If you’re buying or selling an item and have no idea what it’s worth, don’t worry: By checking the prices of similar sold items on eBay, you can get some idea of an item’s value. Here’s how to run a price-check on eBay.
First, open your favorite web browser and visit ebay.com. You can also open the eBay app on your mobile device. In the search bar at the top of the page, type in what you’re trying to find the value of. If you know the name of the item exactly, it’s good to be as specific as possible. If not, feel free to do a more general search.
When you see search results, the next step is to narrow them down to items that have been successfully sold. If you’re on the eBay mobile app, tap Filter > Show More. Then, turn on “Sold Items” and tap “Show Results.”
If you’re on a desktop browser, when you see the search results, scroll down and locate the “Show Only” section of the sidebar. Place a checkmark beside “Sold Items.” (“Completed Items” will also check itself automatically.)
(By the way, you can also use eBay’s Advanced Search form to search for sold items. Just type in your search and check “Sold listings” before you click “Search.”)
Note: Avoid looking at the “Completed Items” results unless “Sold” is also checked, because those results include items where sellers ask for ridiculously high prices for items that may never sell. You only want to see items that people were willing to buy at that price.
When you have a list of previously sold items, it’s useful to sort them by price. On the mobile eBay app, tap the “Sort” button and select “Highest Price + Shipping” from the list.
On the eBay desktop website, click the drop-down menu below the “Search” button. Select “Price + Shipping: Highest First,” and the results will reload with the highest-value sold items at the top of the list.
Likewise, if you want to find the lowest-priced results, select “Price + Shipping: Lowest First” from the list. Alternately, you can sort by condition (“New” or “Used”), which might come in handy.
Making Sense of the Search Results
When viewing the highest-priced results on eBay, you want to be careful. Many of the highest-priced items listed in the “Sold Items” category are in excellent or mint condition, or they might be a slightly rarer version of what you’re looking for. So make sure that the condition of the item matches what you’re pricing it for before expecting eBay-level top dollar for something.
For example, if you were trying to price an Atari 800 home computer and found this result at the top of the list, you’d need to understand that it sold for $660 because it was in an unused condition with its original packaging.
If you scroll further down through the search results, you’ll find that your typical Atari 800 computer usually sells for around $150 in OK but working condition. So, if you just pulled a dirty Atari 800 from an attic, you aren’t going to get $600 for it. But if you found a pristine Atari 800 mint in its original box, you could probably expect $600 or more (if you sold it on eBay). And on the buying side, if you found a mint-in-box Atari 800 for $50, you found a great deal!
So, understanding the condition of the item you’re pricing is key. It helps to look at many similar sales on eBay to figure out why some items are selling for the prices they fetch.
Also, it’s important to know that most items typically don’t sell for eBay-level prices in person (say, at a yard sale or flea market) because the pool of potential customers is far lower, and the seller is less likely to find someone seeking exactly that item in a particular condition with the convenience of an instant purchase shipped to their house. Similarly, if you are buying something rare with a negotiable price in person, you can probably get it at a price below eBay levels because the seller might be itching to sell it quickly that day.
In the end, the final value still depends on the situation, but if you do as much research as you can through sales results on eBay, you’ll be that much more informed. Good luck!