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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

#21 sidthecat

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 17:46

I imagine you've done a search for similar pens and seen what prices they're going for. That's the best general way. 

 

I like looking at myself in the mirror, whispering the price and checking to see if I blush.



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#22 Sasha Royale

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 18:38

Ebay shopping can be very helpful.  I search the same item to see what others are paying.  Then, I decide how much I like the pen, in question, and how much I am willing to pay.   Winning a "sumgai" bargain is not my goal.  Getting something I want is the the goal.  After the item arrives, I enjoy owning and using it.  I don't torture myself every time somebody gets one for a lower price.  

 

Do your research and enjoy your fountain pen acquisitions.  Don't allow the success of others to define your successes as failures.   

 

Write with joy. 


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Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen: 
Verweile doch, du bist so schön ! 


#23 sidthecat

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 00:15

I seethe at the victories of others.



#24 torstar

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 16:11

I seethe at the victories of others.

 

I'm either in it to win it or I'm not.

 

Good things happen when I'm in it sometimes.

 

If I'm not then I may at leisure find out about other auctions, usually with a grain of salt on how it's broadcast to me.



#25 woleizihan

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 03:42

What I always do is simply to be more patient. If I want a certain pen, I will watch it for some time on Ebay, basically getting to know how much other people are willing to pay for it. I will also take some time to think whether I really like it. I will probably tell myself: I will buy this pen after finish reading this book and take that time to struggle with the back and forth. This is a problem if you are looking for a rare pen and it could possibly get away when you are still thinking and you will not see another one in the expected future. But I believe first there are many pens you want and second a pen that rare is not cheap so will not be an easy purchase for anyone. If it gets away, just be happy to see the pen now finds an owner loving it probably stronger than you.



#26 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 19:26

Ebay shopping can be very helpful.  I search the same item to see what others are paying.  Then, I decide how much I like the pen, in question, and how much I am willing to pay.   Winning a "sumgai" bargain is not my goal.  Getting something I want is the the goal.  After the item arrives, I enjoy owning and using it.  I don't torture myself every time somebody gets one for a lower price.  

 

Do your research and enjoy your fountain pen acquisitions.  Don't allow the success of others to define your successes as failures.   

 

Write with joy. 

 

Research SOLD prices on Ebay but take them with a grain of salt. I've sold a bunch of stuff (usually electronic gadgets and music gear) on Ebay and the truth is you just never know how an auction will go. Some have sold for far more than I thought they would while other items have sold for less - it's really hit or miss. People can let their emotions take over and keep bidding up an item in the heat of the moment - it happens. Plus prices will fluctuate based upon supply of an item - the time the listing ended - etc. Lots of factors which don't show up when you simply look at the historical prices for winning bids for items.

 

On the flip side - I take lots of high quality pictures and offer detailed descriptions and sometimes a similar item ending around the same time with one blurry crappy photo and two lines of text will sell for $50 more. Go figure.

 

In the end I think there's no such thing as a fair price - it's all how bad you (or the other people bidding against you) want it and what you're willing to pay. I paid close to $700 for my Montblanc 146 new from a boutique - is that a fair price? Hardly. But - I wanted a new one that I could hold in my hand before purchasing and was willing pay for it. Crazycakes for sure.

 

Now - I should note that you can toss all that out the window if you're a collector who is in this for the $$ - I'm speaking purely as someone who buys pens for my pleasure.



#27 woleizihan

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 20:36

 

Research SOLD prices on Ebay but take them with a grain of salt. I've sold a bunch of stuff (usually electronic gadgets and music gear) on Ebay and the truth is you just never know how an auction will go. Some have sold for far more than I thought they would while other items have sold for less - it's really hit or miss. People can let their emotions take over and keep bidding up an item in the heat of the moment - it happens. Plus prices will fluctuate based upon supply of an item - the time the listing ended - etc. Lots of factors which don't show up when you simply look at the historical prices for winning bids for items.

 

On the flip side - I take lots of high quality pictures and offer detailed descriptions and sometimes a similar item ending around the same time with one blurry crappy photo and two lines of text will sell for $50 more. Go figure.

 

In the end I think there's no such thing as a fair price - it's all how bad you (or the other people bidding against you) want it and what you're willing to pay. I paid close to $700 for my Montblanc 146 new from a boutique - is that a fair price? Hardly. But - I wanted a new one that I could hold in my hand before purchasing and was willing pay for it. Crazycakes for sure.

 

Now - I should note that you can toss all that out the window if you're a collector who is in this for the $$ - I'm speaking purely as someone who buys pens for my pleasure.

I don't know what's your definition of "fair price" and why there is no such thing as a fair price. For me,  a "fair price" is defined to be the price many other people are willing to pay for this pen.

