ISSUE 13: Feb. 2004
Yard Salers: Issue 13!
YAB's Exciting New Design! A Real Reality Show: "Starting Over" and Teresa's Auction; eBay in Pop Culture: Sightings and Celebs; What Sells for What? Disneyana; Reader Mail
Yard Salers and eBayers: Issue 13! 2.13 -- Feb. 23, 2004
Hello everyone! Yard Salers and eBayers is alive and well and living in Paris! Well, OK, not the Paris part.
The last issue of YAB was a while ago -- Nov., 2003..as I mentioned in that issue, most (if not all) of my time the past few months has been taken up with a book project. It is a book about eBay, and the good news is, in the course of writing the book, I have learned oh so much about eBay and various third-party tools, so I hope to be able to pass on more knowledge to you, my faithful readers.
Speaking of faithful readers, I'd like to thank Robert, who I believe was my very first subscriber, for noticing that YAB was gone for too long. Actually, I'd like to thank you all for not giving up on us!
More exciting news: YAB has a new design! That's right! By the time this newsletter goes out, expect to find some actual custom art on the YAB web site! I had a wonderful web designer, Robin Donley of Donley Designs (www.DonleyDesigns.com), do the design. She really captured the essence of Yard Salers, doncha think? In addition to adding real buttons and making sense out of what was there. Robin and I met in a former life, working for an internet startup for women in business. We are now both reinventing ourselves.
Speaking of reinventing ourselves, I've become addicted to a wonderful new reality show called "Starting Over," at 12 noon on NBC in the DC area (I'm not sure when it comes on in your area, but check your guide if you're interested). This is in my opinion the best reality show on tv, and possibly the best show on tv, period.
It's about a house full of seven women, each of whom has a goal to change her life. Once the woman meets the goal (if she is not kicked out), she "graduates" back to the real world, and a new woman moves in.
What does this have to do with yard sales, or eBay, or this newsletter? Keep reading this issue, and you'll find out.
Well, let's get to it!
And, as always, please forward this newsletter to anyone you think may like it! (One thing you can certainly assure them is that it will not come so often as to annoy them! But we really do plan to get back on at least a monthly schedule).
Do you like this newsletter? Please forward it (in its entirety) to a friend!
Back issues now available! Go to http://www.aolmemorabilia.com/yab/yardsalers.html
**Don't have five minutes to read the newsletter now? Print it out; take it to bed with you! (That?s my favorite place to read my newsletters!). **
In This Issue:
1) YAB's Exciting New Design!
2) A Real Reality Show: Starting Over and Teresa's Auction
3) eBay in Pop Culture: Sightings and Celebs
4) What Sells for What? Disneyana
5) Reader Mail
6) YOUR FEEDBACK WANTED
NEW ebook offered:
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1) YAB's Exciting New Design
We decided to celebrate our one-year anniversary by getting a "real" design for the web site. As luck would have it, I had recently gotten back in touch with Robin Donley, a very talented and extremely friendly person who had worked with me at an internet start-up a few years before. (See, I have had a "real job" at one time or another). She is now out there doing web site designs (check out her site at www.DonleyDesigns.com) and other cool stuff, and she put together a fun new design for Yardsalers. Check it out here: http://aolmemorabilia.com/yab/index.html.
2) A Real Reality Show: Starting Over and Teresa's Auction
One day I had the tv on as usual (I like to keep it on in the next room for background noise during the day while I work?maybe it makes me feel not alone?), and a show that I hadn't seen before caught my eye.
It was like a version of the original reality show, MTV's The Real World, only for grown-ups. (It's actually produced by the same people who did the original MTV Real World, Bunim-Murray). And, people weren't eating bugs, rejecting hapless suitors, or sucking up to Donald Trump. (OK, so maybe watching people suck up to Donald Trump is mildly amusing). It was about five women living in a house in Chicago, all trying to reinvent themselves, or start over, hence the show's title.
I got sucked into the drama that very first day in the first group of women, one was trying to lose weight and find romance; another was trying to re-socialize and trust people again after her husband's death; another was trying to go back to college, etc. (Bear with me here -- we will be getting to auctions!).
