I feel the same way Erik. I have never managed to "win" an eBay auction. Recently, I bid on a Castello fiammata greatline estate pipe, a relative rarity. My maximum bid was a little below what I estimated the pipe to be worth and twice the current bid a couple of days prior to closing. I had the highest bid until the final 10 seconds at which point another bidder outbid me by 10 bucks. I have no regrets because it left me with the money to buy a new greatline from Mike Gluker at Briar Blues but it pretty much quenched my interest in eBay pipe auctions.
I also feel the same way a lot of the time. Watching the competitive bidding is almost embarrassing at times. For example, I logged on and clicked on ending soon to see what was going on and where, and took a screenshot. I can buy those at the shop down the street for $4-$4.50/stick. Why would I buy short filler cigars for $6 or more? People are ridiculous.
Then I saw the same thing with a $10 MSRP tin go for $30 that I can grab down the street for $8-$9.
I just nabbed this black and white 404 for stupid cheap. Some guy hit me at 10 sec and I hit back at 5 sec and got it for $32. I patiently waited 4 days on this thing and wasn't about to let it go. That's a nice add-on shipping saver to go with the pile of Diesel replenishment that it'll come with on Friday. They're going for $110, so I'm happy.
I picked up this unsmoked 2008 Castello great line LOB free form dublin from Mike Gluker at Briar Blues. It has a fumed rim (actually most of the stummel) and 11 panels. In order to reveal the carvers intention and personality, the knife and gouge marks have not been completely sanded out. It gives the panels a handmade beauty that in places resembles hammered metal.
This is the third great line I've acquired in the past year. I never appreciated these behemoths before. Now I see them as the happy union of a special piece of briar and the refined skills of a senior pipe carver. Despite their imposing weight, these great line dublins clench surprisingly well. Because of the full bend, this one balances like a much lighter pipe. It also smoke beautifully.