View Full Version : Anybody Noticed Prices on EBay Lately?

neil poulsen
10-Oct-2003, 09:44
Has anyone noticed the prices on EBay lately? They are really low. I just sold a Caltar-S II f6.8 360mm lens for $399, and that was the third listing. I paid over $700 for that silly lens a few years ago. There are many other examples.

10-Oct-2003, 10:05
And a week or two ago somebody paid over $200 for less then half a speed graphic. Just the rear back with no glass. No bellows. Nothing.

James Driscoll
10-Oct-2003, 10:21
Ebay has been funny lately...it has turned into a buyers market now.

I think the current economic situation has something to do with it, as well as EBAY no longer being a "new" thing anymore.

People have realized, that 95% items will show up again and have stopped bidding like there is one left in the world.

But as with anything, it is how you go about it....I routinely start my auctions at $1.00, take nice pictures and spell everything out in my auctions. 90% of the time, my end prices are equal to or higer than the "norm" prices on ebay. In some cases I acutally make a profit. I bought one lens for $225.00 used it for 2 years and sold it for $290.00.

In my 4 years of EBAYING, I have noticed one thing....take two identical items, start one at $1.00 (with no reserve) and the other at $400.00 and most of the time the $1.00 item will end at $550.55, and the $400.00 item will end at $410.77, or have no bids. I think it is a psycological thing, the early bidders feel "they are getting a deal" and the late bidders take notice at something that has 23 bids, instead of 2.

There really is a skill to it, knowing what day to end on, what time to end on...these are things you must take into account. Little things like that make the difference between getting $399 and getting $575.

Jorge Gasteazoro
10-Oct-2003, 11:05
Yeah but sometimes things just do not make sense, which is part of the fun. I got me an x rite 369 for $89, now the 361T which is the one Herbst mentioned in his article is always going for upwards of $400 and is the same thing as the 369. Go figure....

Frank Petronio
10-Oct-2003, 11:46
James is right about starting with a low price and no reserve. Plus eBay takes a huge charge for the reserve auctions. My experience is that if you do nice pictures and a "full disclosure," informative description, you'll almost always come out ahead. The problem is buying from people who decribe everything as "minty" with vague descriptions and photos. Also, I start auctions on Thursday nights for ten days so that they end on a Sunday evening around 10pm EST. That gives them two weekends of exposure. I copied most of this from dagor77 - except I can't write as well as he does - but if you put some effort into your listings it does pay off. I sold a banged up 360 Symmar for $650 to a European this summer.

Steve Lewis
10-Oct-2003, 12:54
Not sure about the US, but at the moment, the prices on UK Ebay are silly. Many items are selling for more than you pay for them in a dealers, which is daft. When bidding, I usually set my limit at around 2/3 rds of what I would expect to pay in the dealers, and with the exception of a 6x9 back I bought in March, all the items I've bid on this year went way beyond my limit. All but one item went for more than the typical dealer price. Until things settle down, I've stopped buying on Ebay.



Brian Ellis
10-Oct-2003, 13:26
I agree about starting at $1 but I don't understand coupling that with no reserve. That seems a little risky. Is there some way besides fake bidding to make sure the item doesn't sell for almost nothing if you start with $1 and have no reserve?

Pete Watkins
10-Oct-2003, 13:29
Steve is right about the U.K.E-Bay. 5x4 filmholders are fetching silly prices. They are far cheaper at camera fairs for those of us who can get to them. The same applies to most other items.Pete.

James Driscoll
10-Oct-2003, 14:16
I agree about starting at $1 but I don't understand coupling that with no reserve. That seems a little risky. Is there some way besides fake bidding to make sure the item doesn't sell for almost nothing if you start with $1 and have no reserve?

Brian, you have to do your homework....putting up a Linhof at $1.00 and no reserve is not risky....within 2 days it will have 17 bids and be up to $333.57.

