Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Potential of Ebay

There is good news and bad news.  I have "saved searches" on eBay just in case something related to my ancestors might come up.  It hasn't been working the way I envisioned when I saved them originally. My fantasy  dream is that an old photo, family bible, or document relating to the civil war service of an ancestor will be up for sale.  Nothing so exciting or rare as surfaced yet.  I get daily messages about items that  have me baffled as to how they could even relate to my saved search terms, but . . . I left them because every now and then something pops up that is related despite the usual too high for my budget cost.  I have passed on a sterling spoon with an engraving of Mt. St. Clare school in the bowl because almost $50 seemed like way too much.  It has been re-listed several times and is currently still for sale.  I did bid on and win a postcard of Frankfort High School, and I have a family photo, generously shared by my cousin, of my grandfather with his high school football team standing on the front steps. I loved seeing the rest of the building.  It was only $8 so this was an easy decision.  Recently, however, a celluloid pin with a photo of the Kansas State Agricultural College (later Kansas State) football team of 1905.  As I zoomed in, I could see my grandfather, Carroll Walker, sitting in the front row.  Now this I had to have!  Since I never follow sports, I had no idea that Kansas State had such a good football team this year. I am sure that influenced the bidding.  I placed a bid for what I thought was the astronomical sum of $20.Instantly I was outbid.  I paused, and just watched it for the next few days until it was about to end when I took a deep breath and bid another $5.  Instantly outbid again.  Oh well, it was not to be.  Do you know what little pin, smaller than 2 inches in diameter, finally sold for?  $73 plus shipping!

I was patting myself on the back for keeping a clear head, when a 1906 Kansas State Agricultural College yearbook pops up.  Oh no, I had never seen one this early so again I placed a bid. Really, I'm the high bidder??  Now, I wanted it badly.  The high bid did not move until the day before it ended.  I had been outbid.  Sadness descended, but the next night as it was an hour from ending, I placed another bid . . . outbid . . . I added a few more dollars . . . outbid.  With a minute left, I decided on a final bid.  I would go no higher since I was already over my initial limit, and with that keystroke became the new and final high bidder!  Other slightly later KSAC yearbooks were selling for $90 on eBay . . . I did not pay that much but unless you go to eBay and look it up, I will keep secret my final bid.

The book is fascinating and one of the most interesting photo is the one of the yearbook staff.  The annual is in wonderful condition, with no writing or missing pages.  I treasure it.  Of course, my favorite page is the one with my grandfather sitting in the front row with the football team. But . . .now I need the 1907 version when he was a senior!
Carroll Walker - Front row second one in from the right side
 I encourage you to take a chance on eBay,  just don't get carried away by it. Even with a "saved search" it takes patience to weed through all of the junk, but it is easier.  I am still waiting for a 1942 Providence High School (Chicago) yearbook to show up. . . someday.  If you have an ancestor who was a student at KSAC during 1906, let me know, and I will gladly send you a scan of any page you want.

A few days later, I discovered that complete scanned copies of Kansas State yearbooks are online at:   I think I would still like a 1907 copy, but it is wonderful to see Grandfather Walker mature from a freshman to a senior.  I wish I knew the names of the other players but they don't identify the individual in the photos. Also, it seems that you are not able to save individual photos except in a very low quality.  Of course, you can purchase them, but I have not investigated the cost.


  1. Ancestry has some yearbooks - even from high schools. I've never found anything in the collection, which seems to be populated by Ancestry members, but you might want to look there.

    I have saved eBay searches on old postcards from certain cities. And you're right, the saved searches make for a lot of email.


    1. Ironically, I just discovered that Ancestry has the 1906 yearbook for KSAC, but none of the other years I want.f Oh well, there is an intangible value in being able to hold it. I still don't regret my bid, but then again, I haven't received my credit card bill yet.

  2. I never thought to use EBay in that way. Very interesting.

  3. Yet another reason to check eBay! Who would have made that connection.. very clever. I think the people you were bidding against had snipes out on the pin and probably the yearbook (or started with very high bids). Actually, the person who was bidding against you might be worth contacting, since they are interested in the same time, place and activities. Looking through that yearbook has to be fun! And I have to admit you grandfather was a very cute guy!