I probably spend way too much time on eBay.  Or maybe I don't.  I'm curious if other feel a thread or even a discussion group about the trials and tribulations of buying and selling knives on eBay would be worthwhile or if it would just turn into a glorious flame war?

I'm thinking of a place to discuss in general terms some of the annoying things we run into plus some of the stranger posts we see.  For instance three words that annoy me to no end are "Reserve Not Met"  

And then there are those people who sell "crappy knife with cool case"  knowing the word Case and knife will bring looks from people trying to find Case Knives.   How can legitimate sellers of Case knives better target buyers of Case knives? 

Ebay is the online flea market for knife collectors and there is a lot of good knives sold on it.  But there are also disreputable sellers.  How can we warn new buyers without hurting decent merchants who made an honest mistake.  What do other think.  Is there room or interest for a place devoted to "Ebay for Knife Collectors"

Tags: collector, eBay, knife, knives

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About Make an Offers: Part One.

I'm batting about 500 on Make an Offers.  I try to be realistic Some people like to barter.  At a flew market or garage sale, my usual starting place is half the sticker price.  Some seller will be insulted other more seasoned sellers see it as "game-on"  If I can get them down to about 75% I call it a draw.  If I still feel the price is to high I'll walk away and come back around closing time and see if the item is gone.  If it is still there I'll  make a reasonable offer based on the past haggling that was done.

Obviously that strategy doesn't work as well with Ebay.  A few things you can consider, however.

Before I even make an offer, I look around for the going price of the item and decide if the price is close to what I'm willing to pay.  My normal threshold is "Am I willing to pay 80% of the asking price"  If I am, then I will consider making an offer.

If the item is newly listed, it is often too early to "make an offer."  The seller will either let your offer expire as he wait for a better offer or he'll hope someone sees that an offer has been made and snaps it up at the "buy it now" price.  This means you need to watch the item for a while and hope no offers are made or that the item isn't bought at the asking price.

Sellers sometimes set a minimum amount they will accept for an offer and if that price or higher is offered it will sell right away.  If that price isn't met it will be rejected right away. 

However, they can also do it on a case by case basis.  This means some offers are automatically accepted while others may sit out the there 48 hours.  This means  you may need to leave at least a few hours for the seller to contemplate you offer.  I usually wait until there is around 36 hours left before making an offer.   The offer is what I'm willing to pay.

In many cases it is just a dance. The seller is wanting to see just how much you want the item.  They have told you waht they want to make but are seeing how much they can squeeze out of you.

About Make an Offers: Part Two.

Some other sellers may be selling items in bulk.  In this case, they have a Make an Offer in place where they are willing to sell you multiples of the same item at a reduced price. 

For instance they may be selling machetes with a buy it now of $20 (shipping included)  but when you click Make an Offer you have the ability to enter a quantity and a price.  So they might be willing to sell you three machetes for $40  or eight Machetes for $55 but if you try to buy one machete for $19 they'll reject your offer.

Surprisingly, I've had quite a bit of luck with these type places even when just buying a single item.  I can normally get the item for about 75% of the asking price.  Typically they are looking for repeat buyers and are willing to take a chance.

I admit it!  I tend to snipe on eBay.  That is I make last second bids!  Why?  Because when I bid early someone will often bid more than my maximum amount I'm willing to bid and I start thinking about increasing my maximum bid and then I either pay more than I want or I just get outbid all over again.  

If you put in that maximum amount you wanted to bid, don't feel bad about being outbid at the last second. I've saved you the hassle of a bidding war. I took my best shot and I either won or made you pay more but not as much as your maximum bid.  If you really wanted it, you should have had a higher maximum bid.  It is very rare that I outbid a person by just 50 cents or a dollar.  I'm usually $10 or $20 above their maximum bid. but only had to pay a fraction of that  because I avoided a bidding war.

I bid both ways, I sometimes bid all I'm gonna spend early and if it works if not, to bad. I have already sniped at the end, works sometimes. I have already bid low on about a dozen things, well I was out bid on 11 of them but that's okay, I got one item real cheap. I do that a lot. I have also had great luck on Make an Offer. Especially on items that have ran for a while. Example; I bought a great Russell 1900 folder that was $125 or Offer. I offered $90 and they said that was fair and I got it. Someone over here has offered me $150. There is a lot of different ways to try beat the system.

