Wednesday, 17 November 2010

eBay Rules!

Feast your eyes on our latest eBay bargains, my 1970's vintage maxi dress and this rather wonderful 1970 VW Beetle 1500 which we picked up today.

One of my favourite bloggers, Veshoevius recently commented:  I've had good and bad experiences buying on ebay. Could you give us some tips on ebay searching and buying to sort the wheat from the chaff?

My tips for bagging an eBay bargain?
  • Don't search by category. Bargains are often listed in the wrong section. Our new-to-us 1970 Beetle wasn't under classic cars. Jon typed "VW" into the general search and this beauty popped up under Commercial Vehicles. We typed in French Bed and found our Corbeille bed under Homes & Garden rather than the more appropriate Antiques category.
Antique French Corbeille bed, complete with horsehair mattress and matching side lamps bought on eBay for £129
  • Don't use trendy buzz words like Vintage, Maxi or Shabby Chic as these are the words everyone uses and the prices subsequently rocket. Think abstractly. If you're looking for a maxi dress try searching under "long dress", "evening dress" or simply "dress".
This Austin-esque maxi was just listed as "Dress" and won for 99p
  • Make the side bar work for you. If you're saving the pennies select UK only to keep postage costs down. I input .01p and £3 into the Price section if I'm searching for clothes.That way I'm not wading through pages of items beyond my means and it's not a huge loss if I don't like it when it arrives.
  • Best Offer? Be cheeky (but not silly) and submit a reasonable offer. Don't offer pennies or you might find yourself getting blocked by an offended seller.
  • Even Ebbie, our 1970 Type 2 VW Variant was an eBaytastic find. Jon made a cheeky offer after the listing had ended without a bid.
  • Use a free sniping tool. You have to register but they are quite safe and although they take some of the excitement away from the bidding process there's no chance of you getting carried away. My favorite is GoofBay and the lovely Pearl recommends Bidnapper
  • Looking for proper vintage? Then type vintage -style into the search engine to filter out all those modern "vintage-style" dresses people try to pass off as the real McCoy.
  • When placing a bid enter unusual prices such as those ending in .17p or .62p. Most people will bid a round figure of .00 or .50p and those extra pennies can make all the difference.
Our English-built oak Belfast sink unit was won for £110 at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon.
  • Perform your search at a quiet time, mid-afternoon during the working week, when popular programmes are on the TV or first thing on a Sunday morning.
 Today's Outfit:

Vintage 1970's paisley & floral cotton maxi dress by C&A (eBay £2.17)

Oooops! Do excuse the burgundy bra!

Tapestry boots (Hospice charity shop, £8). As long as my legs and neck are warm I can do bare arms in winter, hence my car booted TopShop Baxter skinny jeans (Car Boot Sale £1) underneath my frock.

My vintage silk scarf in my favourite Indian Tree print. The car booter charged me £1 for this because "it's Liberty and that's a posh make".

Any good tips on finding an Ebay bargain? Don't forget to share them in your comments.


    1. Uber bargains, Vix. I totally love eBay as a buyer and a seller. I've just made a few quid selling that I can buy pressies with and I tracked down some coats after nothing appeared anywhere else! Entering unusual prices is my top tip too...43p was the difference between me snaffling a Forties dress pattern today.
      We buy almost everything on Ebay...including our Airtsream caravan...and I have to say over many years, I've not had any real problems.

    2. Gotta love that Ebay, Vix, you're so right! When we converted our barn, friends joked that we should call it eBay Barn as so much of the stuff we used came from eBay - from reclaimed bricks to build a fireplace, to oak flooring, to slate for the patio, you name it, it came from Ebay. We called it Rowan Barn instead, BTW!! xx

    3. Ahh ,just had my Vix Fix today ,I hope I have absorbed the wealth of good tips here to improve my EB Bay adventures Jan xx

    4. and be prepared to trawl and keep looking, be patient and keep at it, like jumble sales, some good things need rooting for

    5. I don't know who looks the best - you or the bug!!! I used to be really into the air cooled scene and do miss it, especially my old VWs, which have probably gone to the scrapyard in the sky!! That C&A dress is absolutely gorg, I love the lacing detail on the bodice and tapestry boots always look good. Looking forward to reading about your new bug's antics too - have you got a name for him/her yet? xxx

    6. What a wonderful and comprehensive guide, may I say you have found the best bargains. I seem to lack searching skills, so these are very useful tips, I often jump in and go for popular key words, which is probably why I uncover popular items.

