I have come to believe it doesn't pay to throw anything away these days, not even old, outdated telephone directories in any condition. A 1963 C&P Parkersburg telephone directory owned by a Whipple seller, described not in very good shape, with the cover well worn and ready to come off, sold recently on eBay for $5. I find it hard to believe someone would pay $5 hard earned cash for a used, worn out and outdated phone book.
This same seller from Whipple is also trying to sell a 1932 Marion, Ohio, telephone directory on eBay, with a bid starting out at $39.99. Again, you just never know what a person will buy these days, and to many buyers around the country, money is no object, even though we're supposedly in a recession.
When it comes to buying or selling on eBay, be careful how you go about it. Sometimes buying an item at a low price, you may end up paying more in postage and handling than what the item is actually worth. For example, last week's column I told you about a Marietta Centennial newspaper published in 1888 selling to the highest bidder for $7.50. The seller was asking $7.35 to ship the item to the buyer. eBay should not let the seller determine their own shipping costs, that way they are allowed to charge for whatever they want.
Many sellers on eBay today try to make up money lost on a sale by adding higher postage rates, when it might only take $2 to ship the item by media mail. When the seller is asking too much postage, contact the seller and tell them what you're willing to pay for shipping, and how you want it shipped. Some sellers will work with you.
I remember a few years ago being the highest bidder on a used book on eBay, with the bidding starting out at 99 cents. After seven days, I became the only bidder and wound up winning the item. Turns out the shipping was $13, in which I could have ordered the same book in new condition on Amazon for $12.95 with free shipping. It took me three weeks or longer to receive the book by USPS media mail. The postage on the envelope it came in was marked $3.95.
When advertising an item on eBay for seven days, eBay advises most everyone to start their bidding really low. Most start their bids out at 99 cents. Most sellers place their ads on eBay and don't watch the item and it usually ends up selling for 99 cents. Most buyers will not place a bid on your item until when your advertising is about to run out, when you see no one after the third or fourth day is not making a bid on your 99-cent item that's worth maybe $20 or more. Go into your account and cancel your sale, you're allowed to do so. But once a 99-cent bid is in, you won't be able to cancel your sale.
A big thank you
A survey was recently taken by one of the largest antique malls in the South, asking everyone to vote for their favorite antique newspaper columnist on the World Wide Web. I was really happy to accept the recognition award for my column, "Treasure in the Attic," To those voters out there who read my column every week in the Times. I really appreciate it.
Larry Koon is the author of several price guide books on antiques and collectibles. His column appears every Monday on Life. Send letters to Treasure in the Attic, c/o The Marietta Times, 700 Channel Lane, Marietta 45750.
; or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. When writing, send a complete description of the item, along with size, color, any markings on the item along with condition the item is in, and how the item was obtained, and any other information. If possible, send a photograph. Letters will be answered through this column.