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eBay 101 For Beginners

by Alan Borenstein, R-1611

Borenstein - eBay 101, August, 2000

eBay 101 For Beginners

Firstly, let me introduce myself with all of my chipping identifications. I am Alan Borenstein of Staten Island, New York. I am member # R-1611, Atlantic City Chapter member #60, and New York Metro Chapter member #16. My email address is and my eBay id is alanb. I have been online since about 1995, having started with the gang. I have been using eBay for about 2 years originally buying lots of chips and then I began selling also. I started selling primarily to be able to pay for my purchases of chips. I started at first selling my duplicates. Over the past year, I have been selling off most of my United States collection to concentrate on foreign chips. I have over 700 positive feedbacks with a rating of over 400 with no negative feedback. The rating reflects only unique users. That is why it is lower than the actual number of feedbacks.

Now, I normally have about 50 to 100 auctions each week.

I gave a presentation on the subject of eBay at the CyberChipping seminar at the recent CC&GTCC Annual Convention at the Las Vegas Tropicana. Some members could not attend the convention and not all of the convention attendees were able to make it to the seminar. I felt that putting my presentation into the form of an article would be useful for those Club members.

At the seminar, I asked: "How many of you out there have computers and are online?" and "How many of you have used eBay?" I was amazed to see about 95% of the audience's hands go up affirmatively for both of these questions.

eBay is an online internet auction site. Anyone can register and sell items, or buy items, but only by using a computer on the internet. The auctions are arranged by categories and sub-categories. Casino chips are under the category COLLECTIBLES; subcategory CASINO; subcategory CHIPS. I randomly checked one weekday evening before the convention and found that there were about 6,000 auction lots for sale under Casino, of which 3,000 were under Chips, 2,000 under General, 500 under Strikes, and 300 under Tokens. In Chips alone, there were 60 pages of 50 items per page! That is on a weekday. During the weekend there are many more!

There are no fees for buyers. There are two fees for sellers. There is an Insertion Fee, which one pays to list an auction based on the minimum bid:

  • up to $9.99=$.25

  • up to $24.99=$.50

  • up to $49.99=$1.00

  • $50.00 and over=$2.00

There is a Final Auction Fee, based on the selling price:

  • 5% of the first $25 ($1.25)

  • 2.5% over $25 up to $1000

  • The number and the variety of items that are up for auction at any time are incredible.

  • There are no buyers fee (most mail auctions have about a 10% buyer's fee).

  • The seller is often an amateur, not a dealer or a pro. This can be good or bad. You must be careful about the description of the item and the condition.

  • The greatest plus in my mind is the recruiting of new members for the club. Last year, I believe that I was the second highest recruiter (without even having a website). I ask each buyer or seller that I deal with, if they would like information on the club.

  • A PICTURE is worth a thousand words. I am very hesitant to buy anything without a picture.

  • If the lot description does not spell out shipping and/or handling fees, immediately contact the seller. Same thing applies if anything else is vague. If the seller does not answer you now, they probably will not answer after the auction if you have a problem.

  • There is a search function in eBay. Without the search facility most items would be too hard to find among the millions of items being offered. Most people search for items by entering "casino chips", or a key phrase in which they are interested. I find it most productive and efficient to look each day at the lots "ending today" in the subcategory: "Casino Chips". Also look at the lots "new today". In that way, I have two chances to see a lot subject heading.

  • A Picture is worth a thousand words. I find that lots that have a picture of the item sell much better than those that do not.
  • Consider the ending day and time. You can list a lot for 3, 5, 7, or 10 days. An auction that ends at 3:00 am on a Tuesday will not draw many last minute bids. I find the most action is with Saturday evening auction endings. Don't forget about the 3 hour time difference between the East and West Coasts.

Please email me if you have any questions. I am always happy to help.


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