This won't be a post on five generally good ways to make quick, easy or big money on the Auction House. There are plenty of really good gold making blogs out there that would make a way better list than I ever could. Overall I'm actually very mildly interested in making gold in WoW. I've never tried to find a certain market and usually only earn my money from whatever scrap I find when questing and raiding. I've never owned more than some 25k g, and although that might sound like alot for some people, it's what you get when just using the auction house in a moderate but sensible way. That doesn't mean I don't seize an opportunity to make a nice deal whenever I see one. And considering I have been playing for quite a while, and Love happens to be very interested in gold making, I know at least in theory how to make good money. And here are my top 5 auction house deals (actually I've included some of Loves most interesting deals as well, as we're basically one person anyway. All his money belongs to me.). Love has helped me with the terminology.
Sometimes the best Auction House deals is just to find some item that generally is worth alot, but people don't know it and put it up for a really low price. There are gold making people who have certain list with items that they check for on a regular basis, snatch it and resell it for alot more. I don't do this, but I have found good deals like this just by randomly using the AH. Lifelike Mechanical Toad is one such item. Love found it for 50g, snagged it and resold it for some 800-900g the day after. Easy money.
Another good example of this kind of fast money was when I found the recipe for Savory Deviate Delight on AH for 2g. It's worth hundreds of g and I sold it for some 300-400g.
Just the other day Love found Brilliant Cardinal Rubies at AH for 27g. He didn't resell those though since we use up pretty many on all our alts (all of my alts actually).
4. This looks expensive, but really isn't
One of the funniest things to do on the auction house is to buy stuff from vendors and resell them on the auction house for alot more money. In a way it is sad because there are so many people out there that just don't know they're being completely ripped off. And it never seizes to amaze me what items you can resell this way. Somtimes people buy vendor-items from the auction house just because they cba to travel to the vendor to buy it themselves. When you still needed to buy books to learn certain levels of First Aid I often did this for example. But now with reforging Love has found out that he can sell Vanishing Powder on the Auction House for alot more than they cost at the vendor. I've managed to sell items like vendor sold pets, vials, recipes... you name it. Anything a vendor sells has a good chance to be sold on the auction house it seems.
I'm never one to turn down an easy deal whenever I see one. I just don't like to put in alot of time in my auction house deals. Love used to make huge amounts of money on selling glyphs, but that also meant putting alot of time into buying herbs, milling, deciding what glyphs to craft, craft them, placing glyphs on ah, cancelling glyphs and managing the hundreds of glyphs he always carried around by mailing them back and forth between characters (at one time he had so many glyphs at AH he made up one seventh of all items on AH at that time). Eventhough he had addons that helped him with alot of the work and the gold earned for time spent was great, it is still way beyond what I'd ever bother to do to earn money in WoW.
I did however find a nice deal when I was checking for Mongoose enchants on the auction house the other day. Since I don't actively seek out nice deals, I usually just stumble upon them whenever I am doing something else in WoW. This time I needed a mongoose enchant and I wanted to find out if it was worth it to simply buy a ready and done mongoose enchant, or buy the mats and do it myself. I found that a ready made mongoose enchant sold for about twice the price of the enchant mats. So I started buying some enchant mats to sell mongoose enchants. But then the prices on enchants went down, but the prices on mats stayed fixed so I started looking at them instead. And I noticed that the prices of Small Prismatic Shards was way lower than that of Large Prismatic Shards. As an enchanter you can convert 3 SPS into 1 LPS, so the price of one SPS should reasonably be one third of one LPS. That was not the case. In fact the price of one SPS was one twentieth of one LPS. I bought all the SPS on AH for 50s each, converted them into LPS which I then sold for 20g each and made some hundred g in just a day. I love the WoW-market sometimes.
2. Woops, not the best deal I've made
Sometimes you try to make a good deal but it doesn't turn out so well. You maybe don't have a clue about what an item is worth, think you put it up for a nice price but it is really worth way more. Or you buy something in the hopes of selling it for alot of money only to find out it was worth less than what you paid for it. I didn't say this list was going to be just good deals!
Just before Wrath came I decided to buy up on epic leg armors. Don't ask me why, but I bought some 3-4 for about 250g each. Remember them Clefthide Leg Armor and Nethercobra Leg Armor? They used to be hell to get mats to so they usually sold for some 500g on my server. I thought that was really cheap and hoped to be able to resell them later for at least twice as much. But hey! New expansion makes old leg armor boring! Turns out no one wanted my leg armors and so I had spent some 1000g on nothing really.
Love bought a bunch of Pristine Black Diamonds really cheap (some 15g each) in the hopes to be able to sell them for alot more the next day. Turns out Blizzard had decided to up the drop rate on Pristine Black Diamonds by alot however, effectively reducing the price on them to zip, zero, nada. The really funny thing is that the guy that Love bought the diamonds off probably knew about this and sold them "cheap" just to get rid of them before the change.
Another example - an old guildie of mine logged on drunk one evening (bad idea), found Staff of Jordan on the auction house for 950g, decided he just must have it and bought it. Now it's a really nice staff, especially back then when there were no BoA-gear. But 950g? Needless to say he really regretted it the day after, but I bet the seller was happy.
Sometimes the best deals are made out of pure dumb luck. Wool Cloth is known to be really expensive at times, but here is a crazy story that takes it to another level. I know Love once, many years ago, accidentally put up Wool Cloth on the auction house for 97g per stack (don't ask me how), and some buyer accidentally bought them all before he realized what he was paying for them. This is a true story! They had both thought it was 97s, and both were wrong. The guy was completely devastated and sent a desperate letter to Love pleading to get his money back. He did actually, minus the cut for whatever Love had intended the Wool Cloth to cost.
Something that also has to count towards a lucky sell are the rp-sells. They're not really auction house deals, but still worth mentioning. I don't rp often, actually I could probably count the times I've engaged in some kind of rp during my 5 years of playing on both my hands. But occasionally when I find some cool gray item, and I'm on some alt in desperate need for money, I decide to try and rp-sell it. It's worth 2 copper to vendor, but could be worth a couple of g to a player when offered in the right way. I got 10g for a Rotting Bear Carcass this way, and I even wrote a post on this matter a couple of months ago.
What have been your most interesting deals in WoW?