Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Success of eBay's Mineralman

To mineral collectors around the globe, the term Mineralman refers to what is probably the most popular and successful mineral site on eBay. Responsible for it are Jasun and Mandy McAvoy of Neptune, New Jersey.

Jasun's interest in minerals began at an early age, and the pair have decades of experience in the hobby between them.  However, in college, where they first met, neither ever logged a single course as basic to their joint career as Geology I. Notwithstanding, the  bidders who vie to pay top dollar for the mineral specimens being auctioned on the Mineralman site  include some of the world's most seasoned and knowledgeable mineral aficionados.

Jasun and Mandy share one of several important reasons for their success on a  link at the site where they introduce themselves. It's the story of  how over eleven years ago they began their modus operandi of posting weekly auctions on eBay for  high end minerals. Back then, far fewer sellers of minerals or well-heeled buyers for them had begun taking advantage of the eBay platform. It was a particularly risky undertaking for sellers. On the other hand, a small number of savvy buyers were positioned to scarf up more than their share of bargains.

With the passage of time, Jasun and Mandy began enjoying the fruits of longevity, while numerous inexperienced Johnny-come-lately sellers struggled to start from scratch against a vastly increased competition. Just as integral to the success of Mineralman has been continuity. Every week for the past eleven years, the site has auctioned off between 20 and 40 unique mineral specimens at a starting price of $1.

Another factor is even more critical to why Mineralman has fared so well.  Every collector knows that ascribing a value to an individual mineral specimen is a highly subjective process. It usually involves the mineralogical sensibilities of buyer and seller alike. At Mineralman the sensibility that Jasun shares with nearly all his buyers relates to uniqueness. How often, for instance, is a collector (or dealer) likely to encounter the likes of the specimen pictured at left, which was collected in Siberia during the 1800's, featuring "radiated starbursts of prismatic cerussite crystals with a rich coverage of gemmy intense caledonite crystals?"

Along with handling and admiring minerals, acquiring them is one of the things Jasun most likes about the business. He enjoys these activities every bit as much as those who patronize Mineralman auctions. "Everyone enjoys the hobby in their own unique way," Jasun notes. "In my case, what excites me most is hunting down historic, unique or unusual specimens and then passing them on to collectors who are proud to put them in their collection."

It may surprise some to learn that neither Jasun nor Mandy have their own collections. "Buying and selling minerals allows me to handle and admire a large number of specimens," Jasun continues. " Like a collector, I inspect , research, and admire almost every specimen I acquire. However, instead of of simply putting a specimen away in a drawer or cabinet, I sell it."

Mandy adds: "Jasun spends a lot of time every week going through inventory to decide which pieces to list." What's important is that he can be comfortable describing them truthfully with such adjectives as  UNIQUE, SUPERB, AESTHETIC, EXTRAORDINARY or  RARE in the heading that represents each specimen. Another frequent Mineralman adjective is OLD, which refers to a specimen that bears significant  provenance or was collected long ago. I generally only list things that I am excited or passionate about; if it's not exciting to me, then the odds are it wont' be exciting so someone else," says Jasun.

The Mineralman motto reads, Where your happiness is the bottom line. And for the past 11 years  the site has boasted a 100 per cent positive feedback rating on over 6615---and counting---specimens sold.