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.
isn't accurate or fair. The auction business, virtual or live, is typically unpredictable!”
Native North American expert Michael Higgins goes a step further by commenting “I don't put much stock in the selling prices on eBay for my field. There are a lot of people out there with ‘more money than common sense’. They think they're getting great items for very little and most of the time it's not real or it’s misdated”.
Textile expert and eBay Powerseller Camille Buda feels that “The level of knowledge regarding antiques on eBay, is abysmal. Most bidders or sellers don’t know an antique from their elbows! Because eBay prices are so erratic, fairer prices can be established by using antiques trade references and traditional auctions as guidelines. ”
Art consultant and appraiser Martin Barnes Lorber notes that “eBay, by its all-encompassing offerings, is basically the nation's yard sale, but a yard sale that millions take seriously.”
Cathy Sykes feels that “As a general rule eBay prices are way below the average we see in New England.”
On the other side of the same coin Jack Bogert comments that “eBay is often the topic of conversation at train meets and most often we are trying to figure why something sold so high when we all know the true value. Most train dealers don't count on eBay for their prices. We do have a pricing guide which can also be very wrong. The best way to ascertain value is to actually deal with the product on a daily basis.”
Fakes, Forgeries and Frauds
In the world of coins, tokens and paper money, veteran dealer Milton Lynn has seen many frauds and scams. Although he buys and sells on eBay he does not use it as a price guide for appraising as he feels “The quantity of questionable material is too great and short term exposure is not a reliable market indicator of truly scarce or rare items.”
Even experts aren’t immune from getting scammed as Michael Higgins relates. “Many items in my field selling on eBay are fake, new, incorrectly dated or misrepresented. When you bid, you’d better be sure you know what you're doing, because even someone like me, (and I humbly consider myself a bona-fide specialist in my field) can get taken. I'm still sitting on a plains pipe, that a seller guaranteed, and it turned out to be fake. Even though I won a court judgment against him, it's hard to collect.”
Lon Strickler comments “Authenticity is a big issue in the autograph market and especially on eBay.”
Leveling the Playing Field
Even with all of its shortcomings eBay still remains the undisputed king of online auctions and like all other fields associated with it, the appraisal discipline has had to adapt to this new medium.
Daryl Schafer shares her true thoughts when she unequivocally states,“ eBay has leveled the playing field for hundreds of categories of items.”
Gemologist Frank Benson gives us his perspective from the jewelers market. “In Appraisal School,