The Problem With eBay Militaria Auctions

Posted: October 1, 2011 | Author: WARSTUFF | Blog Post
Take detailed notes before your next militaria auction on eBay. If you put a legal to sell deactivated weapon, collectable blade, inert piece of ordnance or relic from the 3rd Reich up for sale on eBay, you are very likely to be wasting your time.
WARSTUFF militaria auctions and sales
WARSTUFF militaria auctions and sales
eBay’s selling policies exclude selling most of these types of military relics. Even if your ten day militaria auction is moving along nicely on day nine with plenty of bidding action, if the item contravenes eBay policy, it will very likely be closed, swiftly followed with a stern message from eBay administrators.

eBay actively encourages other members to report items via the ‘Report Item’ link on every listing. So if you are a seller who is still upset at your World War Two US Army M1 Garand Bayonet being pulled by eBay administrators mid-auction, what are you going to do when you see others selling similar militaria with plenty of bidding? Damn right you are going to report them – it’s about all the satisfaction you will get, the eBay administrators have the final say.

Unsurprisingly some militaria collectors and dealers feel alienated by the policies that affect their passion. Take, for instance a decommissioned RAF 1971 Hawker Harrier fighter jet listed on eBay earlier this year. Beautifully restored, nothing more than an expensive ornament, and perfect for a specialist collector or museum, the fighter jet was attracting a lot of buyer attention. But then eBay administrators pulled it, siting the reason as the jet contravened their policy on “weapons, knives and ammunition”. This may not have been the most considered action.  The press picked up on it and several news articles followed. “It’s not capable of delivering weapons. It’s not even capable of delivering a pizza” the seller reported in a BBC news piece. Quite. His experience is not isolated.

In November 2009, another military history enthusiast was busy re-awakening a passion for militaria that he hadn’t had time to indulge in for over ten years, and eBay seemed like the perfect way of buying and selling. With a few successes he moved on to sell an original World War Two period M35 German Stahlhelm.

Half way through a ten day auction, bidding was going well. But then eBay pulled it as it contravened policy on restricted items. He tried to reason with the administrators – the helmet bore no political markings, decals or insignia, it was simply a German regular army or ‘Heer’ helmet so in theory was well within the rules. The administrators were having none of it, and stuck to their line – the helmet couldn’t be sold on eBay.

Not to be outdone, two months later, by January 2010 the collector had set up a new alternative service, an auction service just for militaria collectors and dealers called WARSTUFF. Our Founder's motivations have resonated with other dealers and collectors, and with a growing membership base it’s proving a success. Testament to this; earlier this year a certain Harrier fighter jet was listed for sale on it and this time the owner knew his listing didn’t contravene policy.

So militaria sellers and buyers take note. You could be wasting your time selling your specialist militaria on eBay. But there is an alternative destination for you to fuel your passion. WARSTUFF is ready and willing to help militaria dealers and collectors connect – its run by militaria collectors just like you.



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