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The collapse of eBay


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 20:42

The vast majority of my 300 or so sports car model collection were bought on Ebay. The collecting took place between around 1990 and 2000, with a few more being added throughout the 'noughties'.

Very few of the collection were 'Buy It Nows', and through the auction system I obtained the majority of them at relatively low prices.

Nowadays, having moved to Malta, the collection, minus my 1966 Le Mans collection which I took with me, spent a year or so with a dealer who sold a reasonable number of cars on my behalf but eventually felt that he was not able to advertise any more on his site. A TNF colleague very kindly collected the remaining cars and set about drip-feeding them onto Ebay, for me. The results have been utterly, demoralisingly, disappointing.

Nothing that has been listed on Ebay has sold for what we consider to be a decent price and the five listings that ended a few hours ago amassed not a single bid between the lot of them.

I know money is tight but this seems quite unfathomable to me.

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#2 Hamish Robson

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 20:50

Hi Barry,

I think eBay is less and less about auctions nowadays. I collect and build mainly plastic kits and spent a lot of the 2000's stocking up on bargains and rarities when eBay was full to the brim of interesting (to me!) auctions. The market seems to have shrunk a great deal now. I think people are getting greedy - instead of putting things to auction the items are going on as Buy It Now with high prices, and hoping that, to the inexperienced, eBay is still the cheapest place, which it definitely is not.
The other possibility of course is that so many people have stuck their collectibles on there that the market is drying up as all the good stuff is ending up with collectors who will not resell.
I have run some auctions recently and not got what I was hoping for. For me, eBay is not the must-go-to nightly trawl that it used to be.

#3 RCH

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 22:53

I would say that the problem is that there is just too much product available on ebay chasing too few buyers. I am looking at this from a different perspective, as a dealer, but to be honest I look at the ebay listings and despair. How can so many traders obtain so much new stock (which I frequently find impossible to source) and sell it at such low prices? It has completely destroyed the very concept of the "High Street" shop or the possibility of selling very much at toyfairs etc.

There really is no collectors market for "last century" models, other than old Dinky toys or similar. Brumm or Best or Vitesse for example compare very unfavourably for detail with what is being produced today by Spark or Minichamps, much more expensive granted but collecting in, say, the sports racing car field is much more about detail and accuracy than the sort of nostalgic charm that the Dinky toy collector is after.

#4 wolseley680

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 00:55

I just use eBay to get rid of things that I don't want - and to buy things (from cars to fountain pens) that I collect/want. I buy new stuff (like electrical goods) off dealers but the rest I buy from private individuals. I think that eBay is great for buying stuff on the cheap - but that means what I sell will also be cheap. I don't list with a "Buy it Now" price and most of what I buy isn't "Buy it Now". I don't get into bidding wars, I work out what I can afford and use one of the bidding firms who put my bid in with a few seconds to go. I always check the feedback of the vendor and have lots of Saved Searches that tell me what prices the things I am interested in are selling for - or what I might get if I listed something. I would spend a minimum of 30mins a day on eBay, mostly checking the emails you get from Saved Searches and I prefer to pay by PayPal or cash on collection. I haven't noticed a decline in items for sale or a drying up of the market that I am interested in although perhaps there isn't as much available from the private individual. I enjoy eBay but I wouldn't like to be trying to make a living out of it.

#5 pete53

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 07:33

There really is no collectors market for "last century" models, other than old Dinky toys or similar. Brumm or Best or Vitesse for example compare very unfavourably for detail with what is being produced today by Spark or Minichamps, much more expensive granted but collecting in, say, the sports racing car field is much more about detail and accuracy than the sort of nostalgic charm that the Dinky toy collector is after.

Very well put. I know that all my 1960s Solido, Mercury and Crescent racing cars, which were made as toys and are relatively basic, will each sell for £50 plus , whereas my Brumms and Bests will barely fetch a tenner if I am lucky. Basically nearly everything that was made as a collectable now his little collectability and will very often sell, if it does sell, for less than you paid for it (with odd exceptions). The Dinky Toy market is still very buoyant, but you can hardly even give away all those fairly crude Models of Yesteryear and LLedo models that were aimed at the adult collector and produced in their millions in the 1980/1990s.

Latter day collectables do meet a need in the market in their own time, but the market changes and moves on. They will rarely ever prove to be an investment.

