By Benjamin Nobel; NOTE: my original plan was to chronicle mis-listed variant opportunities here as I spot them over time, but unfortunately I’ve had to discontinue that plan and will not be appending new updates.
Hi everyone, from time to time I spot an eBay listing for a book on my watchlist, where the seller has pictured what is clearly a price variant (or other type of variant)… but where the title and description of their listing make no mention whatsoever of this fact — making their listing unfindable in refined searches (in other words, the usual buying competition may not find it!).
For example, here was a mis-listed $1.50 cover price variant copy of Amazing Spider-Man #275 which was recently auctioned for a starting bid of one dollar (plus shipping) on eBay.ca and sold for the opening bid:
The same seller also mis-listed a 75 cent variant copy of Amazing Spider-Man #265 which ended on the same day:
There are basically two possibilities to explain such situations:
(1) [Typical] The seller simply had no clue that the cover price of the book they owned is any different from the rest, hence they didn’t know to include those relevant keywords in their title; or,
(2) [Atypical] There is a purposeful bait-and-switch happening.
Fortunately, in my own experience anyway, most mis-listed variant situations are the former (where the owner simply has no clue they own a variant), and the latter can be guarded against by (a) messaging the seller before you bid and asking “hello, can you let me know if the winner will receive the *exact* comic pictured?” and if you receive this assurance, then, upon package arrival (b) making a cell phone recording at the time you open the package, just in case.
This way, if you don’t receive the variant in the picture, you can let the seller know that unfortunately the pictured comic was not the one you received, and that you recorded the package opening (you could include one screenshot/still showing the book you received). Chances are, you’ll find they simply made an honest mistake, such as having multiple copies available and pulling a different one from inventory than the intended one, by accident.
But, if they’ve purposefully teased a variant only to send you a plain ole direct edition as a bait-and-switch, then your video showing what was in the package should prove to eBay that you are due a refund or return, i.e. should you receive something other than the picture and the seller is not cooperative in resolving the problem, then you can open a case with eBay together with your documentation.
Going after mis-listed variants in this way does require more work on the part of the bidder, but can also be a great opportunity, because such listings don’t come up in a refined search (i.e. since the seller left out the variant keywords and went with a plain-vanilla [Title Issue#] style title, any competing bidders searching on keywords like “Canadian” or “Variant” or “CPV” or “Newsstand” etc. will not find it).
Less competition means better chances you’ll be able to win for a better price at auction, or negotiate a better price on a best-offer listing! Just the other day I myself won a book at auction for under $10 that has recently been going for $30, simply because the seller “mis-listed” it!
I strongly recommend giving mis-listed variant hunting a try! 🙂