Labels at Auction on

Welcome to the eBay page, which explains one aspect of my general business online. To learn more about doing business on ebay, here are links to two tools that have helped me as both a dealer and collector. To read "My Ebay Page" -- <click here> OR, <click here> . These links lead to pages on ebay where ebay users may comment on their experiences with other ebay users and dealers. Click the "Pat's Ebay Feedback" button below to learn more. Remember, this form oif feedback tells you not only about the person receiving it, but about the person sending it to ebay. You can't always please everybody, even when you try! But I am proud to say, I have pleased 99.999% of my customers for over 20 years in business and four years online!

Here is a table of Qwik-links to subjects related to ebay and e-commerce. I hope these topics help you learn more and feel comfortable with what you are buying online.









Buy only through Reputable Dealers!!
It would not be an understatement to say that ebay has revolutionized business on the Internet. It has become the largets auction hall, flea-market, want-ad marketplace in (probably) the world. Over TWO-MILLION items are available at auction weekly -- that's absolutely astounding. One recent week, over 1,600 labels were being offered by more than a dozen "label dealers".

How that affects the label collecting hobby is a double-edged sword. For most of the longstanding dealers, the Web and eBay in particular, have been a salvation, by creating a new customer base for our wares. The old marketplace for labels was in the hands of the collectors who were centered in the agricultural areas of the Pacific Coast, who drove around and visited the other local collectors. They traded in person or over the phone. There were hundreds of collectors, most from the 1970s and '80s from Southern California to British Columbia and beyond (not to mention Florida) We all knew each other, depended on each other for new additions to our collections, read the same books, for news on what was being found in the wilds of a certain few agricultural regions of the United States. This group has, for the most part, built their collections over decades, a few of which have sold out their leading collections and profited handsomly. But for the most part, todays collectors are just beginning to see what labels really are.

Today, thousands of people are being introduced to labels and ephemeral art in a whole new way -- over their computer, via the Internet and Web. Labels are suddenly meeting the eyes of a new generation of Internet surfers, as the population of users continues to grow, so will exposure to label art. And ebay, has proven to be a great vehicle for all of us. That's the good news, especially those of us "reputable dealers" who have been at this for 20 years.

One other result is that it has also created a growing group of of people and web sites with little prior experience in the label field, who are competing by shoving every cheap label they can online and undercutting other dealers with the same stock. This has the problem of confusing the buying public into thinking these dealers are qualified in the subject, and representing the realities of rarity, prices, facts other information to their buyers, which many are not! I am all for competition, but some buyers have been receiving false and/or misleading information, and after visiting several labels sites, and seeing the same things for sale at each, they wonder if that is all there is to the hobby.

Today, at the end of 1999, lots of people are putting up modest web stes to sell labels on-line. And, a couple of these the sites are slick, and offer great things -- like lots of pictures and cheap prices. They buy their labels from other (long standing) dealers who may or may not be online, mimmick their prices, their marketing ideas, many of the ideas and content of the reputable sites, just to make themselves look like they offer more than they do.

One thing they all seem to do now is advertise to buy your labels. That is where experience and reputation are the most important -- when knowing who you are selling to and if the price is based on reputable information! I have been in the hobby for over 23 years, know thousands of collectors, and have published two books on these subjects, as have friends of mine.

A note about 2000: One trend I see in July of 2000, is that so many people are competing in cheap, readily available labels, that shopping on ebay for them has become for many, a blur. What buyers might consider doing, is visiting the auctions of people who have things they have not seen anywhere else. There are about 65 label dealers competing on ebay, only 9 of these are old timers, and the 54 others are relative newcomers with less than 10 years in the hobby, and fewer than 1,000 titles of all kinds of labels. These are a great place to start, but a lot to wade through. As with all business ventures, selection, reputation, customer service and guarantees after the sale are what the label hobby has been built upon. Stick with the reputable dealers with the largest stocks and most years in the hobby, and you can't go wrong. Most of the other dealers are competing over about 2,000 titles, making up about 10 million currently available labels nationwide.

Why I am online selling labels!
I began collecting label and researching their history in 1978. I became a registered dealer/user on eBay in July of 1998 (twenty years later). I have obtained thousands of labels from myriad places virtually like no other dealers or collectors have. And, I have dealt with thousands of collectors around the world for two decades, travelling, exhibiting, seeking, etc. The Internet, frankly, offers an aamazing oppertunity for me to expand my research, and my ability to interest folks in this wonderful art-form. A way for me to find labels, and a way for me to help other people find labels.

Since I started my web site a couple years ago, I have watched the growth and the popularity of labels and related advertising art soar. So, I have decided to offer some things on eBay, as well as on my own (this) web site. While selling on eBay, I have tried to do a good business and give good customer service and prompt shipping and email replies.

If you are interested in what eBay users and buyers have to say about me, <please click this link>.

Some of the labels being offered may be ones you've seen before, others won't be. Some you may find with other dealers -- the commonly available ones. But most of what I deal are rare and unusual labels, with many being from files and remnants of several out-of-business printers in San Francisco, and others were gathered in the "wilds" of the Pacific Coast over the past two decades. Many will be unavailable anywhere else, just by the nature of what I have been able to accumulate over the years. Others will be more commonly available, albeit beautiful and interesting.

My research and collecting has the goal of preserving this history and art form for posterity.

My web site has the goal of being a point of contact between myself and the rest of the world, where history, collecting and yes, a few online sales can take place.

