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Altair 8800 - Putting it up for sale on EBAY - Anything to watch out for?

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  • Don Russ
    I have a working Altair 8800 with four cards: Processor, SIO-2, 16K SRAM and a non-operational third party DRAM board. I have repaired it and successfully
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 3, 2008
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      I have a working Altair 8800 with four cards: Processor, SIO-2, 16K
      SRAM and a non-operational third party DRAM board. I have repaired it
      and successfully booted the Altair 8K basic to play some black jack.

      The computer is in good condition with some minor wear and scuffs.
      When I saved it from the dumpster in the mid 80s it had a few chips
      pulled including the processor. The DRAM board was not something I
      felt added much value so I did not repair it. I had my fun writing a
      boot-loader and getting it running but now it's time for someone else
      to enjoy it.

      I was wondering if there is anything I should watch out for or any
      hints that I could get to make it a fair and successful auction. It
      will be my first so I am a little apprehensive.

      I would also like to run it a little longer than 10 days so everyone
      has a chance to bid on it, is there a way to do that on EBAY?

      Thanks!

      Don
    • H_E_ROBERT_G WEIR_L_V_C_C
      Don, From my experience, and I know there are opinions out there to the contrary, a three to five day auction, is sufficient to grab the most amount of
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 3, 2008
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        Don,

        From my experience, and I know there are opinions out there to the contrary, a three to five day auction, is sufficient to grab the most amount of potential buyers, because they are relying on automated eBay searches, that email them daily, so they know about it within 24 hours of the listing!  The longer auctions just sorta annoy most folks, cause they have to wait for the item, and in many cases, they move on to something else that caught their eye, that they can have sooner!

        The serious collectors use software to find and bid/snipe for the items that are prized.  And most have figured out that you never bid on an item until the last 10 seconds, cause it's not really an auction, so much as it is a "race"!  Regardless of what eBay says, any bids placed up front, are ultimately bids against yourself!  You become a target for shill bidding, and people that just want to see you pay more for something than it is worth!  This automated/sniping strategy usually accounts for a buyer getting the item below market, and cheating a legitimate bidder willing to pay more, but ran out of time, and in the end cheating the seller out of a higher sale!  A true auction would continue until there were no more bids.  There is at least one auction site out there that extends the auction by 5 minutes, every time there is a bid placed within the last seconds of the auction!

        As far as the ads on ebay go, don't waste your money on all the flashy stuff, boarders, and gift tags??? If people can't figure out, you can give an ebay purchase as a gift  You probably don't want them as a customer anyway!

        How to protect the value of your sale?  Well, the cheapest way is to make the starting bid something you can live with, if that's all that is bid!  I've seen it happen! So for an Altair, "99 cents", is not a good start.  A more expensive way, is to set a reserve price, eBay charges more for it, and frankly it tends to steer people away, unless you tell them what the reserve is, and if you do that, you may as well just use that for the starting bid, and save yourself some "eBay" coinage!  The last option, which I know from a previous post, that our esteemed list member, Mr. Landrum, is in disagreement with, is to set a "buy it now!" price, again with an amount that you can live with.  But in that case the fixed priced auction may be a better choice, as they can last for 28 days???  ....you may need to have an ebay store to do that for that length of time, I'm not sure, or find some seller with a store that will do it on consignment.

        The problem with Buy it now, is that it could go much higher in an open auction, and unless you set a reserve price, the buy it now option goes away the first time a person bids anything.  With the reserve price option, "buy it now" stays until the reserve price is met, then it disappears.

        Lastly, good, clear, larger than life pictures, tell more than any description, (oh yea, and don't mention you got it out of a dumpster), it will lessen your credibility as a legitimate seller!  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then ebay allows you 12,000 words!  Use them, they will sell the product, better than an endorsement from "Billy Mays"!

        Research your shipping, new sellers usually lose money on shipping, it's expensive!  Boxes and quality packing materials are not free either!  Also make sure if you are accepting (gulp!) "Paypal", that you follow their seller requirements to the letter!  Paypal is not the sellers friend, and they will chop off your financial legs, before you can say "what the #+<%"???  And if you have them attached to an "active" bank account, you'll wish you had IRS problems instead!

