our favorite bubba is selling the same calculator twice!


He's selling HP-16c s/n 2332A05616 at
http://cgi.ebay.com/HP-16C-Computer-Scientist-Calculator-Set_W0QQitemZ5821883492QQcategoryZ58042QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem with 18 hours and 56 minutes left, and at http://cgi.ebay.com/Hewlett-Packard-HP-16C-Computer-Scientist-Calculator_W0QQitemZ5824948449QQcategoryZ58039QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem with 6 days and 20 hours left.

I'll bet that the first one turns into a cheap mouse real soon now.

Unfortunately, he's currently the only HP-16c seller, so some poor sucker looking for one may actually pay his prices.

He's also discovered how to bid-snipe. He didn't succeed the times that I observed, but he's no longer the bubba who bids low and hopes nobody else bids. He's turned aggressive.


For a chuckle, check these two bubba-transactions out:

His buy:

His offering:

Whoaaaa... "thatsa bigga gain, eehh?"



Nothing like a 1055.28% markup to start your week off right.

If he gets it, do you supposed he'll drop HP equipment and start preying on Windoze users exclusively?


If he gets it, do you supposed he'll drop HP equipment and start preying on Windoze users exclusively?

Doubtful. Most Windows users know better than to buy software on eBay, although he has stung a few victims (one of whom neg'd him).

Note that this particular product is a discontinued product (4 years ago) for ancient (Win98 and NT4) versions of Windows, and was part of Office 2000. The modern replacements are Photo Editor and Visio.


There's numerous examples of that to be found in his feedback history, although not always with price differentials at greater than an order of magnitude.

It's amusing to watch him describe a ratty condition HP-15c (that he bought for $60 BuyItNow) as "great", and that by adding a CD-ROM containing the owner's manual and advanced function handbook (probably from the MOHPC DVD) he thinks that it's worth $319. That's just half an order of magnitude price increase.


I'll bet that the first one turns into a cheap mouse real soon now.

Bingo! It's a USB mouse, with 17 hours 51 minutes to go.

Quite something to see. . .


--- Les




Not a bad one...

Couldn't we stop this constant monitoring?

We all know about him, we all (more or less) use eBay, and his buyers are not here.



Hi Massimo,

You probably know that this topic is a perennial, as is the point of view you spoke in favor of. I can understand why collectors would be outraged at him. I can also understand why people would get tired of hearing about him on this forum. What I don't really understand is the answer to a question related to the one you raised, That is, why does he hold an enduring fascination for some of us?

I must admit, I'm one of those for whom his activities hold such a fascination. I think my fascination arises from a combination of two things. First, being able to watch part of the inner workings of an "operator's" schemes, which have up to now in the history of the world been largely invisible, strikes me as very interesting. Second, watching others reactions to him as he reduces objects of veneration (perhaps too strong a term) to pure profit and loss teaches me something about how different people value those objects. I'm always interested in learning more about human nature.

Sorry for the use of the indefinite pronoun throughout this post. I figure it's bad luck to speak the devil's name so close to Halloween. 8)

Edited: 31 Oct 2005, 12:26 a.m.


I personally feel that it is very important that there be an ongoing and fresh exposure of coburlin and his activities.

The reason is simple: any individual who does any minimal diligence prior to buying or selling an antique HP calculator will research the MOHPC web page and its forum. If even one person is suitably forewarned, then something good has come of this.

It won't always happen. That poor sap who just sold him that HP-55 knew about the MOHPC web page, but obviously didn't research very thoroughly or he wouldn't have let it go for a piddly $85.

But, sometimes, it does happen. I know this from personal experience. I almost bought from him, but I did my research (his prices seemed a bit high...) first. As a result, I passed on his offering, and got what I wanted for quite a bit less and in much better condition.

It is said that a fool and his money soon are parted and those who neglect to do due diligence are coburlin's lawful prey. Nonetheless, as a collector community we should provide the resources for those who attempt diligence.


