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Posted by Jonathan Levinger  
avatar Re: Auctions
May 23, 2010 03:38AM

A very interesting conversation! Many good points and some that frankly I just don't get. I've only listed three items on mindat and all received multiple bids and I was happy with the final price reached on each item. I guess that I just don't put a whole lot of thought into the process. I try to upload several very good and representative photos that are not photo-shopped so as to make the specimen look different than actuality. This is my biggest gripe about mineral dealer websites. I also give a fairly lengthy (for mindat) description of the specimen along with full locality information. I do not gouge on shipping---why charge $5.00 for a rock that can be sent for $2.50? Again, another one of my peeves. Lastly, I ship everything right away and I pack items carefully.
It seems that there is little interest in most of the mindat auctions. But I've also noticed a dramatic decline in the number of hits that specimens are getting in my eBay auctions as well. Some items that would get 100 hits are now getting 30-40. There is definitely a decline in general traffic though I've noticed that my items are increasingly being purchased by the same band of 15-20 buyers. I don't mind as I would rather good rocks go to good homes and good people that I've come to know. There has been a general bias against buying specimens on auction sites within the mindat conversation history. Some people definitely have been burned and many outright swindled (not here, but on eBay, etc) and are hesitant to buy again. That's to be expected. But a number of collectors expect to get $100 rocks for $6.00 and hence the reserve price insertion.
I used to start virtually all of my auctions on eBay at 99 cents but I actually did have a $100 rock go for $6 (fortunately it went to one of my regulars!) and have now switched almost exclusively to the Buy-it-Now format. I would like to see this added to mindat auctions. I also would love to be able to see feedback from buyers and sellers. And I would like to see the mindat management team to have the right to move items into proper categories, remove bogus items entirely and, in general, have the right of final authority on all auctions. I, too, am disturbed by the loose use of words like "rare" or "museum quality," etc. Lastly, I really want the mindat auction and sale site to work as I would much rather contribute a portion of my sales to mindat than to eBay! I'm on mindat every day and appreciate the enormous amount of work and time that has gone into making this the world's most trusted and valuable mineral resource. Sure, there are still some warts but we must all understand that it is a work-in-progress.
In the meantime, I will continue to add a rock or two every now and again to the mindat auctions. It seems to me that my regular customers on eBay are largely unaware of mindat despite the fact that I have a link on an eBay page directly to the site. A fair number use mindat regularly as I do and also love the site. Still others liken it to a good mineral show that is gradually being turned into a flea market. There are some characters out there that detract a bit from the site but, unless they are excessively obnoxious or belligerent, there is probably not much that can be done.
In the meantime, I will check the auctions regularly (I have two bids on items right now!) and will add more items to the auction as time allows. Thanks to Jolyon and his team for this remarkable web resource. The auction service is a minor part of the overall experience and I would like to see it grow so that we can toss a little coin into the mindat coffers.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/23/2010 04:33AM by Dana Slaughter.
Re: Auctions
May 23, 2010 07:42AM
Im all for transactions but i hope this site doesnt turn to far away from the helpful friendly resource that it is at the moment. To try to keep it more personal: the items description should also contain the story behind the mineral itself. Anything that will turn the buy/sell transaction into a more personal exchange is worth it, i believe. I know its not really feasible but it would be cool if trading was an option. Trading is a bit different and it would encourage what this site is all about.
Re: Auctions
May 26, 2010 07:53AM
When the auction began, I was very happy with the minerals I bid on and purchased, and the communication/shipping was rapid (including one from an honest dealer in Poland). I really hope the auction continues. My only comments would be these:

1. Like some others, I find hidden reserves a hindrance, and would like to know immediately if I can be competitive (without insulting the dealer with a too-low bid!) When I encounter a hidden reserve, I look elsewhere.
2. The categories can be very helpful, but I would much appreciate a listing by where the specimens are (not just where they originate). The reason is simple - shipping costs. (I would love to bid on Australian minerals, but the shipping raises the bar a bit too high.) I also appreciate Dana's comment about charging actual shipping costs, rather that a high, flat fee. (The sellers I dealt with did that, and it kept the cost down.) This is simple to do with internet access to postal rates.
Many thanks, and I do look forward to future auctions. Becky
avatar Re: Auctions
May 26, 2010 11:10AM
Becky said:

>I would much appreciate a listing by where the specimens are (not just where they originate).
>The reason is simple - shipping costs. (I would love to bid on Australian minerals, but the
>shipping raises the bar a bit too high.)

Very good idea - these are the sorts of ideas that can help make the auctions work right. I'll add it close to the top of my auction to-do list.

avatar Re: Auctions
May 26, 2010 08:33PM
Though your heart may not be with the auction part off mindat (that is also not my main interest), I think most of us realize that if Mindat is to have long term viability and grow into what we would all like to see it become, you do need to concentrate, when possible, on the portions of mindat, like the auction that are going to bring it long term sustainable income. I for one would encourage you to concentrate on these areas of the website, and the auction is one of those areas along with advertising and of course outright donations and gifts. Once the financial side is addressed, then we can all go off and play all we want. Have you thought of trying to set up an endowment fund, the proceeds of which can be used to fund Mindat activities?

