One of the biggest reasons private parties are reluctant to sell their own items on eBay is because of the packing and shipping aspect of making the sale. How much do you charge? Where do you get boxes? When will you have time to go to the post office or how do you use UPS or FedEx? How do you insure items and what happens if something breaks in transit? Obviously as an eBay drop off store, these are things we already have figured out and the answers to all these questions could comprise an entire college thesis.
Historical items, especially military related pieces have a huge collector following. There are lots of old swords like this "French 1833 Chatellerault Naval Cutlass" to be had but the condition can make it trash or treasure. Since not everyone can afford a priceless collection, fair condition items like this one still do pretty well for someone just looking for a display piece.
Old books are usually a dime a dozen since they are printed by the thousands, but if you have a first printing by an acclaimed author, you have a winner. We had two copies of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1876 First Edition Printing (by) Mark Twain" - one with a beat up cover, the other with some missing pages. Together, they fetched $1281 and the buyer told me he was a professional binder and planned to use them both to make one nice copy which would be worth at least $2000.
Art is among the best and worst performing items we sell. We really weren't expecting much for these "15 Original Vintage Japanese Woodblock Art Prints" but we knew there was a market for Samurai & Geisha themed items and simply gave them the best representation we could. Even though we could not decipher the artist, eBay is full of experts looking for treasures and at least two people felt they were worth over $2,000!
This "Antique TNT Dynamite Blasting Machine" from the 1920s went off with a bang at $618! Most old items that can be identified will always have some value. Especially if they are items tied to industry, history, or culture. While the name-plate on this piece does not carry any special history, this piece would have sold for a lot less without it.
One of our favorite consignors has been collecting Lego building sets for many years. Lego sets are not cheap and it just so happens that they are also very collectable all over the world, which makes eBay the perfect marketplace. This "Lego Star Wars Set 10123 Cloud City" was a fairly limited release - which is why even opened and used, it still sold for $600!
A quality musical instrument will always sell well on eBay. This "2010 Gibson USA Les Paul Special Electric Guitar" sold for $887, which was just a few dollars less than what my consignor paid for it new! The winner of this auction was in Australia and in addition to being the high bidder, he was willing to pay over $100 shipping. Since we offer to ship most items world-wide, this mate was able to own a quality American made Gibson.
The nice thing about antiques is that they keep getting older. My consignor bought this "Antique Japanese Cast Iron Tea Pot" during her trip to Japan in 1970. It came with a piece of documentation stating that it was over 100 years old and that was over 40 years ago! She never expected her twenty-five dollar investment would some day be worth $1,175. One bit of provenance can make all the difference between a $10 item and one worth $1000.
Everyone knows that Rolex is among the best names in luxury time pieces, but do you know how to tell if one is real? We do! With a high-ticket item like this "Rolex Cellini Danaos Gold Watch", our first strategy was the fishing technique. With a retail price of over $8,000, we tried asking $6,500 for this gently used piece. After a month, our best offer was only $4000. We then asked our consignor to trust us and we put it up for auction starting at just $9.99 and it closed at $4,650.
When it comes to ladies handbags, the prices can skyrocket when you get those emotional bids. This "Burberry Mega Check Canvas Belted Tote" retailed at $1,245! You know darn well that no one actually paid that for it, but to get $750 was a pleasant surprised for being 'gently used'. Items like this are best auctioned to the highest bidder, and believe it or not, we started the bid at just $9.99
For the majority of the items we broker, we use a seven or ten day auction format. With over two hundred million users on eBay, there are almost always two or more people interested in and willing to fight over your item. In most cases, our strategy is to take an item that we know is worth - let's say $100 - and start the bidding at $10. I'll create a random example: let's say you have a 'gently used' Coach handbag. Let's say that this purse cost $200 new and it's still in nearly perfect condition. The question is; what is it worth now?
It never ceases to amaze me the broad spectrum of value people can place on any given item. Some people feel that an item they paid $100 for 10 year ago is still worth $95. Others are happy to get $100 for something they paid $1,000 for just last year. Just when I think I have it figured out - what income level or class of people are going to feel which way - I experience a total flip flop. In any case, most people don't want to pay 'top dollar' for anything. When you give us something that is truly rare or hard-to-find, we will try to capitalize on this by fishing.
Recently we sold "24 Rare Vintage N Scale Kadee Brooklyn Locomotive Works Custom Edition Boxcars" for $4,000. Model trains have always been very collectable, but the current collection we are working with has simply been fantastic. Can you believe that these two dozen mostly-plastic cars which are only about 4 or 5" long sold for so much? Our consignor explained to us why they were in fact rare and we used the 'fishing' technique (explained under eBay Essentials) to get the most we possibly could for them.
Think of this section as a crash course for pickers and consignors. We find that a lot of people are curious about what types of items do well on eBay and the amount they bring. I have gone back through nearly two years of our very own auctions and highlighted the various Interesting Items we've had on consignment. We will continue to update this section as often as we can with the best and sometimes the worst picks.
As the owner of a consignment store, I see the full spectrum of buying and selling: There are those people that place too much value on the 'junk' they have and there are buyers who undervalue these same items. Our job is to find the happy medium. I recently sold a hunk of a bronze statue for more than a whole car - a vintage Jaguar coupe in beautiful, running, driving condition! Granted, the car will require maintenance over time, while the sculpture will only require the occasional dusting. But still - that's just not right!
For those with way too much free time, here we will discuss and trade comments on buying and selling. Our goal is to share interesting tidbits about our business, the items we come across, and sometimes simply vent about the frustrations of being the 'middle-man'. We will try to keep the tone professional, but forgive us if we occasionally digress. Feel free to leave comments - praise or even constructive criticism is welcome!