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Why the bleep is eBay so expensive??

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    I guess when seller can confirm the item is working and provide photos to prove it, it commands a premium, as you derisk your purchase.

    I recently bought an IBM PC XT 5160 for 120$, mostly because it had many scuffs on the cover and it wasn't turning on.

    PC Speaker assembly broke off and knocked off a memory chip. Once I reattached PC Speaker assembly, straightened pins on knocked memory chip and reinserted it, it still didn't work.

    It turned out that it's the good old C56 short. Once I removed it, everything started to work! But it could've been a total lemon, so risk was high.


      eBay does provide a certain level of protection against a seller peddling faulty crap not listed as such. Too many sellers think they can just put 'untested' on a listing and use it as a get out of jail free card to avoid a return when selling faulty crap. More often than not though they've listed the item under 'used' which must then work and so the buyer is still entitled to a refund. When taking a punt on this stuff I don't mind paying a little bit more to buy from eBay vs FB Marketplace or similar to know that I have a bit of protection.

      Best way to get a deal is to look at collection only offers. It does astound me how much within the UK (where you can credibly travel halfway across the country and back again in the same day, and pretty much anywhere at all and back given two days) the primary concern of many buyers is that the seller will ship the item and this in itself will heavily inflate the price as a shipped computer is always more popular and attracts more bids than a collected one. Surely there can't be that many people involved in this hobby that can't drive and don't have a car? In which case just be willing to use your days off to go and collect things, the cost of your fuel is almost always much less than waiting for an example with shipping to come along (if it ever does). I've lost count of how many items I've got for a steal for no other reason than I was willing to collect them (often taking a couple of days and booked a cheap hotel to have a wander around the area. I've been to parts of the country that it would never have entered my head to travel to and had a great time on these little trips).

      Putting aside that something is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it, and buyers & sellers have every right to trade at whatever prices they want, I do find the pricing strategies of some ebayers frustrating to the point of believing that something somehow should be done about them however. Been watching a Nimbus 286 for months (already have one but it's not very well). Originally listed for one price which was unlikely to be achieved anyway (and of course 'untested'), then a picture was added showing it powered up (but not actually in a bootable state - probably just dead CMOS battery but could also be dead hard drive or dead disk controller - neither of which are getting replaced these days and would make the system a paperweight unless you have the bits) and then suddenly the price was increased by £100...umm why exactly? Like what I am now being charged for the test? It's not like the extra picture even showed it working properly. Ever since the price fluctuates by +/- £15 but is still too overpriced to sell being that it is almost double what might be considered a current market price for a known working example. It may well be that the seller doesn't particularly wish to sell the item but would let it go for the highly inflated price as he'd be silly not to, but then teasing people with rare items which they don't appear motivated to actually get sold is extremely frustrating.

      That and people splitting things up that were supplied together and need to go together to function really irks me...seen plenty of Amstrad PCs (where the base unit is useless without the matching monitor because the monitor contains the PSU for the computer and in turn the monitor is not really usable - not without work anyway - on any other machine) being split up and sold as two listings to try and eak out an extra buck (often failing in the process too).

      All of that said, appreciation is natural as vintage hardware gets rarer and rarer. Although I buy this stuff because it is my hobby and I have no current plans or wish to sell any of it, it is equally true that I couldn't have justified the money I have spent (particularly in the last 5 years) if it were not for the thought of the collection also being an investment appreciating in value. Which by extension means the possibility of one day hoping to sell it for a higher price than I paid for it.

      UK supply of retro hardware in particular is being hampered by two main issues; firstly the WEEE regulations have since about 2007 made it illegal to dump old computers in normal rubbish with them now classed as a specific type of waste which needs separate disposal. Then a few years ago the GDPR regulations which tightened up data protection laws have made businesses paranoid about the potential for any data breach from old computers. Thus to avoid any potential comeback virtually no business will dispose of a computer any other way than through a licenced recycler so they have documentation as to where it has gone. Thus a forgotten storeroom full of IBM 5150s with no hard drives fitted anyway which might have made it out into the community (and make a happy back for the seller) will instead end up as scrap. So all we're left with are attic finds and existing collectors looking to capitalise on their previous investments.

