Want to trade in your iPad2? You should’ve done it two weeks ago.

As Apple’s iPad 3 announcement event nears, now confirmed for March 7, folks will start warming up to the idea of trading up by selling their iPad 2 on eBay or some other venue. When, however, is the right time to sell, or is it already too late?

NextWorth, one of a number of sites that allow you to easily trade-in and sell your electronics, has put together a chart (above) showing how the average eBay selling price for the original iPad 1 declined as the iPad 2 launch neared.

You can see that in the two to three weeks prior to the iPad 2 launch event (the announcement, not even the actual retail launch date), iPad prices declined steeply. Since the iPad 3 launch event has been announced for March 7, that period has already passed and prices should already fallen precipitously.

In addition, NextWorth notes that wi-fi only iPad values hold up somewhat better than 3G-enabled iPads. The company believes the reason for that is that since there is no data plan to be paid for, consumers are willing to pay more for the tablet itself.

NextWorth said that this is the same basic trend the site has seen with iPhone launches. The prior model declines some 20 to 25 percent during the immediate launch period, then levels out post-availability of the new model.

Notably, NextWorth locks in values for 21 days, so if a consumer gets a quote today, that value will hold true, as long as the device is dropped off at UPS by the 21st day (and NextWorth provides a free shipping label, to boot).

The time to trade-in, therefore, is now, the site says. NextWorth says it has seen an 814 percent increase in iPad 2s being sold by their owners “from January to February already.”

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