ISSUE 25: Jan. 2007
Yard Salers: Issue 25! The Wild West and 2007 Outlook
Yard Salers: Issue 25! The Wild West and 2007 Outlook
It's been a really busy December and early January (but when are those times of year not busy?). We took a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where worries about global warming don't seem to apply. The place had a 17-inch base of snow and it snowed half the days we were there.
Being the wonk that I am, I of course was itchin' to see what Jackson's thrift stores were like. But with two kids in tow and souvenirs to buy, I did not make it to the big used bookstore I was itchin' to get my hands on. (Have you ever dragged your kids along to a used bookstore? It goes something like this:
You: scanning about five stacks at once, rapt at the prospect of coming across an old Wild West manuscript...an original Annie Oakley artifact or similar. "Hmm...a leather and gilt spine..."
Them: "Mommy, I'm booooored. Can we go now?"
But we did get to a cool place rife with collectibles: The Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Jackson, Wyoming. Definitely the starngest museum I've ever seen. And we had it all to ourselves. Among other things, I saw the largest bedpan collection ever.
We're still working on the Yard Salers redesign, but it is getting very close. The design is now finished, and I expect it to be up and running by the end of January. I think you'll like the new look a lot. We'll also be adding a community so you can communicate with your fellow Yard Salers (or just lurk). The new url will be yardsalers.net. (Yes.."dot net"..it's downright upright!").
eBay announced another fee increase, as you probably heard by now: Core listing insertion fees are now $.40 instead of $.35 for items starting at $1-$9.99, and final value fees are up to 3.25% from 3% for items selling for from $25.01 to $1000. My feeling on fees is just that, in general, it's really important to keep an eye on them. No one likes to see eBay fees go up. At the same time, I do understand they are running a business and under a lot of pressure to show not just profit but growth.
Of course, it's a very delicate balance; they have to avoid alienating their sellers and driving them to other selling sites. More and more competing auction sites are popping up. I've been listing them on my new directory site, juliasauctionlinks.com and trying to give each one context so you can tell with once glance what diffentiates them. (If you have sites you think I've missed, by all means send them on to me at email@example.com and I'll add them in).
I urge you to reevaluate all the services and features you're using and trim anything that isn't paying off. I took a hard look at my eBay statement and realized to my dismay that I'd been paying for eBay's Blackthorne listing product, but hadn't been using it for months. Mainly I had signed up for it so I could evaluate it for "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" 3rd edition. I do use Turbo Lister, so I canceled Blackthorne and continue to use the former. (This is not to say Blackthorne may not be something you should keep; if you use its features such as bulk image editing, then it may be worth it for you).
The other thing that I felt I needed to cut back on was relisting items. I was relisting items a lot, remembering that eBay will refund the Insertion Fee for relisting if the item sells the second time around. However, this of course does not mean they will refund it the third, fourth or fifth time around! And it also does not mean they will refund all those other fees beyond the Insertion Fee. This may seem obvious to you, but I think the fees creep up on all of us in the excitement of listing.
Some fun stuff has happened in the eBay and auction world lately, with curious items selling for major league amounts. We will discuss those in the "Velvet Underground" piece, below. And some big-ticket items have sold on other auction sites, too.
I was also interviewed by Bottom Line: Personal Edition about what's selling on eBay. That will be out in the Feb. 1 issue. If you're not familiar with Bottom Line, it's a newsletter (actually they publish several newsletters) of helpful personal finance, health, and other advice, specializing in insider secrets. The web site is at http://www.bottomlinesecrets.com. I've been a subscriber for years and really enjoy it. (It's nice that they mention my latest book, The eBay Price Guide, and this newsletter, too! If we have any "Bottom Liners" here this month, welcome!).
Before we get on with the rest of the newsletter, I want to mention a few cool new services and sites.
An auction service that I think should be very helpful for sellers concerned about non-paying bidders. It's called ReliaBid, at www.reliabid.com, and was founded by "a veteran eBay PowerSeller and a budding "PowerBuyer." I ran into some folks from ReliaBid at the book signing I did at the National Press Club last November. They are local to the DC area, as is the BuySafe co.
