The Economy in CB is a very important aspect of the game. Economic interactions between players dictate the price of items, availability of loans, etc.
This is where you usually want to go for rare items. Rares will only spawn here, not in the stores. It's the most efficient and cheapest way to buy and sell merchandise between players. For most items, the auction listing fee is substantially less than the transfer fee would be, and bidders pay no transfer fees on the bid.
The auction system is also 'scam-proof': The winning bid is held by the system until a higher bid is placed or the auction is ends. When you're outbid, your bid is returned to you instantly. The player selling an item retains the item until the auction ends (except for ammo) but cannot transfer the item to another user. Items and bids are automatically transfered to the appropriate character once the auction ends.
Also, items that get enough votes in the Black Market spawn here.
The autobid feature allows you to only bid the minimum bid, unless someone outbids you. This means that you can place your bid, at the maximum amount you are willing to pay for it and not have to be present at the end of the auction to get the best deal.
You may read about Central Bank at the bottom of this page. In order to be sure to keep central bank from sniping your auction, you must place a bid one increment over the minumum, this can be done by bidding the minimum, refreshing the page, and bidding again.
If it doesn't fit well in an auction slot, the forum is the place to go. Good for payment plans, USD$ sales, requests for unusual items, and other odd transactions. It costs $2,000 to start a thread, but replies are not permitted by any other than the thread's creator. If the thread's creator chooses to reply to his/her thread with a bid update or sale closing, the reply will also cost $2,000. All bids and negotiations must take place via chatmail. Scamming is possible in this open forum but fairly rare. 
The value of an item is dictated by a few factors. Availability, rarity, and function are just a few. Other factors are novelty and popularity. For example a Dagger that is completely unimproved, or base, is valued highly due to rarity and novelty. The Cornuthaum on the other hand can be said to valued for it's rarity, function, and popularity. The interplay of these factors do indeed make it difficult to determine what exactly is driving the price, but there are plenty of cases where they act independent of each other.
For example, rarity often leads an item to be unavailable, however the rarest ranged weapon has traditionally been the Assassin's Crossbow yet it is far from the most expensive ranged weapon. The Elven Long Bow has traditionally been significantly more expensive just to own a base version of it. One of the main reasons is that the popularity and/or functionality of the Elven Long Bow has far exceeded the Assassin's Crossbow. The bottom line is that rarity is not the sole determining factor of value.
One way to quickly determine the selling price of an item is to check the recent sales of that item in auctions. When buying, it is also a good idea to see what the items have sold for in the FS/WTB forums, as well as checking if anybody is currently trying to sell what you're looking for in there.
A now non-existent facet of the economy, Camping ended due to rampant cheating. See  for the changelog entry and the associated player reactions. Camping was possibly the most polarized game aspect -- you either loved or hated campers. Instead of spending BA fighting or forging, campers opted to instead spend BA watching the store for newly spawned items. (NB: Viewing the store no longer costs BA, for reasons that should be obvious.)
last edited by roy7 at Jan 7 2013 - Edit Economy
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