      I remember when I first discovered eBay, I was terrified of bidding, but now I don’t give it a second thought, I am that person who bids a .17p amount.
      Those tapestry boots are so beautiful xx

    7. I thought I was pretty good with ebay but I didn't know about the -style trick, I am CERTAINLY going to use that one.

      Have to say, I am swooning over your amazing Beetle, and even more the tapesty boots! What size shoe are you? I want to steal them!

    8. i just LOOOOOVE the little yellow beetle car and the red bed!! though was the shipping really expensive for those?

    9. You are the Reina (Queen) of thrifting in style ..ay mama! that bed is divine heaven..*bows*
      great tips..I will keep them in mine..I love Ebay finds..those boots and dress are so u..u modelo.

    10. I also thought I was doing well on Ebay - now I find out not only that I didn't know about sniping sites but also that you can avoid all the -style stuff! That could save me alot of time, thanks.
      I would add that you shouldn't be afraid to ask the seller questions. The way they answer (or don't!) can be very telling as to what kind of seller they are.
      I avoid Sunday nights now (unless selling!) as it is peak time and the prices go higher.
      Also, I've had some bargains due to spelling errors (that sounds mean now I've written it down!). You have to think laterally as to what someone might have called the item you are looking for.
      Remember to save the seller in your favorites if you find one that seems to suit your tastes as they will quite often list other items you'd like and you don't want to miss them.
      And lastly trust your instincts!

    11. I didn't know about putting 'minus' in the search engine.

      Oh my goodness, a yellow beetle! It's the stuff dreams are made of! You lucky and clever pair. I shall scowl at the Aussie for being too tall for us to ever to be able to own one (though I could have one and just make him sit in a trailer towed on the back)

    12. goodness what delights! That bed is just fabulous. I can't imagine life without ebay! x

    13. I am so jealous of the new purchase, the dress aswell!! So lucky! can you let me know how much you paid? cheeky I know, but me and Andy dream of owning a VW. :)

      Great tips, I love ebay and have got a fair few bargains off there, even my muse tickets which were sold by a true fan were cheaper than the ticket sites. Love it!

    14. Fab car! Love love love the dress too Vix.

    15. Great tips! I'll have to think more about avoiding categories and buzz words, and entering price limits. One of my own self-control tips: When I'm in an ebay mood, I usually only look at auctions ending within the next hour or two -- the sooner, the better. Then I can get a good sense of how the price is going; a desirable item won't obsess me for days, and a burgeoning obsession won't tempt me into upping my bid; and if an item has 0 bids, my own last-minute bid won't leave time for anyone to be tempted into outbidding me. Because you know things miraculously become more interesting to others if there's already some bidding on them.

      I love your Liberty scarf. The car booter would have seen the love in my eyes and probably charged me (successfully) 10.

    16. Okay,you are the undisputed Queen of Ebay! Amazing tips, I've always done the odd number bid and it really does make a difference. As someone who buys and sells on Ebay I think looking at feedback is really important - I don't tend to buy from any seller who has had bits of dodge feedback in the past (and remember sometimes the dodginess can be revealed in positive or neutral comments too).And always ask for close-ups of high-end vintage labels if they don't have them up already.
      Loving those tapestry boots so so much!
      xxx Comtesse xxx

    17. thanks for the tips becoz even I have tough time on ebay!! love ur Austin-esque maxi - there is something in that cut that really flatters you..