I think the best way to describe it is in their own words: "The focus of the ReliaBid Seal Program is to provide online auction sellers with a highly visible deterrent which they can use to warn potential buyers of the consequences of not paying for an item. In the rare event that the seal's warning goes unheeded, ReliaBid offers online auction sellers an additional set of tools which provides them with an avenue to collect payment for their goods. Overall, the ReliaBid Seal Program has been proven to significantly reduce the instances of non-payment and auction bidder fraud."
I'll be writing a guest blog entry for them about avoiding bad feedback. In the meantime, you can check out their blog at: http://blog.reliabid.com.
Also, I got an email from a guy named Mike who has developed a very cool garage sale site which displays on a map of the US where yard sales from Craigslist are - it's at http://www.weekendtreasure.com. You can do a search or post a sale in your area, says Mike. Check it out if you get a chance.
Finally, I was also contacted by a wholesaler based in China who sells athletic shoes (I suppose saying "sneakers" is too dated. To me they will always be "sneakers," though). They are at http://www.shoeskycn.com/ if you want to check them out. Here are a few sample prices (if you want more, email me.):
Nike free: 30$
Nike air max 360: 42$
Nike jordan 4,5,6,6.5,7,9,10,11: 34$
reebok pu shoes: 35$
(They put the dollar sign after the number; must be a China thing). I have not used them, but if any of you readers do, I welcome emails as to how it goes. They say the delivery time is 5-7 days and they will send the shoes to you door to door.
Now, let's get to it!
Put eBay on AUTOPILOT! Earn a serious income with a part-time effort.
What can you do with Craigslist? How about bartering up from a paper clip to a house? Buy and sell cars, furniture, crafts, clothing, you name it. Buy great tickets at face value, be a movie extra or find other gigs, find your "dream job." For personal stories, prices of what sells for what, and ideas about how to get the most out of craigslist, click here!
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In This Issue:
1) Auction Gold found Above Ground: The Velvet Underground, and Other Big Ticket Auction Sales for 2006
2) What Sells: The Wild West
3) Reader Mail -- Dr. Seuss and Adult Diapers, Not Necessarily in that Order
1) Auction Gold found Above Ground: The Velvet Underground, and Other Big Ticket Auction Sales for 2006
- Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2006:
- Rare Velvet Underground Recording: Bought for $0.75, sold for $155,401.
Every once in a while you hear one of those stories about the million-dollar painting found at a yard sale or in the back of an old antique shop. A good eye and just plain dumb luck can reward the dedicated scrounger, and is one thing that keeps many of us out there weekend after weekend.
One such story appeared recently. A guy found an old vinyl album for 75 cents at a Manhattan flea market, and it turned out to be a very rare in-studio acetate "made during Velvet Underground's first recording over four days in April 1966 at New York's Scepter Studios," according to the piece in the Washington Post. It sold on eBay for $155,401.
It is reportedly only one of two in existence; the other being privately and anonymously owned. Columbia Records had rejected the album initially when the group was trying to get a deal.
If you've never heard of the Velvet Underground, they were an influential band from the 1960s, "named after a book about edgy sex practices in the 1960s." Probably the most famous member of the band is Lou Reed, known for his song "Walk on the Wild Side," amoung other things. Other members include drummer Moe Tucker and viola player John Cale.
Here's a link to the Post story if you want to read more:
- Audrey Hepburn's Givenchy black dress from "Breakfast at Tiffany's": L467,200 (467,000 pounds) at a London Christie's auction. An anonymous telephone bidder won, with proceeds going to the City of Joy Aid charity.
- Joe DiMaggio's 1951 New York Yankee's final game worn home uniform - $170,000. Believed to have been worn during the final game of the 1951 World Series. It sold for $170,000 and was among other things sold off by Hunt Auctions (final prices and images from the auction can be found at http://www.huntauctions.com/hunt.html).
OK, let's get back to getting this stuff cheap at yard sales:
- Bought for $1 at a yard sale 10 years ago: "Probably a Picasso"? A North Carolina couple picked up a painting at a yard sale a decade ago. Now they're having it professionally analyzed to see if it's a genuine Picasso. Art historians have already poclaimed it's likely real, but now it's being carbon dated. To see what it looks like click here: http://www.wect.com/Global/story.asp?s=5881926.
