So, you know the vintage lighter you want to purchase, how do you know you’re getting a fair price?
Functional or Collectible?
One important variable to consider before buying vintage lighters on EBay is your purpose for the lighter. Are you planning to use it or are you simply adding another lighter to your collection to admire?
I’ll use myself as an example. The most important aspect of collecting and repairing lighters for me is that they succeed at making fire. I don’t really care about collectability. I care a ton about quality. I care most of all that it lights when I need it to. If it won’t make fire then it is just a curio and I don’t really have a lot of space in my life for things of that sort.
I do however, own a lighter or two from time to time that I clearly recognize as having value beyond its ability to make fire. I don’t usually own those for very long because there are plenty of folks out there willing to pay for those “collectible” lighters.
How my EBay prices are set.
I work on lighters because I enjoy it. It really is that simple. I have come up with a system for pricing the lighters I sell on EBay that takes much of the stress out of the process for me and that simplifies things considerably.
With my focus on lighters that are in good working order, I don’t list any lighter that I myself would not be willing to pay at least $15 for. Most auctions start at $14.99 and run for 5 days. If it sells great! If it does not sell then I’ll relist it as a Fixed Price item. I may adjust the price as I relist the lighter depending on how long I expect to inventory it, inherent value other than function or perhaps simply fondness for the lighter or the value of the work that I know went into getting a particular lighter working.
What is important to you?
When considering a fair market value for the vintage lighter you intend to purchase, what aspect of
owning an old lighter means the most to you? Does it need to work or is it just a curiosity piece? Perhaps you are looking for a more socially responsible option than all the plastic products littering department and convenience store shelves.
It is worth considering that a consumer can purchase a vintage lighter for $15 and a can of fuel for another few dollars and be set with fire for the foreseeable future. Yes it will require a modicum of labor on our part to refill the refillable lighter but we will save all those trips to the store just to pick up a disposable lighter. I’ll get off my soapbox now but the possible benefits definitely merit consideration.
Whatever the reason for you being in the market for a vintage lighter, there are plenty of options available when you decide to make your purchase. There could even be multiple merchants specializing in exactly what you are looking for! This is another way that EBay can benefit anyone looking to purchase or sell vintage lighters. I can think of at least 3 EBay sellers who I followed in the last week because I know that they deal in the kind of lighters that I’m looking to buy.
Fakes, Rippos, Copies, Crap!
I have seen incidents where a customer is taken advantage of and sold an item by a seller who was inviting trouble by the way they listed an item. I would steer as far away from that kind of seller as I could. If a listing says Zippo in the title but then in the description the seller expresses doubt about its authenticity, ignore it. Other tips:
- I would never purchase a vintage Zippo lighter if the listing does not have at least 1 quality photo of the bottom of the lighter.
- For any vintage lighter I would expect a listing to have photos showing every side of the lighter, most lighters have six sides.
- I wouldn’t purchase from anyone who doesn’t accept returns. I think you will find that generally when a seller is willing to accept returns, they are selling quality items. In other words, buyers don’t return their items because they are satisfied with their purchase.
- Ask questions. Nothing frustrates a seller more than a bidder claiming ignorance on the
condition of an item when the description was crystal clear. Read all descriptions before buying and ask for clarification through the Ask Seller feature of you need it.
- If a seller entertains offers for a Fixed Price item, don’t hesitate to make an offer(assuming you’ve done your due diligence.) Just be respectful and don’t take it personal if they decline or counter your offer. Check a seller’s other items for sale, if they offer free or combined shipping you might be able to purchase multiple items and leverage their shipping policy to your advantage.
I have at least one eye on EBay most of the time. So, if you get there and are unsure how to navigate or bid or anything else just shoot me a message and I’ll do everything I can to help.
I’ve barely scratched the surface on EBay and hope to write more about it soon. For now, if you’d like to know more, follow EBay seller ID: dependableflame.
I’d love to read any comments, so feel free to leave them. My goal for this site is to come into contact with and help like-minded consumers and fellow humans who have discovered some of the same hurdles that I myself have encountered. If I’m writing about a subject on this site it is because some time not too long ago I was trying to do something that didn’t seem like it should be as difficult as it was. And if it doesn’t have to be that difficult, why would we make it be?