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?
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!
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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
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 email@example.com, H_E_ROBERT_G WEIR_L_V_C_C
> From my experience, and .................
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
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.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Don Russ"
> That was a great post! I think that you hit on a few good points.
> sort of thinking about running a few auctions on some ham gear andreason
> 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
> because all recent sales have gone for more. I'm leaning toward tenfind
> days starting on Friday because that would be two weekends for the
> occasional shopper. I'm hoping to give everyone a fair chance to
> it and not just the vultures.account
> 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
> if there is a dispute. Would asking for a money order put off toopile
> many people?
> PS. I saved if from the dumpster, I didn't pull it from under a
> of junk ;-)useful
> PPS. I have pulled together a few files and such that might be
> to a person trying to get a bare bones Altair going. I was thinkingmodified
> of posting it to the groups file space. I have a bootloader, 8K
> basic, some basic language listings and an assembler that I
> to put out "Front Panel" code. Any interest?WEIR_L_V_C_C
> --- In email@example.com, H_E_ROBERT_G
> <h_e_robert_g@> wrote:
> > Don,
> > From my experience, and .................
- 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!
- 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!
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