Strickler who makes the observation that “Frequently an item will sell for a lot less than its actual value. Giving this price, as an appraisal to a customer, really