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Tyler

The Fearless eBay Buyer

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I will start a thread that I know many of you have wondered about. It seems that the eBay buyer "PKNORR" cannot resist himself on just about any of the higher quality violins, violas, cellos and bows. He is very knowledgeable and seems a gentleman, but I will not divulge more about him that I surmised and he later confirmed. The question is what is his MO? Can he really come out ahead in the long run with his strategy? Is he so wealthy that it really doesn't matter if he makes a mis-judgement? Does he donate to school programs and write off full retail? Does he depend on the fearsome buyers not to run up the bidding on those he has set a high bid? This is very interesting...

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Does he depend on the fearsome buyers not to run up the bidding on those he has set a high bid?


Not likely, since he/she usually bids with only a few seconds left in the auction. By the time you see his/her bid, it's over.

By the way, I have nothing but the highest respect for PKNORR's choices. What's done with the instruments/bows? I have no idea, but I'm quite sure that PKNORR has a very clear picture.

Barry

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I know that when I lose a violin to a last minute snipe by PKnorr, that I have chosen well. He has great eyes and buys nice violins with shut-out, last minute bids. PKnorr is also seen at Skinner and Tarisio preview. He carries with him a bit of an attitude, or so I have heard.

Jesse

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Not only you will see buyers like that on eBay, you will see that in regular auctions too.

My philosphy is, if I was going to buy anything at a retail price, I will buy it at a retail store. For the same price, why not also buy the service and the opportunity to trade-up.

I wonder how he/she can price these instruments/bows competively if he decides to sell them.

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PKNORR dominance surely creates a psychological impulse with some buyers, since they know they have to bid very high to end up the high bidder. Since PKNORR only bids in the last 6 secs (always uniform so he probably uses a program), you never know which offering he will bid on and you have to then assume he will bid on all of the worthwhile offerings. In no way am I impuning him or his techniques, but it certainly creates an interesting psychological component to eBay buying. It certainly helps the sellers.

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It certainly helps the sellers.


I'm not so sure about this. In fact, I think it might work against the sellers in some cases. If I see a nice, old, clean Markneukirchen violin (right up PKNORR's alley) I'm more inclined not to bid knowing that the odds are against me getting the violin. PKNORR's pockets go a lot deeper than mine. The seller might actually get fewer and/or lower bids than if PKNORR was not such a strong player. To be fair, I can see the reverse being true also. A seller who's done his homework can view recent eBay prices for similar violins and come up with high numbers, based largely on what PKNORR has been willing to spend in the past. This can result in higher opening bid amounts or higher reserve prices.

Barry

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Yes, PeeNoor gets a lot of nice items, but I know that he's been burned more than once by the group out of Long Island/NYC who have been selling fake bows and violins for a couple of years now on ebay. I never see Mr. B. selling there, so he either has a large collection of nice trade instruments, among others, or a shop doing a nice volume. I think I remember Columbus OH as his environs, but I'm not sure.

Can anyone here see any good reason to ~ever~ bid on ebay at any time other than the last minute?

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I sometimes mark items I am particularly interested in by bidding, to let friends know so perhaps they won't bid against me. There are a few regular buyers who do this and I make a point of not bidding against customers or suppliers. I also won't bid against folks I know at a live auction. Most of the time the favor is reciprocated.

Jesse

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OK, Jesse. That's a good reason. But not a reason to bid high.

My point is that ebay's hard stop end to auctions makes the logical strategy just to wait til the end then bid the most you're willing to pay. As long as PKNORR is bidding, you may get the item.

I think that any bid in the last two minutes of an ebay auction should automatically extend the end time by a minute or five. Then sniping would end.

But maybe that would reduce ebay profits somehow. It would surely increase the seller's yield, I think.

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Hello Jack. "Sniping" has a bad sound to it, but, as a buyer, I like the strategy. I always to try to bid the most I can afford (which is always less than what I think it's worth). And I bid just at the last moment. That way I don't get too excited and bid too much. (PKNORR's advantage is that he has a better idea of the value and can actually bid what he thinks it's worth.) I recently tried an ebay live auction, where the bidding goes on as long as there are new bids, and you have decide in a split second what to do. That was totally crazy, and I ended up going way over my limit. The Ebay silent auction is more rational, and that's why it's so successful.

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PKNORR started out only focusing on Markneukirchen violins and then branched out to everything else as his confidence level rose. I agree that I don't waste my time on many offerings knowing that PKNORR will outbid anyway. That is why this is so interesting to me; how one dominant eBay player can effect the psychology of the market. Generally if you outbid him, then you probably bid more than YOU wanted to. If he does not bid, you probably are looking at a second rate instrument or where bidding has exceeded wholesale value. That is not to say that the high bidder didn't get value. But the risk of getting burned increase dramatically. I think PKNORR is fully aware of the psychlogy I am alluding to.

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Just prior to becoming obsessed with fiddles about 2 years ago, I was obsessed with the stock market for about 5 years. I lost a huge amount of money and made a huge amount of money. In the end, about broke even after expenses and gained a lifetime of knowledge. With all the activity in my accounts and all the data and info I had one would think I was managing a billion dollar hedge fund.

PK is riding the trend in higher violin prices like momentum traders ride a trend in a stock. Everything he bought on eBay two years ago is worth double today. He can't make a mistake. The prices keep going up. If he is stockpiling Markneukirchen violins, he is doing just like the great stock traders pyramid their stock gains. Every buy should be made at a higher level than the buy before. Enter every trade with a plan as to where to add to the position and where to cut the losses.