One of the women, Teresa, had come to the house to get out of debt. $40,000 in debt, to be specific. Most of it she owes to credit card companies, but some of it she owes to the IRS.
Teresa meets with various experts and tries various techniques to raise money and get out of debt. One of the things she tries is selling off some of the stuff on eBay.
Teresa lists a number of items on eBay -- unfortunately, because they have to edit the show down so much, the viewer never gets a sense of everything she's put up. But her big-ticket item is a Rolex watch.
(This, by the way, is a good technique to use yourself, to draw attention to all your auctions...run at least one big-ticket or higher value item along with your lesser value items, to draw attention to all of them). In fact, I am currently selling a sofa -- a pretty gorgeous sofa, I might add) for my stepmother-in-law, and I noticed it has brought more traffic to my other auctions already).
Teresa's auction on the show is not going well, and her life coach on the show, Rana, thinks the whole thing is a bust, until the very end of her Rolex auction, where someone comes in with a bid of around $1000. Lesson there? You never know what an item on eBay will sell for until the very end of the auction! (If you sell at all regularly on eBay, you probably already know this!).
So Teresa makes some money, but she still has to raise more to pay off the rest of her debt. She does get a job, but one of her next big strategies is to hold an actual estate sale of all her stuff.
So she and her roommates post flyers around the neighborhood, announcing the sale, which they hold, somewhat oddly, on a Saturday evening. The sale does not go well, with a lot of things going for not much money, or unsold, and I think one of the reasons why is they set it up as an auction instead of as a simple estate sale. I think they got a lot of people tromping in and out that may have bought something if they could have purchased it right then and there, and not had to wait around for the bidding. Usually live auctions are for the bigger-ticket stuff.
The good news is, Teresa did finally do well enough, between selling her things and working a part-time job, to make a dent in her debt, and the life coaches deemed her worthy to graduate from the house (which is what the women get to do when they've attained their goal, or come close to it).
But is that all for auctions on Starting Over? Heck, no. There are now two women in the house who are interested in reselling things: Hannah wants to be a professional auctioneer, and Christine has been selling antiques online from her farm house, and wants to leave the farm and open her own antiques shop in the city of Chicago (where the show takes place).
(I should mention there are some very funny scenes of Hannah trying to learn the auctioneer patter; which is that hummina-hummina fast-pasted verbal style of auctioneering. (Evidently there is another style of auctioneering, which I didn't know about, the English-style, which keeps it all very understandable and slower-paced).
Well, at this point I've probably blathered on long enough about this show. I think it shows just how much auctions and eBay have affected our popular culture when they crop up three times on a reality tv show!
Again, if you want to catch the show, it's on NBC (Channel 4, in my area, at noon), in the daytime..check your local listings for an exact time. And no, I am not getting paid to say this, unfortunately!).
3) eBay in Pop Culture: Sightings and Celebs
Speaking of eBay in pop culture, it has been cropping up in other places as well. Celebrities are not immune to the lure of making a quick buck (or maybe they want to see just how much draw their name can give to an everyday item).
- Megan Mullaly: A while back I saw Megan Mullally on the Ellen show, and she was admitting that she's an eBay addict. Ellen had her read on the air some of the feedback ratings Megan had received, and they were things like "great ebayer A+++" the eBay feedback vernacular perplexed Ellen and got a laugh -- I guess she thought the A+++ sounded kinda hokey, but it's likely to bring a smile of recognition to the face of anyone who's left a few of those
- James Spader: On a later show, Ellen was talking about how she saw a pillowcase with James Spader's face up for auction on eBay. (Spader was a guest on her show). The seller apparently usually netted only $10-$25 for such items, but Ellen wanted to see if she could drive up the bidding. Sure enough, bidding on that item later shot up to $85,000! But that bidder wound up backing out, and the pillowcase still sold for a high price: over $1500.
- Ellen DeGeneres: So Ellen decided to experiment with putting some of her show merchandise up on eBay, with some Sweet Dreams bedding with her own picture on the pillowcase.
The sheet set went for $18,500, with proceeds benefiting the ASPCA.
