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UCS Falcon Sold for 3000£ on eBay?

evileddie1313evileddie1313 Member Posts: 126
edited February 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
After going through our monthly Terapeak data from EBAY for 'sold' Lego sets for our BrickPicker site, we came across a used 10179 Millennium Falcon that sold for 3000.00(GBP)/$4738.00(US).

Millennium Falcon 10179 Blog and EBAY Listing

My first thought was WOW!...then WTF?...then skepticism. The listing was legitimate, but whether or not the transaction was completed is unknown. If the deal did go through and the buyer was legit, why would someone pay triple the going rate for a 'used' 10179? If there was so kind of scam involved, what is to gain from this? I thought it was an interesting topic for discussion. Thoughts?


  • LegoboyLegoboy Member Posts: 8,827
    You're hunch is more than likely correct. :o)

    Also posted in
  • evileddie1313evileddie1313 Member Posts: 126
    Call me naive or just a dummy, but what is to gain for a buyer to jack up a sales price besides raising the average of sold sets?
  • dougtsdougts Member Posts: 4,110
    ^ good question. maybe inflating the current "average value" to either drive up a real online sale, or more likely an offline one that is based upon some average selling price or something.
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    I've been on eBay for over a decade and I think it is highly unlikely that is a legitimate sale. There are only two scenarios where I could see that being real.

    Scenario #1 is where two legitimate bidders are both idiots, have no idea what the thing is worth, and just go crazy outbidding each other. I think that is very unlikely given that the true market value of #10179 is readily obtainable even to someone marginally aware of the AFOL websites.

    Scenario #2 is where the high bidder gets lazy and thinks "I'll just enter a ridiculously high bid and go to sleep. I'll only end up paying a few pounds more than the number two bidder." This sort of thing really does happen. Then the number two bidder comes along and is either an idiot, a practical joker, and bids way too high.

    More likely are scenarios where the bid isn't real.

    Scenario #3 is the same as #2 except the second bidder is a shill in control of the seller. That is a very risky game to play as a seller though, as you take the chance of getting stuck with the winning bid yourself. Given the seller has a solid history I doubt this happened.

    Scenario #4 is where the whole series of bids were a practical joke being controlled by a single person behind two sock puppet accounts. The seller will never get paid and the item will be relisted. Some people just get their jollies this way.

    Scenario #5 is where the seller of an identical item stepped forward with a throwaway account and bid ridiculously high on this item. The goal here is to push up the perceived value of the item, and to drive perspective buyers to their own auction.

    Your website, BrickPicker, is an interesting idea but you will need some algorithm to weed out invalid sales. I used to do some similar tracking of sales trends except I was watching very rare coins. The amount of chicanery that goes on behind the scenes is interesting. Back then you could see the username of every bidder so it was easier to piece together which bids were real and which weren't. I'd suggest at the least you throw out any sale that is one standard deviation above/below the expected value, except in the time frame immediately after a set sells out where rapid growth is expected.

  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,830
    edited February 2012
    that auction doesn't look quite right to me. Two things. Firstly, it's fairly simple to go out and get hold of one of these for around 1/3rd of what the winning bid was. Secondly, the main bidder driving this up had a feedback of 1, and appeared to be bidding in £500 increments, again that appears both unnecessary and unusual given the easily obtainable current market value of the item.

  • evileddie1313evileddie1313 Member Posts: 126
    @DaddyDeuce I vote for scenerio #1...LOL. As for your algorithm idea, that is how we caught this auction listing. There are thousands of listings every month and those that exceed certain parameters are removed. We then sift through these 'removed' listings to find legitimate auctions. There are numerous filters that are used in addition to this. It is very time consuming to say the least.
  • julian977julian977 Member Posts: 65
    edited February 2012
    Scenario #4.5 is a bit like #4, but where the item for sale is believed to be fake, stolen or significantly not as described, and hoped to be palmed off on unsuspecting buyer. -So two vigilante types with throwaway accounts bid up to a ridiculous price and then don't pay, so that a genuine buyer doesn't get ripped off. I have seen this happen with so called 'boutique' or 'collectable' bikes a couple of times. (and then get discussed on bike forums afterwards, ie: "glad we stopped that bloke selling a fake such-and-such for ten times what it was really worth")

    Not sure how that would work for this sale, mind!
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John Member Posts: 2,405
    Smells like shill bidding to me....
  • jeffmacejeffmace Member Posts: 28
    edited February 2012
    To me, if this was a hoax, and the guy was just trying to drive the price up, it will still cost him at least $100 in eBay fees. So they now have to pay to keep their set, or if they decide not to pay their fees, then they get booted off eBay. In the end, someone is getting screwed no matter what.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    Has anyone considered it may have nothing to do with Lego?

    If I was laundering money, this is one way I'd do it...

    Just saying... :)
  • evileddie1313evileddie1313 Member Posts: 126
    The more I look at the bidding, it appears as if it's a couple of noobs who don't really realize what is at stake. The seller looks legit and the other two(?) bidders think it's some sort of game they don't want to lose, not realizing they actually have to pay this amount at the auction's completion.

    I often find myself paying more during an EBAY auction just to win the Lego set, which makes me a poor buyer at times. I guess I love the competition. Maybe these two bidders had the same issue.
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