Currently I'm feeling the sting of the dearth of sales in the DC area. Right now I'm focusing on selling off inventory I already have in the house, some of it our own household clutter, clothing the family no longer wears, etc. But I still check the paper and craigslist religiously for estate and book sales. Frankly I need to get out of the house more.
2) What Sells: The Wild West
One of the things that struck me at the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Jackson, Wyoming, was all the cool Western heroes about whom they had exhibits. The museum was, as makes sense, tailored to a "wild west" and western wildlife and history theme, and there were mannequins of such Western iconic figures as Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Wyatt Earp, and Billy the Kid.
To me it is just amazing the lives these people led and how different they were from the cushy, nature-removed existences many of us have today. For example, Annie Oakley began using guns at age 9 so she could hunt and help support her widowed mother and sibling. She later married the man who lost a shooting match to her, and he became her stage manager. She joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in 1885. (Can you imagine hanging out with a bunch of suburban moms having coffee: "Well, Marge, I met him at a shooting match we had over by the Price Club. I beat the pants off him and it's been true love ever since.")
Buffalo Bill Cody was many things -- a Civil War soldier, Army scout, frontiersman, herder and killer of buffalo -- but he is perhaps best known for his traveling show, the aforementioned "Buffalo Bill's Wild West," which in addition to Oakley, featured many other Western personalities such as Sitting Bull and Calamity Jane. He also founded the town of Cody, Wyoming.
So what kinds of things related to Oakley and Bill can be find on eBay today? Let's take a look.
- RARE 1870s BUFFALO BILL CODY CHROMOLITHOGRAPH POSTER. Fantastic Original 14"x26" of Buffalo Bill on Horseback. - 34 bids, $14,500.00. (This is allegedly an "Advertising Poster for Buffalo Bill Cody's earliest traveling troupe - the Buffalo Bill Combination - and its trademark performance - "Scouts of the Plains").
- Old art, Old linen poster of Buffalo Bill & Pawnee Bill - 2 bids, $800. Another Bill show artifact: "This is a poster of Buffalo Bill's and Pawnee Bill's Wild West & Far East Show. I have done alot of research on this poster. I talked with the Museum curiator at Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado... We had one appraiser tell us that it was an old linen painting. It is on the original wall bords that they had hung it on. Have a piece of Buffalo Bill and the old west."
- 1891 SITTING BULL Indian Wars BUFFALO BILL CUSTER Map.[a book] ~1st Ed. ~Custer's Last Battle ~PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED. - 29 bids, $483.99. This is a book about Sitting Bull that also features Buffalo Bill.
- Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Indians 17 ORIG Postcards - 19 bids, $266.88.
How about Annie Oakley?
I don't know if this next seller knew what he had here. This Annie Oakley card, another artifact from the show, went for about $870. Some of the other items the seller was offering were post cards going for around $4-$12. The seller was based in the UK but seemed to have a nice stash of post cards from all over the world.
- Original ANNIE OAKLEY (Little Sure Shot) on pres card - GBP 443.76 (Approximately US $868.75).
- rare Annie Oakley holster, game, & cap gun cowboy toys - 12 bids, $355.00. This is "a unique, very rare, vintage 1950's Annie Oakley Holster made by Daizy, a Hubley Western Cap Gun, and a Rare Annie Oakley Game made by the Milton Bradley Company."
Western-themed items are very popular in general..anything from statuary to furniture to old books..so keep an eye out for them on your scouting.
Still haven't read my bestselling eBay book, "What Sells on eBay for What"! You can buy it and download it instantly -- click What Sells on eBay for What or go to
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3) Reader Mail -- More Catchup Reader Mail
Mary Ann wrote me...oh, let's just say a while ago. The subject line of her email was "more pics of Grandpa," and I can't for the life of me remember why. At any rate, here is her email:
Wow you have some interesting stuff going on. I read your newsletter and I think I would like to subscribe to it. Very interesting!