Pk simply finds, probably through key word searches, the good looking violins and places his limit snipe bids on all the weeks violins at one time through a snipe service and goes to the golf course. After the round he pays his bills and waits for the postman.

That is not disimilar from finding stocks aproaching a pivot point or breakout area and placing the limit bid just above the old high in advance and waiting for the order to hit. The fact that the price makes it to that high a level is confirmation by the market that it will go higher.

When I bid on a violin I usually do it in the last 10 seconds. If I am beaten by a good buyer like PK I know my instincts were right. If I get challanged until the last second I am delighted to pay more because I know there are others who clearly would love to have it. The market confirms the price.

The day my auctions don't get 1000+ hits, and 20-30 bids, I will know the market is softening, regardless of the price action. Its all in the volume of lookers and bidders. The prices will stay high for a while after the market tells me they are ready to crash. The volumes will tell the story. Right now the prices are trending higher and so is the bidder volume. How many great buys are there on eBay compared to a year ago? Two years ago a fiddle for $500 on eBay was a really big deal. Now its $1000 or more.

The eBay market outside of the scam artists and rip offs is a true marketplace and the laws of supply and demand are very apparent. Higher prices are a good thing for both buyers and sellers. It proves the trend. When the page hits dry up and there are fewer bids then the handwriting is on the wall.

Just my hard earned opinion.

Jesse

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You will notice that in PKNORR's zeal he is beginning to make mistakes and misjudgements or simply being defrauded. Check out his recent negatives. Just like the casinos, you win some, you lose some. You will know when his winning streak is over when the rapid fire purchases begin to subside.

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Bidding early in an auction often drives up the end price in an auction. Although I no longer bid on violins on Ebay, I collect other things. My favorite way of "searching" for the good stuff is to do a search on the other collector's name that I know bid early in the auction.

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If it's this one

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...me=STRK:MEWA:IT

I don't feel so bad that, due to my login being timed out and I was in fact not logged in, I wasted a few seconds doing that and my bid didn't hit in time. GRRR!! I was very sad. However now it seems I never had a chance to begin with so that makes me feel better in a strange way! Suppose I should get me one o them snipe-o-matics

Seriously though, this is a fine example of the "Clean Markneukirchen fiddles" mentioned previously.

I imagine that Mr./Ms. Knorr must either Be, be related to, or very close to a Luthier. Somebody has to do the work on these fiddles that needs to be done at a price which, added to what she/he spends on the fiddles, would still would turn a profit either now or a year or two from now.

Anyway I'm still sad as this really is a nice fiddle!

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I just received a strange offering in an email through an ebay-message. I hope the person is the real (jamesproctor). The message states that PKNORR could not pay for the violin and said I was next high bidder and could have the violin for he amount of my bid. I ask for mailing address to send payment and receive and address in Chicago, Ill. The auction page gave Northeastern Penn. as location on the violin. That seemed a bit strange to me, so I reported to ebay. No reply yet.

What do you make of this and has it ever happen to any of you?

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That happens to bidders on my auctions all the time

Quote:


The second chance offers are certainly fraudulent if payment is requested by Western Union or by wire transfer. Anyone who is legit will take a mailed check (now you have an address), or Paypal (where a buyer has some recourse). To verify that the seller really has the item, request a close up photo of the tailpin or button. If the person making the offer cannot email you a fresh photo, you know you have a fraud going.

I put a warning in my listings about second chance offers and unsolicited emails.

Jesse

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Not everyone likes to use paypal,especially if your not in the US.

I agree about Western Union though ,anyone who sends money by them must be mad!

Most fake second chance offers will have a slightly different email address to reply to, although to most people they look very genuine ,especially if its a slightly altered ebay official one.If its just a standard email then it won`t have been sent through ebay and should definitely be ignored.

These crooks are also making it very difficult for people wanting to make genuine second chance offers, as most people think its a fraud/fake offer.

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"Western Union......anyone who sends money by them must be mad!"

Are you talking specifically about Western Union wire transfers? I've used their Bidpay several times w/ ok results. You know where the check is being sent, and since you paid Bidpay w/ credit card, you can always dispute it (I hope). Otherwise, we've had previous discussions here about the European preference for wire transfers versus the American preference for checks. (Where do the Brits fit in there?) I don't take a seller's interest in getting a wire transfer as prima facie evidence of fraud. In my few European purchases, I have found that all sellers who initially had wanted wire transfers were happy to take Bidpay or Paypal, once they learned what they were. (I think Europeans like seeing that Western Union moniker on the Bidpay check. And w/ Paypal, they can set it up to wire the money from their new Paypal account directly to their bank.)

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Hi Rich, its the wire/or telegram money service i`m refering to. You could be sending money to anyone with fake i.d, and if you don`t get what you paid for then thats it.

I prefer not to use paypal any longer since ebay put up reserve fees,which are ridiculously high now. And with paypals fees on top of that its sometimes not worth it.

I suppose it depends on the value of the items as well.

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I can't speak for the violin market, but in the Ebay guitar market the use of Western Union wired money is usually considered prima facie evidence of fraud, because the money can be collected anywhere in the world, by anyone--once it's sent, it just disappears, so that's the favorite form of payment for things that don't really exist. There's a tremendous amount of fraud on the guitar stuff, often involving Asian and Romanian "sellers" writing bad English and claiming to be in places like "West Coast--Philadelphia", and using WU for payment--so much so that anyone who uses Western Union to buy a guitar there without a lot of confirmation that the person is legit and that the item exists is just an idiot, pure and simple. There's lots of discussion of this on guitar forums, if you do a search. Often the photos for the auctions are swiped right off legitimate dealers' sites.

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