After reading Pherdinand's post about getting sniped on eBay, I also took note of Brian's advice (two screens, place a last minute bid and keep an eye on the item).
But then, I won uncontested.
Nifty price for a nifty lens: a Nikon AF 24-85 Silent and Internal Focusing with Extra-low Dispersion glass for $178.50. It retails new at $359 (before the $50 rebate).
So, this is a public thanks for Brian for his tip. It works!
Now, back to my work. Today, a "Dear John" letter from a publisher. Such is life! You win some, and lose some...