Easy Search Tips
Not finding what you're looking for? Don't despairsometimes it just takes a couple tries.
Start with the easy tips below. If you need more options, try the Advanced Search Tips. For a summary of all search commands available to you, check the Search Command Chart.
Remember, the number of items returned from any type of search is only an estimate of the total number available. If you're not searching for something specific, browse the category listing pages. You may find many incredible items just by looking through the listings.
- Think of different words to use
Imagine yourself as the seller of the item. What one or two key word(s) would you use to describe it?
- Use specific words instead of general ones
For example, a search for "Beatles poster" will return fewer and more targeted listings than a search for "Beatles."
- Be careful when using and, or, the
Use and, or, the only if you're searching for items containing these words such as "Diana Ross and the Supremes" or "Truth or Dare". If you get too many matches, try your search without them. (Check the Advanced Search Tips for the symbols that can link words for a more complex search).
- Use punctuation only when required
For example, you'll be successful if you search for Elvis t-shirt (correct punctuation with hyphen) or Elvis tee shirt (correct wording without hyphen). But don't try Elvis: t-shirt (unnecessary colon) or Elvis-tee-shirt (incorrect hyphen).
- Expand your search by adding or deleting the letter "s"
If searching for diamond rings doesn't return enough matches, find more items with very little overlap by entering diamond ring.
- Search titles and descriptions to get more matches
Search always looks in the title of the items for sale to find the keywords that you specify. You can find many more items by searching both the title and description for each item. Just click on the option to "search titles and descriptions" under the search box.
Advanced Search Tips
Still can't find it? Here are a few more tricks that will help you get there.
Search Command Chart
- Search for exact phrases using quotation marks (" ")
Typing "Statue of Liberty" or "Gone With the Wind" will find items with those exact words in sequence. Without the quotation marks, you could wind up with many other listings containing the words "statue" or "liberty."
- Use the minus sign (-) to narrow your search
If you enter antique -lamp, that tells the search engine to include the word antique but not lamp. Don't forget-there's no space after the sign (e.g. -card, -teddy).
- Use a wildcard (*) for multiple endings
By typing an * (asterisk symbol) at the end of a word, you can search for items with multiple endings. For example: Beatles man* would return items such as Beatles manager, Beatles mania, Beatles Nowhere Man, etc.
- Sort your results by starting date, ending date or price
After you see the results of your search, you can use the sort menu to rank these items by starting date, ending date, or bid price. The drop-down sort menu is right above your search results.
- For the closest matches, specify a date, color or brand
For example, to find a particular Barbie item, don't just type Barbie in the search box. If you are looking for a Barbie dress made in the 1960s, enter: Barbie dress 196*. If you want only red dresses, type: Barbie red dress. The trick is to be specific and use a narrowly defined search!
Here is a summary of the advanced search commands available to you:
|To search for:
||Use the Command:
|One word AND another
||Use space between words
Returns items with the words baseball and autograph in the title
|One word OR another
||(word 1,word 2)
Attention: No spaces after the comma!
Returns all items with the words baseball or autograph in the title
|EXACTLY these words
||"word 1 word 2"
Returns items with exactly the words baseball and autograph, in that specific order, separated by a space, in the title
|One word BUT NOT another
Attention: No spaces after the minus sign!
Returns items containing the word baseball and will exclude all items containing the word autograph in the title
|One word BUT NOT SEVERAL others
||-(word 1,word 2,word 3)
Attention: No spaces after the minus sign or the comma!
Returns items containing the word baseball and will exclude all items containing the words autograph, cards, and star in the title
|Any words starting with a SPECIFIC SEQUENCE OF LETTERS
Returns items with words starting with "base" such as baseball card, baseball cap and iron bases.
|Words OUT OF A GROUP
||@1 word1 word 2 word 3
||@1 baseball autograph card
Returns items containing two out of the three words specified. This example will return items containing the words baseball and autograph, baseball and card or autograph and card in the title. You can try searching for 3 words out of 4 by using @2 in the beginning of the command.
|One word ALONG WITH AN ADVANCED SEARCH
Attention: No spaces after the plus sign!
|@1 baseball autograph card +star
Returns items containing two out of the three words specified plus the word star in the title.
You can also use any of these commands to search item descriptions by clicking on the option to "Search titles and descriptions" under the search box.