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eBay, The Auction Site

Dateline: 04/29/97

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This article first appeared in April 1997 and boy, has eBay come a long way since the time of FOUR categories! Read this for a fun look back at the one web site that has changed the world of collecting and certainly changed the world of shopping in general.

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The eBay Auction is an exciting concept in Internet Shopping! I discovered eBay last summer and it's been hard on my pocketbook ever since then. In the past months --California Original Count Dracula, Star Wars C3PO and a hard to find Oreo advertising jar have been my best buys.

Ready to start shopping?
Be sure to read the main menu with links to regulations, listing and registration. Registration is easy and quick, basically it just makes it much smoother when purchasing items, as many buyers request registration from the bidders.

Collecting, Computer Hardware, Computer Software and Other are the available categories -- each having numerous subcategories.

For the cookie jar collector there are several places to check out. Although most can be found in the Kitchenware subcategory, jars also have been found in the subcategories of Antiques, Miscellaneous and even Toys. It can take a long time to browse through all the listings, but I would suggest the first time or two that you do just that and get a feel of the items available and prices.

The first time you bid can be a little scary. Decide what your maximum price is, but don't worry -- it won't go to that amount unless someone bids against you. At that time its just like a real auction, with bids automatically entered against each other.

After your bid is accepted, sit back and watch your email for confirmations of where you stand in the bidding. Daily updates are sent to via email and also when takes someone outbids you. Then a decision has to be made if you want to spend more money! One tip I finally learned was to Bookmark items I was particularly interested in, so that I could directly go right to that page and watch what was happening. Also, beware of bidders coming in at the last minute to bid at the very end of the auction. I've lost items in the last five minutes by not being around and missing the emails.

Selling An Item:
As a seller you decide on the beginning price and also can set a reserve price. Although these sound similar, the beginning price is usually set fairly low to get bidders interested and reserve is the minimum a buyer will sell it for. The reserve price is not known to bidders. Typically a reserve price is used when a buyer has a fairly expensive item and wants to be sure to at least getting a fair price for it.

If not using the reserve, set the beginning price at the lowest amount you are willing to sell it for. You might only get one bid -- and you don't want it to be so low that you are losing money. Some buyers do not like the reserve system, but when a jar is valued at a fairly high price it is understandable for a seller to use it. I've sold both with and without a reserve and had no problems either way.

The eBay Auction is fun, easy and a great place to find cookie jars at a very reasonable price. When I first started bidding on eBay, there would only be four or five jars available, now it is not unusual to have more than a hundred for sale at one time.

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