Ebay mixed bag good/bad

Discussion in 'Stamp Chat' started by Jim Shaver, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Jim Shaver

    Jim Shaver Active Member

    Hi all,
    I don't have my scanner up and running yet, but just wanted to share a few recent experiences with Ebay.
    I'm new to Ebay so still getting my legs under me...
    My surprise to find that I could find and win lots like Greenland Scott 10-18 The "American set" cat at $216 for $44.00.
    Or Scott 28-38 and 31a, cat $128 for $12.50!!!
    And other cost saving sets.
    But of course there's bad with good; like the the three blocks of four (at a cheap price) that weren't the shade varieties as stated...can't really tell colors from an Ebay scan....oh well.
    I'm sure your experiences are similar? Some good, some not so goo and the awww s**t kind.
    SATX Collector likes this.
  2. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Yes, I used to use Ebay quite a bit. I stopped about 5 years ago, but recently reclaimed my abandoned account. It's a good place for inexpensive stamps, but anything requiring shade identification, variety typing or perf identification that goes above an inexpensive price is best bought where examination is possible: at shows, from a dealer or at auctions. Good buys can be had there and there is a lot of variety and volume there. My experiences were generally good.
  3. zararina

    zararina Simply Me! :D

    Still nice that you somehow win on that package. :)
    I have not tried ordering in eBay since the shipping cost will be usually higher than the actual cost of an item and I have experienced lost mails already. So better to buy on a collector's shop here for me than to order online.
  4. James-2489

    James-2489 Well-Known Member

    Hello all,
    I use EBay quite a lot, mainly for high face value Thai stamps, they are rarely used within Thailand. I also buy the occasional themed stamps. My nearest dealers are a day trip away, that means about twice per year. Buying from the USA can be a problem due to sometimes exorbitant postal charges $20-$30 for $5 worth of stamps, other dealers offer $2-$5 postage. Mostly I have received good clean stamps, maybe I have just been lucky. I often bid on a page of 30-70 stamps that I am really only interested in one or a few to fill some gaps. I also buy goods from around the world that are difficult to find here. Sometimes these can take months to arrive but in eight years I've only had one item lost in the post.
    Regards, James.
  5. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    'Mixed bag' is a good description, I've gotten some great deals, also.

    As an old-timer I still like to see the real-deal, especially on items I consider high-priced. A certificate is a 'plus' but doesn't really completely solve the problem.

    There are some quite reliable dealers on eBay with many transactions over many years, very high ratings and offering returns. I guess the Internet version of approvals! :) I'm not sure how much one could use that before they decided not to do business. All said and done...a large item, I am hesitant unless I can inspect it in person.
  6. James-2489

    James-2489 Well-Known Member

    Hello Molokai, you are fortunate that you live in a society that has a near unlimited supply of goods and products close to hand, not all parts of the world are that fortunate. I live near a tourist city and even a simple product like an oven cleaner is not available in our superstores, the reason? Thai people rarely use an oven, they use a burner or a firebrick BBQ or buy their food from the street vendors on the way home.
    Regards, James
  7. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Hello, James -

    Yes, it can be a blessing - but as they say - no such thing as a free lunch. Downsides, too. As far as stamps, there are no real stamp dealers here nowadays. In my youth there were a half-dozen very reputable ones, perhaps that many again not-so-reputable. The only place to buy stamps on-site for me is attending shows and unfortunately I can't get to more than one or two a year. I have a good friend who lives on Phuket (20 years) and loves it.
  8. FitzjamesHorse

    FitzjamesHorse Active Member

    I dont buy much on ebay as I am just not happy about "online" transactions.
    As to prices...I think its very much a question of where an item is bought. An upmarket antique shop is pricier than a flea market.
    Catalogue value is effectively the price set by the big players in Stamp Collecting. Gibbons, Michel and Scott.
    My experience is that Dealers always sell below "cat value" and the smaller fish...the part time dealer and the ebay seller...tend to sell more cheaply.
    James-2489 likes this.
  9. daRktoweR

    daRktoweR Member

    For stamps, I find bidStart the better site, with more consistent stock.
    SATX Collector likes this.
  10. Jim Shaver

    Jim Shaver Active Member

    I'll give them a look see.....thanks
    daRktoweR likes this.
  11. Larry L. Taylor

    Larry L. Taylor Active Member

    haven't bought stamps on eBay for several years. Not because of any bad experiences, but just ran out of material to collect (mostly early US plate blocks / duck stamps / sheets / hi-value Canadian). That and chasing off into the coin realm.
  12. daRktoweR

    daRktoweR Member

    G.B. will slow you down Larry.
  13. Jehovahnissi

    Jehovahnissi Member

    I've had very similar experiences. It's hard, but it's also just fun to look.
  14. Philbeaux

    Philbeaux Member

    Good going with those buys.

