More Ebay Follies

This is about as bad as Ebay photos get. And if that isn't bad enough, the whole thing was rigged so that the guitar appears to have sold for about 50% more than it would be worth if it was a decent example which you can't tell from the photo.

Recently (like this week recently), a 63 ES-335 showed up on Ebay with perhaps the worst photos I’ve ever seen and perhaps the least amount of copy I’ve ever seen on a listing he (or she) said, and I quote…

"vintage original early 1960s from 1960 to 1963 gibson es335 in cherry red factory original bigsby. No returns on this item please look at pictures"

You can see the listing here.  But the crappy photos and the lack of description isn’t why I’m writing about it. I’m writing about it because it smacks of shill bidding (or worse).  Typically, a no issue average condition Bigsby/Custom made plaque 63 is going to sell for around $12,000-a little more if it has PAF pickups. Of course there are plenty of them listed at stupid high prices both by dealers and individual sellers but the proof is always in the sale price and not the asking price and I know what I can get for one of these. This guitar “sold” for nearly $19,000. I just sold a gorgeous PAF equipped stoptail 63 in 9.0 condition for $16,000. If I believed a Bigsby/Custom Made 63 was worth $19K, I sure as hell wouldn’t be selling a stop for $3000 less. Here’s where it all comes apart: The person who was the high bidder (with a feedback of 1) has bid on 11 different items in the past 30 days. All 11 were from the seller who listed this guitar. Shill bidding anyone? The person who was bidding against the winning bidder (also a feedback of 1) also has bid on 11 items and 60% of the bids were with this seller. These two “bidders” were the only players once the guitar hit $3500. I’m a little surprised that the Ebay police weren’t all over this. What will happen next is that the guitar will show up a sold for this high dollar amount and the seller will try to use this to convince another buyer that this is the market value OR the guitar will be relisted on Ebay with a mention that the previous winning bidder “flaked” or something and when you go to see what it sold for last time you’ll see it sold for $19000 and you’ll think it must be worth that much because someone else was willing to pay it. The error of the seller is that folks spending $19000 on a guitar that originally sold for $400 or so are going to do some research. Part of the problem is they are going to go to Gbase to do that research where so many dealers stick prices like this on guitars such as this pretty regularly. That makes it look like the guitar actually is worth that much. Or almost anyway. The price range on Gbase is from $12,999 to $18,000. The last 63 or 64 I had like this one sold for around $12,500. I don’t think a 63-64 Bigsby/Custom Made has sold for $18000 for a few years now and if it has, somebody overpaid by a lot. And I don’t mean to suggest that you shouldn’t pay a premium when buying a vintage piece from a dealer. You should and you will.  Ebay may tell you that they protect you from misrepresented guitars but try to get the seller to admit it was misrepresented. A good dealer will take back a guitar for any reason at all-even “I couldn’t bond with it”  at least for 24 hours and many for 48 hours. The marketplace is difficult enough without having Ebay abusers mucking it up any more than it already is. If you’re considering buying a vintage 335/345 or 355 and you’re not sure how much you should be spending, look at the completed listings on Ebay. Don’t pay too much attention to the ones that sell. Pay attention to the ones that don’t. Or email me. I’ll be happy to give you my opinion on the deal you’re getting as long as it falls within my very narrow field of expertise (that means 1958-1968 more or less).

2 Responses to “More Ebay Follies”

  1. Elliot jacoby says:

    Hello there, Ive been flirting and now serious with buying a late 60s to 1970 335. I once had one with an orange label but let it go on ebay in the early 2000s for 1500. (arghhh). 4000to 4500 is my budget. Any good ideas or am i looking in the wrong financial neighborhood. thanks elliot

  2. OK Guitars says:

    That price range can get you a 66-68. try to avoid the 69’s unless you are able to pull the neck pickup a look at the way the neck is glued in. Read my post on tenons. The later 69s have a very short neck tenon which makes them relatively unstable. As long as you can play the narrow nut, try to find one in your price range from these years. Or, if you don’t care about the investment potential and you just want a great player, look for a compromised early big neck 65 (neck repair, refinish, whatever). Also, look at 81-85. You can get an excellent guitar for as little as $2000, although first years (81) and blondes tend to command a bit of a premium. I’ve seen blonde 81’s as high as $5000 but I think that’s a dreamers price. You can find a blonde in the $2500-$3500 range-even first year blondes.

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