A few years ago, a friend tipped us off to a vanilla bean seller on eBay who was selling a pound of vanilla beans very cheaply. We checked out the listing and made a bid; within a few hours we had won a pound of vanilla beans for $12. Holy mackerel!
eBay can be a good place to find great deals on many things, including food. We purchased the vanilla beans from the Organic Vanilla Bean Company, and the beans arrived in great shape and were used to prepare many wonderful dishes.
In retrospect, we got lucky. We dealt with a reputable seller who had a really good product. Sometimes this isn't always the case on eBay, so caveat emptor.
Here's some finds: