As a syndicated newspaper columnist about eBay, as well as a trainer on using Direct Marketing techniques to boost eBay sales, I run into lots of eBayers who hear conflicting reports about starting bid amounts.
Should I start with a low starting bid or a high one?
Even among veteran eBay PowerSellers, debate rages over which opening bid level is best. Most eBay newcomers are afraid to post too low of a bid for fear their item will sell for less than it's worth. Keep in mind that the whole world is there to bid on your auction. The final auction price is often what an item's really worth after so many have a chance to bid.
If you sell a popular item such as a laptop in good condition, you'll often get lots of bidders. That's good because the more bids the higher the sale usually. If you start such an item at a very low bid, even one penny, you'll start a bidding war early and get more bidders competing. I often start my most popular items with a penny and I've never been disappointed at the winning bid on those auctions. Keep in mind, this works best for items that have some value, such as items that are sure to sell for $20 or even far higher.
If you sell a less desirable item, such as an old AM/FM clock radio, expect only a few possibly bidders and a low final price. Start these bids about 30% less than your realistic expected sale price. You may only get one or two bidders so you'll need a higher starting bid to ensure that you make what you deserve.