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How To Win A Pen In Ebay Auction?

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#1 Strelnikoff

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 20:44

Hello all!

 

These questions come from my recent frustration ... basically :)

 

Recently (few days ago) I tried to bid on three pens on eBay. I am a newb on eBay, and I thought it will go smoothly. I know how much specific pen is worth, I know how much I'm willing to pay and overpay (in this case). However, I lost on all bids. In the last seconds!!!!  Now, since it is about vintage Waterman's pens, I consider this to be pen related topic/question.

 

Question 1: How do you win in an auction???  It cannot be that I'm that slow.

 

Question 2: if there is an auction going on for a pen, and there is like... 5 days left - can I offer $$$ to seller directly and forgo the bidding drama? If she/he accepts ok, if not - ok too.

 

Question 3: I've noticed that some of the auctions on eBay bring the price of certain pens at least 1/3 if not 2/3... 100%  higher than conventional value of the pen (on the market) is. Does this affects the market price?

 

Reason I'm asking Question 3 is - if a precedent is set for ... let say Waterman 52 (common pen around) with decent flex, and pen gets sold in an auction for 100 USD or 200 USD more than price floating around the interweb, will this mean all Waterman's are slowly (or quickly) going up in prices?

 

Thank you !



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#2 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 21:08

No.

"""Question 2: if there is an auction going on for a pen, and there is like... 5 days left - can I offer $$$ to seller directly and forgo the bidding drama? If she/he accepts ok, if not - ok too."""

Is not allowed, even if done. Not worth the time and effort. Why should they take less for what could go for more?

 

Never bid even numbers.....never $20 or even $22 but $23.85 that gets rid of the 50 and 75 cent bids. $27.85.

 

Never get involved with the nickle and dime bidding ego war. (many here can tell tales of pens going for way too much because of that.) :lticaptd: A fool and his money are soon parted.

Make your top bid and forget it.....or.....

Either snipe it your self and there are free snipe programs or bid once your max in the last 15 seconds.....don't give you a win, but you can beat out the next lower bidder in he don't have time to re-bid.

I suggest a snipe program.

 

I have no idea why a 52 should go for $100-200 more than what you have found as prices...from somewhere. (do check our sales section here....it is not as cheap as Ebay bargains, but you get a working fountain pen at a 'fair' price.)

They have a past auction section on Ebays, that you can see what similar pens went for recently. Could be your info is way out of date.

 

Do keep hunting; in that's half the fun.....and that pen will be there the next week or next month and you can bid what you found in past sales.....plus 10%.

 

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Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 30 May 2017 - 21:10.

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#3 Strelnikoff

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 21:38

No.

"""Question 2: if there is an auction going on for a pen, and there is like... 5 days left - can I offer $$$ to seller directly and forgo the bidding drama? If she/he accepts ok, if not - ok too."""

Is not allowed, even if done. Not worth the time and effort. Why should they take less for what could go for more?

 

Never bid even numbers.....never $20 or even $22 but $23.85 that gets rid of the 50 and 75 cent bids. $27.85.

 

Never get involved with the nickle and dime bidding ego war. (many here can tell tales of pens going for way too much because of that.) :lticaptd: A fool and his money are soon parted.

Make your top bid and forget it.....or.....

Either snipe it your self and there are free snipe programs or bid once your max in the last 15 seconds.....don't give you a win, but you can beat out the next lower bidder in he don't have time to re-bid.

I suggest a snipe program.

 

I have no idea why a 52 should go for $100-200 more than what you have found as prices...from somewhere. (do check our sales section here....it is not as cheap as Ebay bargains, but you get a working fountain pen at a 'fair' price.)

They have a past auction section on Ebays, that you can see what similar pens went for recently. Could be your info is way out of date.

 

Do keep hunting; in that's half the fun.....and that pen will be there the next week or next month and you can bid what you found in past sales.....plus 10%.

 

Buy Now === a once rich fool in a hurry.

 

Thank you for the in-depth explanation :) 

I'll try one or two more times (with your recipe) and then just forget about it all if it doesn't work. Let the games... let see what happens :)))



#4 Calabria

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 21:51

I'm not against the "buy now" option, if the price is fair.

I've been outbid even using sniper protocols ... that means that the pen went for more than I was willing to pay.

