Using eBay's search feature to peruse completed and sold listings (listings for auctions or buy it now items that have already ended) you can get recent pricing information, check out photos of pieces similar to your own, and read what others have found out about a piece in doing their own research (although you have to keep in mind that not everything you glean from item listings will be accurate).
Completed item listings serve as a good point of departure when valuing antiques in general, and can be consulted before procuring a piece for your collection or prior to selling an item you own to get a rough idea of its worth in the eBay marketplace.
Time Required: 5 minutes or less
- Log in to eBay with your user ID and password at www.ebay.com. Only registered users are allowed to use the completed search feature, so you'll have to create an account if you don't already have one.
- Click on link Advanced link at the top of the eBay home page (next to the big, blue Search button).
- When the advanced search page comes up, type your search keyword(s) in the space indicated.
- If you want to see all items like yours, check the Completed listings box located below. If you only want to see the items that actually sold, check the Sold listings box. (Completed listings will bring up both items that did and did not sell, which can provide information about how plentiful or rare your piece may be. Narrowing the search to Sold listings only helps to hone in on pricing information).
- Click on the blue Search button.
- Enter your user ID and password, if prompted to do so (you may be asked to do this if you haven't already logged in as indicated in step #1).
- Review the list of items that comes up on the screen. looking for items that are identical to yours in terms of features and condition.
- If you need to revise your keyword(s) to expand or narrow search results and start again, simply click on Advanced and repeat these steps again.
- Keywords describe your item and should be specific to the piece. Using general words like "Depression glass" is too broad and will yield too many results. Try words like "pink Mayfair" or "Mayfair plate" to narrow the results andacquire more specific completed listings.
- You may notice that the prices for similar items can vary widely in completed searches. Condition, unusual attributes, current demand, and bidding wars in auction style listings can all have an impact on how much an item will sell for on eBay. Clicking through to read the descriptions and looking at the bidding history for each item will help you determine why one piece sold for more than another.
- Keep in mind that eBay's completed item searches only show auction results for a limited period prior to the date you conduct your search. Nevertheless, they can be a good indicator of what you might expect to get for an item in the current online auction marketplace.
- As mentioned in the introduction above, not everything you read in eBay auction descriptions is accurate. Sometimes the sellers have been misled themselves and are perpetuating a myth, or they've simply made a mistake. Some sellers are more diligent in doing research than others. If something conveyed in an item description doesn't add up, do a little more research on your own before adding that information to your knowledge base.
- Completed searches default to show the item that ended most recently first. If you would like to see the items that sold for the highest or lowest price, use the "Sort by" pull-down menu to select the appropriate sort description.