        Also if your not in a pinch for the ca$h, hold the item until people start getting their tax refund$!   Bidders seem a bit more generous when new found cash is burning a hole in their pockets!

        Okay one last bit of info, for any buyers out there, if you want to be guaranteed a win in almost any eBay auction?  Within the last 5 seconds of the auction, bid $1,000,000!  And I can almost guarantee a win!  Unless of course "I" am bidding on the same item, then you might lose....unless of course I only bid $999,999!

        Bob!



        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Don Russ <Donald.e.russ@...>
        To: altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, March 3, 2008 5:10:15 PM
        Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Altair 8800 - Putting it up for sale on EBAY - Anything to watch out for?

        I have a working Altair 8800 with four cards: Processor, SIO-2, 16K
        SRAM and a non-operational third party DRAM board. I have repaired it
        and successfully booted the Altair 8K basic to play some black jack.

        The computer is in good condition with some minor wear and scuffs.
        When I saved it from the dumpster in the mid 80s it had a few chips
        pulled including the processor. The DRAM board was not something I
        felt added much value so I did not repair it. I had my fun writing a
        boot-loader and getting it running but now it's time for someone else
        to enjoy it.

        I was wondering if there is anything I should watch out for or any
        hints that I could get to make it a fair and successful auction. It
        will be my first so I am a little apprehensive.

        I would also like to run it a little longer than 10 days so everyone
        has a chance to bid on it, is there a way to do that on EBAY?

        Thanks!

        Don




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      • Don Russ
        Bob! That was a great post! I think that you hit on a few good points. I m sort of thinking about running a few auctions on some ham gear and storage cleanout
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 4, 2008
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          Bob!

          That was a great post! I think that you hit on a few good points. I'm
          sort of thinking about running a few auctions on some ham gear and
          storage cleanout to get my feet wet and then auction the Altair
          starting after April 14th.

          You need to re-post this on the net as an EBAY tutorial.

          I was thinking a starting bid of $1500.00, which is not beyond reason
          because all recent sales have gone for more. I'm leaning toward ten
          days starting on Friday because that would be two weekends for the
          occasional shopper. I'm hoping to give everyone a fair chance to find
          it and not just the vultures.

          As for payments, what is a good alternative to PayPal? PP does give
          some sense of security but it doesn't come cheap. They will get 3%
          or so of the sale and they could yank the money away from my account
          if there is a dispute. Would asking for a money order put off too
          many people?

          Don

          PS. I saved if from the dumpster, I didn't pull it from under a pile
          of junk ;-)

          PPS. I have pulled together a few files and such that might be useful
          to a person trying to get a bare bones Altair going. I was thinking
          of posting it to the groups file space. I have a bootloader, 8K
          basic, some basic language listings and an assembler that I modified
          to put out "Front Panel" code. Any interest?

          --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, H_E_ROBERT_G WEIR_L_V_C_C
          <h_e_robert_g@...> wrote:
          >
          > Don,
          >
          > From my experience, and .................
        • Steve
          Don, Not everyone agrees with Bob about PayPal. To a seller, it has a huge convenience factor, eliminates the long wait while you wonder whether the buyer has
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 5, 2008
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            Don,

            Not everyone agrees with Bob about PayPal. To a seller, it has a
            huge convenience factor, eliminates the long wait while you wonder
            whether the buyer has really put the check (or M.O., etc) in the
            mail, and provides instant gratification (in the form of cash)
            shortly after completion of the auction. I, for one, specify PayPal
            as the preferred payment method when I sell on ebay.

            As a buyer, I have found PayPal to be a great convenience, too. It
            allows the seller to ship a week or so sooner than if I had mailed
            the payment, and it quickly lets him know that I'm not a deadbeat.
            It eliminates a trip to the store or Post Office to buy a money
            order, too. I'm sure that many people would agree with me that
            auctions that disallow PayPal are a bit of a turnoff.

            I suggest that, as an ebay beginner, you post a few cheap items at
            first. There are several details that you may fail to notice that
            will become obvious in your first few sales, and you don't want to
            make a catastrophic error with an expensive item. For creating
            auctions, download ebay's free "Turbolister" program. It's a WYSIWYG
            application that makes it pretty easy to compose and upload a decent
            looking auction, complete with pictures and all of the little details
            that you're likely to overlook.