Personally, I'm not into the gambling aspect of bidding ... "winning", "losing" ... if there's a pen I'm looking for and a seller has it at a decent "buy now" price then we got a deal.
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#5 welch

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 22:00

Summary from above:

 

- Use eSnipe

 

- Offer the most you are willing to pay

 

- Forget the "auction" until it is over. If your snipe won, congratulations. If not, then someone was willing to spend more. Do not bid $1 above the current highest bidder. EBay is not really an auction. Assume that everyone else is using a sniping program, which will wait until the last 5 or six seconds to submit a bid.

 

- If you see a "Buy it now" and the price is OK, then buy. 


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#6 Arkamas

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 22:20

Summary from above:

 

- Use eSnipe

 

- Offer the most you are willing to pay

 

- Forget the "auction" until it is over. If your snipe won, congratulations. If not, then someone was willing to spend more. Do not bid $1 above the current highest bidder. EBay is not really an auction. Assume that everyone else is using a sniping program, which will wait until the last 5 or six seconds to submit a bid.

 

- If you see a "Buy it now" and the price is OK, then buy. 

I thought I noticed something interesting on one of the auctions I watched. The winner had bid about $15-$20 more than the current bid in the last 10 seconds or so. I thought it was a shock tactic to secure the win and leave no time for anyone to resolve to make a higher bid.


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#7 NinthSphere

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 22:43



I thought I noticed something interesting on one of the auctions I watched. The winner had bid about $15-$20 more than the current bid in the last 10 seconds or so. I thought it was a shock tactic to secure the win and leave no time for anyone to resolve to make a higher bid.

 

That is the intention. You don't need a program to do that though. If an item is sitting quiet close to auction end, I manually snipe for the same reason if my internet connection is being cooperative.

 

Usually though, if I see an item I'm interested in with a day or more on it, I may just leave what I figure to be my max & try to remember when it closes so I can see where things sit as the clock counts down.



#8 Goudy

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 22:46

Question 1: How do you win in an auction???  It cannot be that I'm that slow.

 

As others have said, use a sniping service. I like gixen.com, but there are plenty to choose from. Set your snipe and walk away. It isolates you from the whole "bidding war" mentality (and allows you to pull out if you find another pen you like better).

 

Question 2: if there is an auction going on for a pen, and there is like... 5 days left - can I offer $$$ to seller directly and forgo the bidding drama? If she/he accepts ok, if not - ok too.

 

I assume you're asking if you can do this even if the seller has not chosen to add a Buy-It-Now option? Asking the seller to accept your $$$ outside the eBay system is against eBay rules (since eBay won't make any money from it) but you could ask the seller to add a Buy-It-Now option at the price you're willing to pay. A wary seller will say no, thinking you're trying to outsmart the snipers and get a bargain, but I've seen buyers do it successfully.

 

Question 3: I've noticed that some of the auctions on eBay bring the price of certain pens at least 1/3 if not 2/3... 100%  higher than conventional value of the pen (on the market) is. Does this affects the market price?

 

eBay is the market (or a huge part of it), so the prices you see there are the market value. That said, there are a lot of factors in play besides the pen itself: how well it's presented, the reputation of the seller, how many deep-pocket collectors have their eye on it...

 

The main thing is not to lose your head over any particular auction: there's always a better pen coming up in the next few weeks.


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#9 Uncial

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 22:54

There's a lot of auction fever on eBay. In the last week I had five pens in my watch list. I'd no intention of buying, I was just interested to see what they'd go for. In each case they were second hand pens, no extra bits or special grinds, that can still be bought new from many places.in all five cases the pens sold for more than what you can buy them for new. I've seen this happen many, many times. I guess it could be shill bidding but one pen in my list had the exact same pen as a 'buy it now' in the sellers listing for less than what the auction pen sold for. After the auction pen finished I looked for the BIN pen and it was still listed! The only explanation I can think of for that is auction fever where bidders get locked in to a notion of winning - at any cost.

#10 Strelnikoff

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 23:38

 

That is the intention. You don't need a program to do that though. If an item is sitting quiet close to auction end, I manually snipe for the same reason if my internet connection is being cooperative.

 

Usually though, if I see an item I'm interested in with a day or more on it, I may just leave what I figure to be my max & try to remember when it closes so I can see where things sit as the clock counts down.

 

"Cooperative internet"... that is a factor. I was bidding from my phone. That counts against my attempts...



