ISSUE 36: October 27, 2007
Yard Salers: Issue 36! When Sales Get Personal & More Rinker: Oct. 27, 2007
Please forward this newsletter to a friend!
What's free, annoying, and potentially lucrative? Sound intrigued? Good. I'll tell you all about it in the next issue of Yard Salers, Friday, Nov. 2.
The gift that keeps on giving, the eight boxes of books I retrieved from a neighbor's attic, has yielded more sales and one interesting personal story. One of the more intriguing books I recently listed from the batch was a signed book of poetry, dated 1946, by someone I had never heard of, an Emily Greene Balch. Turns out she was an important writer and pacifist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.
What happened next speaks to the power of adding a lot of info into your eBay listings...especially from my favorite easy source, wikipedia. It also speaks about how eBay listings can lead to wonderful personal stories and connections. In short, it does a lot of speaking. But I'll leave that to the first article in this issue.
We're also going to continue to dig deeper into the ::cue the dramatic chipmunk music::...check out this link sometime if you have not seen this priceless online video yet on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw ...The Rinker Files!
Speaking of dramatic, there's a great product out there, and I can't think of anyone better to tell you about it than my friend Thom. He's been hovering in the background for a while, as I mention his feats of yard sale derring-do...now he steps into the light and tells us how to get doo-doo -- and many other substances -- off things with Goo Gone.
Finally, a quick tip. Not to sound too much like a vulture, but the other day I was walking in town and I saw a "going out of business" sign on the Bombay Company store. Walking in, I overheard them say all the stores were going out of business and having similar sales.
Typical markdowns were around 20-30%, but in some cases, the deals were better: I picked up a beautiful enamel-and-crystal 4x4 inch frame on clearance for only $9.99, down from $30-$40.
They sell complete boxed dish sets already at a low price...$39.99, and these are marked down 30%.
For those of you who sell jewelry, they had lovely red drawstring jewelry bags for only 60 cents each, on sale from $1.00.
I couldn't find too much info about the liquidation online: there was a bit about the co. in wikipedia, which simply said Bombay Co, "a furniture and home accessories retailer based in Fort Worth, Texas" had "filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 20th, 2007." All U.S. stores "will be closed by the end of the holiday season" but Canadian stores will remain open.
The co. was founded in 1978 by Brad Harper in New Orleans as a mail-order company. He later opened two retail stores in New Orleans, according to wikipedia. In 1980, Harper sold the U.S. operating rights to Fort Worth, Texas-based holding company Tandy Brands, Inc.
So check it out...if not stuff for resale, it could be a great place to stock up on Christmas presents.
Now, without further ado, let's get to it!
Buy Low. Sell High. What Sells on eBay for What 2007 is here. Over 300 pages high and median prices for key categories. Plus Top Searches and Most Watched Items for EVERY eBay category. Get it at half price only here in this newsletter.
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[For more writing and photos throughout the month, check out Julia's bidbits blog at http://juliawww.typepad.com/bidbits/.]
In This Issue:
1) When Sales Get Personal: The Power of Wikipedia
2) The Lost Rinker Files Part II: Collectibles on eBay
3) Goo Gone, Baby, Gone
4) Reader Mail: What Sells to be in Print?
1) When Sales Get Personal: The Power of Wikipedia
As I mentioned, I recently listed a book of poetry on eBay by one Emily Greene Balch. It was titled "The Miracle of Living" and was signed by her, and dated 1946.
Well, when I get a book signed by its author, I like to find out a little bit more about the person and the volume. My current favorite easy way to do that is to go to wikipedia, do a search, and cut and paste relevant sentences or a few paragraphs into the auction description.
Ms. Balch, as it turned out, lived a very interesting life, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946. But I had I not added the wiki info into the auction, I don't think the ultimate winner of the auction, Beth, would have found it, because it was the word "Wellesley" which sparked her interest.
