Saturday, February 11, 2012

Miracle, courtesy of ebay

Watch this amusing link about the value of vintage items:

I was an avid baseball card collector in the 60's, had thousands of cards. In the early 80's I was cleaning my garage and considered throwing out my large box of cards, so was extremely pleased and thought it was a windfall when I sold them for $180 to a guy visiting from out of town in a hotel room who had advertised in the paper. Five years later, when my own boys began collecting, I realized card collecting was hot and the cards I sold were surely worth over a thousand. Money left on the table, as they say, and I sorely regretted the sale, for nostalgia's sake as well as the money.

Fast forward to today. I was cleaning out my desk last week and considered my old HP calculators. One in particular no longer worked--the battery had leaked inside. I happened to still have the original box, manual, case, and misc. papers for it, so I did a little research on the internet to see what it was worth and if I could fix it. I was surprised to see working models going for over $200 so I made an effort to fix it, no luck. Still, I listed it for sale on ebay.

I was pleased to see immediate interest, and got a couple of emails with questions. My expectation was $40 to $60, which I thought would be windfall for a broken calculator. I was surprised and encouraged to see 33 "watchers" for my auction item, and several bids going to $15. I knew many bidders wait until the last minute, and this auction lasted seven days, but was still tickled when the bids went to $70 with a day still to go. With a few hours to go I was ecstatic to see the high bid at $139, in shock really. I couldn't imagine a higher price, but went online to watch any action as the auction came to a close. With a couple of minutes left a bid came in at $142 and that looked like it, and the page then showed less than a minute left.

The next computer screen update the item shifted down the page into the "sold" category and I had to hunt a bit for the final price. I thought there was some error when I saw $307. THREE HUNDRED AND SEVEN DOLLARS!!! Are you kidding me?!? This was no fluke with one bidder, since the winner outbid someone else who topped out at $302.

I was in absolute shock, and rather giddy. And in disbelief. I carefully reread my description, making sure I didn't misrepresent something. I was very clear about it not working. I have to believe the unique value is in the original box and other accompanying materials, and the condition of those. Here is a link to the auction, and a photo of the items.

Isn't ebay a marvelous thing, both for buyers and sellers?

1 comment:

  1. That is so cool! I can't believe you had the manual and packaging and everything.