If they ask you what it's worth, your professional opinion when (and if) rendered, must be accurate to the best of your knowledge. If they come to you, on your premises, and request a value estimate, your professional opinion when (and if) rendered, must be accurate to the best of your knowledge. When you buy at auction, it's the seller's responsibility to set the price, and whatever you pay, you pay - usually.I see a tremendous difference between making very low private offers to uninformed sellers in an attempt to defraud them and buying a book at a low price which was set by the seller with no input from me.
Some of you already know this story, but I never tire of telling it. The best...by far...eBay purchase that I have ever made was the true first printing with blank endpapers of the Nancy Drew book The Clue in the Diary with dust jacket for only $25.00.
I had trouble sleeping that night, so I got back up. I checked eBay, because that was the thing to do. I checked newly-listed Nancy Drew books, and I saw the gallery photo of the book and jacket. The images were side-by-side, so it was easily discernible without clicking on the listing that the book was the true first printing of Diary with blank endpapers and dust jacket. I saw the Buy It Now of $25.00.
I clicked on the listing and scrolled down. I knew that I had to act fast, and even then, it might be too late. I looked at the photo and glanced at the seller's feedback percent, but I hesitated for around ten seconds. It was one of those cases in which my reaction was, "Are you serious?!" I was worried that it was too good to be true. I quickly initiated the Buy It Now process and successfully purchased the book. I then got out my Farah's Guide and verified that the jacket did match the points for the true first printing.
The book had been listed an entire hour before I saw it. At that time, many people were trolling the eBay listings for good deals, so any good Buy It Nows would usually sell within the first five to fifteen minutes of the start time. I am not kidding. The good books sold fast. How this book had such an obvious gallery photo and lasted for an hour, I'll never know. If I had been able to sleep that night, the book would surely have sold by the time I checked the listings.
I had trouble sleeping that night after I purchased the book since I knew that the seller could always figure out what he had. Whenever I purchase something on eBay, I know that it is never truly mine until I have it in my hands. I am generally not willing to pay the Farah's Guide value for any of the early Nancy Drew first printings, so I have had to rely on pure luck to obtain the ones I have.
I requested priority mail and paid the seller. I wanted to get that book quick! A few days later, I had the book in my hands, and it was exactly what I expected.
I have seen a first printing Diary book and jacket in just about the exact same condition sell for around $2,500.00, so my Buy It Now of $25.00 was quite an amazing deal.
Another time I bid on a blank endpapers edition of Old Clock for the heck of it. I did not bid very high at all and did not expect to win the auction at all. I certainly did not expect to win the auction for around $5.00. I still do not understand how that happened. When I received the book, I determined it to be the 1930A-1 first printing. It did not have a dust jacket but was in excellent condition. The first printing of Old Clock in similar condition typically sells for around $500.00 and can sell for a higher amount.
Those are my two best eBay finds.
I hope a few of you will share your best finds. They don't have to be valuable books bought cheaply. A "best find" can simply be a particular purchase that meant a great deal.