Blog by Dr. Lori

Don’t Use eBay as a Price Guide

Don’t Use eBay as a Price Guide

Here are real stories told to me by fans like you. Read my three reasons why you should not use eBay as a substitute for an appraisal. The online auction site does not reflect true values.

1. Lost $60,000 on eBay

At my event in Houston, a young woman tells me that she sold an old bottle on eBay for $1,200. Turns out the glass bottle was really worth $60,000. How? The guy who bought it from her was the president of a bottle collecting society (my experience shows that title is actually code for a longtime dealer in antique bottles). After he resold her bottle, he was mean enough to contact this woman and rub her nose in it. He emailed her just to say that she was stupid to sell a bottle worth $60,000 for $1,200. Right now on eBay under sold items, that bottle comes up as being worth $1,200 when it is really worth $60,000. See, don't use eBay as a price guide. Read how to tell the age of your bottle.

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2. Turning $7K into $14K

A few years ago at an event, I appraised a Native American basket for a fan. I told him that it was worth $7,000. Of course I based that value on actual sales records from many different sources where similar baskets sold at the time. About a year after that appraisal, I was presenting another appraisal event and a friend of the basket owner told me that they sold the basket on eBay for $14,000. Doubling their money because they found two crazy people who wanted that basket and a bidding war took place. I told them that that particular basket is not worth that much money, but good luck to them! They found two buyers who just had to have it and would pay top dollar for it. 

3. Radio DJ’s eBay mistake

I am on the leading morning radio show in Seattle, the Bob Rivers Show, during a press tour ... a member of Bob's on-air staff asks me to appraise a cookie jar that he has in the studio. I tell him that it is worth $375. He says that an eBay auction for a similar cookie jar has it at only $100. I ask the DJ to tell me if the cookie jar seller has my credentials as an appraiser and what they know about the vintage cookie jar market. Of course, the DJ has no idea who that eBay seller is or if they know anything about the antiques market. And, THAT is my point exactly. 

Are you asking yourself "Where do I get my stuff appraised?" If you don't know where, I surely can help. Bring items to my events, submit photos, or schedule an in-home visit.

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Three Scams to Avoid when Selling

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