Turns out she had known Ms. Balch and was her neighbor! But Beth tells it so much better than I could, in this article, reprinted from her town's newspaper, for which she gave her permission for me to use in this newsletter:
Emily Greene Balch
In December 1946, Wellesley was astonished by a visitor. An impressive car drove up to the neat little house at 17 Roanoke Road. Dr. Christian Oftedal, a member of the Norwegian Parliament, approached the door, carrying flowers and a briefcase. It was the home of a frail, reserved 79-year-old lady whom neighbors only knew as someone who tended her garden of tulips and valley lilies, which she called "the Thicket."
Their view of her was about to change forever. For inside the briefcase, presented to Emily Greene Balch with a ceremonial bow and reading of a proclamation, was a gold medal. She had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Balch had first come to Wellesley in 1896, a brilliant girl whose classical Bryn Mawr education had been transformed by private study in Paris with a social reformer. She taught in the Economics and Sociology Department at Wellesley College, eventually becoming Chair in 1913.
It was clear, however, that her passion lay not in detached classrooms, but in making a hands-on difference. She introduced what was said to be the first course in social work anywhere. She took her students into Boston, into immigrants' slums, forcing them to confront the realities of inequality and social injustice in the world.
She and fellow professor Vida Scudder founded the Denison Settlement House in Boston. With close friend Jane Addams, in 1915 she organized the Women's International Committee for Permanent Peace, hailed as the first time "women had claimed consideration in questions of war and peace." President Woodrow Wilson said of their peace proposals, "I consider them by far the best-put out by anybody."
But for her "radical and pacifist views," she was one of 62 Americans placed on the Military Intelligence Bureau warning list. Proud of being outspoken and progressive, she devoted her energies to opposing the war. This fierce and unyielding commitment to pacifism, which she refused to temper or compromise, eventually led to her dismissal by the college.
In 1925, a Wellesley College friend offered to let her live in a little wing of her new house on Roanoke Road. Not one for many possessions, she settled in to the four small rooms which she would call home until her death in 1961, one day after her 94th birthday. She named it "Domichek," Bohemian for "the Little House."
For the rest of her life she studied, traveled, lectured, wrote, and worked for the causes that inflamed her. She founded the Women's Trade Union League, chaired the Consumers' League Committee which proposed the first minimum wage bill, and was lifelong Honorary President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
In November 1946, she was in Newton-Wellesley Hospital with severe bronchial asthma when she received a telegram: "The Nobel Committee has awarded to you "the Nobel Peace Prize for 1946."
The world was astounded. Overnight, Wellesley became the focus of international scrutiny. Not a politician or a government representative, only the second woman to receive this ultimate accolade, Balch was honored as the devoted and relentless spokesperson for the private citizen whose heart dreams of peace. Since she was too ill to travel to Oslo, the prize came to her. She turned over all the award money to her peace group.
From her Wellesley home, even in the midst of the worst of war, she wrote of the optimism she would never surrender: "Human nature seems to me like the Alps. The depths are profound, black as night and terrifying, but the heights are equally real, uplifted in the sunshine."
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2) The Lost Rinker Files: Collectibles on eBay, Part II
Background: (recapped from last issue): An amateur scientist recently discovered some buried treasure that it was thought had been lost to the annals of mankind forever. I'm talking about, of course, The Lost Rinker Files, my notes from Harry Rinker's speech at eBay Live 2005 (I think it was 2005). After looking in the logical places, such as the credenza and project box in my office, the scientist (i.e. yours truly) discovered these notes in the stack of books inside the nightstand. I think it was the nightstand. Anyway.
Harry Rinker, radio host and collectibles expert, and host of HGTV's erstwhile Collector Inspector show, gave a great speech entitled "Collectibles on eBay." Here is my attempt at giving you the highlights, bearing in mind there may be mistakes:
Collectibles on eBay, Part II
At the end of our last installment, Harry told us that today, less than 30% of what we sell goes to collectors. Who does the rest go to?
