[HNW] 17th-century needle lace on eBay?

Chris Laning claning at igc.org
Mon Dec 12 17:49:14 PST 2011


On Dec 12, 2011, at 4:06 PM, Catherine Olanich Raymond wrote:

> On 12/12/2011 03:23 PM, Chris Laning wrote:
> 
>> (I do rather wish people didn't do the "ha ha you have to guess how much I really am asking for this" reserve price thing, though I can understand why they might.)
> 
> They do it to avoid taking a bath financially in the event the auction is "won" by someone who made a low bid.  That's especially likely on EBay, where people with specialist knowledge about, say, textiles, may not be as likely to look or participate in auctions.

I can really only see two rationales for a hidden "reserve" price. One is if you seriously think someone is going to make you an offer for a lot *more* than something is worth, in which case you win and the bidder overpays. The other is if you want bidding to *start* on the theory that people will get in a bidding war and push up the price beyond your reserve price in attempting to outbid each other. It is true that people caught up in a bidding war often spend more than they meant to ;)

I guess I think it's more honest to start the bidding at the minimum price you would actually be willing to accept. That also discourages a lot of futile small bids from people who think they can get an antique on eBay for $25. (It happens, but usually only when the seller doesn't realize what they've got, or doesn't care about price as long as they get _something_ and get rid of the thing.)

Oh, and there's a third rationale -- IIRC, I think eBay charges the seller based on the starting price. If that's still the case, if you set the starting price low but have a higher reserve, you get to save a few dollars on your listing fee and still aren't obligated to sell a $1000 item for $25.

> The description does say that it has a few spots, but that's still not enough to convince me that it's actually 17th century.  What makes me more skeptical is that the stuff is worked in one very long piece.  I thought lace was worked in different sizes/shapes for particular garments and purposes, back then.


Good question! Anyone have answers to this?
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O    Chris Laning <claning at igc.org> - Davis, California
+     http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
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