#11 BillH

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 23:39

Prices are going up.  But for more common, not 'rare', pens the prices do seem to cycle up and down a bit.  Maybe a certain type of pen has a bunch of excited sellers all going after the same stuff.  I've ignored things that feel like that and gone back a month or so later to find all those guys are satisfied and moved on... leaving me with a new crop at normal prices.  The goal is a fair price, not a sumgai price.

 

Avoid trying to buy anything that has HOT threads on FPN    :lol:   Like $69 Lamy Petrol ink.

 

Do your homework/shopping, decide the price you are willing to pay, place the bid then forget it.  For most common pens you'll see another soon enough if you miss this one.  Snipe if you really have to have that one.  But paying up due to "20 seconds left fever" is embarrassing when you look at your inventory months later and say to yourself "I paid how much for that! Yikes, I was a noob"...


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#12 Strelnikoff

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 23:42

There's a lot of auction fever on eBay. In the last week I had five pens in my watch list. I'd no intention of buying, I was just interested to see what they'd go for. In each case they were second hand pens, no extra bits or special grinds, that can still be bought new from many places.in all five cases the pens sold for more than what you can buy them for new. I've seen this happen many, many times. I guess it could be shill bidding but one pen in my list had the exact same pen as a 'buy it now' in the sellers listing for less than what the auction pen sold for. After the auction pen finished I looked for the BIN pen and it was still listed! The only explanation I can think of for that is auction fever where bidders get locked in to a notion of winning - at any cost.

 

That's insane... I don't need that drama in my life. I have enough issues with pen addiction as it is :))

 

There are too many mysteries about eBay and auctions.



#13 Strelnikoff

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 23:43

 

As others have said, use a sniping service. I like gixen.com, but there are plenty to choose from. Set your snipe and walk away. It isolates you from the whole "bidding war" mentality (and allows you to pull out if you find another pen you like better).

 

 

I assume you're asking if you can do this even if the seller has not chosen to add a Buy-It-Now option? Asking the seller to accept your $$$ outside the eBay system is against eBay rules (since eBay won't make any money from it) but you could ask the seller to add a Buy-It-Now option at the price you're willing to pay. A wary seller will say no, thinking you're trying to outsmart the snipers and get a bargain, but I've seen buyers do it successfully.

 

 

eBay is the market (or a huge part of it), so the prices you see there are the market value. That said, there are a lot of factors in play besides the pen itself: how well it's presented, the reputation of the seller, how many deep-pocket collectors have their eye on it...

 

The main thing is not to lose your head over any particular auction: there's always a better pen coming up in the next few weeks.

 

Great answers! Thanks! Especially the last advice.



#14 AGxM

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 23:47

Agree with the sage advice above from Goudy....the key is only bid as much as you're willing to pay, if it goes for more then then seller got a great deal and obviously someone either really wanted it, or had more money than sense.

 

I browse eBay a lot as in HK there doesn't seem to be a big vintage market, so one of my considerations is shipping costs, which can also make a bargain become expensive.

 

Unless you have seen something truly unique, there will be more along in time so don't sweat it.



#15 Strelnikoff

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 23:49

Prices are going up.  But for more common, not 'rare', pens the prices do seem to cycle up and down a bit.  Maybe a certain type of pen has a bunch of excited sellers all going after the same stuff.  I've ignored things that feel like that and gone back a month or so later to find all those guys are satisfied and moved on... leaving me with a new crop at normal prices.  The goal is a fair price, not a sumgai price.

 

Avoid trying to buy anything that has HOT threads on FPN    :lol:   Like $69 Lamy Petrol ink.

 

Do your homework/shopping, decide the price you are willing to pay, place the bid then forget it.  For most common pens you'll see another soon enough if you miss this one.  Snipe if you really have to have that one.  But paying up due to "20 seconds left fever" is embarrassing when you look at your inventory months later and say to yourself "I paid how much for that! Yikes, I was a noob"...

 

I was passing through Frankfurt airport few weeks ago, and thought - maybe, just maybe I'll swing by Montblanc store and... maybe just maybe I'll pick up one 146... when you deduct VAT (tax, non-EU...) the price is OK. Not that I'm huge fan of MB's, although I have 4 pens, but I was thinking about it.

 

And I ended up buying Lamy Safari Petrol pen. Why? no clue... perhaps just so I can say I have it :) I don't know. Then I saw the ink - and it was something like 50 EUR or maybe even 60 ... I just walked away. I guess I had enough sanity in me. It didn't made sense, an INK for 60 plus USD ... ???