 

I think this is very important for most collectors even if they are not who is in this for the $$. For myself, I consider what's the "fair price" because there are so many things affecting my experience of a fountain pen: nib performance, filling system, weight, size, shape, design....... Many of them cannot be evaluated properly unless you have the pen for a while and write with the pen for a while. Many pens may not appear to be what they are and at least for me, it is impossible to test them out even if you are buying from a boutique.

 

So if I'm buying a MB146 for $700 and I don't quite like it after couple weeks of writing, I'm left with very few choices: I keep a pen I don't like or I sold it to someone and lost $400, which I think is nontrivial money for most of the collectors. People don't collect for $$ does not mean people want to lose money. You may think this is not a huge problem for a classic pen like MB146. There are extensive reviews everywhere and you can have almost any information you want so you are pretty confident and very unlikely to dislike it when making the purchase. But for many other pens, especially vintage ones, this is impossible and it is very unlikely that you will 100% love the pen just from very limited info online, no matter how high quality the pictures are or whether you try it out somewhere. In this case, buying a pen around "fair price", a price many other people are willing to pay, makes sure that even if I don't like it, I can sell it out just losing 10% ebay fee. 

 

In conclusion, I think there is a "fair price" and most collectors should at least try to buy pens around the "fair price". I'm not judging your decision to buy MB146 for $700 but if I were you, I wouldn't do that. And it's not fair to say collectors who collect pens for own pleasure should not care about the "fair price". For me, MB146 is still widely available so I will not buy it back solely for collecting but mainly for writing. In my case, a used one actually is preferred besides cheaper price. Someone else has already written with it for a while and if I trust the seller, I can have very detailed info about this particular 146. Besides, I also make good use of a pen someone no longer needs. Think about how that $700 were distributed. Part of that went to MB, part of that went to the store but a nontrivial part of that definitely went to the capitalists who own the building. If I buy it from another pen collector, the collector is likely to use the money make another purchase, keeping the community active and enjoy another pen. I could keep the rest in my wallet or I can buy other pens, get vintage ones repaired supporting those who , or simply buy some metropolitans and give them out to my friends, trying to convince them fountain pens are wonderful, or donate it anywhere you want. All these considerations added together would give me much more pleasure/benefit than the idea to own a new pen instead of a used one. I'm not you but I believe this is the case for many other collectors, no matter they are collecting for the $$ or simply for own pleasure.



#28 praxim

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 23:34

Think about how that $700 were distributed. Part of that went to MB, part of that went to the store but a nontrivial part of that definitely went to the capitalists who own the building..

 

As opposed to the capitalists who own the communications, search, marketing and payment structures we use as the internet.

 

Just sayin'


When you receive new information you can change your mind, or you can close it; or you can try shooting the messenger.

#29 woleizihan

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 01:00

 

As opposed to the capitalists who own the communications, search, marketing and payment structures we use as the internet.

 

Just sayin'

I don't see this forum charging you for communicating, google charging you for searching. Of course there's always a cost. But the cost of maintaining a website/ebay store is just incomparable to the cost of maintaining a boutique, Are you spending as much money paying Google/Ebay/Paypal/whatever social media as your rent each month? 



#30 praxim

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 01:54

I have no unhappiness at the spreading of costs to reduce cost of business albeit I think there are semi-monopolistic rents extracted by major players too obvious to name. However, my pause was at the reference to "capitalists who own the building" with no reference to every other capitalist who obtains rents for assets owned.

 

By the way, I do see this forum charging me for communicating and Google charging me for searching. Advertising is a cost of business and consumers pay for it. Marketplaces and payment intermediaries then clip the ticket, some in chunks. I notice also various State, commercial and personal infrastructure costs for which I pay directly before I can even see a web page. These are different costs from visiting a store but so are the potential benefits different. Shops retain an important spot in the marketplace for many people. I have continued to use them even while buying extensively on the internet for over twenty years.

 

A "fair price" is a specific price against a defined value which can have a complex composition. It is not an opinion on how the price got there.


When you receive new information you can change your mind, or you can close it; or you can try shooting the messenger.

#31 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 09:51

I don't know what's your definition of "fair price" and why there is no such thing as a fair price. For me,  a "fair price" is defined to be the price many other people are willing to pay for this pen.

 

I think this is very important for most collectors even if they are not who is in this for the $$. For myself, I consider what's the "fair price" because there are so many things affecting my experience of a fountain pen: nib performance, filling system, weight, size, shape, design....... Many of them cannot be evaluated properly unless you have the pen for a while and write with the pen for a while. Many pens may not appear to be what they are and at least for me, it is impossible to test them out even if you are buying from a boutique.