My sales on ebay, have the goal of helping offset the costs of doing what I love, and helping to pay the bills to let me keep doing it. Along with my books, and my music career, and other things, I make a living and live my life.


Rarity Scale
Here is an interesting thought: There are currently about 3,000 known buyers, collectors and hobbiests of labels who communicate vial mail, phone, email or go to swap meets, and there are dealers who have sold labels to them for twenty years. That means, if only one-third of the collectors on that list (1,000 people) bought one copy each of a popular label, a bundle of 1,000 copies would be completely absorbed. That's not even twenty copies per U.S. state. And then there are 2,000 collectors left who will have a heck of a time finding one. On top of this, on-line sales of labels have more than tripled in one year! There are over 260 Million people in the US.) On eBay there are about 100 new online buyers, and the number grows every day. The problem is, as the number of collectors grows, labels are goning to dissappear overnight. In many cases there are not more than 10 to 20 to 100 coiopes known of about HALF of all the available labels! Thousands of labels are now not available from anywhere anymore. They dried up years ago. That is why I write price guides, and that is why labels are now selling on ebay for hundreds of dollars, and to private collectors for thousands each.

As a result, here are several "layers" to the label collecting phenomenon, simply because of the unpredictiblity of the numbers of labels of each kind, that are ever found. Some labels were found in old fruit packing sheds by the box-load, numbering in the tens of thousands of mint-fresh copies ("bundles" containing 1,000 copies each). However, other labels were found in "grandma's old farm house, in her rickety dresser drawer after she died," and there are only four, or twenty-three or thirty-copies-only known to exist -- on Earth! Period. There aren't anymore!

So, here is a breif table of how I would classify labels by their scarcity alone, and a couple of grape labels to give an example.

"Common" or "Bulk"Labels -- Ones that there are more than 2,000 copies known to exist, even up to 100,000 (100 bundles)(of which there are a few). Generally inexpensive and available from several dealers on-line and by mail order. These price at whatever the traffic will bear, or what is listed on the dealer's price lists. There are probably 1,000 different brands/images/labels currently available that are available in these numbers, so there is plenty of original material to go around!

"Uncommon" labels -- Would be ones that there are 300 to 2,000 (two bundles) known. These finds often get shared with only a handful of dealers and/or collectors, but are still readily available from dealers and/or certain collectors. Usually used as enticing traders, and for sale to the more dedicated collectors. This class makes up over half the "body of collectible material" currently available on the market. There are those who feel that 2,000 copies would be considered "common." But, today that isn't quite as applicable as it once was.

"ultra-rare" labels -- Are ones there are fewer than 300 down to about 25-30 or so known. Generally, labels this rare, are highly coveted and often hoarded by a few sources and may be beautiful and highly prized pieces. Bonafide rare labels can bring prices of from $25. to $300. dollars or more each. In this price range it helps to do your homework before buying. Ask a reputable dealer about it. Do some checking. -- "ask me" :-{D

"Extremely rare" labels -- Are ones that there are fewer than 25-30 known copies known. In every type of label, whether, Washington apple labels, Florida citrus, California pears, Delta asparagus, Yuma melons..., there is a top-layer of material that is the cream. Extremely Rare labels from several regions, regularly gather $100 to $700. dollars at the far end. There are even a few ultra-rare, and possibly unique ones I have seen sell for $1,000. to $2,000 apiece (though these are definately the exceptions to the rule!) But most of these never leave the high-end of the collector market, and usually end up in the collection of one of us "old timers" in the hobby... but, not always.

"Unique" -- There is only One, single known copy! That's it, one, singula, ein, uno.

I price labels according to my knowledge of the label. This is covered at length in my several <books> on the subject. The rules of
supply and demand are basically the same as any other popular hobby, like coins, stamps, collectibles and many forms of books and other printed ephemera. If it is gorgeous, and extremely rare, I will be priced accordingly. To understand this more clearly <click here>.

People say, "show us the really spectacularly rare stuff...". I have dealers tell me that viewers of my ebay auctions wonder why I don't show the great stuff. What they don't realize is that... I AM showing the real stuff.



Because of the current problems with on-line piracy of images for unauthorized uses, will ba using a scan-warning. Any label you buy at Ebay, will NOT have this warning on it. It is only on the on-line scan, not the real label. It is not a stamp.

This warning label will be placed on many of my label scans used on Ebay. It is not printed on any of the original labels. Rather, it is a clear sheet with the warning on it, and the label is placed behind it for scanning. Then, the images will only be made available in low resolution scans. This means any "pirate" who grabs the image will have to edit the stolen image in a photo or image editing software program, to try and remove the warning. This is very hard to do from a low res scan, and very time consuming, not to mention having to fix the art where the warning label is. That can be a pixel-by-pixel process, and no fun at all! They might as well call me and ask to use it.

I am sorry to have to do this. But, I sometimes use these images myself for other products, such as coffee cups, mouse pads, tiles, calendars, refrigerator magnets, etc., as do other folks who license the images. The idea of the warning label, is to help defeat (or at least curb) digital piracy as much as possible. I often try to offer good labels that no one else has, to help widen the hobby. But there is always someone who wants something for nothing, and grabbing the images is a temptation nowadays, and for some folks a commitment. So, I feel I have to employ this strategy. Thanks for understanding. -- Pat Jacobsen


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me! {:-{D

(updated: 9/06)