by Craig Stark
#133, 16 March 2009
If you've been following BookThink's Top 10 on eBay, you may have noticed a familiar seller in the Antiquarian & Collectibles category - Aegard. While preparing February's list, Pamela Palmer first noted that "Aegard ... occupied positions #1, #2, #3, and #5." Then, she explains, something happened: "Now all those auctions have been removed and Aegard is no longer a registered user."
What happened? We can only guess, but this has at least the odor of funny business, especially since recent auctions listed by this seller were private, essentially preventing potential bidders from investigating suspicious bidding histories of recent auctions by the same seller.
Additionally, there have been instances of books featured in past Top 10s which were won (in non-private auctions) by "buyers"
with little or no feedback who sometimes, inexplicably, became NARUs shortly thereafter.
We've often recommended sourcing inventory on eBay. Bargains can be snagged with regularity, sometimes famously, as
most of you no doubt recall the copy of John Ledyard's Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage which, purchased on eBay for $2,000 late last year, sold 81 days later at Christie's for $52,500. But clearly, caution must be exercised. If you come across a bidder with limited feedback history seemingly testing a proxy bid, dig deeper. Investigate other auctions by the same seller.
If you buy on eBay, a subscription to Terapeak will pay for itself many times over because you can search a specific seller's auctions for the previous 90 days and, though you won't have access to the bidders' complete IDs, you will have two letters of each of them and their corresponding feedback numbers. These will enable you to match things up and avoid auctions which have at least the appearance of shill bidding.
If you're interested in learning how to buy inventory online, BookThink offers a detailed,
4-issue primer for a modest cost.
A new special this month:
Pick 3 for $30: Select any three back issues of BookThink's Quarterly Market Report for $30 - a savings of 50% over the regular price.
One of our most popular ongoing specials:
Pick 5 for $15: Select any five back issues of BookThink's Gold Edition or 50/50 for $15.
Finally, some reminders:
Issue #6 of BookThink's Quarterly Market Report is now
available for purchase. This issue lists and annotates in detail 100 books that typically sell for $30 and up online and includes
only those books that surface with some regularity at sales and other viable venues for purchasing inventory. Also, the commentary
portions of this report have been expanded to provide an even clearer explanation why these books have value and in some cases
point you to related books that have similar value. Purchase it
Issue #57 of BookThink's Gold Edition is also available for purchase. If you've ever wondered if those Christie's and
Sotheby's auction catalogs are worth grabbing, you'll have a lot better idea after reading this issue. There's a list of over 400
titles to look for that should sell north of $50 and some suggestions for locating many more. Purchase it
The complete Gold Edition and 50/50 back issues package is still on sale for $99.99. Purchase it
here. If you've purchased any
issues previously that would be duplicated by purchasing the complete package, email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll subtract the full amount you've spent from the package price.