      Personally I've never stopped kicking myself over all the things I got for free/virtually free in the late 90's/early 00's and then chucked which today are uber-rare and uber-expensive.
      Last edited by cwathen; March 1, 2021, 10:42 AM.


        Originally posted by Bill-kun View Post
        I decided this is better to be in the hardware forum than the auction forum. I don’t think I’m succeeding at not wanting to rant.

        I appreciate people who prevent vintage-out-of-production hardware from being destroyed, but I don’t see the asking prices on eBay being justified.

        The secondary fan group that Computer Reset set up on Facebook (Computer Reset Buy and Sell) even explicitly states that the prices people ask for in that group be “well below eBay.” That’s a direct quote!
        Starting prices on E-bay are expensive for a number of reasons that combine to create a perfect storm...

        1. you have items that are in limited supply, we know that no more genuine PC/XTs will be made, so the Chinese can't top up the Market.
        2. You have a huge audience of buyers. I am in the UK and I have bought from USA, Europe, Israel, Poland, India, China and Hong Kong. The global shipping program ensures it can be shipped any where. The more people fight over something the more the price rises.
        3. For "buy it now" you can never go up. You can only be talked down. Start stupid and see what happens.
        4. For Auctions, folks look at the last one and add 10% because theirs is worth more and they want to "realize its real value"...
        5. The starting/ buy it now prices on E-Bay can be used to inflate prices else where. List something for $1000 on E-Bay and then list on "Computer Reset" for $500 so its "well below e-bay".
        6. There are enough idiots out there that think they can con us into believing "anything old is valuable"....
        7. There are one or two things that whilst "vintage" may be needed by industry. Old DEC VAX fall into this category. Wait long enough and some one will buy it...

        .. so whilst you may think the asking prices are "excessive" remember the old addage:-

        Q. How much is an XYZ in perfect condition worth?
        A. Are you buying or selling.......

        or as my dad used to say, if you have to ask the price you can't afford it......

        Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals.


          Originally posted by cwathen View Post
          Personally I've never stopped kicking myself over all the things I got for free/virtually free in the late 90's/early 00's and then chucked which today are uber-rare and uber-expensive.
          I think most of us here are guilty of that.. We just didnt know in the 90's.


            Originally posted by SomeGuy View Post
            Face it, most people would rather spend a few more bucks buying through a popular site they know rather than searching for the seller's obscure little web store with a weird name like aliforigblargcee.cerm,
            Are there any people that actually sell vintage computers independently, from their own little web shops? I've looked for them, but I've never seen one.


              Originally posted by VERAULT View Post
              I think most of us here are guilty of that.. We just didnt know in the 90's.
              I wonder about this regarding technology in our time. It's really hard to imagine that anyone will want <something on your desk that is not vintage> in 20-40 years, but since we do for things that were produced 20-40 years ago, will they? Maybe an interesting discussion for another thread?


                We are seeing it now. People are talking about pentium 3 and I cant believe it but Pentium 4's on here. I still consider them junk.
                But yes, its a possibility. I dont however see hobbyists repairing P4 multi layer SMD boards though.. I really dont.


                  Buy It Now prices are more likely to be inflated now that many sellers are offering private discounts to anyone who puts the item in their watch list and lets it sit there for a while.

                  Also remember that eBay always reports an item as being sold for its full Buy It Now price even if the seller accepted a best offer or offered a discount to the buyer. So if you list an item with a price of $500 and then accept a best offer of $100 on it, the eBay listing will falsely report it as being sold for $500. This inflated the perceived value of many items when sellers look up the values of previous sales and then use that as a basis for their new listings.