 

So if I'm buying a MB146 for $700 and I don't quite like it after couple weeks of writing, I'm left with very few choices: I keep a pen I don't like or I sold it to someone and lost $400, which I think is nontrivial money for most of the collectors. People don't collect for $$ does not mean people want to lose money. You may think this is not a huge problem for a classic pen like MB146. There are extensive reviews everywhere and you can have almost any information you want so you are pretty confident and very unlikely to dislike it when making the purchase. But for many other pens, especially vintage ones, this is impossible and it is very unlikely that you will 100% love the pen just from very limited info online, no matter how high quality the pictures are or whether you try it out somewhere. In this case, buying a pen around "fair price", a price many other people are willing to pay, makes sure that even if I don't like it, I can sell it out just losing 10% ebay fee. 

 

In conclusion, I think there is a "fair price" and most collectors should at least try to buy pens around the "fair price". I'm not judging your decision to buy MB146 for $700 but if I were you, I wouldn't do that. And it's not fair to say collectors who collect pens for own pleasure should not care about the "fair price". For me, MB146 is still widely available so I will not buy it back solely for collecting but mainly for writing. In my case, a used one actually is preferred besides cheaper price. Someone else has already written with it for a while and if I trust the seller, I can have very detailed info about this particular 146. Besides, I also make good use of a pen someone no longer needs. Think about how that $700 were distributed. Part of that went to MB, part of that went to the store but a nontrivial part of that definitely went to the capitalists who own the building. If I buy it from another pen collector, the collector is likely to use the money make another purchase, keeping the community active and enjoy another pen. I could keep the rest in my wallet or I can buy other pens, get vintage ones repaired supporting those who , or simply buy some metropolitans and give them out to my friends, trying to convince them fountain pens are wonderful, or donate it anywhere you want. All these considerations added together would give me much more pleasure/benefit than the idea to own a new pen instead of a used one. I'm not you but I believe this is the case for many other collectors, no matter they are collecting for the $$ or simply for own pleasure.

 

On Ebay it's supply and demand - which has little to do with a fair price. True - you can look at historical prices - but if you see a pen that sold for $100 you would have had to bid $101 to get it and there's no guarantee that the person who won it for $100 wouldn't have bid $102 and on and on. So yes - historical prices are helpful to show what items sold for but in my mind they don't define what a fair price is nor what I can reasonably expect to pay for a similar item.

 

I understand the context of the question - which is simply how do I determine how much a specific item is worth. I'm preparing to attend my first pen show in a couple months and have been making lists of pens I'm interested in and what I'm willing to spend on them so I understand the problem.  I know that for me personally if I see a pen that I REALLY want I'll probably throw all that out the window and buy it, regardless of whether it's priced "fairly" or not. I'm like most humans - we buy on emotion then later justify with intellect!



#32 BillH

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 14:14

According to wiki, and from what I remember about buying and selling a house...

 

"Fair market value (FMV) is an estimate of the market value of a property, based on what a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer would probably pay to a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured seller in the market."

 

Are we discussing "fair market value"?  Because, except for commodity pens, a pen you want to buy to use because you need a pen, I'm not sure value can be defined in any way to include the word "fair"  :)

 

If I'm trying to fill a hole in a series I'm collecting, the value I'm willing to pay will be far beyond what others might consider "fair" but that's my problem.  I think the trick for answering the original question "how do you judge a fair price..?" is to spend a little time looking at solds, looking at what is listed, and doing enough research to know what the commons and the rares are in a pen you might be interested in.  Knowing that a certain pen 'ought' to go for $$ will not protect you from getting in a bidding war with a person who needs THAT one to fill a set and is willing to pay $$$ or $$$$ to get it.

 

Protect yourself.  Have fun.  And dread the day you're that guy who wants THAT pen at any price. Because that day will come   :lol:


"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."     -Pablo Picasso

 


#33 gweimer1

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 19:43

I always look at it this way, especially with cars, since they are available in the thousands for most models just about anywhere. I buy an item.  If I am pleased with that item, I got a fair price.  It doesn't really matter what someone else paid for the same item, or something similar.  My satisfaction should be based on someone that wasn't part of my personal experience.  In each of our lives, we can probably point to something that we paid a high/low price, and are still pleased with the purchase.



#34 sidthecat

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 20:27

There's an interesting comparison on eBay right now: two Waterman ringtops, identical sterling filigree, but a large disparity in price: the one is an estate pen sold As Is, the other is a restored pen tuned by Mr. Mauricio.
It's actually a tough choice, and a very good example of what condition and provenance can add to a pen.

#35 stephanos

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 19:40

I think there is such a thing as a 'broad ballpark' price, though it can be a very big ballpark.

But there is no such thing as a 'fair' price - too many variables. In the end there are two questions to ask yourself, once you have an idea of the ballpark:

 

1) How much am I willing to pay for item X? modified by the answer to the question,

2) How much risk am I willing to take that the pen will need work? This will be modified by your own experience in tinkering with pens.

 

All the rest is noise.







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