from BMWcards.com. This is not the exact card in the story below. BMWcards, by the way, is a company that sells really high-end, really high-quality, great-conditioned and highly-graded cards. In other words, I can look, but I can't buy.
I almost bid on a Dolly Stark, which is a tougher-to-find Southern League card, and worth more than other commons in the set. I can't tell you how many times I've bid on a Dolly Stark card. So often, it's become a bit of a thing with me. I have to get one--but not go crazy to do so. This one was an SGC 30 2, which means it was graded by SGC, and graded a 30, which is SGC's way of saying it's in Good condition. A 2 also means Good condition. Good, in this case, is an actual grade, not just someone saying it's in good condition, if you know what I mean. I'm a bit stingy, because I'm a bit poor, so buying a T206 in Good condition is okay with me. It's not for most serious collectors.
So I looked it up in what I call The Book--Beckett's Graded Card Price Guide. It says that this exact card, in this exact condition, has recently sold for, on average, $80. (This is not the same as saying it's "worth" $80, but it's as close to an immediate, go-with-it value you can get on short, convenient notice.) When I saw it, the bid was $27.
(Side note: Do not ever buy an item like a baseball card as a BUY NOW on Ebay, because if there's something wrong with the item--and there usually will be, or it wouldn't be BUY NOW, it'd be auctioned--Ebay will not reimburse you, and neither will the seller. Only static items, like baseball card plastic sleeves, for example, or anything else you'd buy off a shelf or a rack, should ever be bought as a Buy It Now.)
Anyway, I knew the bid would go up, but I hoped not by much, and a common card usually won't escalate tremendously. I had my bid all set after there was less than one minute to go. (I place my bid when there's a specific number of seconds left; not tellin' ya what that is.) My bid was for $41.51, because the shipping was $3.50, and I didn't want to spend more than $45 total, even though the value was $80. I try not to pay more than half what a card is worth, including shipping. But as this Dolly Stark situation has become personal at this point, I splurged by a few bucks. With 5 seconds left, the bids went from $27 to over $30 to over $40, etc., finally settling on $63.00. That's not bad, spending $66.50 total for a card "valued" at $80--a savings of $13.50, but that was more than I wanted to spend on one T206 card, even though it was a Southern Leaguer (which are more rare and more expensive) and a personal situation, too. There were other cards I was looking at, and I needed to save my money.
Plus, once you've settled on a dollar amount you're willing to spend, you absolutely cannot go over that amount. If you do, you will again, and suddenly you've gone Ebay crazy and spent your mortgage. Craziness. So I never sent my bid for this card. The Dolly Stark situation still remains a personal thing.