i hadn’t really thought about the reasons to put a high reserve. i always assumed he put it at $500 or maybe even $1000, because that’s what he was hoping to get. and that afterwards he realised that was a bit too ambitious, so he started with the $300 auction. which is fairly safe, as some people already bid more than that on the first auction.
if this is really a manoeuvre to push the price up, then that’s lame. but i doubt it really helps. i think he missed out on some bids on the first auction because of that reserve, and the fact that it wasn’t met at $300. and like you mentioned: listing items on ebay costs money.