You know, I go into those ebay chats or whatever and try to find out the kind of information like you have written in your book. How smart you are. All the tips you have are right on. What I would like to know is what days, and time of the days and months are the best time to sell? When more peeps are on the computer looking for stuff. And your sells on books do well too. I do love to yard sale and tomorrow we are having one so I hopefully can unload some on my not so profitable purchases and recoup some funds. It will kill me not to shop but....oh well. There is always tomorrow.
Have a good weekend,
Hi Mary Ann,
Thanks so much for the kind words. Wow, the ol' "when to list" question. It's a good question and I've given it a lot of deep philosophical thought over the years. My current thinking is that, any auction will not see a lot of action until the end, no matter what day or time it ends. Especially these days...I notice everyone watching my auctions but everyone is afraid to make that first bid for fear the price will shoot up throught the roof and start a bidding frenzy (I wish).
But a lot of people think that weekends are good times to end things, although not Saturday nights. I think a nice Sunday evening is a good time, because people are back from their weekend partying, or buying wrenches at Lowe's, or whatever it is they're doing, and ready to settle in and spend some serious money on stuff they didn't want to drive around all weekend looking for. Ha!
But seriously..if you want to look at a chart of good and bad times and days to sell, I still think one of the best resources is the Steiners' chart at http://www.auctionbytes.com/Email_Newsletter/calendar/calendar.html. It even has cute little suns and rain clouds.
Ugly Item Auction Contest - World's Ugliest Flashlight
You thought I forgot about the Ugliest Item Auction Contest, didn't you? You're right. Haha! Actually, I remembered later. Apparently a lot of you forgot too, because I only got one entry. So Michael wins the pack of my two signed paperbacks and all of my ebooks. See how easy it is to win with Yard Salers?
Actually, I don't feel too bad because Ellen Degeneres only got one entry for her worst Christmas present contest. I should have sent the mooning gnome my sister got me. No really, I like it!
Here's his letter:
When I retired from the Air Force two years ago, my entire family came from out of state to attend the ceremony. My Dad shows up with my "ugly item".
While he was out 4 wheeling in the desert mountains of New Mexico he found a used, beat up, rechargeable DeWalt Flashlight. The kind that takes the big batteries for a drill, or a small portable saw. It had, caulking and paint all over it. Wasn't pretty, but it still worked. Unfortunately no one in the family had a charger for it. Everyone teased me (the Ebay expert) to see if it would sell on Ebay. Thus, I listed it. We were all in shock and had lots of laughs when at the end of the week, it sold for $31 from a .99 cents starting price. Same price as a brand new one on Ebay. Obviously there were some bidding wars going on.
Michael has an About Me page..I'll ask him if he's OK with me mentioning it, and we can give him (and any flashlights he wants to sell) a plug.
That's it for this issue. Until next time! - Julia
Questions about My eBooks Ordering
You can certainly purchase from me directly, as can anyone. All you have to do is email me and let me know which ebook(s) you want, if you are a subscriber and thus eligible for the discount, and then PayPal me to my PayPal id at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be tweaking and updating the ebooks page on my web site soon.
YOUR FEEDBACK WANTED: What Else Do You Want to See in Yardsalers?
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
eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson:
[All my ebooks are offered at 1/2 price from their regular prices to the subscribers of this newsletter. 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
- Selling Kids Clothes on eBay: email me!
(these last two will be available for purchase via my site soon).
- How to Spot Fakes: email me!
What Sells on eBay for What: $8.95, 1/2 price from the $17.95 retail price.
My Life at AOL (available at amazon.com, booklocker.com, and 1stbooks.com)
Blogs, Blogs, and More Blogs
Check out My amazon.com Author Blog
Those of you who just can't get enough of my writing (are there any of you?) will be happy to know I now have a new blog on amazon.com. Amazon.com has created an "author blog" tool for authors to...well, blog. You'll see it if you bring up either of my books on the amazon site, but for good measure, it's at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1593270550. (Scroll down to "amazonConnect").
My GoWholesale Blog
You can also check out my blog on gowholesale.com: bidbits
The url is:
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Copyright 2006 Julia L. Wilkinson
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