Decorators, and the general public.
It's a changing market. Here's a brief chronology:
1950 - 1980 - there was a small collecting community originally. You couldn't get a daily fix. Collecting is an addiction -- it's worse than drugs or alcohol, Harry tells us.
An antique was defined as "something that was 100 years old or older."
Things changed in the 1980s. Not because of ebay (after all, there was no eBay yet), but because America became collectibles-conscious. In the 1980s, the record for [a] furniture [sale] was [around] $300K.
Now: pieces of toast sell -- it's new!
The media started touting good news stories. The mothers of the world stopped throwing things out. Now, they go rent a shed. All of the sudden, people began to realize these things have value.
In the mid-1980s, Harry wrote the Warman's Collectibles Price Guide.
A lot of collectible categories came out of the closet.
["Who's Hopalong Cassidy? My father told me he played football for Ohio State."]
"You know why I do this? he asked. It never allows me to grow up."
New collectors are "me-focused" and demand instant gratification. eBay is perfect for them.
"At least 3 auctions will be closing while I'm here, and if there is a God, I will get them all."
The question for younger people may be, "Were you around before eBay?"
But the question for older people is, "Do you remember Antique Mall?"
Consignment shops, etc., greatly increased [peoples'] ability to shop daily.
A lot of antiques focused on post-45 stuff.
There were monthly and weekly flea markets, too. But "we took a hit in the late 1908s." It sent a strong message -- there is a price at which each antique or collectible won't sell.
"eBay is responsible for establishing those price levels."
We got new technology -- the cell phone. The impact of the auction level -- the auctioneer could get on a cell phone and call bidders.
And then something came...the "bane of existence..something responsible for dumping more ****, crap, and junk..."
What was this thing? Stay tuned for the next installment of...The Rinker Files!
3) Goo Gone, Baby, Gone
by Thom Downing
The more I delve into the yard sale world, the more I'm finding out how certain tools make my buying and selling life that much easier. For example, when crawling around unfamiliar streets, my GPS gets me to more yard sales more quickly than ever before. And when confronted with piles of books, a price scanner and PDA help me glean the terrific from the trash. However, in addition to my Blue-tooth enhanced, "batteries required" toys, there's one low-tech "tool" that I use practically every day that never fails to rock my world. I speak of the magnificent, magical potion known as Goo Gone.
Now I am aware that aside from Home Shopping Network spokesmodels and late night infomercial shills it's a bit odd for a guy to go around extolling the virtues of a cleaning product. That said, this is no run-of-mill, middle-of-aisle, squirt-on cleanser emblazoned with a happy-go-lucky cartoon scrubber cheerfully spinning through the tub. Goo Gone is a bad-a**, hard core combination of "Citrus Power and scientific technology designed to eliminate the very toughest problems." Do you hear that, punks?! The very TOUGHEST problems! Don't even think about trying to use Goo Gone on some weak-kneed little stain or spill that can be contained with a bottle of Windex and a napkin. Goo Gone laughs in the face of these challenges. "Ha HA," it says. As a matter of fact, don't even ask Goo Gone for help in these situations because it will merely scowl and stare you down with a withering look of di-stain.
However, if you have a truly legitimate need, Goo Gone can be your best friend. What can it do for you? Let's go to the propaganda: "Goo Gone safely removes gum, tar, crayon, fresh paint, tree sap, oil and grease, blood, ink, asphalt, scuff marks, tape and tape residue, makeup, lipstick and mascara, adhesives, candle wax, kitchen grease, shoe polish, soap scum, bumper stickers, duct tape, and bicycle chain grease." Reading over this list you'll see that not only does Goo Gone make for a great cleaning product, but it's also the go-to choice for those interested in eliminating evidence from the scene of any number of crimes. And if keeping you out of the slammer wasn't enough, Goo Gone "has minimal impact on our environment and is safe to use on virtually any surface, including: carpets, upholstery, clothing, tile, glass, grills, appliances, vinyl, wood, draperies, autos, boats and fiberglass." It's almost enough to bring a tear to Al Gore's eye.