Putting something with a more "limited" demand up for a $1.00 may be a little more on the risky side. If you put up a Plaubel 4x5...you will run the risk of getting $125.00 for it.

Properly research an item before selling it (research it on ebay, not seller sites) and you will have an idea what it will go for. Certain items, will go for big money (relatively speaking), I have been selling a large stock of old (not super old) instruction manuals for mainly 35mm cameras on EBAY lately. The real thing pops up so infrequently, that i was selling these damn things in the $40-$75 range!!!

The real strategy, lies in deciding when to put something up. (and this also goes for buying to) A few months ago a pamphlet called "Linhof Data Sheets" popped up on EBAY. I loved the design, and watched it get bid up to $117.00!!! This is PAPER!!! Within two weeks, there were five of them posted- the sellers who had them thought they could get $117.00 and the market was flooded with them. I picked one up the other day for $15. An esoteric item such as the above...will usually get big money the first or second time around...then cool off. Something like a Linhof 4x5 tech IV, will almost always go for $500-$1300 depending on the condition. Even if you start at $0.01 with no reserve. Something like used 4x5 film holders....set a reserve or just let market value take over. I am a fan of the "true" auction style. I started a P2 at $1.00 with no reserve....and just watched it go up and up with absolutly no fear.

Ole Tjugen
10-Oct-2003, 14:23
On the other hand, I just watched a Voigtländer Apo-Lanthar 210mm/f:4.5 go for 636 Euro. You could buy a new, better lens for that!

James Driscoll
10-Oct-2003, 14:26
ole, thats a bargain!!! look at how much a place like Lens and Repro charged for an APO-Lanthar- it is in the $1500+ range!!!

10-Oct-2003, 14:36
And how long will it sit in thier display case? That's the thing about Ebay. Put the item up and it'll be sold at the end of the auction. Well most things. A store front needs to finance that lens for how ever long it takes to sell. Plus all the other costs. Some sellers keep relisting items until they find a sucker. I think the PC term is buyer. A similar enlarger to the one I bought last month has been for sale at a price $50 higher then I paid. The difference between mine and the one for sale? Mine is complete. Fully CLA. The one for sale is missing the power supply and I think negative carriers. Sold AS-IS. Yet the seller is looking for more money then the one I bought. Sooner or later he might even get it.

David A. Goldfarb
10-Oct-2003, 15:18
I recently probably paid too much for a Voigtlander Bessa II with Heliar in very nice shape at about $550, but when I was interested in one a couple of years ago, they were going for over $800.

On the other hand, I decided that for $20 a roll on eBay I really didn't need the last twenty rolls of Kodachrome 25 in my freezer (purchased new at B&H before it was discontinued for what--$9 a roll?) and sold them, so some things are still getting silly prices.

James Driscoll
10-Oct-2003, 15:26
The point I was making...is that the APO Lanthar is not a cheap crappy lens....yes the L&R price is going to be more because they are a store. But $636.00 is STILL cheap, if L&R is the high end at $1500...Midwest will sell it for $1050...which is still more than $636. In my neck of the woods (NYC) APO-LANTHARS tend to not sit in display cases at any price.

Maybe I should have phrased it in a different way....

Frank Petronio
10-Oct-2003, 15:48
Here is a funny one - I had a 4 inch long Toyo Loupe that I put on eBay. Had I placed a Buy it Now ad I would have asked $40. Instead, with no reserve, it got bid up to $150. I took mercy on the poor guy and only took $100! Then I bought another from B&H for $39 and sold that one for $103! Now I notice that 2-3 other caught on and are listing Toyo loupes for mega bucks.

True, you can get burnt with odd ball gear. I was trying to sell my friend's Hasselbald 135 Close up lens and bellows - prime equipment - but it never got above $700. So I ended the auction early and don't know what to do with it - he expects $1600. That's a case where you need a reserve and perhaps you need to list it 3-4 times before the right person comes along. I usually tell people the reserve price in my listing - it saves time and aggravation. Why hide it?

