Web Trader

Getting connected: Column to guide you through Internet selling, buying, searching

eBayer: A person who actively buys and sells on eBay.

My name is Gabriel Constantine. I have been an eBayer for 10 Years and I have a lifetime of experience in the world of antiques and collectibles. The Antique Trader and I would like to introduce a new column to help you buy, sell and surf the Internet. The “Web Trader”will explore all connections between the Internet and the antiques and collectibles world.

In the last 10 years, this world has undergone a complete makeover since the beginning of the Internet. The Internet has created a new kingdom for antiques and collectibles with eBay reigning as the king.

Created just 10 years ago, the auction goliath is a worldwide marketplace, connecting millions of buyers and sellers through computers. A few years back, I sold an Airstream Trailer on eBay, and it was shipped to Germany! Before the Internet and eBay this connection of worlds wouldn’t have been possible.

In 1999, eBay averaged about 2.5 million auctions at any time. They used to announce this on their home page with a public counter. This counter no longer exists, but the amount of auctions sure does. In 2005, there were more than 19 million. On any average week on eBay you could find anything from a World War II Russian submarine to a Mickey Mantle rookie card.

With such a huge growing marketplace, more and more items are coming out of attics and basements across the world. The abundance of items and convenience of eBay also have affected the old-fashioned methods of dealing in antiques and collectibles.
Traditionally, auctions, antiques shows and shops would provide avenues of selling and buying. But because it’s so easy to buy and sell from home, many people have opened their doors to Internet commerce, thereby lowering the attendance at shows and antiques shops. Major auction houses always will attract record-setting prices, but a growing number have made the transition to selling both live and on the Internet simultaneously.

You can’t blame them. Recently on eBay, a Fender Guitar sold for over $76,000.

eBay has given value to many strange and out-of-the-ordinary items. A few years back one auction was well publicized when a man modeled his ex-wife’s wedding dress in order to sell it. He got 17,000 people to view his auction and gained national exposure.

Getting as many people to look at your auctions is important in getting the best prices. It’s like attendance at an antiques show or foot traffic in your shop. Gaining Internet traffic for each item you sell depends on how skilled you are as a seller. In upcoming columns, I will assist you on a regular basis in becoming the best seller you can be. Whether a new seller or an experienced “Powerseller,” you can gain advantage from simple adjustments of auction titles, or tips on obtaining the best photographs possible.

No matter how good your photos of an item appear to be online, Internet buying will never be the same as holding an item in your own hands. The thrill of finding a treasure under a table at sunrise in Brimfield, or tucked in a corner in the opening moments of Atlantique City is still electric. You might also miss getting goose bumps from the thrill of raising your hand in a winning bid at a live auction.