Monday, July 9, 2012

eBay is NOT an auction site

The idea of eBay as an auction website is nothing more than clever e-commerce marketing.
As a professional auctioneer, eBay is a regular part of my lexicon. Many people I talk to commonly associate online auctions with eBay. eBay has done well marketing their service, because while they do have a bidding process, they are not an auction site. eBay does not conduct online auctions; items sold on eBay are not sold at auction. They promote the idea of an auction without actually having one.
The definition of an auction is: “[a] public sale in which property or items of merchandise are sold to the highest bidder.” Source:
eBay does not sell anything to the highest bidder. Instead, items are sold on eBay to the winning bidder at a pre-set end time. There is an entire cottage industry that builds software to deploy last second bids on eBay. This behavior is known as “snipping.” By entering a bid with only a few seconds left, other users do not have enough time to enter a counter-bid before time expires and the sale is made.
By having a pre-set ending time instead of selling to the highest bidder, eBay effectively circumvents auction laws created to protect buyers and sellers. They also get around licensing requirements in many states. Many items on eBay are sold for less than their actual value because time expires before bidders have a chance to bid again after being outbid. In the past on eBay I have been a buyer willing to pay more for an item but didn’t get my bid placed before the sale closed, and I have also been a seller who received calls from upset bidders pleading me to sell them the item for more than the final price listed on eBay.
eBay doesn’t even claim to be an auction. The eBay user agreement states that they are a venue to conduct “auction-style formats.” Their user statement goes on to state: “you acknowledge that we are not a traditional auctioneer. Instead, our sites are venues to allow anyone to offer, sell, and buy just about anything, at anytime, from anywhere, in a variety of pricing formats and locations, such as stores, fixed price formats and auction-style formats.” Source:
At a real auction, online or live, there is a binding contract between buyer and seller. eBay expressly states that bids DO NOT create a formal contract: “For certain categories, particularly Motor vehicles and Real Estate, a bid or offer initiates a non-binding transaction representing a buyer’s serious expression of interest in buying the seller’s item and does not create a formal contract between the buyer and the seller.” Source:
Not a binding transaction?! This defeats the purpose of a website that is supposed to sell items. When all is said and done, eBay is just a marketing site charging a fee for an ad. If the buyer can walk away from a bid without repercussions, no transaction has occurred, and no one is any better off.
eBay is a site for consumer to consumer transactions. It is a place to sell tchotchkes, collectables, trinkets and other C-to-C items. It is an online market place just like, or an online version of a flea market. The design of eBay gives regular people the opportunity to sell online. As such, it is not a professional environment. It is not a place to sell complete estates or to conduct business to business transactions. Their terms and conditions allow too much freedom to back out of transactions once they are complete.
eBay should not be a tool used regularly by licensed auctioneers who make a living using the auction method of selling. Professional auctioneers conduct real online auctions on sites like Proxibid or from their own websites. The rules are different on an authentic online auction website and the terms and conditions allow real business to be conducted. Buyers and sellers are protected and both benefit from a controlled environment.
True online auctions have extended bidding. With extended bidding there is no set closing time. Instead each lot remains open until there are no additional bids for a set amount of time. This method nets the seller more money and insures the buyer willing to pay the most has the opportunity to win the item.
Now that you know the difference between an online auction and eBay, consider avoiding the term “eBay style auction” when describing your online auction. To me, “eBay style” means a clever e-commerce marketing idea where items are sold for less than they are worth to the lucky bidder who got the last second bid. That is not an online auction, nor is it something I want to promote.

by wavebid on February 24, 2012 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Selling gold at auction best way to a fair price. 

Gold Warning – Sellers Beware!

by Michael Fuljenz  - 
Would you accept only $60 when selling a gold item that’s actually worth $10,000?  Yet, that unscrupulous “low ball” offer actually was made.
In recent years I’ve provided award-winning expert assistance for newspaper and TV undercover investigations of so-called “hotel buyers” operating in a half dozen states.  You’ve undoubtedly seen the big advertisements proclaiming, “HIGHEST PRICES PAID,” that are placed by some of the itinerant buyers of gold and silver jewelry and coins who travel from city to city.  In some cases, those ads should state, “SELLERS BEWARE,” because you may see bigger promises than payouts.
I loaned $43,000 worth of rare coins, bullion and “scrap” gold (such as broken jewelry) for undercover reporters to offer various hotel buyers to test buying prices.  Even though some of the buyers actually referred to price guides or looked up information on laptop computers before making an offer, they often made offers significantly below the melt value of rare coins that had a numismatic value far above their bullion content.
When asked by a reporter how much he’d pay for the $43,000 worth of items, one buyer offered only $11,600 for everything.  That’s about 25 cents on the dollar.  Another buyer offered just $30 for a 14k gold bracelet with a melt value of about $350.  And another traveling buyer, the one who offered only $60 for a rare, mint state 1925-dated Denver Mint Quarter Eagle ($2.50 denomination U.S. gold coin) valued at $10,000, made an offer of only $680 for $25,000 worth of certified rare coins.  That’s only about three percent of their actual, easily determined value, and that would be a financially devastating loss to any unwary seller.
In addition to not paying fair market value for rare coins, bullion and jewelry, some of the traveling gold buyers refuse to give receipts so you have no proof of the cash transaction if you later want to dispute it.  The scales used by some of the buyers to weigh gold jewelry may not have been lawfully registered with government agencies to test their accuracy. That could result in underweight measurements when someone is selling their gold.  In fact, some traveling buyers may not even be registered with the state or local coummunity in which they’re temporarily setting up, and may not be complying with government registration procedural requirements or cooperating with local law enforcement agencies.  Sellers beware!
The results of those investigative stories are not necessarily indicative of all hotel buyers across the country, but they certainly raise the question: how do you protect yourself when you want to sell coins or jewelry?
First, prepare in advance.  Know beforehand what you are selling and get more than one offer, preferably in writing.  Consult with local merchants in your community who may not have flashy advertising, but who may offer you considerably more money for your coins and jewelry.  Most legitimate coin dealers will offer 70 to 80 percent of melt value for jewelry; certainly not merely 10 percent as one traveling hotel buyer offered.
Remember: if you don’t know gold and coins, you’d better know your gold and coins dealer.  Check the buyer’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (
Mike Fuljenz is the editor of the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) award winning “Michael Fuljenz Metals Market Weekly Report,” and the numismatic consultant for First Fidelity Reserve. His award winning radio show can be heard on KLVI News Talk AM 560 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. CST on the last Monday of the month.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rainy weather and the auction

I have always been told that the rainy weather brings out the serious bidders at auction. LAst night proved that statement. It was a standing room only crowd as we went through 320 lots which included coins , guns, furniture, glassware, band instruments, jewelry and numerous other "goodies". There were some steals and there were some deals, but overall items brought fair prices.
That's the beauty of an auction. The crowd determines the price. Not some "expert" estate sales person.  And when the night is over the merchandise for auction is all sold. There is no "residue" to deal with Sunday after the estate sale. More on estate sellers later.
It's a rainy Sunday and paperwork needs to be done. Hope everyone stays safe, especially teens on spring break.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


After you look at the pictures and details let us know what you think.

All American Auction

Wow, what a neat car! That's what I though this morning when I first laid eyes on the 1951 Buick we will auction off July 4th. 37,300 original miles...been in three movies, including "A Beautiful Mind". It the car Ed Harris drove as a G-man. Check out more at