  Items listed in the wrong category is the best for real low bidding. The people that are interested in that item never get to see it. You must know where to look, There are small listings that offer great prices.

I've found some great items doing what I call "trolling"  I go to ebay and look for "knife" and limit to "time ending soonest" and  "Auction"  and then start scrolling for low bid items that I think might be worth a gander.  

The problem with this is you have to read descriptions fast and accurately because you might only have a few seconds to make a decision and place a bid.  I try to give myself at least 5 or 10 minute of decision making time. 

What I like about this time of searching if this is where normally find items  selling really cheap because they have been poorly described by the seller. 

When doing this, You really need to set ground rules for what to look for yet remain very flexible.   The biggest ground rule is to read the description and look carefully at all the pictures.  Make sure both sides of the knife and all of the blade has been shown in photos.  Sometimes the reason no one has bid on the knife is because it is a total piece of junk!  If you're going to troll, you need to need to know a general approximation of what various knives are worth as well as how Ebay works.

Below is a Case Knife that I found while trolling.  The person had it listed a "three blade knife."  Had he given a more accurate description I'm sure more Case Collectors would have been snooping around. I think I paid around $25-$30 for it.

Case Stockman with 113 shield (CA 6375 CV)  1 of 1,000 Large stockmans made by Case in 2002 with the "Case 113" year shield. The 113 marks the 113 anniversary of Case knives.

Another trolling find was the Case Tangerine Peanut pictured below.  That one was had for  $10.  Mint  with papers and the box.  I have no idea why no one was bidding on that one. When I was placing the bid I was wondering if the guy was selling a counterfeit! The opening bid was $10 (free shipping) and I placed a last minute bid for $25.

Wow incredible and some sharp maneuvering there.  I guess I am not on often enough to really spot those odd bargains but maybe if I did spend more time I might get in on a few.

We have not talked yet about a "watch" strategy. But here is what I do many times: I watch an item until the final hour or so, check for activity to that point and determine if I am still interested. If I am still in the game so to speak and the item has not gone over my $ amount I then place a last minute bid. This has worked on a few occasions. I sometimes wonder if the item has activity, folks may bid, if it has none they might just pass it by. It becomes a good chance for me.

One rule I go buy is don't bid too much to soon.

The best deals I have found on the bay have been mid week and even mid day/mid week. They don't come along that often but when they do you can usually rack up. The tuffest is Sunday evening usually the best stuff and most bidders IMO.

I always wait until the last few seconds and bid what I am willing to pay unless it's already over my limit, and  hope for the best.

I have been sniped on eBay and have done a little sniping myself.  Here is an anti sniping strategy that I use.  If I am high bidder on something I really want, I will significantly increase my max bid about a minute or 30 seconds before the end.  For instance if I am high at $20, I might increase my max bid to $30.  That way they can't snipe me for 50 cents or a dollar.  They have got to really want it to outbid me.  When I've done this I have never had to pay my max bid.

I agree with that one Robert. They want you to basically bid your max but I wait. let whoever is bidding think they outbid me right?

Robert Burris said:

One rule I go buy is don't bid too much to soon.

Day of wek preferences well now that is kind of interesting. Maybe it does matter!

Brian Hutton said:

The best deals I have found on the bay have been mid week and even mid day/mid week. They don't come along that often but when they do you can usually rack up. The tuffest is Sunday evening usually the best stuff and most bidders IMO.

I always wait until the last few seconds and bid what I am willing to pay unless it's already over my limit, and  hope for the best.

The only time  I bid early is when I will not be able to bid at the last second.  And when I snipe, I shoot with my max bid.  If I get it for less, then that is icing on the cake.  If my max bid wasn't good high enough I will lose the bid but at least I won't pay more that wanted to pay.  That is my general rule that I use when bidding. 

I found out a long time ago if I bid early I might bid often and might end up spending much more than I wanted to spend.  The key it to remember you are trying to buy an item and not win a prize.  You can't let the emotion of the moment control the purchase.

I've seen items go for a higher bid on eBay than the sticker price on Amazon,  SMKW or  some other eBay's seller  "Buy it Now" price! 

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