18 year Déjà vu: What’s selling on eBay?

By Chris Dawson July 7, 2013 - 10:03 am

What’s special about finding a Superman metal lunchbox, an autographed Michael Jackson Poster, a Czech Vase, some games consoles and games and a Silver Dawn Rolls Royce on eBay? Not a lot you might think – eBay is just the site you might go to to buy any of these items.

What’s noteworthy however is that whilst you might search eBay for these items today in 2013, it’s actually a list of some of the first auctions every listed on eBay.

Whilst browsing the web I stumbled on a posting by Pierre Omidyar, eBay’s founder who was promoting his new auction marketplace, at that time still called AuctionWeb. There were only 18 items available, at least in the non-computer categories! eBay launched on the 3rd of September 1995 and these were the items listed on the site just six days later on the 9th of September.


With it’s black to grey logo and black text on a grey background it AuctionWeb was a site with no images. It wasn’t until 1997 that eBay got a logo and, so as not to upset early eBay users, they changed the background colour from grey to white over a period of a month, going a couple of shades lighter every day. It looks like early eBayers didn’t like site changes any more than people do today.

If you’d like to take a look back 18 years into the past and see the list of some of the first items to be sold on eBay, the post from 1995 is still live on Google Groups.

eBay may have changed beyond all recognition from the early days 18 years ago. It would appear that the stuff people want to get rid of hasn’t changed that much at all. I wonder what people will be selling 18 years into the future in 2031?

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