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Secrets of eBay shopping from Israel

Satiate your appetite for esoteric online purchases, even from the Holy Land
eBay (ebay image via Shutterstock)
eBay (ebay image via Shutterstock)

eBay is the theme park of shopping sites. Where else will you run into grotesque $30,000 meteorites, $1,000,000 seder plates from the 15th century and $25,000 Itzchak Tarkay originals? You can spend hours window shopping (or shopping via Windows!) for exotic items that you’ll never find anywhere else on Earth.

Don’t Hide Your Israeli Identity

When you create your eBay account, don’t hide your location – Israel. Let’s say you’re searching for a new tablet keyboard. On the top right of the search results, you can filter by “Price + Shipping – Lowest First.” This way, you skip the sellers who won’t ship to Israel and you know the bottom line – the total cost including shipping. While not everything on eBay ships for free, many items do. It’s not hard to find items with low shipping cost.

When you do have to pay for shipping to Israel, you can win by shopping by “lots.” In eBay jargon, a “lot” is an auction that has multiple items. As Sunday, February 9 is a big day for Beatles fans, do a search for “beatles lot”. I found an auction that features 15 Beatles records for $10, and a bunch of books and posters for great prices. Let’s try our Israeli side with a search for “israel music lot.” I found an auction that offers 4 Abba albums made in Israel for $90. It turns out that collectors love buying music that was printed here in the Holy Land. I have a Woodstock album printed in Israel that goes for $50 on eBay. If you have any Israeli printed music or memorabilia, you can save the $1,000,000 you need for a house here by selling those old Rod Stewart cassettes.

Don’t Buy Luxury Items

Most of my eBay buys have been CDs, music memorabilia and used books. eBay is not the place to buy “Dolce & Gabbana shirts on sale.” You could end up buying something made in a slave factory in North Korea! eBay is great for simple collectibles; do your 3-4 star shopping in person.

How Much is Your Judaica Worth?

Have you ever wondered how much your Judaica or framed serigraphs are worth? Run a search on eBay for “Judaica” and click on “Advanced Search” on top. Now click on “Sold Listings.” This shows us what was sold in the past few months. If you click on “Completed Listings,” it will show you auctions that ended with or without a sale. There’s no better way to know the value of something than to see what others really paid! Now I know that someone paid $60,000 for a Torah Scroll from 1600.

Try searching for artists Peter Max, Marcus Glenn and Alex Pauker and see what people are paying for art. Every few years I run the “Sold Listings” search for my limited edition CDs and am surprised at their value.

eBay’s Weirdest Categories

Let’s check out some of eBay’s weirdest categories and items. Look up the word “meteorites” and you’ll find the “Rock, Fossils and Minerals” category. If you want to drool over the prices of used cars in the US, search for “car” and you’ll find eBay Motors. Ever dreamed of having a pinball machine at home? How about a Ms. Pacman cocktail table? The new ones come with 60 games – Galaxian, Donkey Kong Jr. and more.

My Most Absurd eBay Purchases

Kenny and Yoda
Kenny and Yoda

Years ago, I bought cardboard standups of Yoda, C3PO and The Beatles on eBay. The shipping cost 5 times the cost of the items, but they were really cool conversation pieces. I used to bring them into the family room for parties. People would offer them drinks and try to tempt them into talking. In the above photo (15 years ago!), you can see Yoda and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine on the left. Yoda was there for me when I needed a touch of wisdom from another galaxy. My cats eventually did Yoda in, but it was worth it!

Read Start-Up Israel to keep your finger on the pulse of Israeli high-tech and innovation!

About the Author
Kenny Sahr is a startup marketing executive. His first startup, founded in 1996, was featured in Time Magazine and on 60 Minutes. Kenny moved to Israel from Miami, Florida. In his spare time, he is an avid music collector and traveler.
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