Seller's market

From: Uncle Roger <>
Date: Wed Mar 24 20:38:36 1999

At 10:58 AM 3/21/99 -0800, you wrote:
>You first need to think about how the ebay
>auction format results in higher than reasonable prices (since you seem to
>have ignored all the arguments I've made to this point) and then see if

I seem to have missed the reasons why eBay intrinsicly results in inflated
prices. As far as I can tell, the reasons mentioned so far for high prices
on eBay are:

1) idiots who don't know they can or are too lazy to find computers cheap at
   out-of-the-way places only open on Fridays
2) idiots who have too much money
3) too many idiots who want the same stuff as us geniuses
4) bidders who maliciously bid excessively to artificially raise selling
   prices so that the hated seller has to pay higher fees to eBay
5) eBay wants items to sell for higher prices
6) unsrupulous sellers who shill bid to increase prices (raising the bids of
   the folks mentioned in #2)

Anything I missed?

>at least 3 years know that what something sells for on ebay is ridiculous
>compared to what its really worth.

Well, I've been involved with various collectibles for nearly 30 years, and
I have to agree. I bought two Chein tin wind-up Donald Ducks last fall
through eBay for ridiculous prices -- about 25% of what I could have turned
around and sold them for at any antique show.

And the Sharp PC-5000 I got for $15 was pretty ridiculous, considering the
significance of the machine.

>Think of it this way: if a toy stuffed with beans that cost a couple
>dollars to manufacture were to be made for sale in a way which makes
>people perceive a scarcity, and that toy was then subsequently priced up
>to $1000 because of dealers and price speculators feeding on the perceived
>scarcity of that toy, is it really worth $1000? Don't answer that yet.
>Now fast forward a couple years in time and the market runs its course,
>people are fed up with this toy and don't care about it anymore. The fad
>is over, the bottom of the market drops out, and the last sorry asshole to
>pay $1000 for a toy stuffed with beans is left holding an item worth maybe
>$50 to the person who still hasn't caught on that it was all just an
>irrational frenzy to begin with.

Hmmm... Sounds like numismatics in the 80's, gold and silver at various
times, collector plates, etc., etc., etc. And your point is?

Speculators who buy based on fads are idiots. "Buy the book before you buy
the coin." Smart folks do their homework before spending a lot of money.
No matter what the "investment opportunity!" is, those that get in before
it hits big and get out at the peak make a lot of money. Those that don't,
don't. (Think back to around 1929...)

Btw, I still don't have a Commodore SX-64, one of the few portable versions
of an 8-bit home machine, in my collection. There have been a lot up for
bid on eBay, but they all seem to sell for just over $100. (The same price
as they were going for at VCF 2.0, btw.) That's more than I'm willing to
pay for a Commodore 64, no matter how portable. On the other hand, I put
out close to $300 for 2 Zorba's (with Shipping from the east coast) that I
got through eBay. I don't think that that's a ridiculous price to pay for
a rather uncommon machine. (Especially since I'm getting manuals and
software, plus a couple of Kaypros, an IBM portable, and a couple of other
goodies to go with it.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------- O-

Uncle Roger "There is pleasure pure in being mad that none but madmen know."
Roger Louis Sinasohn & Associates
San Francisco, California
Received on Wed Mar 24 1999 - 20:38:36 GMT

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