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How Do You Judge A Fair Price For An Ebay Pen?

pricing

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34 replies to this topic

#1 mnktl

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 01:49

I'm looking at buying a pilot murex for 160+shipping, and I wanted to see how you guys go about figuring out how to price a pen. Do I have any tips on how to evaluate an offer?

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#2 pajaro

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 01:58

In the beginning I saw what pens I liked were going for and the conditiion.  After a while I had a good idea of what was a run of the mill price. 


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#3 gweimer1

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 02:11

On top of what Pajaro said, always include the cost of shipping into your budget.  Factor in any work or repairs a pen might need to get it where you like it.  The price you pay for a pen should be the total cost it takes to get you a pen you love.  The eBay purchase price is only part of that cost.



#4 jar

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 02:12

First, welcome home.  Pull up a stump and set a spell.  I always ask myself if there is any other pen I'd rather have for the same price.


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#5 ISW_Kaputnik

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 02:13

If the Murex is in good condition (particularly look at pictures of the nib part) that sounds like a pretty good price, assuming that the shipping isn't something outrageous.  Mine was $200 including the shipping for one that looked mint in the pictures and still looked mint when I received it.  On the other hand, keep in mind that if that integrated nib needs alignment, it can be more of an issue than with pens where it's a separate piece.

 

More generally, it's possible to search past eBay options and see what similar pens have been going for.


"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." - Benjamin Franklin

#6 praxim

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 02:24

Regarding shipping, I live where I am almost always paying international shipping. Therefore, I look only to see that this seller is not charging over the odds for shipping then I ignore it. It is a cost of where I live so I see no point in handicapping my bidding based on a cost I have already accepted as entailed for the lifestyle benefits. Nowhere do I record shipping other than in my personal accounts.
"...all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service." Charles Darwin

#7 mnktl

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 03:09

Thanks all for the help! People have really risen to the occasion! 

 

 

So I was hoping to take a crack at judging the nib as suggested by Kaputnik. I think the nib seems alright, but was somewhat concerned about a bit of a blemish on the central ring looking at the photo from underneath. 

 

The body also seems alright though. Also a bit of a divergence, my other fp experience was with my grandfather's Parker 51 growing up (that somebody in my family decided to toss...unfortunately.) How does this pen feel compared to the 51? Is this something I can put in my pocket and take to work? Would it leak all over my pants or something? 

 

 

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#8 ISW_Kaputnik

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 13:07

Thanks all for the help! People have really risen to the occasion! 

 

 

So I was hoping to take a crack at judging the nib as suggested by Kaputnik. I think the nib seems alright, but was somewhat concerned about a bit of a blemish on the central ring looking at the photo from underneath. 

 

The body also seems alright though. Also a bit of a divergence, my other fp experience was with my grandfather's Parker 51 growing up (that somebody in my family decided to toss...unfortunately.) How does this pen feel compared to the 51? Is this something I can put in my pocket and take to work? Would it leak all over my pants or something? 

 

 

 

Actually, I'm not sure what's going on with the top of that nib in the first picture.  I'm really not sure.  Someone else may have a better opinion.  But perhaps hold off for now.

 

I think some of us have been answering from the perspective of how you determine if a price is good for the specific item you're getting.  I think that if you have thought it through, and are certain that the Murex is the pen you want, then one in good condition for $160 and a reasonable shipping fee is a pretty good price.  But if you aren't sure that you want that specific pen, then you have lots of other options.

 

My Murex actually is a good everyday pen.  I generally carry it in a pen roll in a laptop case, but have also carried in it my shirt pocket.  I almost never carry any fountain pen in a pants pocket, although I have a small leather case I can use for that.

 

But if you just want a good everyday pen, there are so many other possibilities.  Jar's comment above, that you should ask yourself is there is something else you would rather have for the same money, is relevant.  But you can get excellent pens for much less than that.  I still don't generally recommend carrying them in a pants pocket, although some people do.

 

In my case, although I get pens to write with, that unique integrated nib just spoke to me, and I got both a Murex and a MYU.  They're both excellent pens.  But I can't say that they actually write better than a number of others for which I paid less.


