Ebay (and other auction sites) can be a great place to buy old roleplaying games, but you have to know what you are looking for and to watch out for.

Buying Copies of Original D&D Rules on eBay

eBay can be a great place to obtain copies of Original D&D rules sets and supplements. Early printings (especially the woodgrain boxed sets) can go for extremely high prices if they are in good condition. This is because they are rare (early print rules very quite small) and because early printings refered to hobbits, ents, and balrogs (changed to halflings, treants, and balors in later printings to appease the Tolkein estate). Collectors bid huge amounts for this early printings and store them away as valuable collectibles. However, even later printings can be comparatively expensive as fewer copies of Original D&D were printed than were printed of later editions.

You don’t need an expensive pristine copy of early printing to play D&D, however. All you need is a complete copy that is readable and not falling apart. When you find an Original D&D item on eBay, carefully read the description and look at the pictures the seller provides to be sure that it is exactly the item you want. Do not go by the auction’s title alone as many D&D items have similar names (or even the same name in different editions of D&D). Then check to be sure it is complete and in usable condition. Ask the seller if you have any doubts about what the item is or its condition. Be sure to check the seller’s feedback and shipping and handling fees before you bid. If you decide to bid, you need to decide the maximum price are willing to pay for the item and just enter it. eBay will bid up to that amount for you. If you don’t win the item, there will be many more chances as later printings are relatively common, so don’t waste money in a bidding war for a playing copy. If someone wants to pay more than you think the item is worth, let them have that one and save your money for another day.

Buying Copies of Classical D&D Rules on eBay

eBay can be a great place to obtain copies of Classical D&D rules sets and supplements. While early printings in great condition can go more a fairly high price, most copies sell for very reasonable prices — because there were so many copies of the various versions of the classical D&D rules printed.

You don’t need an expensive pristine copy of the first printing of the various rules sets to play Classical D&D, however. All you need is a complete copy of the specific rules you need that is readable and not falling apart. When you find an Classical D&D item on eBay, carefully read the description and look at the pictures the seller provides to be sure that it is exactly the item you want. Do not go by the auction’s title alone as many D&D items have similar names (or even the same name in different editions of D&D). The two editions of the Basic and Expert sets for Classical D&D even have the same TSR item numbers. Then check to be sure it is complete and in usable condition. Ask the seller if you have any doubts about what the item is or its condition. Be sure to check the seller’s feedback and shipping and handling fees before you bid. If you decide to bid, you need to decide the maximum price are willing to pay for the item and just enter it. eBay will bid up to that amount for you. If you don’t win the item, there will be many more chances as later printings are common, so don’t waste money in a bidding war for a playing copy. If someone wants to pay more than you think the item is worth, let them have that one and save your money for another day.

Buying Copies of First Edition Advanced D&D Rules on eBay

eBay can be a great place to obtain copies of First Edition Advanced D&D rulebooks. While early printings in great condition can go more a fairly high price (especially early printings of Deities & Demigods as those printings had Elric and Lovecraft deities), most copies sell for very reasonable prices — because there were so many copies of most of the First Edition AD&D rulebooks printed.

You don’t need an expensive pristine copy of the first printing of the various rulebooks to play First Edition Advanced D&D, however. All you need is a copy that is readable and not falling apart. When you find a First Edition Advanced D&D item on eBay, carefully read the description and look at the pictures the seller provides to be sure that it is exactly the item you want. Do not go by the auction’s title alone as many D&D items have similar names (or even the same title in different editions of D&D — second edition AD&D books often have the same title as first edition books). Then check to be sure it is complete and in usable condition. Ask the seller if you have any doubts about what the item is or its condition. Be sure to check the seller’s feedback and shipping and handling fees before you bid. If you decide to bid, you need to decide the maximum price are willing to pay for the item and just enter it. eBay will bid up to that amount for you. If you don’t win the item, there will be many more chances as later printings are common, so don’t waste money in a bidding war for a playing copy. If someone wants to pay more than you think the item is worth, let them have that one and save your money for another day.