Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

January 13, 2013

Pricing & Ebay

When a dealer or a collector decides to sell an item, correct evaluation followed by an adequate pricing is of great importance. Regarding Ebay, which is now the reference place for low and middle range material, pricing is definitely a jungle and some dreamers are always trying to pull the blanket to them. And sometimes it works.

Nevertheless I disagree with the tendancy of some collectors to roughly slander Ebay for its unrealistic prices and rubbish material. I have two reasons for this. First, although Ebay is certainly not the ideal place for stamp market, actually quite unsafe for most novice philatelists (the Ebay motto 'we want to make it a safe place for buyers' is only paying some lip service), one can still make some good deals (paying less) or find the rare item. At least I did, on numerous occasions.

Secondly, in philately, knowledge is power and most of the 'wrong buys' could be avoided with common sense and caution. But some collectors are just lazy. They don't want to put the effort to learn more than to barely scratch the surface of things, and they don't want to listen the very important advice: if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is! They are the first ones involved, and most should first blame themselves and their lack of dedication, not Ebay or its sellers, for being the fools; but as life is teaching us (at least for those who are interested in learning the lessons of life), it is much more easy for the ego to blame our faults on others than on ourselves, and yet...

That being said, I often find some nice material for my collections (Zemstvo, Indian states, Vietnam postal history...) that I would like to buy, even at a full 'realistic' price. But I have to throw in the towel, the prices being completely unreasonnable. It seems that some sellers have some unrealistic perceptions of pricing, especially for arcane material where they got no information to rely on. Instead of letting a customer making a simple normal deal (not even to mention a good one!), they prefer to tag some unrealistic prices, 'just in case' they might not lose some money. The result is pathetic, as the great majority of highly overpriced items remains unsold (both the seller's and the wannabe-buyer's lost).

That situation is NOT the sole fact of Ebay. This sad tendancy was the one of many 'real life' stamp dealers before Ebay's advent, and still is. Just go for a stamp walk in Paris, for instance, and visit the dealers there. Most of the material is old and without interest (the stamps, not the dealers, even though sometimes...) and ridiculously overpriced. 

For instance, last time I checked Behr's prices (a famous dealer in Paris), I almost had a heart attack: he was asking 1000 euros (1300 $) for a standard used copy of Russia #1 (!) 

I usually pay mine 3 to 4 times less...


1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you! I sometime wonder how those extremely overpricing dealers can maintain their business..


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