#16 Strelnikoff

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 23:55

Agree with the sage advice above from Goudy....the key is only bid as much as you're willing to pay, if it goes for more then then seller got a great deal and obviously someone either really wanted it, or had more money than sense.

 

I browse eBay a lot as in HK there doesn't seem to be a big vintage market, so one of my considerations is shipping costs, which can also make a bargain become expensive.

 

Unless you have seen something truly unique, there will be more along in time so don't sweat it.

 

 

That's the thing - I think I saw something ... unique enough (for me). Now I'm thinking - do I really need that pen? And I don't, but I have placed a bid 2 days ago... :D

I hear you with shipping cost issues... I've lived in Norway for few years, and pen market over there doesn't exist practically. Sometimes there are few pens online, but as anything else in that country - prices are insane. So I've ordered a pen and few bottles of ink from Holland. Seller automatically removes the VAT (Norway is not in EU) and prices were excellent. I've even asked seller to omit max price from shipping papers, which to my surprise he did. So I was all happy. Until I've received notification from local post office in Norway - come and pick up your shipment, your tax & shipment is NOK NOK NOK... well, I have never ordered anything again.



#17 sandy101

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 01:41

The best way to "win" a decent vintage pen is to visit a pen show or a reputable pen seller (who may have an e-bay store) and to buy from them. Some retailers will give you a 14 day or 30 day return which you can use if the pen not working.

 

The point of auctions isn't just to win, but to pay a price that you feel is reasonable and that you can afford.

 

I have bought pens on e-bay, and I don't chase the auctions. I bid the maximum price I think is reasonable and let the auction take its course. Sometimes I win the pen, sometimes I don't - but patience is the key. The number of Parker 45's, 51's and others that turn up - as long as you are not in a hurry, you will probably get lucky in the next 3 months. The problem with e-bay is not all sellers know what they have got, or know the condition.

 

It is a pen that turned up in a drawer that hasn't been used for decades, which might work - or it was put in the drawer because it had problems which have not been resolved.

 

Another option is to look at the classifieds on this site and see if they have what you want.

 

(I've also just seen some Cross pens going for ridiculous prices - yes, the pens at be from the 70's, but they are being sold for much more than a new one would cost).


Edited by sandy101, 31 May 2017 - 01:43.


#18 Tootles

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 02:46

Regarding #2: as far as I know you are free to make a direct offer to the seller in an auction before any bids are placed.  Once a bid is down then offers are not allowed in this way.



#19 AltecGreen

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 04:10

On question #2, it has been noted that it is against eBay rules.  Does it happen?  Yes, quite often.   It is referred to as "closing an auction".   There are some adept experts at "closing" auctions in the pen world.   There are many situations when this comes into play.  It is somewhat of a game because for the people that play at this level, everyone knows everybody else and there is a lot of back channel communications. 

 

 

On question #3, it depends.  Obviously, if enough auctions close at a higher price, the market price for said item will drift upwards.  This is still subject to normal supply and demand.  In the case of Waterman 52s, a few dealers have been able to consistently get higher prices for their pens because they have successfully marketed them as flexy.  I won't name names but we do talk about this at pen shows and other such gatherings.  However, prices for non-flexy 52s have not really gone up that much.

 

http://vintagepensbl...aterman-52.html

 

 

In some cases, a few high priced auctions are enough to drive the entire market up.  For example, it only took a few individuals to pay $500 for a Pilot M90 for the entire market to shift upwards almost overnight.   However, this shift did not drag the prices of say a Pilot black strip MYU701 upwards very much. 


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#20 MercianScribe

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 04:51

I would say, that while all the advice here is good, the bit about scoping out the seller to see if they're a reputable pen seller or not is not necessarily the best way to get a bargain. To see if they are reputable, sure, but pen sellers have hundreds of pen buyers watching them. The best deals I've got have been people who probably have never sold a pen before, don't describe it very well (or even mis-spell it), have a couple of blurred pics, and often lump in a real treasure with an unrelated piece of junk. Try to avoid using pen jargon and conversely, talking down to people when you ask them a question, but be specific.

 

Also; go international. AFAIK, US eBay users have a US default setting, when often there're better deals on other eBays. Stick with the countries with cheap shipping, like Canada (avoid Australia - I'm sure the Ozzie postal service must use gold bubble wrap on charter planes!).

 

Lastly, be canny with search terms and categories: calligraphy supplies yield a lot cheaper stub and italic pens (and even flex) than Collectables: Fountain Pens.


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