Re: eBay - One Seller's Experiences

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Posted by Call me S. (for Slow) on November 14, 2002 at 02:34:20:

In Reply to: Re: eBay - One Seller's Experiences posted by Reprinted Das K. on November 14, 2002 at 01:39:56:

My lord! I've just caught the implications of your last note. So you are the "print making father". Well.

I certainly did not mean to insult your daughter. There is nothing wrong with her selling your reprints, or you selling them in her name, or whatever the case may be. But why the story?

The only thing I would suggest is that the implication that these prints are the best to be found hunting in the print shops of Tokyo is an insult to that great city. But as I said in an earlier post, considering the market you are working with, you are doing the wise thing. Buying quality items in demand as cheaply as possible is not bad, and the only way to survive in the shark-infested "Bay". I am sorry I used you as an example. It was clearly not entirely appropriate.

: What??? This is really quite incredible, a bizarre twisting of my words. I don't remember ever applying the word "good" or "bad" to any kind of seller, linked to reprints or original prints. Nor am I trying to censor what's on eBay. Where in the world did you get these ideas? I hate to repeat myself, but here goes: the one and only point I'm trying to make is that people who complain about the level of quality and integrity on eBay should think about their own buying practices, and how this supports or lowers the level of quality and integrity being made available to them. I'd also really like to suggest that you read what I have written before you respond to what you conveniently think I have said.

: But to respond to what you have written directly, there are indeed all kinds of originals and all kinds of reprints, and yes, the level of quality varies widely with both. HOWEVER, the percentage of reprints that are worth much more than the labor time that went into making them is very small. Most eBayer buyers don't know (and no seller is telling them) that a large proportion of modern reprints are made with machine-made blocks of plastic - some sort of "woodblock"! And even the earlier works (the so-called "Showa" and "Taisho" impressions so praised at eBay) are frankly a dime a dozen. The last time I was in Japan there were lierally stacks of them in gallery drawers, none for more than $40. This is not to say that they don't have interest and value for the collector, nor that no one should sell them. But the $100-$200+ prices they sometimes go for are ridiculous, all out of keeping with their original price and actual market value. And the people who play them up with their marketing speeches and hyperbole ARE being deceptive. A nice reprint for $50 and under is no sin, and I never said it was. But to manipulate people into thinking they are getting "genuine" prints or something rare or special is most deceptive.

: You are most welcome to have a collection of reprints. But I really wonder: is that what you are buying at eBay? My guess is not. Now, if I am right in this supposition, do tell: why is that?



: : : You are absolutely right about the market demand being a main (though not sole) determinant of price. Unfortunately, market demand at eBay seems to have little to do with quality, value or rarity, but with "clean-looking" prints and easily recognized names and works. Surely you know that these reprints are not the ones you'd want to keep for yourself, and not what most of the people here are after.

: : Aha! Now I see where there has been a major point of misunderstanding between us here - you are looking at 'rarity' and 'value' as the only determinants of whether any particular print should be on eBay or not! In your view, sellers offering 'rare and valuable' prints (and at low prices of course) are 'good', and people offering reprints (now matter how intrinsically beautiful they might be) are 'bad'.

: : You are of course completely at liberty to hold such a view, but please understand that there is a whole world of people out there who would beg to differ. I myself have drawers full of reprints, shelves groaning with them, and love to get my hands on good ones whenever I can. Of course a lot of the stuff out there on offer is junk - junk originals and junk reprints alike. But to a lot of us collectors, whether or not the print is 'original' or 'reprint' is not as important as whether or not it is well-made and attractive. (As a man who makes his living making reprints, what else could I say :-)

: : The young woman who searches through the stock of Tokyo dealers looking for good prints at reasonable prices shares this view with me (I know her 'quite' well :-) She was somewhat upset the other day to see that you had lumped her in together with people who were engaged in truly unethical behaviour (outright misrepresentation, etc.).

: : eBay is indeed 'the world's marketplace' and there is room out there for all different viewpoints on what makes a 'good' item. That's one of the things that makes it so much fun and such a useful place for finding 'just what I have been looking for ....' kind of items.

: : You say that: ... the way the system is set up leads to a gradual reduction in quality, but I don't think that this is true. Everything is out there, junk and treasure ... Which is which? We each make our own decision ...

: : Regards,

: : Dave Bull

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