Would globe collecting be possible without Ebay? Well of course it would be, but it would be much more difficult. I have a love hate relationship with Ebay. I love winning, and I hate losing. I loose a lot more auctions than I win, I imagine most of us do. I had been interested in old globes before Ebay came into my life, but this site opened up the possibilities of collecting, where else could you sit and click away to view hundreds of different vintage globes all at once, How many flea markets would you have to scour to see just 30 globes?
On Ebay at any given moment there are over 1000 listings in the antique globes section. Wow 1000+ listings I could have a full collection in one day!!! Well lets eliminate the reproductions, and the gemstone globes, and the globe bars, and you are probably down to 200 listings, now eliminate the "antiques" made in the 80's and 90's and you have 100 listings. out of these listings at any given time will be 10-15 interesting items and probably 1 or 2 really worth studying. I really wish ebay would police the antiques section better and at least keep new merchandise off this section.
This site is still for me probably the most essential way I find new globes to add to my collection. I have purchased globes many other ways but only on EBay can you make a real score!!! A lot of you reading this know exactly what I mean. Finding an auction.......waiting forever, asking questions, asking for more pictures, bugging the seller too much, checking the auction multiple times a day! Setting up your sniper bid at Gixen, what doesn't everybody do this? Then finally the moment of truth
2 minutes to go on a 10 day auction, I'm in my chair fidgeting, waiting tic, tic,tic......5 seconds to go...
DON'T BLINK.... the auction is over, you refresh the screen, did i win? No of course not I was outbid by another sniper, I lost by $5 ooh the regret, would $5 have killed me? Shouldn't I have bid $50 more? 10 days down the drain and i have nothing to show for it.
But once in awhile I win, I've waited, and I win!!!! and then every loss is forgotten, because today I didn't loose. That great globe I've been waiting for is mine and all I had to do is agree to spend more for it than every other human on the planet!
The problem is EBay has changed dramatically over the past 5 years or so, pure auctions are becoming less and less in favor of the fixed price format. " buy it now" I want to admit a bias here, I love auctions, I love everything about them, they add an uncertainty and thrill that is unlike any other. This is exactly what many people hate about eBay and certainly why they seem to favor the fixed price format. Sellers love fixed price format it takes the mystery away and if you are selling new merchandise it makes sense the market is already set.
Antiques are not new merchandise, they are old, not mass produced, and in variable condition. So now with fixed price format what you have is a seller who comes across a globe, they've never sold one before, they can't describe it correctly, but THEY know what it's worth and they set the price! That price seems to always be a high retail price, they found doing a quick Internet search. Antiques are horrible items to sell as fixed price on eBay, a quality item will find it's audience and will sell accordingly, maybe it will sell for more or less but a fair price will be found. Antiques and the true auction format just work so well together a natural fit.
I will on occasion find a great globe that is " just right" and it will be "fixed price" listed for a lot more than I think is fair. What to do....? I try to negotiate, I can't see anything wrong with this, some would disagree. It seems to work once out of like 20 times, and is certainly not for the faint of heart, and probably hits an eBay gray area, oh well better to have tried and failed...
Of course we all know knowledge is king in the antiques trade, and this is doubly important online, I've never been burned on a globe yet..... I have however, been taken on other deals involving eBay and have applied this hard lesson to globe collecting. I must admit that I am one of those buyers who asks a lot of questions, and asks for extra pictures, then and only then do I bid. I've always found that it's so much better to find things out before you buy than trying to resolve a problem after purchase.