                    Originally posted by VERAULT View Post
                    We are seeing it now. People are talking about pentium 3 and I cant believe it but Pentium 4's on here. I still consider them junk.
                    But yes, its a possibility. I dont however see hobbyists repairing P4 multi layer SMD boards though.. I really dont.
                    Sometimes it's frightening to consider how much time is going by and how old some of this 'not yet old enough to be vintage' stuff actually is. There are legal adults who were not born when the first Pentium 4's were first introduced. My first brand new laptop which I got in 2003 (a Toshiba A30-something) was a Pentium 4. It is now 18 years old. I still have it and it still works but I haven't used it as my daily laptop in over 10 years. I was holding onto it for sentimental value (not like it had any monetary value) but then I'm wondering if that is starting to turn. I've got a shelf full of boring Dell/HP Core 2 Duo desktops (and one Core 2 Quad which was my daily driver until about 5 years ago). Hardly vintage - a load of that sort of hardware is still in front line use - but they are actually getting quite old now, and I am holding on to them with a view that they might be tomorrow's retro machines. They might be 10 a penny now, but if people keep shipping them off to recyclers when replacing hardware then eventually they will become rare.

                    I don't know whether there will truly be the same level of interest in this sort of hardware as PCs have largely become generic commodities rather than specific models being sought after, but anything that can be collected, will be. There will be someone who prides themselves on collecting a working example of every 00's Dell Optiplex SFF machine ever made and if you just happen to have the one on the shelf which they are looking for in a world where they have become rare then it will be worth something to that person.

                    Although that said, there is always room for sentimentality. Even in the mid 90s PCs were similarly commoditised but I'd still pay a premium to own an AST Advantage 7301 (or similar such as 7302/3) for no other reason than I used to own one which I got brand new and would like to again as I always loved that machine (still to this day have the AST-branded mousemat that came with it). Even though it's just a fairly dull and generic mid-90's Pentium I machine of which I already have several other examples at similar spec.
                    Last edited by cwathen; March 1, 2021, 12:12 PM.


                      I dont care how good you are and how well stocked your electronics bench is. I really think its unlikely hobbyists will be repairing VLSI IC's on Pentium 3 or 4 boards in 2038.... They were meant to be thrown out. For that matter if there is a serious system board problem on a 120Mhz Toshiba Libretto how far can you take it to fix the issue?


                        There is a ton of inventory available for cheap if you spend time trawling and using many different key words in your search. Plus doing this daily for weeks on end will yield a lot of results. Simply a matter of return in investment. IMO. There is also a huge world outside of eBay (OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, forums and on and on the list goes). Good luck and have fun.

                        There is also a significant amount of R&D and production of obscure technology and/or emulation out there compared to 10 years ago. So IMO there is not really an issue.


                          offerup and letme go have been HORRIBLE. Why? its geared towards young people who only use their phone and are non committal. I replied to DOZENS of ads and many times I said "yes Ill take it, where can we meetup?" And they just make excuses and excuses and never want to actually do anything about selling it. Its like they never really wanted to , in the first place. Forget asking them to ship!


                            Originally posted by Bill-kun View Post
                            BIOSTAR MB-1212V VLSI AT MOTHERBOARD W/ 286-12MHZ CPU + 1MB RAM
                            $400+$24 shipping
                            Oh, wow! What a great offer, $319.99, a whole $80 off!

                            ...of a random clone 286 motherboard with no ram, and no good close-up to see if there is corrosion around the battery. Well, at least they do make a big deal about a warranty.

                            I dunno, I kind of need to pay my health insurance bill.


                              I just wait for a good price. There isn't much you can do sadly. That's what I do and I can find some gems, though nothing that is too big, shipping to Canada is sooooo expensive. The shipping is usually the same price as the part I want, so I cannot buy that and I do need that money to live, so yeah, ebay is a no for me when it comes to anything too big.


                                Originally posted by vwestlife View Post
                                eBay always reports an item as being sold for its full Buy It Now price even if the seller accepted a best offer or offered a discount to the buyer. So if you list an item with a price of $500 and then accept a best offer of $100 on it, the eBay listing will falsely report it as being sold for $500. This inflated the perceived value of many items when sellers look up the values of previous sales and then use that as a basis for their new listings.
                                How is reporting $500 when it sold for $100 not illegal?
                                Sattinger's Law: “It works better if you plug it in.” Corollary: “It works even better if you plug it in correctly.”
                                "The simplest solution is the most likely solution." --My paraphrase of Occam's Razor
                                "You can get [a computer] like yours at a garage sale for, like, fifteen dollars," --Strong Sad, sbemail #33