If a little epiphany bell hasn't already rung for you, the news flash is that this product can help notch up the quality of used items so that you can get more for them on resale. It's not going to restore your flea market Monet, but there are a lot of situations in which it can be very useful:
- Removing shelf wear from glossy book jackets. I've been amazed at how much grime comes off and how much better the jacket will look afterwards.
The oil in the product will also leave the cover with a bit of a shine. Kids' toys can benefit from a rub down, too. (Note: don't use Goo Gone on absorbent or porous surfaces which will simply soak up the liquid.)
- Eliminating yard sale sticker or price tag residue. It takes a bit of patience and rubbing, but stickers, tags and all kinds of tape will dissolve and wipe away with GG.
- Erasing crayon marks. I've made crayon marks on toys and furniture first cry and then vanish using nothing but Goo Gone and a bit of Sheer Will (not available in stores).
- Vanquishing schmutz ["a particularly foul or repulsive matter such as animal waste or the fuzzy stuff found growing in the jar way at the back of the fridge," per wikipedia] from small appliances, electronics and a host of other items. Used on a cotton swab, I've been able to clean out not only nooks, but crannies as well.
- Purging allegedly "permanent" ink marker. Again using the Goo Gone/Sheer Will combo, I've been able to remove permanent ink writing from CD jewel cases and plastic tool handles.
To get the most out of this miraculous Goo (which in all honesty is more liquid than actual goo), put a small amount on a rag or paper towel and then wipe down the item in question. One note: when removing labels or stickers it may help to first put the Goo Gone directly on the label first. Let it soak in for a moment before starting to rub and don't be afraid to use you fingernail to help in the effort. Goo Gone does have a bit of a lingering odor, but I've found that leaving the item sitting in a well-ventilated room overnight has always seemed to make it disappear.
If at this point you have decided that you must have this product in your life, you can look for Goo Gone at many grocery stores, some hardware stores and for reasons I've never quite understood, at The Container Store.
For more cleaning tips and a whole range of additional Goo Gone products (including a "Sticker Lifter" kit, glue gun cleaner and garage floor stain remover), surf on over to the Goo Gone website at http://www.magicamerican.com.
Thom Downing (email@example.com) was not coerced into writing this ode to Goo Gone by the manufacturers of said product nor has he received any compensation from the company for singing its praises. Although truth be told, he wouldn't turn down a big ol' Goo Gone gift basket if it was sent to him.
4) Reader Mail: Is What Sells on eBay for What in Print?
A reader named Laura wrote me the other day after losing the What Sells ebook on her hard drive (this happens more than I'd like, no doubt due to the vagaries of Windows and how it chooses to download things in random and cruelly obscure directories). She also asked another question:
Is this book available in print? Or do I just print it myself?
It looks very interesting and I want to carry it with me to read while I'm waiting during the day. Again, thanks so much for your kindness.
Have a great day & weekend!
It's not available in print now..I may consider making it POD at some point, but prices change and I need to keep updating it annually if not more often, so I'm not sure it would be worth it. Something to think about tho. You can, of course, always print it out and take it with you. Not ideal, but that's what I do with the ebooks I buy. :)
Enjoy! Thanks again,
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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. Most of my ebooks are now available via the website's bookstore at www.yardsalers.net/bookstore. Any others you have questions about, 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?
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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.]
- How to Spot Fakes: email me!
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 TypePad Blog, "Bidbits"
You can also check out my typepad blog, "bidbits": bidbits
Do you have your copy of Julia's book, eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks?
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Copyright 2007 Julia L. Wilkinson
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Yard Salers, www.yardsalers.net
Publisher, Julia Wilkinson, author of the award-winning "eBay Price Guide." and "What Sells on eBay for What"
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