Have you seen celebrities buying or selling on eBay, or talking about it? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll put it in my next newsletter (with a link to your eBay id if ya want!).
4) What Sells for What? Disneyana
While we're on the subject of Americana culture, let's look at one very popular collectible category on eBay: Disneyana. Just what kinds of Disneyana are going for what?
This is not just for little kids. There are some adults who take their Mickey Mouse pretty seriously, and with some of these prices, who can blame them?
Just the other day, eBay was promoting Disneyana on the front page. They were pushing Things Disney, $10 and under, but let's look at some recent high-flyers:
There are today about 93,000 items listed in the Disneyana collectible category. The highest-selling item in the last two-week period (circa Fev. 2004), is:
- A production cel of the character Gaston (the not-so-loveable lug) from the Disney movie "Beauty and the Beast":
2053: DISNEY PRODUCTION CEL: US $1,600.00; 10 bids
(That was in a live auction, by the way, where some of these big-ticket items go on the block. Check out the live auctions area sometime on eBay, if you haven't yet. The quality of the stuff is wonderful -- but they ain't cheap!).
Various other Disney animation cels went for similar prices, in this timeframe studied.
TERRI HARDIN HAUNTED MANSION DISNEY LE 10: US $1,175.00; 2 bids
?Ultra Rare and a must have to the serious Haunted Mansion collector. This is the jewel of my Haunted Mansion collection and now can be yours. The Care Taker and Dog figurine resin sculpted by Disney's artist Terri Hardin. This is #8 of 10 made. Signed and numbered by artist as shown in pics. Case is included. The caretaker is holding a lantern with his dog by his side. There is the Haunted Mansion Logo plaque incorporated in this figurine. This was available June 27, 1999 during "The Art of the Haunted Mansion" Thirtieth anniversary celebration. Sadly the caretaker has a tiny part in the Haunted Mansion movie (If you blinked you missed him during the graveyard scene) but he has a great role in the Disney Theme parks Mansion.?
I must confess to not totally ?getting? this one?if there are any Disney experts out there, please let me know! Obviously this dude is pretty special, and I was a big Lord of the Rings figurine collector as a child, so I can understand such an obsession.
WALT DISNEY~MONORAIL 1958 SIGNED CONTRACT; US $3,350.00; 21 bids
This is a contract signed by Walt Disney, essentially confirming an agreement with a monorail car building company. This went for big bucks because Walt?s famous signature commands lots of dough, and is apparently one of the most recognizable signatures in the world. I can verify that several other Walt signatures commanded similar high prices, so if you come across any of these bad boys, act on it (if the price is right). (Got any Uncle Walt scribbles lurking in your grandma?s basement? No? OK, let?s move on to some stuff we have a better chance of finding).
Anyway, you?re going to find more original cels, paintings, rare figurines, and other exclusive bits of Disneyana in the few-to-several hundred dollar range. There also quite a few nice snowglobes in the $100 to $150 range.
WALT DISNEY COLLECTOR PLATE BY BRENDA WHITE. C [Canadian] $365.00 (approx. US $275.93) ; 7 bids
This plate shows an ?old school? image of Mickey Mouse on ice skates, with a Santa hat and a red cape flowing out behind him. Very cute. Older images of Mickey seem to do very well, I?ve noticed.
LOT 50 WALT DISNEY Classic VHS Videos BUY NOW - $275; 24 bids
I've written before about selling videos in lots but I wanted to include this listing here to emphasize that 1) you can make a decent amt. of money if you sell videos in big lots and 2) Disney videos do particularly well.
DISNEY MICKEY MINNIE BIG FIG STATUE FIGURINE $259; 1 bid
This is a large (23? tall) resin statue of Minnie Mouse in a pink dress kissing Mickey in a sailor suit. This statue was particularly interesting to me because several identical statues listed, and all of them had one bid. Well, now I wouldn?t spend those bucks on this statue, but then not everyone would buy a Princess Diana wedding dress miniature, like I did, so to each his own. ;)
FINDING NEMO 3D Official Disney Standee $150; 7 bids
This is a big cardboard cutout like you'd see in a video store.
