Current Issue

Sept.14, 2011

Vol. 112, No. 1

Web Exclusives

Traditional decor, untraditional source

Images from Sherry Lefevre '74's home, furnished by eBay

By Katherine Federici Greenwood
Published in the September14, 2011, issue

Sherry Lefevre ’74 in her summer house on Nantucket that she furnished with items she found trolling eBay.
Trent Bell
Sherry Lefevre ’74 in her summer house on Nantucket that she furnished with items she found trolling eBay.

Sherry Lefevre ’74 furnished her summer home on Nantucket with objects she found trolling eBay. Take a look at some of items. All photographs were taken by Lefevre.

For eBay shopping tips, check out Lefevre’s top three suggestions, below the slide show.

Mouse over the images for full caption information.

Sherry Lefevre ’74’s eBay advice

Tip No. 1:

“Bracket your eBay searches. Searching on eBay is like researching for a senior thesis — you need to be creative in determining what search terms will yield the results you want. The prudent thing to do is use multiple terms because sellers will have made different choices about how to classify items. For instance, some use ‘antique’ for something 40 years old and some use ‘vintage’ for something 100 years old. So use both when you are looking for something old, and also use ‘old’ or ‘used.’ ‘Antique shell art’ might also be called ‘antique sailors valentine’ or ‘Victorian sailors valentine’ or even ‘19c sailors valentine.’ Just keep circling your search terms to catch more of what interests you.”

Tip No. 2:

“Use eBay searches as a way of educating yourself before bidding on anything. When you’re new to eBay, or even simply new to a type of item on eBay, you’ll be tempted by the first few things you see. WAIT. DON'T BID. Keep exploring by shifting your search terms (see above) and also click ‘watch’ so that you can track the sale price of items like yours. The point is that what seems unusual to you, is often quite common on eBay and can be purchased for less than what you first encountered.”

Tip No. 3:

“I hate to say it, but wait until the last 20 seconds to bid, or subscribe to Powersnipe for $40 a year (software that places a bid for you in the last 10 seconds). There is a flaw in the eBay system that you can benefit from. Unlike live auctions where bidding is closed only when it appears no one is going to outbid the last bid, eBay auctions have fixed ending times. If you bid within seconds of the closing time, someone who might have bid a little higher doesn’t have the opportunity. Many eBay buyers know this — so there will be competition at the end and you should bid as high as you are willing to go. EBay sellers, rightfully, hate this practice but until eBay figures out how to avoid this, it’s fair game.”

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CURRENT ISSUE: Sept.14, 2011