Ebaywatch; Night of the Dealers?


I expect some of you were watching the closing evening yesterday of the Danish Ebay seller  Cross_Road_Blues (Score 4279) auction. 234 superb vintage jazz LPs, including some of the most desirable Blue Notes, all in excellent or near mint condition

Here’s the results so far, just for the ones that caught my eye. My own modest bids were blown out of the water, and even my guess what they would each close at was way behind the pace for the big ticket items. But it’s good sport. Think of it as spending someone else’s money.

Griffin Winner’s Score: 216

Griffin 1559 £757

Mobley Winner’s Score: 3632

Mobley 4031 £526

Hubbard Winner’s Score: 3169

Hubbard 4056 £280

Rollins Winner’s Score: 1196

Rollins 7095 £238

Jenkins Winner’s Score: 5028

Jenkins 8232 £227

Rollins Winner’s Score: 5028

Rollins 7029 £193

Dexter Winner’s Score: 1250

Dexter 4146 £147

Freddie Redd Winner’s Score: 1250

Redd 4026 £80Poor Freddie Redd, that’s a great LP, one of my favourites, but the market is the market.

The jewels in the crown  are coming up on Tuesday with a cunning premium Buy-it-Now or Offer. Will there be any takers?

Dorham plums

Only one or two “normal” collectors among that lot, most have scores likely to be dealers (or operatives from Tokyo) . The winner of the Johnny Griffin Blowin’ Session, with a score of 216,  however looks like a very brave real collector (or canny investor)  Whilst I am guessing of course, it looks to me like a Night of the Dealers,  buying to sell on. Could be wrong, however these guys with the big scores are placing sometimes 400 bids a month.

A very elite collection. I wonder whose? Private island and personal submarine, Spectre?


Bidder Information – an example. Here is the public view of an Ebay bidders history in the previous month. It is limited, but quite revealing.

bidder history 1

The interesting thing here is the different countries this member bids on (The last time I tried to bid on an Ebay Italy site I couldn’t understand a word of it so gave up) All  different native languages – Vinyles, Musik, all most all Jazz –  English, French, German, Italian, all manner of sellers. A bid pattern like this can be a sign of a Japanese “harvester” of European auctions for resale in Japan. Someone in the industry  told me the other day that 80% of collectable jazz on vinyl resides in Japan. No idea if that’s true, but it seems plausible, and it is certainly  a one-way flow.

Notice also all bids are placed with sniping software – >1h. They know what a commercial  rate is, one snipe, win or lose, it’s not personal. it’s business.   A private buyer with the hots for an album will often chase and chase, make a dozen bids, following the price day in day out.

If you are in an auction as a bidder, it is like poker, you can assess who you are up against. I like to check out the bid history of winner and 2nd place price-setter. Helps you get smarter about how auctions work, get more realistic about what you have to do to win.


Doesn’t look as though the Dorham Afro Cuban had any takers at £1750. May be that’s because a little competion?


Dorham AfroCuban 2nd

It’s all in the timing


14 thoughts on “Ebaywatch; Night of the Dealers?

  1. I can’t begin to explain this, really, but the idea of auctions repels me. If I had bought a record in an auction — and I never have — I feel sure its ‘worth’ to me would be devalued somehow. I would feel as if I had been just one of a herd of people who wanted it.

    Somehow, the entire auction experience has passed me by. I once bought a record from my regular dealer who was about to put it on *bay. I asked him not to and said I would give him a fair price for it and offered a sum, suggesting he tell me if he didn’t think this fair. He said he thought it “a gentlemanly price” and I paid up and took the record. That seems more civilised to me, but the opportunities for that kind of buying and selling are dwindling, I do acknowledge that…

    Surely someone placing a dozen or so bids a day is either rich and bored, or buying business stock, fairly secure in the knowledge that their customers can absorb the mark-up?

    • More than likely rich & bored, Alun. Here’s a question, What does one do with a record that is valued at 30k and up?

      I just saw an auction of Ringo Starr’s personal copy of The Beatles white album over at Julien’s Live. The album Jacket is numbered 000001 and the kick off bid is $30K

      Surely, a buyer would never play that LP, right? The only fitting destination seems to be the display case at the museum.

      • I always imagine that people who spend tens of thousands on a record fall into two categories: (1) Joyless investor/accountant types who squirrel their purchases away in secure locations, and (2) Flamboyant trillionaires who have staff whose job it is to play their records for them on impossibly expensive turntables.

        • I expect they delegate the listening to underlings too. The ostentatiously wealthy seem to lack musical taste, as far as one can tell from celebrity play lists. Discerning taste in music seems to come from another place, it can’t be bought.

          I liked the expression: money can buy you a gold bed but it can’t buy you a good night’s sleep.

          On the other hand, if you are already equipped with impeccable musical taste, an impossibly expensive turntable can’t ‘alf go places.

          • When I was a bookseller many years ago I had one regular customer who was by no means fabulously wealthy (he was wine merchant) but who seemed to have no personal view of “literature”. He would only read novels personally recommended by me — because, I imagine, these had been recommended by “my bookseller” and could therefore safely be categorised as “literature”.

            I imagine there are wealthy record collectors who are much the same: “Play this and let me know what it’s like and where it ranks — no more than half a side of paper, please.”

  2. I’m a buyer and seller and have been on eBay since 1998 and my score is over 2500; I certainly don’t place 12 bids a day though.

    I’m not a “professional” dealer, yet if there is an album I want on eBay I try to snipe as close to the auction end as possible. Didn’t you give similiar advice to buyers on your own blog here? I think it’s safe to say a lot of private collectors do not place multiple bids during an auction’s course..it just bids the price up prematurely.

    • For some folk who are very competitive, collecting includes the thrill of the chase, mortal combat, trophy hunting, progressively increasing their bid against rivals during the last day and in the closing minutes. I was like that for my first ten auctions, then I wised up.

      You are right, my advice is and remains to decide how much you want it, translate that into a monetary value, set snipe and then forget it. You will always be happy with the outcome, whichever way it goes. That first bit however takes a bit of practice.

      True, a high score may just mean a lot of years activity, as you say. Or it might mean other things.

      My score of 400 reflects a considerable slowdown compared with early years collecting.Nowadays I find I either already have it, or I don’t want it, or the market rate is not value for money to me. That is not a bad place to be, I can get on with listening to my collection rather than adding to it.

    • Score as I understand it is the number of completed ebay transactions/ purchases/sales that member has made since joining Ebay. My score is around 400, total Ebay purchases in the last five years. It is published in brackets after your Ebay name, to tell people whether you have a long history of purchases and are therefore reliable, or a newbie.

      I checked each winners previous month history, which Ebay display if you look, and it tells you what category of items they have bid on (in every case, only records) how many bids made on how many items, and how long before auction close they bid. Plus how many retractions they have made in the previous 6 months.

      They used to publish country location, which was more than interesting, but they stopped that a while back.

      Somebody placing 12 bids a day every day – either is very lonely, or it’s a business. If I won 400 records a month, where would I put them?

        • It is even more complicated: I have 850 behind my EBay user name. But looking at my profile I have 934 feedbacks as a seller and 318 as buyer. Total of feedback received is stated as 1261. If a buyer receives a box of say 5 records out of one auction, and he leaves 5 positive feedbacks, they still count as one positive feedback only. So there is an inbuilt distortion.

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