Well, I suppose some might be forewarned because of reading about him in this forum, but it seems to me that those who sell with a "buy it now" well below the going market price or buy well above it have failed to do their basic research on eBay. If they haven't even bothered to check the typical prices on eBay, then how likely are they to look for advice at MoHPC? A fool and his money (or property) are indeed soon parted. Still, I can't help feeling a bit sorry for the poor suckers who do business with him.

As for the "poor sap" who sold his HP-55 for a "piddly $85", did he actually do much research at MoHPC? In any case, I can't blame the buyer for taking him up on the offer. My guess is that he was simply the first really interested person to spot the bargain.

As for snipers, somehow I can't get excited about them. To be sure, I don't bid very early in an auction, but I make my (usually) one bid the highest I feel willing to pay. Any last-minute bidder will either outbid me or I'll outbid him. If he's willing to pay more than I am, then so be it; it's his money.

It seems to me that sniping is probably mostly effective against (presumably) newbie bidders who want to start out with a low bid and then raise their bid as needed. Sniping may well be very effective in those cases, at least until those who engage in bidding wars learn better.

That's not to say that I like he-who-must-not-be-named's tactics, particularly making private offers (though that is allowable according to eBay) and switching to a different item near the end of his auction. Yes, he is preying on the foolish, but I expect that there are many who do far worse.


Edited: 31 Oct 2005, 2:16 a.m.


As for the "poor sap" who sold his HP-55 for a "piddly $85", did he actually do much research at MoHPC? In any case, I can't blame the buyer for taking him up on the offer. My guess is that he was simply the first really interested person to spot the bargain.

Obviously, the sap didn't do his research. The buyer was the bubba.

There usually isn't a BuyItNow price with the offering. Instead, as soon as the bubba sees a new listing, he sends the seller a message asking for a BuyItNow price. Most people refuse and let the auction run its course.

Every so often, there's a seller doesn't know the value, just wants to get rid of it (probably a fair number are widows or other heirs), and is thrilled to get a response within minutes of posting the item. So the seller closes the auction prematurely with the bubba's bid, and never finds out that there are others who might bid on it.

There's another HP calculator person on eBay who does the same thing, although that person seems to be somewhat less greedy that the bubba. On the other hand, it may just be a "kinder, gentler" sock puppet of the bubba.

The lesson here is to make an inventory of your collections for your heirs, and make a special note what items are of particular value that should not be sold cheaply.


There usually isn't a BuyItNow price with the offering.

Are you certain of that? My impression is that the BuyItNow option can't be added after an item is listed, but I'm no expert on the matter.
Instead, as soon as the bubba sees a new listing, he sends the seller a message asking for a BuyItNow price.

Yes, he can (and does) ask the seller to end the listing early, but in that case (if the seller complies) the completed listing says something along the lines of "Listing ended early to sell to the highest bidder."
Most people refuse and let the auction run its course.

Quite sensibly, in my opinion. If I were selling and received such a request on the very first day, I'd probably think something like: "Hey, maybe this thing is worth more than I realized."



just FYI - when I was about to buy my first HP a few years ago, I almost bit the dust buying from Bubba. I got lucky that there was a thread here, as I did not know about MoHPC (or TOS or hp-collection.org) for that matter. I was green and very naive. The post about him helped avoid that landmine. So despite all the gripe about the subject from many here, I want to thank you for saving me a couple years back...


There is a bit of a warped fascination in observing the operation of someone who is utterly devoid of the most basic notion of morality. People want to believe that other people are basically good, and that there is no such thing as "evil". It's like a splash of cold water on the face to come to realize that there are, indeed, some truly bad people in the world.

It's also true that the study of how these guys operate is a good way to avoid becoming a victim. Most people have an overly-optimistic assessment of their skill in detecting scams; but aren't going to learn unless/until they witness a "this could have happened to me" scenario.

The bubba is a small fry, and relatively harmless. Nobody's life will be destroyed by dealing with him. There are others in this world who are much worse; people (often at a vulnerable age) have lost their life savings, or even their lives.


Spot on!

Only item I disagree with: that Cobubba is "relatively harmless." Crooks evolve to commit bigger and better crimes when not stopped. As has been observed above, some of his tactics are changing. As stupid as he is, he's learning, and so far has been getting away with his schemes. This will do nothing but encourage him to attempt larger scams, which someday will really hurt someone.


