The next portion of this post is reprinted from a post I made over two years ago to the Nancy Drew Sleuths group.
I began collecting in the summer of 1991. I was inspired by an episode of Oprah Winfrey in which she had people showing off items found in their attics. I remembered a stack of used books that my mother had bought me when I was around 10 years old, and I was so fascinated with the appearance of the older Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books. I pulled out those books and decided to begin searching for old books at garage sales.
I subscribed to Yellowback Library and joined Phantom Friends in September and October of 1996 and the internet came right on the heels of the other two. I remember all the ads in those two publications there at the beginning and most people were trading through them rather than the net. I was searching the net for Nancy Drew books around late December 1996 or early January 1997 when I visited a site called The Internet Antique Shop. On the main page down at the bottom, I happened to notice a small ad for an internet auction site called "Auction Web." In fact, I just visited the Internet Wayback site to view the cache of a page from www.tias.com from late 1996 to see exactly what that ad looked like. The ad states "Auction Web - The most fun buying and selling on the web! Going once, going twice, click! Check out the on-line auctions going on at AuctionWeb. Click here!"
I had discovered eBay! eBay was called "Auction Web" or "eBay's Auction Web" in those days. I was so amazed that there were actually - gasp! - 50 Nancy Drew books up for sale at a time! And they were collectible ones with dust jackets and any type you could want! I remember how the search results were in random order and you could not order the search results by date or price or anything. And the searches would often take around 2 minutes or longer because eBay was growing fast and could not keep up with the rate that it was gaining new users. People would joke on the message boards that one could hit "search" and then go take out the trash or fix a sandwich and come back to view the results!
While I discovered eBay in around January 1997, it took me two months to get around to registering and bidding. I wasn't used to paying more than $5.00 for a book, so it took that long for me to change my mind about what I was willing to pay.
I remember that the very first book I bid on was on the afternoon of March 17, 1997, and it was a tweed copy of Larkspur Lane that had a chipped dust jacket. I'm not sure what I bid, but it was around $8-10. Of course I lost, since I was not willing to pay very much.
It was not until April 1997 that I was successfully able to win an auction, actually two of them. During the first four to five years that I bought online, I always made printed copies of the item pages. I'm now glad that I did, because I still have those copies, and they are very interesting.
I scanned the printed copies of the item pages for the first two books that I bought on eBay. In those days, our user IDs were our email addresses. I removed the seller's user ID, but I left mine, since I abandoned that internet and email account in 2001.
Click on the images to see larger versions. I have no idea why I printed the pages before the auctions closed. You will notice that it was not necessary to be a registered user in order to use eBay, or Auction Web as it was called, at that time.
In my printed copies, I also found an auction that I won on Amazon in 1999. I thought that it might be of interest since I mentioned Amazon Auctions in a recent post.
I wish I had printed copies of more web pages from those days. Very little can be found on the Internet Wayback Machine.