"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." - Benjamin Franklin

#9 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 15:32

Regarding price - in my opinion it's not really how much something is worth as opposed to how much I want it and what I'm willing to spend. I've gotten some pens for an absolute steal (my Richard Nixon signer) and I've overpaid for some (My Bill Clinton signer) - it always comes down to a personal decision. That's from the perspective of someone who isn't a collector (I don't buy pens with the thought of selling them in the future) but rather just someone who enjoys owning certain things.

 

With regards to evaluation - that's extremely challenging to do in many cases - used pens being one of them. I would make 100% certain you can return the purchase for a full refund and only pay with a credit card or paypal or something that offers buyer support if a purchase goes bad. Only purchase from a seller with lots of perfect transactions.

 

Good luck - the hunt is half the fun in my opinion!

 

 



#10 torstar

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 15:55

I don't go into a purchase insisting I feel like I have taken total advantage of the person selling it, it's a horrible way to think in life and gets worse and takes over all your waking thoughts as you get older and senile.

 

A little research should get you into a comfortable ball park figure that you will walk away from if it gets higher than that. 

 

There will be another day and the same pen coming down the choo-choo tracks.



#11 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 16:16

I don't go into a purchase insisting I feel like I have taken total advantage of the person selling it, it's a horrible way to think in life and gets worse and takes over all your waking thoughts as you get older and senile.

 

A little research should get you into a comfortable ball park figure that you will walk away from if it gets higher than that. 

 

There will be another day and the same pen coming down the choo-choo tracks.

 

That's a good point and words to live by!

 

One thing to note - on Ebay the seller sets the minimum price so there's no way to take advantage of them. At least in that regard. 



#12 pajaro

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 16:17

If you are comparing that pen to a Parker 51, and if you are contemplating spending anything in the area of $200, I would really want to think that over.  The two pens are apples and oranges.  The Pilot has a look that if you have the hots for, comparison to a Parker 51 seems not relevant, because having the fever usually triumphs in matters of material things like pens and cars. 

 

That said, I have never found a pen better than a Parker 51, but I have found a couple of pens that were sufficiently good to make me want to continue to use them with my Parker 51s.  Neither is a Japanese pen.

 

I am editing this to add that I have had the fever to buy many a pen, and nothing but that pen would do.  At this point I have one hundred and fifty to two hundred pens that I once had the fever for and now I wouldn't use most of them.  I use the Parker 51s and the couple of other types that are nearly as good.  Now if I feel some fever to buy a pen, I let if pass.  Something to consider.


Edited by pajaro, 29 August 2016 - 16:35.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#13 torstar

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 17:27

 

That's a good point and words to live by!

 

One thing to note - on Ebay the seller sets the minimum price so there's no way to take advantage of them. At least in that regard. 

 

I live in what I feel to be a safe area of Toronto, but the real estate folk considers it a violent crime area because of a large park. 

 

I guess that's from people showing up to make a drug deal at 2 in the morn without being honourable about what they are expected to bring to the exchange?

 

There's a few old folks in my life whose entire dinner story is how they shook down the cable company for a few bucks a month by pretending they wanted to cancel.  I've heard them at least 30 times now, the price gets better every time, soon they be telling me how they were given $50 to stay with cable...



#14 torstar

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 17:28

 

That's a good point and words to live by!

 

One thing to note - on Ebay the seller sets the minimum price so there's no way to take advantage of them. At least in that regard. 

 

If it seems like a superbargain, it probably isn't going to be one, especially for MB, the buyers are pretty keyed in on those pens and there won't be a day when there's more supplied than wanted.

 

For my 149 I got a well used one for $200, expected to and sent it to HQ and paid the same in fixing it up and am very happy 15 years later with it.



#15 rwilsonedn

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 19:54

In general, if the pen is of a popular type, check with reliable vintage pen retailers to get a comparable price for a guaranteed pen. If you can't find one for sale on the Web, then look at actual sale prices for comparable pens in eBay history. Note that some pens that look comparable may not be--for instance if the pen is rare and fancied by serious collectors.

