Thursday, February 7, 2008

eBay Buying Guide for Pince-Nez, Part I of II


Pince-nez are no longer currently manufactured. At least in any quality apart from Matrix-style knockoffs or cheap readers. The only thing available are antique pince-nez. Fortunately, they knew how to make frames in the last century and many are still in wearable condition.

Many of you will turn to eBay to buy antique pince-nez. This is a pretty good place to buy these eyeglasses. There are pitfalls to buying on eBay, but overall its a safe place. Seller feedback is the first indication of a reputable seller. Anything over ninety-eight percent is good. Below that percentage, I'd do some serious investigation or ignore the listing from the seller. Also consider the number of feedbacks and the nature of their other merchandise, if any.

This post addresses some of the generic issues and concerns of buying on eBay. Part II of this buying guide will focus on pince-nez specifics.

Perspective
It is important to keep in perspective the cost of these frames. A brief survey of completed auctions had most prices between $10 and $30. Some were less, and a few ranged up to $100 for gold markings. This is downright cheap compared to the cost of ordinary frames today which are probably between $200 and $500. If you want a wearable mounting, you can buy five pince-nez, have one fitted with lenses, and still walk away with a bargain. Chances are you will have to buy several to determine fit.

I've learned through trying on many mountings that I need a shallow bridge of medium width for a fingerpiece. You learn through trial and error as to what will fit. This means will probably have to buy several pince-nez to get one with a good fit. The nice part is that these "mistakes" are not costly and at the very least, you'll have your own collection of pince-nez. Or you can resell them on eBay and maybe even make a dollar or two.

Sniping
I highly recommend "sniping" on eBay. This is where you place a bid in the closing seconds of an auction. There is no point in placing a bid any earlier than the last minute of the auction. Early bids create higher selling prices which only benefit the seller. I wrote an article for my other blog, LeDandy (of Northern California), on the art of eBay sniping. If you do decide to go this route, consider purchasing Auction Sentry. This is a superb sniping software package which has a 100% success rate for me at placing bids. I set my snipes for five seconds before close of auction.

Questions
Most reputable sellers encourage prospective buyers to ask questions. Do take them up on this offer if something is unclear. This can be a description or photo. Failure of a seller to respond to me cancels any interest I have in an item. I must say that most questions are answered in a day or two.

As a veteran eBay buyer, I can assure you that your eye will develop as you study more eBay listings. It's a fun process!

Stay tuned for Part II which will cover pince-nez specifics.

[Note: LeDandy no longer recommends Auction Sentry. Try esnipe.com.]

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