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Auctions
May 26, 2010 09:52PM
Rock (and everyone)

I generally alternate in my spare time between work on mindat that is of purely information work and things that could help with mindat (and my own) future financial success - this includes other projects semi-related to mindat (such as and things which are entirely unrelated (such as I'm just started some work which will help improve mineral pages (after the work i did previously on locality pages), so after this is done the auctions (and revised mindat page sponsorship) are next on the agenda.

The future of mindat is secure financially, obviously I'd like it to be in a position where it could bring in enough money for me personally that I could devote a much greater percentage of my time to it - in the long term auctions will be one part of this, but there are other areas too, and what I don't want is to be sucked so much into running the auctions that I have no time left to continue to grow the information side of the site, which is really where my interest lies.

avatar Re: Auctions
May 27, 2010 10:06AM
Its a real juggling act with 8 balls in the air at once. Well, you have done pretty well so far.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Re: Auctions
May 27, 2010 01:05PM
A wonderful site, full of excellent information, beautiful photo's and incredible people is MinDat. Definitely not a place for auctions though. That's my opinion anyway, and seems to be seconded by some of the other threads and comments i'm reading.

A while back when a thread was started up concerning what to do with our unwanted collection, I offered to donate my entire collection to MinDat apon death, where it could be sold (auctioned) with all profits going towards the continued costs of the site. No one ever said anything, or acted apon such a great idea. Anyway to late now, my collection is going to a museum where it will probably sit in boxes out the back and collect dust.
avatar Re: Auctions
May 27, 2010 01:50PM
>I offered to donate my entire collection to MinDat apon death, where it could be sold (auctioned) with all profits going
> towards the continued costs of the site. No one ever said anything, or acted apon such a great idea.

You never suggested this to me! One would think I was probably the right person to suggest this to ;)

In general, the idea of donations to support, be they collections, books or just as importantly copyrights on articles, books etc, on death would be something I would absolutely support.

avatar Re: Auctions
July 23, 2010 02:20AM
I noticed the concern of bidders not paying for auctions they won. I state in my auctions that if payment is not sent or there is no communication in 5 days, I will relist the item. I suggest that the seller has a block bidder option if they find someone hasn't pay for an item for two auctions. There should be a similar option regarding sellers who do not deliver. This could be an automatic option. A feedback score is a desirable option as well.

Best Wishes, Van King
Re: Auctions
February 18, 2011 11:00PM
Last night I bid on 2 items one with a 12.99 starting price so i bid 12.99 no problem won the auction.The other auction had a starting price of 15.00 then i get this hidden reserve not met message. This is a serious waste of my time I have better things to do.The old addage is very true to assume is to make an a-- out of u and me.. I imagian I'll get over it but what a serious turn off to bidding on another auction posted by any one with a hidden reserves.Now that my childish rant is done I guess the question is. Is their any way to see which auctions have these hidden reserves?
Re: Auctions
February 19, 2011 01:44AM
Michael, when I run into the "Reserve not met" message I immediately assume the piece is costlier than I'm willing to I quit bidding!! High reserves are especially damaging to newer collectors who come to the auction for material for their collections that they can afford. Most of us older, "jaded" collectors already have most of the material in the auctions - purchased at older prices!!

Don S.
Re: Auctions
February 24, 2011 06:26PM
I agree with most of what you all are saying. I personaly wish I could lower a "hidden" reserve or just be able to accept a bid at closing or after that was close enough for me to accept. I have sold a number of items on mindat and most of those have been to repeat buyers. I generaly list items on mindat cheaper then I would on e-bay because I expect mindat users to be of ths sort that would apreciate a good deal for a descent stone.
Kris Dingfield
avatar Re: Auctions
February 24, 2011 07:11PM
I think in general the hidden reserve causes a lot of resentment, and even though I know it's a standard tool in auctions for many reasons, it will probably disappear from mindat auctions.
avatar Re: Auctions
February 24, 2011 08:06PM
When the hidden reserve is gone, I will happily give mindat auctions a second look. I can't think of a better online resource or community of people to purchase minerals from.
Re: Auctions
February 25, 2011 08:26PM
I will personaly just use the starting bid to moderate my listings from now on. I wish I could see peoples questions too. I noticed several questions on one of my last listings after it was won, and though I think the person posting questions was a little sharp if I had been alerted to the questions durring the auction I could have at least responded. I have heard other buyers complain about certain sellers not answering questions, and at first I thought maybe they where right, but if the seller in question never realised that there was a question how could said seller respond?
Thanks everyone for posing these concerns.
Re: Auctions
March 24, 2011 06:40AM
I've bought 2 specimens from a dealer, paid for them, didn't get an acknowledgement, and don't know if they shipped them. I posted a message on the listing (evidently the only way to contact them) and have had no response. How am I supposed to rectify this if I can't contact the seller directly??? There are serious buyer protection issues here that need addressed!!!
Re: Auctions
March 31, 2011 10:58PM
Auction 2609 to 2616: Nature's Garden - 8 auctions is in the wrong category (High-end Collector Mineral Specimens
) - they are not specimens! Please do something about it, it creates a mess.
avatar Re: Auctions
April 01, 2011 07:14PM
Thanks Dawid, The book at least has photos of high end pieces. It is properly listed as Books etc. but the second choice of category is a bit dodgey since there are only specimen categories to choose from.

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