I agree you with. I think Cobubba is venting his anger using eBay. I think the core matter has little to do with calculators. He may well want revenge against someone in his past who used these calculators AND who has victimized him. Some victims evolve into criminals. I had a chance to come across one a week ago --- a childhood friend of my step-son who paid him a visit out of the blue and after many years. The childhood friend ended up stealing my steps-on's pick-up truck!!! The childhood friend (no ex-friend of course) was a victim of abandoment by both parents. So victims do sometimes become criminals and do it in an evolutionary way like you mentioned in your message.

We live in a world today where we are more aware about choices and teh availability of counseling that can help us with all kinds of childhood issues.

Edited: 31 Oct 2005, 8:09 a.m.


I think Cobubba is venting his anger using eBay.

That's falling into the same "all people are fundamentally good" trap, by making Cobubba out to be a victim. The problem with talking about "a soul in pain" is that it assumes that there is a soul there.

A generation ago under the tutilage of B.F. Skinner, psychologists and sociologists had convinced themselves that bad behavior was a product of the environment during one's formative years. Edward O. Wilson thoroughly debunked this notion with the 1975 publication of The New Synthesis, which demonstrated that behavior was dictated by genetics, and that (sadly) unsavory behavior could not be eliminated from society through enlightened child-rearing.

Today, Wilson has been vindicated and evolutionary psychology is mainstream. Only the religious Right (ironic, since Wilson's opponents 30 years ago were on the radical Left) seriously questions it.

Cobubba's behavior can't be excused because he had a bad childhood. For all we know, he may have had a wonderful childhood. What's more, the world abounds with individuals who had wretched childhoods, yet still contrived to become decent adults.

Some people turn out good, and others turn out bad. Cobubba is one of the latter. Sympathy is wasted on him; he would consider it to be a sign of idiocy.


Another lap for the do-it-yourself psychologists (or even psychiaters)!

Come on, let people offer what they want as long as it's not criminal. And I can't see a crime in what Cobubba does. It's annoying, for sure, a waste of market space, and may cost inexperienced people some money. I certainly would appreciate if ebay wouldn't be spoiled by such folks. But you find such dealers on every free market (and found them in the past, too). And after all, experience is just the sum of all the errors you make ... and compared to other errors, this has RELATIVELY harmless consequences, I agree.

Edited: 31 Oct 2005, 1:38 p.m.


I have NOOOOOOOO sympathy for cobbuba. In general, victims can often become monsters because they act out their pain an anger in an improper way. Pedaphiles are a typical (and very sad) example.

I am simply saying that psyhcological issues often pick a certain "theater" or "scenario" to act out psychological complexes. These theaters mask out the real problem.


What I don't really understand is the answer to a question related to the one you raised, That is, why does he hold an enduring fascination for some of us?

Mixing up some SF and comics...

As human beings we are always attracted by the dark side...

By using the Force we could convince him to say
and he
will finally join Mr. Mxyzptlk in the 5th dimension.

Well, for 90 days, at least.




By the way, how about trying the "Link" button for long URLs? You can make that huge URL look like this.




Is there no chance of y'all just getting over this or growing up or maybe being a little less naive?

Or not.


Perhaps we can now discuss why Mark Lynch seems to be unable to disregard any posting about Cobubba without weighing in with name-calling ("get over this", "grow up", "naive").


And this is where the whole thing gets really tiresome and repetitive. Could one or the other party give up the last word to the other before we go through the whole tired litany all over again?


Happy to go away boys. Consider it done.

Even without my little rants against naivete, you'll still have the other fellows wringing their hands worrying about the fun (and money) others are having.

Speaking just for myself, I can never talk about Coburlin again and not miss a wink of sleep. How about you?


I am not buying your act Mark!! You among ALL folks on this website are soooooooo worried about cobubba's image. I don't get the sense that you want to be fair. No one else care about cobbuba but you. I get the feeling you take comments on cobubba very personally. Maybe you two share the same social security number????


Last word? Namir?

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