The Problem With Buying & Selling On Ebay

There is an unfortunate misconception that all auctions are created equal.  Some people believe that where you sell doesn’t matter.  If you pick the wrong auction venue then you could potentially be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.  We are going to specifically explain the difference between us and ebay.

The Buyer’s Perception:

Selling on ebay is a lot like trying to sell your house on your own.  In theory you might cut out a real estate agent, but the buyers who are interested in your house are automatically going to bring you lower offers because they know that you aren’t a professional.  The same thing happens on ebay.  Most buyers expect to pay 20-50% less for items that are sold on ebay as opposed to a well-publicized live auction event.  Many of the buyers on ebay are wholesalers and sharks who are specifically buying to resell for a profit at a more appropriate auction venue.  Simply put, the few dealers and collectors out there who still follow ebay are only bidding cheap amounts.  People won’t buy off ebay unless it is a bargain.  And you definitely don’t want to be the seller letting things go for a bargain price.  On the other hand, when dealers and collectors go to a live auction they know that they will be competing with hundreds of well-qualified and serious buyers; if they want to be the successful bidder then they will have to pay up.  The mindset is totally different.


The longest you can list an auction on ebay for is ten days.  In our opinion, that is simply not long enough for all of the interested buyers to discover your item.  You are completely on your own and you have to hope that the right buyers find your listing.  We promote each of our auctions for two or three months prior to when the items are available for bidding to make sure all of the interested buyers know about the sale.  Then there is a 30 day period where bidders can place proxy bids via internet, mail, or phone.  Finally we have the live auction event where people can bid live online, in person, or via phone.


If you sold (for example) a banknote on ebay for $1,170 then you would pay ebay at least $117 in ebay fees plus $34.23 in paypal fees.  Then you are probably going to spend around $20 to ship and insure the banknote.  If you sold the same banknote through one of our auction and someone bid $1,000 then you would get paid $1,000.  The buyer would cut us a check for $1,170, which is $1,000 plus the 17% in-house buyer’s premium.  So it costs virtually the same amount of money to sell with us as it does on ebay.  The only difference is that we do all of the legwork, advertising, and shipping. And you can get paid quicker if you take advance of our free advances.

Timed vs Live

It is very important to understand the difference between a live event and a timed auction.  Ebay has timed auctions.  So an auction ends at a specific time like 8pm on Sunday.  This deadline creates snipe bidding situations.  All of the bidders literally wait until the last few seconds to place a bid.  That really isn’t an auction; it is more of a sealed bid listing, but instead of taking the highest bid, ebay takes the second highest bid and just marks it up a little bit and sells it to next highest bidder.  We personally think live auctions are much more competitive and allow for prices to get much higher.  Buyers have a chance to directly compete with each other until only one person is left standing.  So if four buyers went in thinking that the most they wanted to bid was $2,000, they would actually have a chance to consider bidding more.  This is how bidding wars get started.

Unbiased Third Party

A huge problem that buyers have with ebay is that the seller is directly representing their own item that they are selling.  This is of course a huge conflict of interest.  Many sellers also aren’t qualified to accurately describe the condition of antiques and collectibles whose values are very condition dependent.  This means that buyers have to bid very conservatively.  When you sell through one of our auctions we accurately describe the condition and represent the authenticity of your item.  Buyers can bid more and bid confidently.

Other Seller Competition

When you sell on ebay you are competing with thousands of people trying to sell similar items.  It is very difficult to make your item standout.  Furthermore, sellers have to filter through all of the junk and scam listings before they can find your listing.  There was a time when ebay was a fun and exciting place to bid and sell.  Unfortunately though, many buyers and sellers feel that it has turned into an under-regulated garage sale.

Talk To Us First

Before you try to sell something on ebay, please give us a chance to have a conversation with you about our auction services and how we can help you get more money when you sell.