Snapshot Update

As I mentioned earlier this week (original article) I planned to take in a couple of auctions and see what they’re like. I had lined up one for Saturday morning, and had opted for the online option rather than going down in person, as I just wanted to get a feel for the experience more than anything, plus I didn’t fancy a drive in the snow at 8:00 on a Saturday morning. It turned out there was actually no lost luggage lots this week, but undeterred I took a quick perusal of the catalogue the day before. I didn’t expect to buy anything truth be told, but had my eye on a couple of little beauties if I could pick them up at the right price. The main attraction for me was a MacBook Pro, brand new and boxed. The limitation though was that I only had about £300 in cash to be playing with, a pretty measly sum for something that commands a price tag of around £1,000 in the shops. Nevertheless I settled down in-front of my computer at the allotted hour and began to watch how the process unfolded online. It’s pretty simple to be honest, although there are a lot of terms and conditions that you need to be aware of to make sure you follow the correct process before bidding, and know how much you’ll be paying on top of any winning lot’s hammer price. As the MacBook’s slot approached, I started to become eager. The auctioneer started at £500, but no one was willing, so down to £400. Still no offers, so a sudden drop to £200. Imagine my delight, I thought it was my lucky day, I could easily triple my money at that price. All of a sudden though, before I even have time to bid, the old pro’s come out, they had just been waiting for the right marker to come in. Suddenly I’m witnessing it rocket up to above £800 and my heart sinks a little.

Auctioneers gavel

The tension mounts as the gavel hovers.

The auction continues and  the few smaller lots I was keeping an eye on fly by, going above the estimates I had set for them previously in my head . Then, as I was beginning to wonder if this was worth my time, I spot a lot I must have missed the day before, an Xbox 360 console. I decide it must be worth a punt at anything less than £25. The price starts at £30, but soon drops to £10, I hold out, confident in another reduction, and then it’s £5. I decide to push my luck, and eventually enter when the price had dropped to £2. The hammer is hovering over the pad, and I’m on the verge of a celebratory fist-pump when a late bid of £4 comes in. All of a sudden I’m in a bidding war, it’s time for nerves of steel to abound. I pause, then raise the bid to £6, swiftly followed by a return of £8… I hesitate  but decide to pursue it and bid £10. Nothing… all is silent, but I’m too wary to begin counting my chickens this time. I wait, and after what seems like an age I hear the gavel sharply knock as the auctioneer barks out, “sold at £10” . Bargain! Well, at least that’s what I thought initially. I suddenly realise I know very little about this item, apart from saying it is an Xbox 360, the description gives away pretty much nothing else. I start to feel a little concerned about what I might have gotten myself into. My comfort is that I have only paid £10 (actually £12.60 after various fees are added), so it’s not as if I just invested my sum total into a dud, but it dawns on me that impulse buying is probably not the wisest idea in an auction environment.

Xbox 360 console white

The beauty herself. My newest acquisition.

I’m hopeful that despite my naivety, I have indeed acquired a decent deal. The going rate on eBay seems to suggest I will at least double what I’ve paid, as long as the thing isn’t in 20 pieces (if the photo is to believed, it is intact). I pick the item up on Monday, and I suppose the proof of the pudding then is how much I get for selling it on. It will be interesting to see how I fair, but there are certainly lessons to be learnt here for the future. 1) Do my homework properly – having spotted this the day before would have prevented impulse bidding, and I would have made a more reasonable, calculated decision on whether to bid or not. 2) Don’t be swept away with the occasion – it’s easy to think, that seems pretty good, can’t hurt. In reality, that is probably an expensive attitude to take into an auction hall. However, the counter argument would say my spontaneity might have grabbed me a great deal – nothing ventured nothing gained as they say. We will have to wait and see in the coming week how successful it is. Worst case scenario is that I make my mistakes for a pretty small price, rather than learning the hard way on a bid 10 times the amount.

Read the original post about lost-luggage auctions here.

The online auctions I have used are i-bidder and Easy Live Auction, but it varies by auction house.

Update (01/07/2013): I finally shifted the Xbox on gumtree (after some time spent trying to work out whether it was working – appears not – and what condition it was in. I got £20 for it, so made a profit, however probably not worth it for all the hassle involved!

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  1. Alle says:

    Brilliant! Really enjoyed reading it, will try auctions online.

  2. were do i find the online auctions ??

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