From the eBay item description: "HARD TO FIND, 3 DIMENSIONAL, FREE STANDING CARDBOARD CUT OUT DISPLAY FROM THE HIT DISNEY MOVIE "FINDING NEMO." The display stands 5 foot 6 inches tall. ONLY ENOUGH WERE MADE FOR THE DISNEY STORES during the DVD promotion so they are VERY RARE indeed. As the DISNEY STORES HAVE CLOSED they would give it to an employee only.
Limited Edition Disney Villain Watch HTF $100 ; 1 bid
This item is for a hard to find, extremely rare Disney Villain watch. It has the following villains on it: Chernabog, Jafar, The Horned King, Scar, Captain Hook, Shere Khan, Govenor Ratcliffe, Usula, Madame Mimi, Maleficent, Lady Tramaine, Cruella, The Evil Queen. You can't find all these villains anywhere. The watch is a limited edition piece, number 22 of 250. It is brand new and has never been worn.
DISNEY STITCH Holiday Snow Angel Pin Black $55; 9 bids
This is a cute pin with Stitch from Lilo and Stitch making a snow angel.
Quite a few pins, and lots of pins, are starting to show up in this, the $50 prince range.
In the $25 to $35 price range, we see things like collectible Disney teapots, DVDs, dolls, like the porcelain Ariel dolls, character watches, more snowglobes, and costumes. Also more clothing like sweatshirts and pajamas, and bedding.
In this range, we see things like Tinker Bell t-shirts, cute clocks, more pins ( a Mickey Mouse as fireman pin had 8 bids and did better than some other pins?more Mickey power (how about Mickey as Mike Eisner?); Disney books and book lots, plush stuffed animals, and single videos.
What does NOT sell well? Or, what goes for only a buck? (Not that some people aren't happy to take a buck!).
Here I actually saw some OK stuff, like a Winnie the Pooh frame, a baby outfit, and many little collectible items like the various fish from Finding Nemo, in plastic (Some of them may be McDonald Happy Meal freebies and the like. Which, actually, over time those McDonald?s-type free toys can become considerably more valuable. But, I personally draw the line at saving them, due to limited storage space!).
Some cups and glasses, a plush toy, puzzles, books..magnets -- if you are looking for some inexpensive shower gifts, birthday gifts for kids, stocking stuffers, etc. they're here for a dollar, folks! Over 3800 Disney items in just the $1 range.
Well, I think that gives you a pretty good feel for Disneyana. If you want more detail, email me for the latest edition of What Sells on eBay for What, or check out one of my auctions for the ebook on eBay. I should mention that I just noticed there is a whole Discussion Board now on eBay, devoted to Disneyana! Check it out. There's a topic thread there about which characters are the most popular, and here are some of the thoughts:
- A U.K. eBayer says Over here in the UK,Winnie The Pooh, Tigger,Eeyore and Piglet have really taken off in a big way and seem to outsell anything else.
- another says she's noticed that Mickey & Minnie is not as popular as they used to be unless it's something vintage. She thinks the most popular are the Princesses and especially Tinkerbell -- I have noticed myself she gets lots of bidders."
5) Reader Mail
Since it's been a while since this newsletter's been out, I'm sorry that some of you have been waiting so long for these answers to your emails! But, let's get to them anyway.
Hello from London!
Picked up your notes from the web as I have a Princess Diana dress catalogue from Christie?s auctioneers and am considering selling the item.
Can you give me a rough estimate to its worth and is the best way via ebay ?
Thanks for your time and help.
London..my! I didn't know I had such global reach...What fun!
Yes, Princess Diana dress catalogues from her Christie's auction do very well. I have a copy myself but I don't think I can stand to part with it. ;)
I believe I had written about a Princess Diana dress auction catalog several months back in a previous issue of YAB, but it's been a while, so let?s take a look at what's sold recently.
1) Hardback: Princess Diana Christie's Catalogue - GBP 75.00/$142.84 ? reserve not met
OK -- as you probably know, that means this catalog, offered by a seller in Great Britain, got bid up to 75 pounds, which is approx. $142.84 to us yanks. However, the reserve price was not met, so it did not sell. The seller wanted more than 75 pounds for the book. Still, I think that it could be bid up to that amount is a good sign.
