A few weeks ago I discovered a free service geared towards eBay bidders called GavelSnipe. This site allows you to enter a max bid on an item you're watching, and it will execute a bid for you at a specified time, usually within the last few seconds of an auction. I hadn't had much success with this, until last night.
But first, I'll tell you my bidding theory. When I see a card that piques my interest on eBay, I will study the most recent completed sales (including shipping) of that card to determine an average sales price, and a pricing trend. That gives me a baseline from which to make my max bid. I make it a rule of mine to not bid more than the average sales price, unless the card is trending upward.
So, I had 3 active "snipes" out last night: first was a 2010 Bowman Sterling Gold refractor, numbered 44/50, of Phillies catching prospect Sebastian Valle. This card's average sales price was $9.45. Less the $2.00 shipping cost, my max bid would be $7.45 for the card. I won the snipe last night at $4.25 - not bad.
Next, I had a bid out on a 2010 Bowman Sterling dual auto of Team USA players Matt Barnes and Brad Miller, both projected #1 draft pick next month. Average sales price was $17.05, but the price was trending upward the past week. I put my max bid at $17.55, and won the snipe at a price of $7.05 - getting better!!
Finally, my last snipe was on a 2010 Bowman Platinum Blue Refractor Auto of Phillies prospect Matt Rizzotti, numbered 60/99. This one was more of a shot in the dark. There were no recent previous sales for the blue refractors, but a Rizzotti green refractor auto numbered to 199 sold recently for $11.55. After doing a bit of research on other greens vs. blues, I found that there was about a 1.25 markup on blue autos over greens. So I figured the bid on the Rizzotti blue would be about $14.50 - I won the card at $8.50 - also, not bad.
In total, I had 3 bids out for $39.50, and I won with a total outlay of $19.80, just about a 50% discount off of my max bids. What helped on the dual auto and the Rizzotti auto may have been that the auctions ended later in the evening on the East Coast. Also, the listing for the Rizzotti said it was a Green refractor auto, but the picture and inside description said it was a Blue - maybe that worked in my favor, I don't know.
Either way, I got 3 nice cards on the cheap to add to my PC's. In the case of the Barnes/Miller dual auto, it may present a good selling opportunity after the draft, depending on where they are picked. But overall, a good night for sniping.