      AND I ADORE YOUR NEW BUG!! DOUBLE EEEEEEEEEK!!!Sorry to scream, but that's just how I feel upon seeing this exquisiteness!
      Excellent ebay tips! I've never used it,but at least if I ever do,I am armed and dangerous!! LOVE you! Helga xxxXXXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    19. In my excitement over Ebay I forgot to say how gorgeous your dresses are and that they fit you beautifully!

    20. What an amaaaazing post! You are firmly my favourite blogger and I always look forwards to your posts.... good job you post regularly! hehe :D
      I love your ebay finds! ebay has become a way of life for me, at one point it was my main source of income. I have a seperate bank account purely for my ebay adventures and use the money I make selling things to pay for our holidays each year!

      My top tip is to search for items ending in the middle of the night and also search nearby countries for unusual items x

    21. Oooh, I'm loving the new Beetle! We sold our 1972 Cherry red baby a couple of years ago when we were broke and I really miss it! I love the scarf too. Thank you for the ebay tips. I'll try them out. I have been known to get a good bargain when people have misspelt the item title too. xxx

    22. My tips!

      Filter, filter, filter.

      Use the search box that allows you to filter by distance from your postcode (save p+p by collecting or hire a local man with van for £25 for bulky items). You can also find collection/delivery services on eBay too.

      Always ask if collection is OK before the listing ends - some people won't allow pick-ups.

      Filter size, price and whatever else on offer in that left hand column to search for EXACTLY what you want. However, aimless browsing can turn up treasure if you've time to kill! Don't discount vagueness as some sellers haven't a clue! We've seen Honda black under motorcycles which could mean anything. However, vague terms like classic will often bring forth gems!

      Use + or - in your search terms - you could go coat +leather or coat -leather to refine.

      Bid odd - not in 50p or round pounds. £2.61 will trump £2.50!

      Cultivate your favourite sellers. And peek at their buying feedback to see where they buy from!

      If there's a buyer with something gorgeous that speaks to you - then check out their other items.

      In 400+ transactions we've only had 2 duff ones :( Use your common sense - if something sounds too good to be true it often is. Only bid what something is worth to you - don't let a £4 frock end up costing £40 cos you got caught up in a bidding war.

      Watch out for sellers listing a 99p item with £9.99 p+p - if you think p+p is too steep pass on by - this is a non-negotiable.

      Not everything is cheaper on eBay - check out Book Depository/Amazon first.

    23. Love the new car and the boots are fab! I always do ebay searches with strange descriptions too. It's how I got my 80s french Louis style dressing table for £150 when others on ebay were going for £400. It was simply listed as 'dressing table'. And in reply to your post n my blog, yes men do seem to be buy a hell of a lot of sexy slips on ebay. I always snap up any vintage nylon babydolls or girlie 60s dressing gowns in charity shops, knowing that on ebay I'll end up selling it for £15 plus to some man who would like to know if it will arrive in plain packaging, 'because it's for his girlfriend and he wants to suprise her'. Yeah right xxx

    24. I Gasped out loud when I saw her.
      MY DREAM CAR !!!!!!
      Now you are officially my dream woman!
      My aunt and my hub's parents both had "Vee-Wee's", and i've longed for one for years.
      Damn practicality of my wagon (circa 2004).
      Then The Dress!
      California Dreamin'!
      (When Rod and I went to San Diego there were literally hundreds of red VW's)
      Thanks for your wonderful comments and support.

    25. We buy loads on ebay,including two motorbikes, it's usually the first place we look when we want to buy something, but I didn't know about using the minu sign in the search, so thanks for that Vix. is a site that will search ebay for spelling errors. My favourite tip is to use to find all items local to you which are listed as pick up only, these larger bulky items tend to go for less as they can't be posted. I can also second the tip about putting in odd prices for bids, I have even won items by just 1p by doing this. xxx

    26. Yeah!! Ebay is GREAT!! Lovely clothes


      La Madrina

    27. What a cute car - adorable colour. I've not really had my luck on eBay - I'm guilty of typing in the obvious words that are very popular, need to be a bit more creative with it. xx

    28. I like your tips - a lot! Now I need motivational tips for putting things on ebay - I get daunted very easily!! xx

    29. Ooh cheers for the tip about using minus. I don't tend to search for vintage as such, but I absolutely hate it when people list Primark as vintage, just cos the fabric is a vaguely retro print! Argh!!

