One State's Junk ... Yours On eBay

eBay logo over a screen shot of item New York State using eBay to sell stuff.
New York state has been quietly selling surplus items for more than a year through the highly successful online auction house eBay, officials said Tuesday.

"You would be amazed at what people will buy. It's been great," said Jennifer Meicht, a spokeswoman for New York state's Office of General Services.

Using the seller name "nyssurplus-albany," the state OGS is currently peddling a host of items including eight new Goodyear tires and a bunch of storage lockers.

"We started as an experiment, selling some surplus property and, based on our initial success, we've been slowly adding more items," Meicht told the New York Post, which first reported on the eBay sales in its Tuesday editions.

OGS sales on eBay have already earned the state almost $300,000 on hundreds of items, she said.

Chris Donlay, a spokesman for eBay, said New York is one of at least 14 states that are making use of the online auction service to sell surplus property, unclaimed assets and the like.

"The U.S. Post Office also sells undeliverable items" on eBay, Donlay said.

In addition to New York, Donlay said other states using eBay services include California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The eBay spokesman said about 86 million buyers and sellers use the service worldwide.

"It's possible to get some great bargains now during the holiday season," said the OGS's Meicht.

The lot of eight Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires, size P225/70R15, closed at $601.66, receiving 20 bids. A warning in the description said "packing and shipping is not available."

The winning bidder, "cupboard_man," has purchased from the state twice before via eBay, each time earning the feedback praise "Great transaction, come back anytime!"

According to eBay buyers, dealing with New York's OGS is generally a good experience. The state has a positive feedback rating of 98.8 percent. OGS registered as a seller with eBay in January of last year, according to the state's eBay listing, but Meicht said OGS' selling didn't begin until October of last year.

The OGS spokeswoman said the Internet selling saves the state administrative costs over its live auctions and "has opened up a larger market for us."

"We're getting rid of things that in the past we have had to simply throw away ... (and) we're getting great prices," Meicht said.

The OGS spokeswoman said eBay buyers have bought everything from a cotton candy machine to cobblestones from the state.

Meicht said most of the items sold by the state have been office equipment. She said a real surprise was that OGS is now getting up to $100 each for used gray metal desks that it used to have to junk.

"We even sold an old canoe," she added. "It came without paddles."