            As Bob said, many experienced buyers will wait until the last few
            minutes of an auction to bid (this is known as "sniping"). There are
            very few advantages in bidding early, and a lot of disadvantages, so
            don't get discouraged and cancel your auction early because there
            seems to be no activity. You can use "My Ebay" to monitor how many
            interested parties are watching your auction, and you can add a hit
            counter to your auctions that will also give a rough idea of
            interest. As you become more experienced, those numbers will become
            more meaningful.

            Thanks for posting your files to the group. Please don't put them in
            the FILES folder's root directory, though. Create a new folder with
            your name on it and put your files there.

            Steve
            Moderator
            ========================================

            --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "Don Russ"
            <Donald.e.russ@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Bob!
            >
            > That was a great post! I think that you hit on a few good points.
            I'm
            > sort of thinking about running a few auctions on some ham gear and
            > storage cleanout to get my feet wet and then auction the Altair
            > starting after April 14th.
            >
            > You need to re-post this on the net as an EBAY tutorial.
            >
            > I was thinking a starting bid of $1500.00, which is not beyond
            reason
            > because all recent sales have gone for more. I'm leaning toward ten
            > days starting on Friday because that would be two weekends for the
            > occasional shopper. I'm hoping to give everyone a fair chance to
            find
            > it and not just the vultures.
            >
            > As for payments, what is a good alternative to PayPal? PP does give
            > some sense of security but it doesn't come cheap. They will get 3%
            > or so of the sale and they could yank the money away from my
            account
            > if there is a dispute. Would asking for a money order put off too
            > many people?
            >
            > Don
            >
            > PS. I saved if from the dumpster, I didn't pull it from under a
            pile
            > of junk ;-)
            >
            > PPS. I have pulled together a few files and such that might be
            useful
            > to a person trying to get a bare bones Altair going. I was thinking
            > of posting it to the groups file space. I have a bootloader, 8K
            > basic, some basic language listings and an assembler that I
            modified
            > to put out "Front Panel" code. Any interest?
            >
            > --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, H_E_ROBERT_G
            WEIR_L_V_C_C
            > <h_e_robert_g@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Don,
            > >
            > > From my experience, and .................
            >
          • Craig Landrum
            When I sold my IMSAI and ALTAIR systems on eBay I also used PayPal and had no problem. Watching that money come into my account was nice. When buying I prefer
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 5, 2008
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              When I sold my IMSAI and ALTAIR systems on eBay I also used
              PayPal and had no problem. Watching that money come into my
              account was nice. When buying I prefer to use PayPal because
              I can use a credit card to do the transaction, and figure
              that in case of a ripoff (I've never been stiffed), I might
              be able to contest the charge, etc.

              Both my systems were operational and would boot and run, and
              if yours will boot, it sets it apart from 95% of the other
              systems you see on eBay, so I stressed that fact in my auctions
              and got a great response. I included screenshots of the boot
              sequence and for my ALTAIR auction where I was also including
              a working ASR33, I included pics of the BASIC boot-up
              sequence on the teletype paper and mentioned "Bill Gates
              first commercial effort", etc, etc - all to give the buyer
              more of a sense that they were buying a piece of interesting
              computing history (which was very true).

              Good luck with the auction!
            • H_E_ROBERT_G WEIR_L_V_C_C
              I guess I was a little hard on Paypal, there are many advantages, as Craig and Steve have pointed out, and I certainly accept Paypal, and pay with Paypal when
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 5, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                I guess I was a little hard on Paypal, there are many advantages, as Craig and Steve have pointed out, and I certainly accept Paypal, and pay with Paypal when accepted.  I guess my point was to make everyone aware, that there are potential problems, that can arise, using the service, and to be forewarned is to be forearmed!  If you have not had Paypal shoot you in the back, because of an unscrupulous buyer, you are indeed blessed!  What I learned was to read Paypal's service agreement, don't give buyers the choice of shipping method, require delivery confirmation, and do not allow Paypal access to your "working" bank accounts, and credit/debit cards!  Then things will go a bit more smoothly with no surprises!

