An eBay caution: some sellers are out for a buck–or hundreds

RF2200
SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, has recently noticed exorbitant prices demanded by certain sellers on eBay. Dan writes:

As readers of SWLing Post know, Ebay prices–at least asking prices–can often go completely off the scale.

While it’s true that prices can be as high as the market will bear, some recent examples are cases in point. The RF-2200 by Panasonic was an amazing radio for its time, competing with the SONY 5900W and some other models back in the early days of sophisticated portables. The 2200 was known, and is still respected, for its directional AM loop antenna, and is a prized part of the stables of many SWL’s today.

But let’s face it…only a 2200 found new-in-the-box, or in [like]-new condition, should fetch anything over $250-300. Other examples recently include a DX-302 for which the owner was seeking something like $1200. Price inflation has also been seen with SONY ICF-6800Ws. The [difference] with these sets is that they truly are in new or 10.0 condition, worth several hundred dollars.

New SONY ICF-2010s–[and] there are still some circulating that are new-in-the-box or in [like]-new condition–can and do bring prices north of $400, sometimes more. So do new-in-box SONY ICF-SW100s if they are complete with all accessories, in the box–but beware, they should be the newer modified versions and not the old version (you can tell this by looking at the hinge on the SONY, which should have a notch to indicate the revised version of the radio).

Another classic portable that deserves somewhat higher pricing is the Panasonic RF-B65. In [new-in-the-box] condition, these can go for more than $300.

So, [unless] you’re seeing astronomically high prices for RF-2200s, stop and think about it. These are old portables, and you should not be paying exorbitant prices–UNLESS you [encounter] a time capsule with a radio in the box that was never used. Even so, buyers need to ask multiple questions of sellers to protect yourself.

I agree completely, Dan. If you want to purchase an item at a fair market price or even a bargain, you must do your research before simply using the “Buy It Now” option on eBay. There are plenty of sellers who charge fair prices still; leave the stratospheric-priced items on the eBay shelf.

Tecsun-PL-365-Ebay-Crazy-Price

A case in point (above): never mind the grammar error in the above listing, the $125 “Buy It Now” price for the Tecsun PL-365 is frankly excessive. The PL-365 is identical to the CountComm GP5/SSB–a radio I recently reviewed–and is available new from Universal Radio for $79.95 plus shipping. And since there are currently no other listings for the PL-365 on eBay (I’m not sure why) this price might appear reasonable to a new buyer.

This same seller initially offered the Tecsun PL-365 for a much higher price–in excess of $180, I believe. While this seller has excellent ratings, and no doubt would stand behind the product, the markup is simply too high for me to endorse (hence, no eBay link here).

In the past, I’ve also noted a semi-rare vintage radio–a “boat anchor” variety with a market price of perhaps $1,500–up for auction with a first bid amount in excess of $20,000 US! Yet I felt confident of the $1500 market price because I checked and cross-referenced it in Fred Osterman’s Shortwave Receivers Past & Present, which provides fair market values.

So, while I continue to support eBay, which remains one of the most secure platforms from which to buy unique and vintage goods on the open market, I want to encourage readers to heed Dan’s warning: research all pricing before making radio purchases on eBay…and keep the holes out of your pockets. Note that I will never directly link to unreasonable eBay listings.

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8 thoughts on “An eBay caution: some sellers are out for a buck–or hundreds

  1. Keith Perron

    500$ for that radio. What have they been smoking.

    Ebay prices on many vintage electronics are way over inflated. I have seen SONY ICF 2010s selling for 500$ and up. 100$ perhaps, but anything more than is crazy. It’s no where near worth 500$.

    Unless you have a BRAUN radio designed by Dieter Rams, which are now in design museums. SONYs and Panasonics are not.

    Reply
  2. John

    I have to respectfully disagree with the pricing of the Tecsun PL-365 being “excessive” relative to the CountyComm GP5/SSB.

    Most people are not aware that the Tecsun PL-365 was introduced in early February 2015 and discontinued shortly afterwards. In fact, a well known Tecsun dealer in Hong Kong advised me that Tecsun themselves told this distributor (and others) to stop selling the PL-365’s they had in stock. I managed to grab two (@US$59 each inc shipping) before they disappeared form sale. Given the above situation it’s not surprising to see new Tecsun PL-365’s commanding a high price on eBay given the short supply of them

    BTW, The eBay listing posted shows a PL-360 and not a PL-365.

    Reply
  3. Guy Atkins

    I’ve had that $500 RF-2200 BIN listing in my watch list since it first appeared, as I’m curious to see if it will actually sell. Now I noticed a price drop to $475. (Wow, such a bargain!) The photo is so poor, and the description so bare, it’s impossible to judge its condition.

    Today I received a very nice RF-2200 from the same seller you purchased yours from, Thomas. It was less than half the price of the one mentioned in this article :^)

    “Do your homework” is always good advice when it comes to Ebay purchases. However, anything that’s collectable can have wide price swings.

    Reply
  4. Pete

    Also watch out for the “Sale: xx% off”. Sounds like someone could grab a bargain. Until one finds out that the reduced price is still more than retail.

    Reply
  5. John Case

    There is one reseller in particular who justifies his high prices by adding reams of documentation copied from the internet, and implies heavily that he has tested his radios and fixed any problems. In reality, he is not a tech, has no repair or test equipment, and does not have anyone working for him that is a tech. His phrase “gone over the radio” includes a detail cleaning with Q-Tips and Windex, and simple function testing as anyone would do with a new radio. He does take remarkable pictures and has long detailed stories of the radios being sold, but there is very little value he is actually adding to the radio. People like this do little to promote the hobby, and serve only to keep prices high on desireable used equipment to fatten their wallets.

    Reply
  6. Matt KC4YLV

    Something is worth exactly what somebody is willing to pay for it.

    We’ve all seen the radios at way-too-high pricing on eBay over the years. Usually they’re from the Ukraine or Greece, occasionally Japan. It’s fun to laugh and scroll down, but you gotta remember – they’re only listing this because they sell. Somebody’s clickin BIN.

    Reply
  7. Dave Richards

    I couldn’t agree more Thomas. I’ve noticed the same thing happening with some of the vintage parts I buy for my projects. In general, many of them seem to be listed for higher prices than they would have been just a year or so ago. In addition, every now and again, there will be a part that is listed for an outlandish price, far in excess of what it is really worth. However, I guess the seller would say that if someone is willing to pay a very high price then, by definition, that is what it is worth. Buyer beware!

    Dave
    AA7EE

    Reply

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