I've just sold a nice, but in recent years un-used, short wave radio on ebay. My practice is to start at $1 which tends to garner a bunch of bids early on. The theory is that this makes other bidders pay attention and increase the chance of a bit of a bidding war.
Here's a graph of the price bids vs time.
The radio sold for $565 and $100 of that was in the last 60 seconds.
I often see items with a starting price at a good price but with zero bids at close presumably because bidders are worried that if no one else is bidding, the item isn't worth it for unknown reasons.
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