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I was browsing tinplate on Ebay, and saw this 259.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1932-...eeffe905e5%7Ciid%3A1

When I first checked it out, the bidding was up to $350, now it's at $430. It's missing parts and doesn't appear to be in exceptional condition by any means. I don't believe it's even the year that's described, as it looks to be a later one with nickel trim and solid wheels as opposed to spoked, only sporting an earlier tender.

What am I missing?

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  According to the reference Lionel Standard Gauge of the World 2nd Edition pp. 120, an engine whose description matches the item offered was part of a special set.

"259E Black - nickel trim; 259T - black, 629-629-630 red/red/cream, 8-wh, nickel journals, brass observation platform. Set box marked Set #150 and car boxes marked 629 or 630 O GAUGE. Circa 1935."

So my guess would be there are at least two people who are trying to complete that set.

Well, speaking only for myself, I have in the past for a different hobby been in a situation where I have been looking for a certain item, in a certain condition, for a certain reason,  for a very long time.   When one finally comes up that is just right, I don't mind bidding more than it is worth, to finally get it.    So, in those rare instances, I don't mind spending an extra $100 for something.     

I note that many folks on this board love trains so much that they will drop a $1,000 on an engine they want.  So, really, what is an extra $100?    You are not buying it to sell, you are buying it to run or to finally complete a long open project.  And, if you buy a rare item in a high quality condition, and pay too much, then typically, in 4 years or so, it has increased in value to the price you paid.

Mannyrock

@Mannyrock posted:

Well, speaking only for myself, I have in the past for a different hobby been in a situation where I have been looking for a certain item, in a certain condition, for a certain reason,  for a very long time.   When one finally comes up that is just right, I don't mind bidding more than it is worth, to finally get it.    So, in those rare instances, I don't mind spending an extra $100 for something.     

I note that many folks on this board love trains so much that they will drop a $1,000 on an engine they want.  So, really, what is an extra $100?    You are not buying it to sell, you are buying it to run or to finally complete a long open project.  And, if you buy a rare item in a high quality condition, and pay too much, then typically, in 4 years or so, it has increased in value to the price you paid.

Mannyrock

Yes, but that's not the only 259e listed on ebay (or elsewhere) currently. It was by far the most expensive...

There's nothing special about it, it's not hard to find, and not in great shape. Average going price right now on ebay is between $90-$160 (in better condition). It's not like finding a rare obscure engine, it's just an incomplete 259e.

Well, you have to understand that there are many many people who suffer from compulsive disorder disease.  My younger brother was diagnosed with this 45 years ago, and has been in and out of public mental health hospitals his entire life.  It is a variant of schizophrenia

These folks are truly tortured. Once the thought gets in their head that they have to have something, it eats them alive until they get it. They can't stop. I is Impossible to stop.  No matter what the cost or consequences.  Maybe somebody purposely set a high maximum bid limit, thinking the price would never ever get to that, and someone else with the compulsive disorder starting bidding against it and couldn't stop.

Or, maybe there is something small, that is truly unique about this one example of the locomotive, and you are missing it.

Or, maybe someone entered a "Maximum Automatic Bid Limit" in the wrong amount, such as $400 instead of $200, just by a mis-stroke on the key board, and didn't know about it.  Meanwhile, the Seller (or his wife) kept bidding the item up just to see what the top would be. 

Lots of reasonable explanations.  So, don't waste your time trying to figure it out.  If better models are selling for less, then buy one of those.

Mannyrock

That is the best looking 259 I have ever seen, and it's running.  The missing handrail and three journal boxes would be easy to replace.  Something like that wouldn't affect the bidding of one like me.  I have those parts in my box of parts stripped from junk locos.

After $100, there were three bidders, and one dropped out at $345.  So two who really wanted a good looking working 259 with minimal effort.  Just from some of the prices I've gotten occasionally, I can tell there are plenty of bidders out there who have a lot of spare cash.

I think it was a foolish seller with a starting price of 99 cents.  When I have an unusual item, my eBay starting price is always the minimum for which I think it reasonable to sell.

...I think it was a foolish seller with a starting price of 99 cents.  When I have an unusual item, my eBay starting price is always the minimum for which I think it reasonable to sell.