                I was initially a bit naive, and thought, being an honest buyer and seller, that Paypal and ebay would help me in disputes.  Okay so I was stupid!  For the 60 days I was minus the funds from a large sale, I would have gladly waited a couple of weeks for a money order!  I've had great Paypal experiences as well, but it seems the painful ones, though few, tend to "leave a mark", if you get my meaning!

                And again, it may just be my negative Karma magnet, that is responsible for it?

                I guess I just have issues......I just opened the fortune cookie that came with my #2 combination plate, it said, and I'm not kidding..."Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst"?

                Sucks to be me!

                Bob

                ----- Original Message ----
                From: Steve <alltare@...>
                To: altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Wednesday, March 5, 2008 3:01:43 AM
                Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Re: Altair 8800 - Putting it up for sale on EBAY - Anything to watch out for?

                Don,

                Not everyone agrees with Bob about PayPal. To a seller, it has a
                huge convenience factor, eliminates the long wait while you wonder
                whether the buyer has really put the check (or M.O., etc) in the
                mail, and provides instant gratification (in the form of cash)
                shortly after completion of the auction. I, for one, specify PayPal
                as the preferred payment method when I sell on ebay.

                As a buyer, I have found PayPal to be a great convenience, too. It
                allows the seller to ship a week or so sooner than if I had mailed
                the payment, and it quickly lets him know that I'm not a deadbeat.
                It eliminates a trip to the store or Post Office to buy a money
                order, too. I'm sure that many people would agree with me that
                auctions that disallow PayPal are a bit of a turnoff.

                I suggest that, as an ebay beginner, you post a few cheap items at
                first. There are several details that you may fail to notice that
                will become obvious in your first few sales, and you don't want to
                make a catastrophic error with an expensive item. For creating
                auctions, download ebay's free "Turbolister" program. It's a WYSIWYG
                application that makes it pretty easy to compose and upload a decent
                looking auction, complete with pictures and all of the little details
                that you're likely to overlook.

                As Bob said, many experienced buyers will wait until the last few
                minutes of an auction to bid (this is known as "sniping"). There are
                very few advantages in bidding early, and a lot of disadvantages, so
                don't get discouraged and cancel your auction early because there
                seems to be no activity. You can use "My Ebay" to monitor how many
                interested parties are watching your auction, and you can add a hit
                counter to your auctions that will also give a rough idea of
                interest. As you become more experienced, those numbers will become
                more meaningful.

                Thanks for posting your files to the group. Please don't put them in
                the FILES folder's root directory, though. Create a new folder with
                your name on it and put your files there.

                Steve
                Moderator
                ============ ========= ========= ========= =

                --- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, "Don Russ"
                <Donald.e.russ@ ...> wrote:

                >
                >
                > Bob!
                >
                > That was a great post! I think that you hit on a few good points.
                I'm
                > sort of thinking about running a few auctions on some ham gear and
                > storage cleanout to get my feet wet and then auction the Altair
                > starting after April 14th.
                >
                > You need to re-post this on the net as an EBAY tutorial.
                >
                > I was thinking a starting bid of $1500.00, which is not beyond
                reason
                > because all recent sales have gone for more. I'm leaning toward ten
                > days starting on Friday because that would be two weekends for the
                > occasional shopper. I'm hoping to give everyone a fair chance to
                find
                > it and not just the vultures.
                >
                > As for payments, what is a good alternative to PayPal? PP does give
                > some sense of security but it doesn't come cheap. They will get 3%
                > or so of the sale and they could yank the money away from my
                account
                > if there is a dispute. Would asking for a money order put off too
                > many people?
                >
                > Don
                >
                > PS. I saved if from the dumpster, I didn't pull it from under a
                pile
                > of junk ;-)
                >
                > PPS. I have pulled together a few files and such that might be
                useful
                > to a person trying to get a bare bones Altair going. I was thinking
                > of posting it to the groups file space. I have a bootloader, 8K
                > basic, some basic language listings and an assembler that I
                modified
                > to put out "Front Panel" code. Any interest?
                >
                > --- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, H_E_ROBERT_G
                WEIR_L_V_C_C
                > <h_e_robert_ g@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Don,
                > >
                > > From my experience, and ............ .....
                >




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