(e)Bay Watch

- by Bruce E. McKinney

Duboise

This is an original old Colonial document from New Paltz, New York dated 1734/5. $455


By Bruce McKinney

It’s 5:05 am on a Sunday morning and I’m up early to review the auctions on eBay I’m bidding at today. The material I’m focusing on only came to my attention during the past week. Much of it is obscure. Recently there’s been a nice run of upstate New York lots and I have a representative selection of it heaped around my desk this morning. Boxes and envelopes have been steadily coming over the transom all month. My collecting focus is the Hudson Valley and I’ve been buying interesting, generally inexpensive unpredictable material. For today and tomorrow there are twelve items I’m following. Week to week the numbers go up and down and I can always look more widely if I have an itch that needs to be scratched. Identifying interesting material isn’t difficult.

On Æ I use MatchMaker keywords as scouts to identify interesting objects. Right now I’m using 39 keywords and linked terms and I continue to add to them and in time will probably eliminate some. So far I’m only adding. Eventually I’ll have a hundred or more. These keywords are place names such as New Paltz ,Poughkeepsie, Mohonk and Minnewaska, printer names such as Paraclette Potter, Josiah Priest and Munsell, and categories such as almanac and “poetry nineteenth century” and Huguenot.

Every night AE runs each member’s keywords against all listings in the old and rare book category on eBay and immediately reports every match it finds. The title line on each eBay lot is shown as are the matched keyword(s) found in this lot, the bid price at the time, the day and time the lot was posted to auction and finally the day and time the auction will end. Lots are listed in the order of “closing date and time” and I can click on the heading to reverse the order.

All keywords are not equally effective. Poughkeepsie is the perfect keyword because it doesn’t show up by accident very often. Milton, as in Milton, New York, does. I have nothing against John Milton but I see a steady flow of his material because he shares his name with the Hudson Valley community I’m interested in. It amounts to about 3 listings a day. Fortunately I can easily see that the match isn’t what I want and delete it. It doesn’t take any time. I just wish there were some Milton, New York items.

When I see a match in the eBay Auction Keyword Matches on AE that looks interesting and click on it the full eBay listing comes up. I then can save it to either my eBay wish list on eBay or simply mark the record (select) on my MatchMaker screen. On eBay this is a free service they provide to registered bidders and it is very easy. Saving it in MatchMaker has two advantages. On eBay there is a limit of 30 items you can have in the “items I’m following” category at any one time and it isn’t always enough so I keep a portion of my listings in MatchMaker. The second reason is that I’m searching the AED as I’m reviewing auction listings and linking into ABE to compare listings and prices. It’s an effective home base.