    I think I'm the only collector for hundreds of miles where I am so I'm sort of dependent on sites like Ebay for my stamps.
    That said, I've had some really good buys and some really disappointing ones.
    My most regretful one was partly my fault. Why I feel the description was not very accurate, I should have paid more attention to the pics and deduced the contents better. And I had recently lost out on many close auctions and was just desperate to win something.
    daRktoweR likes this.
  15. Gunny

    Gunny Retired Jarhead Moderator

    I haven't bought off of eBay in years as well. There are too many counterfeit coins & stamps for the more expensive items, and the cost of shipping for the low-cost items is typically to high. I'm lucky that I have both a brick & mortar stamp dealer not to far away as well as the National Postal Museum in DC.

    I would caution about putting too much stock in catalog values. I have not seen them reflect current values. There's a reason that almost all dealers brag about their product being xx% off of current Scott catalog value. I look at catalog values as purposely being over-inflated so that dealers can advertise discounts. Just a personal opinion.

    There are too many issues that have to be considered in the valuing of stamps, that it would be near to impossible to produce an accurate value guide.
  16. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Even here (greater Denver) there are no 'real' stamp dealers left. In the 1960s, quite a few - Dan Stone, Dan Brown (mostly coins but also stamps), Demko's, Penny Black... I mostly buy at shows these days but unfortunately I can only get to a couple a year. There are probably clubs here - those would of course also be a source.

    Ebay is OK for smaller buys - I do look at the seller's feedback and it needs to be close to 100%. But you are correct - at the higher values there's lots of foolishness going on, IMHO. Stamp valuing is trickier than coin valuing which also makes buying on eBay a challenge. Plus colors vary enormously from stamp to scan to monitor. The auctions are impossible - too many buyers using sniping tools. I can't be at the closing most of the time - nor do I want to play that game. I go for the Buy-It-Now with 'best offer' option.

    For what I collect (early US) I've always figured 50% of catalog for VF, 100% for superb. Of course there are high value items for which the supply is still less than the demand. I once sold a Third Bureau jumbo to a dealer for 125% of catalog. Heaven only knows what he sold it for!
    Gunny likes this.
  17. FitzjamesHorse

    FitzjamesHorse Active Member

    I actually sold an item on ebay last week (for a grand total of £3)...first time in about five years. I dont like the hassle when small itemsare involved but I dont think I would be tempted to buy or sell anything important on ebay.
    I dont thik I would be tempted to using ebay as a serious means of income.
    Hochstrasse likes this.
  18. SATX Collector

    SATX Collector Remember the Alamo!

    Hello Jim...

    Checking out some older posts and missed this one.

    I agree with Fitz and Gunny above: I don't hold a lot of faith on what is on eBay. Dabbled with a couple of different sets there at one time and, though not disappointed, I didn't find them to be too friendly either.

    I buy about 90% of my monthly 'allowance' on bidStart: US and World-wide as well. I started with them in 2007 and have been EXTREMELY pleased with my results to date. I have many Favorite Sellers that post to me directly when they put up new stock: they know what I am looking for and a number of them buy albums to break up.

    I have any number of them that do the "Or Best Offer" option too. I have done a LOT of purchases in the 5% - 30% (RARELY do I go over 40%) of Scott Catalogue value.

    They were purchased by Stanley Gibbons and SG is creating a new interface/website so will see how it goes. One of my Seller's has already 'migrated over' and he is enthusiastic about it.
    James-2489 likes this.
  19. Jim Shaver

    Jim Shaver Active Member

    thanks....I'll check out bidstart...
    SATX Collector likes this.
  20. SATX Collector

    SATX Collector Remember the Alamo!

    IF AND ONLY IF: you send me a request by private conversation and also tell me a focused area of study, I will share my Favorite Sellers with you that will help get you there. As a bonus, I will also send THEM a note saying I recommend you.
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