Ole Tjugen
11-Oct-2003, 00:15
Re Apo-Lanthars - my 150mm cost me $250 equivalent from a second-hand dealer. I financed that buy, and a 210mm Xenar(glass only) as well as a 90mm Angulon by selling the glass bits of an Apo-Lanthar 210mm.

Prices are generally lower in Europe, especially for "German glass". I often think of a new career in buying in Germany and reselling in the US - Lanthars, Heliars, Planars all seem to get good prices;)

To me, 636.- Euro (not USD) seems too much for a 30-40 years old lens. I know it's very good, having used one, but it's not so much better than anything else that it can justify that price - to me, at least.

11-Oct-2003, 08:17
ebay is a funny place -

things you would expect to be kind of pricy sometimes go for a fraction of what you have seen it selling for in weeks previous, and then again, sometimes you run into things that you know should be selling for a ton of $$ but go for a real "steal" ... i had been pricing verito lenses for about 6-7 months both at places like jay tepper, quality camera, lens and repro, and of course ebay. i was ready to shell out the big-bucks for it, until i found one on ebay - it is in great condition ( even has the wollensak leather lens cap that says " let the viewer decide" ) for $160. but the strange thing is that there was an auction for just about the same lens, in same condition the weeks before that ended up 500-600$ - not to mention the dealers that are selling the lenses for AT LEAST that much.

i guess it is all about "right place right time" or at least finding someone that has no idea what he/she is selling :)

Darin Cozine
11-Oct-2003, 12:26
I think some of the variation on prices on ebay is due to what people read on the net. They may read one photographer saying 'APO lanthar is my favorite lens" or read about AA using the Commercial Ektar. Others may read the lens lpm tests and see that one classic lens tested 2 points higher than a modern lens, thus will pay more for the classic than the modern.I think that supply definately affects the value of items on Ebay. Dagor77 is a perfect example. He must have a huge inventory of lenses, but if he put them all on ebay at once they would go for pennies. Since he only sells a few at a time, you never know if they are the last ones you will see on ebay.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
11-Oct-2003, 13:29
I have noticed that there is something about a no reserve/low starting price auction which tends to drive up the price. A few months ago I sold two 8" Pentacs. I started both at what I paid for them; one at $40, in nice shape, and another at $10, in very poor shape. The poor one sold for over $300, while the nice one sold for $65. I can't figure it out, other than the fact that the low starting price attracts interest...

Dan Fromm
11-Oct-2003, 15:20
Thin markets make for highly variable prices.

Ole Tjugen
12-Oct-2003, 08:41
By the way, there's a Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 210mm/f:4.5 on German ebay at the moment. Item no. 2956299009 - I'm not buying, but I thought someone here might be interested.

No, it's not me selling it either ;)

Ernest Purdum
12-Oct-2003, 08:42
There was a study made awhile back which found that, as many members above have decided for themselves, that a low starting price with no reserve was the best overall strategy. Occasionally, something will go cheap, but if you are selling a lot of items you'll come out ahead. On the other hand, if you have a low demand item, or if you are selling only one or a few items, you can make sure that you don't take a loss by placing a high starting price on it. You will probably get less for it than if you had started low, but you are protected.

eBay can be weird. I once put an item up twice at $295.00 starting price and it did not sell. I tried it again at $995.00 "buy it now" and it sold right away.

The one strategy the survey found to never be desirable was the reserve price. Many potential buyers ignore reserve price items entirely, figuring the reserve is sure to be unreasonable. That's not always the case, so trying a bid can be worthwhile. If below reserve you haven't lost anything.

Jorge Gasteazoro
12-Oct-2003, 11:42
eBay can be weird. I once put an item up twice at $295.00 starting price and it did not sell. I tried it again at $995.00 "buy it now" and it sold right away

Yesterday I saw someone who tried your same strategy....only a buy it now link...the small problem was that the Durst enlarger he was trying to sell was only a mere $44,995....:-)