Then discount that price for the risk you are taking--typically the risk that something you can't see in the photos will make the pen useless or unattractive, and the risk that the pen will require servicing or repair. You can put a value on those risks based on your willingness to live with blemishes, your ability to do your own repair work, the price of expert repair, and your estimate of the odds that repair will be necessary. As a rule of thumb, if the seller says the pen is restored or tested and working, the odds of repair are about 20%. If the seller says the pen is untested, the odds are about 20% for a new or recent-model pen, maybe 50% for a pen from the 1950s, and 100% for an older pen.

With this approach you can still lose money on an individual purchase, but you probably won't on average.

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#16 BillH

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 16:42

.....At this point I have one hundred and fifty to two hundred pens that I once had the fever for and now I wouldn't use most of them.  I use the Parker 51s and the couple of other types that are nearly as good.  Now if I feel some fever to buy a pen, I let if pass.  Something to consider.

 

 

Well said pajaro.  This is so good it should be a prime candidate for a signature line.  It took me a couple years to get to this point with the "old camera" collection, but I've learned that it is true.  It has kept me from hitting the "increase max bid" button a number of times and I have never regretted it.


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#17 praxim

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 00:04

One thing I do not is increase max bid. If I pay more than is "sensible" then that was the price I decided first, when I was still free to deliberate coolly. I try very hard to set my max price right in the zone where winning and losing for even a small difference are emotionally consistent events, and doing that needs some distance from the final phase of the auction.

The point made by jar, to compare with what else you might buy even where that is not immediately available, is also a proven-useful practice. Quite recently I was a contented slight underbidder on quite a nice plain Onoto 3000 because I was transferring firepower to a gorgeous 2000 which I duly won (and at a very satisfactory price). With more finely judged maxima I could have bought both but then neither offer would have satisfied my criterion in my first paragraph, so would have been wrong for me.
"...all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service." Charles Darwin

#18 pajaro

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:18

Ultimately, you should ruthlessly apply logic to your actions and decisions about buying pens.  Think about how you are going to acquire comparable pricing data.  Include all acquisition costs.  Ask yourself if what you are doing makes sense.  The trouble is that often, in considering buying something, you will get the fever for it.  At this point logic might not apply.  This happens to collectors sometimes.  Sometimes a collector will come across something rare or unique.  Something suddenly becomes available.   It might actually make sense to go overboard for a once only opportunity.  These usually happened to me when I had no money to spend.


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#19 mnktl

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 05:00

Absolutely! I agree with everything said above. I think the challenge for me is to walk away from the transaction feeling like I got a fair price. These are expensive things, and I certainly don't want to rip anybody off, but the fact is I know less than most as a newcomer to the world of pens. So I've given it a good deal of thought, and I don't think a used pen as is a good first pen (effectively, since my Parker 51 experience was so long ago ). 

 

I think I want to start with a pen in the same sort of price range (they all look so mesmerizing). I think I am solidifying on either a Sailor Pro Gear or a Pelikan M400. Both seem to be available new on eBay for roughly 200. I think the fine nib on the Sailor is more appealing, so I might go that way for a first pen!



#20 torstar

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 14:38

Absolutely! I agree with everything said above. I think the challenge for me is to walk away from the transaction feeling like I got a fair price. These are expensive things, and I certainly don't want to rip anybody off, but the fact is I know less than most as a newcomer to the world of pens. So I've given it a good deal of thought, and I don't think a used pen as is a good first pen (effectively, since my Parker 51 experience was so long ago ). 

 

I think I want to start with a pen in the same sort of price range (they all look so mesmerizing). I think I am solidifying on either a Sailor Pro Gear or a Pelikan M400. Both seem to be available new on eBay for roughly 200. I think the fine nib on the Sailor is more appealing, so I might go that way for a first pen!

 

Don't worry if you "rip someone else off" but you cannot con an honest woman or man...

 

My work is in investigating or defending fraudsters, depends on who pays the retainer.

 

A pen as you've described is for a few decades and hold out until you get what you want for the price that seems fair.

 

If you are purchasing on any whim then it's a different ball game.

 

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