I have seen some descriptions posting a dollar value for a particular edition. I think this is a fine idea. However I don't think using Ebay prices is useful at all. There are too many situations whereby an Ebay price may not reflect the actual price paid. Ebay sellers also may not be qualified to identify a book, or even describe it properly. It is for that reason, that I believe only reputable auction house prices should be quoted for value. This is a well documented type of price for which records are maintained. Otherwise, people may as well just stick in whatever price they feel something is worth, as ABE, Ebay or other internet sources are just not verifiable except for a short duration, and maybe not even then. Thoughts?
I am new to this site and so here goes.
I have been collecting English Bible translations since 1968 and have seen a great increase in what you must pay for them. Yes, the dollar value has gone done but the difference is to large to be credited to that. However, I was a seller and a buyer on e-Bay. I believe that e-Bay is the cause for the increase in the price of Bibles. I agree with Ambrose completely for most people do NOT know what the real value of Bibles should be. They see a Bible 100 yrs old and say "wow, I have got to have that" and will bid up the price until they out bid others who don't know the true value either. Thus, inflated prices. The same can be said for the sellers.
Normally, Bibles are not considered old unless from the early 1700s and back. Normally speaking, there are a few translations done by individuals from the 1800s that have a high value. Most, but not all, Bibles with errors have a preminum value. However, only those from about 1830 back to 1530. (A list of these are in my book.)
Because sellers on e-Bay, no matter the reason, get high prices for their Bibles, professional book sellers are now pricing their Bibles based on e-Bay prices.
This is also true for most books today. An example would be my book. It's still in print after 17 years and sells NEW for $295. I just went to ABE.com and two were listed used. One priced at over $400 and the other for over $700. Both are forsale by professional book dealers. Now, who will ever purchased from them when the NEW is selling on amazon.com, B&N, and other places much, much lower than their price for used copies.
I have found that if you don't buy at the inflated price, you will never be able to buy what you want or and need. That is exactly why I have not been able to purchase any Bible translations in the last three years.
All of this makes it rather hard for me when I do an appraisel for a Bible.
One of the most frequestly asked question when I show someone a Bible is: "What is it worth?" and I am usually at a loss to answer them. I can tell them what I paid (which may be many years out of date or I may have gotten a book at an especially good or bad deal). I can tell them what the price is at sites like abe or greatsite or David Lachman or some other book dealer site. Or, I can quote a recent eBay price.
I realize that eBay can vary wildly - I have seen the exact same book go one time for $15 and another (just a few weeks later) for well over $150. It really depends on who sees it and what they are willing to spend at that moment. But, eBay does represent a real sale at a real price and that is valuable information. It would be nice to have dealers share actual prices for items sold (instead of just their asking price) but I realize dealers are usually unwilling to share such data. So, I will probably continue to include real sale prices from eBay when I see them (always noting the source).
In the end, the only thing that matters for me is "Am I willing and able to buy this book at this price today?" If so, I do, if not I must let it do. I have gotten some real bargains over the years and I have also over-paid at times. So, for me, dealer lists, eBay and even values on this site are only an guide to help me seize a bargain and avoid paying too much.
I think something that most people using Ebay as a baseline aren't figuring is what amount do Bibles SELL for. It's one thing to ask an amount, another to get it. But people aren't looking at that. Look at English Hexaplas. right now there is one for $2500 and another for, get this, $4500. Are they insane? the last Hexapla I saw SELL on ebay was for $700. Granted it was an 1851 edition but still. Even the first edition rarely gets over $1500. But that's not stopping people from going higher. I think they see greatsite asking so much and figure they can too. I have what I believe is a second edition (based on info on this site, as mine has the 112 page intro and the "ornate" title page). I doubt it is worth more than $1000, and that's on a good day. Maybe I'm wrong but I promise you'll not find anyone who would pay $2500.
I really think that ebay gets a lot of flack but some of the "professional" retail sites are as much to blame. They've inflated the prices because they view these Bibles solely as investment items. That's a shame as it keeps them out of the hands of a lot of people who really would have liked to have them. Now, mosst of the older Bibles simply sit on a shelf or worse in a safe instead of being read.
Just my two cents.