      I always bid funny amounts for stuff and I'm sure it's paid off for me. Setting a price limit over which I Will Not Go is useful too. Yes, it might look like you've lost out by 5p but the other bidder's top bid is probably pounds more than yours and it's so easy to get sucked into bidding up and up.

      I don't tend to pay too much attention to sizes when I'm ebay hunting. A size either way has a decent chance of fitting or being tweaked to fit, plus if you're looking for vintage, the size in the label is probably not the modern equivalent!

      And adding sellers to your favourites and looking out for what their other items are is always useful. I got my crazy dressing gown and then discovered the seller had another one ending a week later - a quick message and she was more than happy for me to delay payment until I'd bid on the second one, and then she combined p&p for me.

    30. Beautiful dress I love morning glorys.
      Ebay, one of the key things is COMMUNICATION.
      so many people don't, if there is a problem communicate, if your paypal account is empty, tell your seller 9 times out of 10 they'll wait, but silence leads to bad feedback and upset.
      I've been ebaying for over 10 years now and have had very few problems either buying or selling.

    31. Thank you, Vix! After reading your last post today (I'm a bit behind because of internet problems, bah!) I realised again that I'm a total ebay virgin and was thinking of asking your for some tips - and here they come. The rest of the family constantly gets good stuff from ebay and seeing your amazing buys (including the best VW ever) I know I'll do the jump now. xxx

    32. OH MY GOD! You bought a VDub on ebay? WOW!! I am in AWE! I love your yellow beetle! (I LOVE the old VW beetles) And that dress is gorgeous, the floral print and colours are divine - no wonder you look so pleased with yourself! Fab outfit head to toe once again - those boots are amazing and you really scored a treasure with that poshly priced Liberty scarf!

      Thanks for posting these suggestions up so quickly, and the lovely shout out - I will definitely be putting this advice to use when I next use ebay! xx

    33. Can't believe how many people know about bidding odd amounts! I thought only I was clever enough to think of that! :D

      LOVE your new car. I've just purchased a sewing machine table myself :)

    34. my gosh, i have learnt so much from this! I hate getting 'vintage style' items coming up. Annoys me so much (I only search for vintage to get an idea of what to look out for). :-)

    35. Wow, Love the beetle! Love those tapestry boots and the dress too. Its wonderful to see some flowers after a grey and cold day.

    36. I love these informative posts that you do for us Vix, they really are useful and I've already instigated some of your handy wardrobe tips and these tips are great, especially since I've got a hankering for a classic car come New Year. Gorgeous dress as always but those boots are utterly divine. Xxx

    37. Dear Vix, you look totally stunning in the dress, I love it! And the car!

      Great Ebay tips. I work by the same principle. I often find things in the wrong category. Hope you're having a lovely evening xx

    38. yay for your ebay buys! i am loving both the dress and the car! :D

      <3, Mimi

    39. I am still an eBay virgin. But if I ever give it a try I will keep your FABULOUs tips in mind! :) ... Those floral print boots are AWESOME!!!

    40. Loving the Beetle. I used to have a '65 model which I adored with all the chrome work but it was pretty unreliable at starting in winter as it only had a six volt battery - I was on first name terms with the RAC man!

      Thanks for the ebaying tips, very useful.
      I'm another that always bids odd amounts.

    41. OMG. Everything here is AMAZING. YOu look absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The dress is gorgeous, the boots are just incredible, the cars, the bed, the sink! I have run out of adjectives Vix - you seriously look stunning in that dress/scarf/boots combo - just beautiful! xxx

    42. this is a very informative post. plus i really love all your findings ... xx

    43. BRILLIANT!! My favorite would be the 1st dress.
      I just LOVE the patterns(I just downloaded a wallpaper that looks like it), and colors. And of course you look absolutely stunning! The accessories are wonderful too ; )

      The light blue dress is just so sweet!