According to the auction's subtitle (I love subtitles -- they give you a chance to say a lot more about an item -- and we can see that eBay has come up with yet another way to make money!), the book is rare, because only 5000 were sold worldwide.
Now let's look at a paperback catalogue (this is the kind I own):
2) Princess Diana Dresses Christie's Auction: Paperback -$143.50 - 8 bids - reserve not met.
Here is the item description: This is for an absolutely mint condition, never read through (has been stored in secure box since 1997 in non-smoking home)edition of "Dresses" from the Collection of Diana, Princess of Wales (Soft Cover) Christie's Auction Catalog. This was from the June 1997 Auction of Dresses belonging to Princess Diana. Book is 212 pages.
So, interestingly enough, in this time period researched, we're seeing both the hardback and the paperback version of the Princess Diana dress catalogue reaching a similar price range..$142-$143.
My sense is, if the sellers really want to make money now, they should relist and accept something similar to that amount. This seems to be what the market will bear. They could also relist the book a few times and see if their original reserve price gets met it very well may, if the right enthusiastic bidder comes along.
So, Paul, I hope this helps with your question. Although at this point, you may have already sold your catalogue! If so, I would love to hear how it did, and I could share that with my readers.
This whole Princess Diana question gives me the chance to expand a bit on the whole question of what type of collectibles appreciate the most. Here's something I've noticed: you know that expression, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Sad, huh? (Unless you're one of the lucky rich!). One could make the analogy to collectibles. It seems to me that the famous, iconic people and companies inspire ever more devotion as time goes on, meaning that collectibles based on them go up and up in value at a higher rate than other items.
Think of people like Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, and Elvis; and companies like Coca Cola and Disney. You can find various high-priced items on eBay with their image on them -- old Beatles albums go for $50-$100, while other old vinyl simply languishes in the dust heap of the thrift store. Maybe it's because we realize how truly rare and special these people or things are, as the population increases, and we have yet to see another group like The Beatles, film star like Marilyn, or singer like Elvis (OK, I know a lot of you now worship American Idol's goofy but loveable reject, William Hung. Just kidding!).
Just something to keep in mind as you browse about.
i read your article on auctionbytes.com.. Great Article. Very Interesting. I didn't know that abercrombie catalogs could be sold for a lot of money.. I have a bunch of old Abercrombie Catalogs that are still in good condition. These are the ones dated back to 1997-1998-2001..
Roughly 20 or so.. How much do you think i would be able to get for them.. with your experience and what you see all the time.. whats the average for all 20?
Thanks! I would definitely try to sell them. :) The best way to find out is to go to eBay's advanced search and do a completed items search for some old catalogs. I bet you could do all right...I would guess between $10 - $50, maybe $20-$25 average...that's just a guess. You might want to consider breaking them into several lots of a few catalogs each - might be better than one big lot. :)
6) YOUR FEEDBACK WANTED: An Update to What Sells on eBay: Secrets of the (High-Margin!) Powersellers; The Real Deal on Wholesalers, and What Else Do You Want to See?
Note: I am always open to reader articles, so if you want to write about something relating to yard sale-ing and eBaying, just flag me down! I will of course give you credit, using your eBay ID, web site, or any other contact info.
I?d love your feedback on this topic, as well as other topics you'd like to see me address.
That?s it for this issue. Until next time, happy yardsale-ing and eBaying!
eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson:
[all my ebooks are offered at substantial discounts from their regular price of $8.95 to the subscribers of this newsletter. Only $4.95 each! If interested in any of them, please email me at email@example.com.]
- Making Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay:
- Over 100 Books that Sell for $50-$100 on eBay: email me!
- Selling Kids Clothes on eBay: email me!
(these last two will be available for purchase via my site soon).
What Sells on eBay for What:
My Life at AOL (available at amazon.com, booklocker.com, and 1stbooks.com)
Copyright 2004 Julia L. Wilkinson
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