#6 mfd

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 16:49

I am looking at this from a different perspective, as a dealer...

We've all experienced a change from a few model shops of which I recall you having one Rod. Where a trip or a holiday in any area had me seeing if a deviation to a shop was possible! Then the Toy Fairs or some race meetings threw a few together in one hit (you'd remember me, I'm sure) all partly destroyed by the internet & ebay, where the rare items & gap fillers are out there from the world resource as opposed to UK based.
Eventually as I see it, ebay shot themselves in the foot by upping final value fees along with paypal commissions. It's hard to understand why a seller would bother, but if you want to get rid or revise your collection, it is a thankless task. The most irritating part is a seller being expected to post by "signed for" services & the additional costs scoring against the seller by way of the feedback. Without it a disappearing item, through the paypal system, a buyer complaining will always find in their favour. Without the security it encourages dishonesty, yet equally higher postage becomes something that puts off buyers.
The Spark factor has shifted our previous satisfaction for hand builts & also damaged any intrisic value - fancy a Marsh Factory Built for £50 anyone? It happens...

#7 RCH

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 22:22

Intersting that you mention Marsh Mike. I've recently bought two on ebay for £40.00 each. I know who built them, not factory builds but very, very good. I was actually offered the whole collection, which did include factory builds but the cost asked would not have brought any return for me at current prices. When I saw them on ebay I limited myself to £40.00, there were many more offered but none of them went to sensible prices. Can only assume the chap who was selling them got them much cheaper than I could!

You may recall that I used to sell a lot of factory built Starter Le Mans winners. A while ago I thought I may buy some in if I could find them on ebay. There were and are some there, trying to sell at around £35.00 to £45.00 and to the best of my knowledge none of them has ever sold.

I started stocking Spark when they first appeared. There was a good market amongst the kit builders who either didn't have the time to build the more obscure Le Mans cars which Spark were doing at the time yet wanted to complete their Le Mans grids or to those who would have bought a Starter or PM kit but much preferred having a built model for around the same price knowing it would be better than they could manage. Today I cannot compete against the "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" ebay merchants who probably wouldn't know an Audi from an Aston Martin... or care.

Wonder what GPM make of it?

#8 mfd

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 00:35

Wonder what GPM make of it?

I remember when GPM used the term "die cast" as a slight, to infer they were lesser quality items. Today they identify Spark as "resin cast" which although true gives me a similar impression they're knocking them. Perhaps they aren't all the finest examples of the art of modelling but some of them are bloody good & there's things such as tiny etched parts appearing which were never included in Starter, PM or Tenariv kits & dare I say that Marsh can miss a few details out too.

Some of the three or four Spark Porsche 917 versions (the 1969 cars made in supposedly limited runs of 300 or so) have added tiny but significant details never included on any versions I'd ever seen before.

Edited by mfd, 05 June 2013 - 00:36.


#9 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:03

Barry, I sell stuff as a business on Ebay. It is often a pain, as are Ebay as a company. With their regular 'improvements' that make things harder for the sellers,, their customers.

IF, you use the auction format make sure that it ends around 8PM , preferably on Sunday night. Also start the auction at the minimum you will take for it. As a sometime buyer I LOVE 99c start auctions as they seldom make any decent money.

All of my listings are Buy It Now. You also have to learn how to 'fool' the site into being visible. Hence all the sellers with literally about a hundred keywords, without them many adds do not search. VERY poor programming from their part.

Buy It Now means you have less wankers to deal with, and either they buy it, or not.

Also, and with at least a smaller model it should not be too hard, have a freight/ post price on the listing, Post bags are usually the best, and easiest way to send stuff or at very least say please contact me for a freight quote. Though believe me you will still get incessant how much to post when it is there.

Also put on your listing in larger capitals ; Please wait for me to invoice you before paying, Thankyou; Or people will blindly pay with the hated Paypal and then you have to chase them for the postage costs. Even with the wording there they still do it, repeatedly day in day out.
And for you buyers there take note of my comments, it will save a whole pile of stuffing about and you will get your item a lot faster, without any stess on anyones part.

As for Ebay, it has gone down hill year after year. Complain and you get canned answers, and blame your browser all the time. Talk to them, some countries have a ph no and you will get a call centre in the Philipines who know very little and give you the same canned answers. Just like most call centres.

