It is a debate that rages amongst video games collectors: has eBay ruined the market? The idea of finding that all-too-rare Vectrex for £2 at a Sunday car boot sale seems to have died a death, thanks to the ever-improving popularity of the ubiquitous auction site. After all, 90 per cent of UK households containing family members under the age of 30 now have internet access, and of that 90 per cent, probably 90 per cent know about or use eBay. But is it right to say that eBay has ruined the market? Would it be more correct to say that it has opened up new opportunities?
The popularity of eBay has been enormous, so successful in fact, that it has pretty much entered the national consciousness. And thanks to that popularity, it is now possible to get hold of wierd and wacky artefacts that one would have had no luck of finding in the past. Consider this: if you want a set of brake pads for a Talbot Alpine, or a Leyland P76 brochure, or a hub-cap for an Austin A40, chances are you will find them on eBay with a 99p starting price.
eBay has slowly eroded the chances of
finding that out-of-the-way bargain
Ambassador with 13,000 miles on it.
The downside is that every so-called expert that comes across anything classic (meaning old), will say, “stick it on eBay…” And in a way, they are right: one man’s junk is another man’s prized posession. However, it has slowly eroded the chances of finding that out-of-the-way bargain. You know the one. The old man down the street has died and his wife sells his 1983 Ambassador Vanden Plas with 13,000 miles on the clock for £150 to “get it out of the way”. Now, said old woman has a son or daughter, who is smart enough to stick the car on eBay and open it up to a worldwide audience. Bad if you are in the habit of finding such gems. Good for the rest of us.
So I say that eBay certainly has not ruined the market. It has changed it irrevocably, though. Now that eBay has become so popular, could it become a victim of its own success? Many people have commented to me that certain cars are now fetching “silly money” on eBay, and it has to be said that bidding has become a lot more competitive of late. However, if one is sensible and sticks to the traditional auction house rules about setting a budget and sticking to it, then eBay remains a good thing.
In fact, the nearer I get to becoming unemployed, I wonder to myself… how about searching the car auction sites for old Rover 800 Coupés, Vauxhall carlton GSis and Ford Mondeo V6s, buy them up for peanuts, run a rag over them and sell them on eBay for a tidy profit… Hmmm, I wonder…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.