    44. I'm a big eBay fan too. I love finding deals - thanks for the tips.

      Floral, floral and more floral! - what an intriguing combo. You've got a great eye!

    45. That dress is simply to die for - you look fab as always xx

    46. Great tips Vix I would say I pretty much do the same, especially bidding in random numbers such as 52p! Also most sellers seem to list new items on a Sunday so late Sun early Mon are great times to look. Also if you have time try search for things spelt incorrectly 'channel' rathern than Chanel or 'Vivene' rather than Vivienne Westwood.

      BTW those boots are so amazing I demand more photos, I need to see the heel!! I have never seen anything like them and they look amazing on you xx

    47. Argh Vix, the car...AMAZING. Utterly amazing.

    48. Vix I love Beetle's that is where my email address originated from as I used to drive a yellow beetle and then a convertible one.. the only reason I stopped was my kids got too big for the back seat xx

    49. I'm an avid ebayer and have got some amazing bargains over the years (I collect DVF and have just bought some D & G trousers for £30) I find being a small size helps as not many people bid on trousers with less than a 28" inside leg. Also knowing your American size is good as not knowing this often puts people off bidding. I didn't know how to do the last minute sniper bid so thanks for that tip! Love Fay x

    50. I want to cry with happiness that those tapestry boots exist somewhere in the world, even if I don't own them. Beautiful.


    51. Fantastic post Vix !
      I love your style so so much ! (And old cars too !!!)

    52. You have the BEST EBay finds.....ever:)

      Love your tips so.....thanks for sharing...PS.....Im SOOO in love with the first dress you showed..the pattern is awesome..and of course the little red shoes in the other outfit make me swoon too, hehehe:)

      Stop by and say Hello♥

      Statements in Fashion Blog♥

    53. "That's a posh make" I love it! Vix, thanks so much for the ebay tips, I don't do a ton of ebay shopping but these are great suggestions! XX!

    54. Thanks for the Tips Vix, I am useless at Ebay and I almost signed up to an auction sniper but I was scared, I will give it a go now I think. I am a bit of a sparce user of ebay and recently I was in a bidding war for some boots and I got really excited, my heart was pounding ~crazy!
      kandi x

    55. What an amaaaayyyyyzing post!! The maxi dress with the Liberty scarf look so incredible on you and then I spied the toes of your boots and knew you had something really special there - they're gorgeous!! Great eBay tips, thank you!! I'm amazed at the two VW's you snaffled on eBay and of course your French guest room bed. You and Jon are living, breathing, inspiring hunter gatherers. xoxo

    56. incredible finds... love the first shot so much! you look so happy in this pic!

      i always wanted to have a beetle - an old beetle... but its far too expencive to keep them going sadly.

      those tapestry boots are cute as hell...

    57. Those are really interesting tips. As you say, every time I search for 'vintage' I get 'vintage inspired' instead.

      That maxi dress is beautiful!

    58. I think the key thing for being a good bargain spotter is enjoying it. I like spending hours trawling eBay and charity shops/car boot sales so I'm always eager for the bargain and will spot it if it's there to be spotted, whereas if you're bored and don't really want to be looking then you won't be looking properly and will miss everything. If I'm in a bad mood and go in a charity shop I never find anything!

    59. hey honey, i have blogged about this post with a link back, hope that is okay xx

    60. Not sure if anyone has mentioned this but this maybe a handy tip!!!
      When searching on ebay for vintage clothes, the sizing will be different to that of our modern counterparts.
      In today's terms I'm an 8/10 but in old sizing i'd be a size 12/14.
      So when adding your description in the search box, narrow down your search by adding the vintage size you are looking for as most sellers will use the vintage size on the label, in their listing, rather than today's size and then give you the measurements of the garment in the description :)
      It may well just save any disappointment! :)


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