#10 mfd

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:39

You also have to learn how to 'fool' the site into being visible. Hence all the sellers with literally about a hundred keywords, without them many adds do not search. VERY poor programming from their part.

Interesting Lee - would you mind letting me know your user name. I for one, would like to see your listings.

#11 RCH

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:46

Have been selling on ebay for ten years or so now. Not so good these days, I keep trying to persuade ebayers to buy via my website and cut out the middleman so to speak but it's almost as though the buyers believe that they will only get an honest deal on ebay, weird! I always list the postage charge and this comes up automatically on the invoice, perhaps it works differently in Oz?

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:52

I think Sunday is good, too...

For buying things. Everyone's doing other things on Sunday.

#13 ryan86

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:50

The new look annoys me. I never really complain about anything, but I so disliked Ebay's makeover I sent them e-mail!

#14 Alan Cox

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 08:45

Or people will blindly pay with the hated Paypal and then you have to chase them for the postage costs. Even with the wording there they still do it, repeatedly day in day out.

Not quite sure why you have to chase buyers for postage costs, but I am probably being thick. I have always found that the postage costs shown are included in any PayPal invoice. If it is going to cost more to post than the postage costs allow, make allowance for the difference to your starting price/Buy it Now price. I realise that you are going to be penalised for the additional amount on their commission charge, but in any cases where I have had to do that it has been a very small amount in the overall scheme of things. I find their changes as irritating as everyone else, one step forward, three or four steps back but it still seems to me the best place to market certain items.

#15 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:27

But obviously NOT 1950s sports racing cars, Alan.

#16 nicanary

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 13:08

The new look annoys me. I never really complain about anything, but I so disliked Ebay's makeover I sent them e-mail!


A bit O/T, but I collect programmes from the 40s/50s/early 60s (typical TNF member) - E-bay have recently revised the format of that sub-section. and now the sellers have no idea where to place their items.

The category has been laid out so that the genre of racing (F1, Indy, Le Mans etc.) has to be selected. Whoever was responsible for the programming (excuse the pun) had no idea that race meetings consist usually of several races of differing categories. As a result the number of items listed each day has dwindled to a trickle. I haven't bought for weeks now, although that may be a good thing.

Who are these monkeys? It's so frustrating. It's difficult enough to get used to the makeover without finding that it's impossible for sellers to list their items.


#17 Mal9444

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 07:54

Speaking to a specialist auctioneer on this topic he made a point that, until I heard it, I had not at all considered. The ‘break’ (in our context) comes with models produced from the ‘Seventies onwards.

Until then the market in scale and diecast vehicles was primarily one aimed at children and the product essentially a toy, intended for play; thereafter, while the toy market of course continued, the marketbecame an adult market, with the product intended for purchase by adults for display – probably still in its inner if not outer packing – rather than play. ‘Mint’ condition is thus the norm, rather than the rarity, while in the Dinky/ Corgi market there is a wide range of condition, thus a wider range of attraction and interest for present-day collectors. Also, having been from the outset intended only for collectors, there is little nostalgia value in individual models and much less retrospective purchasing going on in the scale market than in the ‘toy’ market. Even with what we now look on as a ‘rare’ model, the pool of potential buyers is much smaller: many serious or long-term collectors have it already.

We, with our collections of mass-produced sports cars, Grand Prix cars, James Bond cars etc are clients of the ‘Collectabiles Industry’, rather than true collectors (as in old toys, old chairs, old paintings). He didn’t quite say ‘mugs’, but I sort of got the message, albeit deliciously gently conveyed.

And that’s why my old Dinky Supertoys Blawnox Bulldozer with only one green rubber track and no driver is still worth up to 10 times my, or Barry’s, mint-in-box Hawthorn 1956 Goodwood Ferrari 750 Monza.

If only I’d kept the box for my Mighty Antar tank transporter.


#18 Alan Cox

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:35

If only I’d kept the box for my Mighty Antar tank transporter.

...which would probably be worth ten times more than your mint and boxed Monza Ferrari, even without its contents

#19 D-Type

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 10:48

~
If only I’d kept the box for my Mighty Antar tank transporter.



...which would probably be worth ten times more than your mint and boxed Monza Ferrari, even without its contents



Which is why there's a market for reproduction boxes! I don't know if the makers introduce deliberate errors so you can tell the difference. I've even seen magazine articles on how to restore a box.