My second purchase from Ebay was not from the seller I previously bought from. I came across this particular seller while browsing used pastel sticks. This seller was parting ways with several small sets of pastels and their backstock of Schmincke pastel sticks.
In total, she was selling several hundred pastel sticks over a dozen listings which ended within a 48 hour period.
The seller chose to group the Schmincke pastel sticks into 20-60 count sets and bundled them by color family. Schmincke’s coloring numbering system is a combination of numbers and a single letter. The number is assigned to a specific color. The letter indicates if the color is the base or true color, or if white or black has been added to change the color’s value which is referred to as a gradation.
The seller had 5 listings with the same colors, but different gradations. So there was one set for “B”, “D”, “H”,”M”, and “O”. The starting price was $45 for the Schmincke pastels.
The seller had excellent photos showing the actual condition of the sticks. They were laid out in such a way that you could clearly read the color number, color name, and lightfastness rating (indicated by the number of stars).
Bidding Against Potential Buyers
If you’re familiar with Ebay’s auctions and listings, you’ve no doubtedly come across some buyers who really, really want a specific item. In several cases, hardcore buyers are willing to spend nearly retail price for a used item. I’ve been outbid more times than I want to recollect by other artists more enthusiastic than I.
In my previous Ebay purchase, I had acquired my set of Rembrand pastels from a “Buy It Now” listing. This meant the item would be sold to the first person who offered. All the listings from this particular seller were auction items.
Auctions typically take place over the course of 7 days. When I saw the seller, there were 5 days remaining on the listings. I had plenty of time to figure out which set (or sets) I wanted to bid on and calculate how much I was willing to pay.
I first went over the colors that I already had from Schmincke. I already purchased an assorted half stick set several years ago. I had zero complaints with the quality of the pastels. I personally wanted to purchase either the darkest “B” or “D” set. With how Schminke creates their gradations, I wanted to skip “H” and potentially pick up either the “M” or “O” set. There were inevitably some duplicates with the colors that I already own, however since my personal set contained only half-sticks, I didn’t mind having back-ups.
I placed bids on both “B” and “D” sets and favorited the remaining sets so I could monitor the auction price.
As the auctions started ticking down, there was a clear demand for some sets. In particular the “O” set listing for 29 full sticks sold for $102.50 USD, while the remaining 4 sets of “B,” “D,” “H,” and “M” sold within $15 of the original asking price. The small Unison sets (also sold by the same seller) had a fierce bidding war and most sold for nearly the full retail value.
I was outbid for two additional listings, but I snagged the “D” set with no competition.
I filmed the unboxing process and the video is available to watch in an upcoming YouTube video. The seller specifically said that they would carefully wrap the pastels with bubble wrap.
I was more than pleased with the generous amount of secure padding the seller provided. Each pastel stick was carefully wrapped in a small sheet of bubble wrap and secured with tape. Of the 25 sticks I purchased, only two sticks had one crack. None of the pastels shattered during transit.
I haven’t had the opportunity to remove the labels yet, so there’s a potential that a few more sticks may have a minor crack. If you remember the condition of the Rembrandt set I previously purchased (also from Ebay), 75% of the sticks had one or two cracks.
Schmincke is a very underrated pastel brand in my opinion. I’ve enjoyed my assorted set for several years and it’s rare to see the company mentioned in the many pastel groups I regularly visit. (I think their lack of popularity may be the reason why fewer bidders were vying for Schmincke than Unison).
I can confidently stand by Schmincke’s quality and I’ve recommended the brand to many artists looking into investing in a soft pastel set. The pastels I received were the same excellent quality I was accustomed to using from my first set.
This is a price comparison for common established brands. The prices are for one pastel stick. In sets you’re often able to purchase pastels for lower than open stock, or individual colors. Schmincke is priced in the slighly higher range of established pastel manufacturers.
The total price I paid for the 25 full stick Schminke pastels (including shipping and sales tax) was $58.07 USD. This breaks down to $2.32 USD per stick. The retail (MSRP) price of just one stick in the U.S. is $6.84 USD.
I saved a grand total of $112.93 USD – or 66% off of retail!
The seller contacted me after I won the auction and offered to combine shipping if I was interested in purchasing her listings that were still ongoing. I was touched that the seller was considerate to save me some money by consolidating shipping. Occasionally sellers will make a note of combining multiple items, but I appreciated that she reached out first.
My order shipped the day after I won the action and arrived at my doorstep two days later. From winning the auction to my door was a total of 4 days!
The seller’s pictures and detailed listings gave me an excellent first impression. I had a strong feeling that the seller was a professional pastellist. Unlike the previous item I purchased from Ebay (who I suspect was a reseller), dealing with another artist meant that she would likely provide adequate protection to the fragile pastels.
I of course left a 5 star review. I did kick myself a little for not purchasing another set since they were priced at a huge bargain.
In reality, not all sellers will be this transparent and professional when selling used supplies. I just happened to stumble upon a seller that was ready to liquidate a lot of supplies within a short time frame. I think the sheer quantity of items for sale diluted competition between listings. A week later, I checked back with the seller, and they no longer had any used art supplies for sale.
Out of curiosity, I did look through their history and it seems that another lucky buyer purchased at least 4 sets and also left the seller 5 star ratings across the board.
The next part of this series will feature my first Facebook purchase. Stay tuned! While you’re waiting, you can catch up on any of the previous parts below:
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