I look at it a little differently.  If a desirable item is properly described and categorized, buyers will find it and bid it up to an appropriate price.  When I see something that starts at or around what it should ultimately sell for, I generally pass on it - not worth the effort since it will probably sell at too high a price for me.  If something is priced "too low", it will generate a lot of eyeballs and bids - I bet that it the 99 cent strategy works more often than not.

That is the best looking 259 I have ever seen, and it's running.  The missing handrail and three journal boxes would be easy to replace.

I don't know where you live, but here in California I regularly see them in fairly good to mint condition for $100 or less.

This one I picked up in good mechanical order, but rough paint for about $35 with the cars.

20170324_104255


The one on the left is the only one I've kept, it was my first complete "restoration", it's a late 259 that I painted like an early one, I might go back and repaint it gunmetal at some point as I have many early steam locomotives now. I paid $75 for it in about the same condition as the one above. The one to the right, is in almost perfect condition, with only some slight oxidation on the running gear & paint loss on the cowcatcher, ran perfectly, $50.

20180414_214054


If people elsewhere pay that much regularly for beat up 259's, maybe I should open an Ebay store

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@Mallard4468 posted:

I look at it a little differently.  If a desirable item is properly described and categorized, buyers will find it and bid it up to an appropriate price.  When I see something that starts at or around what it should ultimately sell for, I generally pass on it - not worth the effort since it will probably sell at too high a price for me.  If something is priced "too low", it will generate a lot of eyeballs and bids - I bet that it the 99 cent strategy works more often than not.

I think there is an essential fallacy with the low start strategy.  For unusual items that don't have many prospective buyers, the probability of being seen within the 7 or 10 day window by the buyers who would pay a high price is very low.

Think about how often in the eBay sold items you see several sales of the same item in about the same condition with (for example) one sold for $50 and another sold for $90.   The lower price will often be an auction with a low start price when the buyer willing to pay $90 wasn't looking for it that week.

MAllard mentions " what it should ultimately sell for".  I start at what I think is the lowest reasonable price that I would accept.  I have two or more bidders more than half the time, and frequently will get significantly more than my start.  If I don't, I may lower the price 25% and try again.  Or I'll change to a Buy-it-now for that start price.  Patience is the key.  I can almost always get a good price if I'm willing to wait.  Last week I shipped a nice set of locomotive parts that I had listed for several months.

But I will not low ball the price and risk getting much less than the item is worth.

I will admit that I might have exaggerated on that 259.

The idea that I might get $75 to $100 for a good restoration is inspiring.  I have fairly full sets of pieces of five 259's including a couple of pretty good motors.  Altogether they've cost me around $100.  I think there are enough good parts that I could make several really good 259's and double my money.

I'm one of those who will usually buy the junky looking 259 under the table for $20.

I will admit that I might have exaggerated on that 259.

The idea that I might get $75 to $100 for a good restoration is inspiring.  I have fairly full sets of pieces of five 259's including a couple of pretty good motors.  Altogether they've cost me around $100.  I think there are enough good parts that I could make several really good 259's and double my money.

I'm one of those who will usually buy the junky looking 259 under the table for $20.

I'm perfectly happy buying decrepit locomotives for restoration, but I'm certainly not paying more for a beat one than I would for an excellent condition one.  (here's a 257 I recently got that I just finished repainting a couple days ago, still waiting for a couple parts in the mail, but overall pretty happy with the results).

173242216_485588879521851_5442831301236801273_n

I think $20-30 would have been a much more reasonable price for the locomotive in question... I wouldn't be surprised if it was just a couple of shills though, I guess we'll see if it gets relisted or not.

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I have never really had any problem selling anything on ebay or other auctions sites.  First, since I don't buy junk, I am never trying to sell junk.  My sales are always of things that are at least of VG+ quality.   

Second, I know my stuff, and know exactly what a fair and reasonable price for it is.  So, I list it at that fair price less 5%.

That starting price always attracts attention, and weeds out window shoppers.   I generally have 2 or 3 people bidding on it, and the bidding almost always goes to the fair and reasonable price plus 5 to 10%.  My stuff doesn't sit there with no offers week after week.

I have sold items in the $5,000 plus range, from my other hobby, using this system, without any problems.

Mannyrock

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