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ISSUE 3: November 25, 2002

Yard Salers and eBayers: Issue 3! 1.3 - Nov. 25, 2002

Greetings all!

EBay has certainly attracted a lot of media attention recently. From the article in Fortune (which we'll be talking more about later), to the 60 minutes piece a lot of folks have been talking about, to ebay's own holiday ads, the 'United States of eBay' (as Newsweek put it not too long ago) is as busy as ever bidding, listing and selling.

You're Still the Best Readers

We have a lot to talk about in this issue, so let's get right to it. As always, I want to thank all of you for subscribing, and also mention how much I enjoy hearing from you. I have received more letters from several of you and I'll be again sharing some of our exchanges in the 'Reader Mail' section.


On a Personal Note


I wanted to get this newsletter out sooner, but we had an unexpected death in the family. My husband's older brother, a respected doctor, collapsed of a heart attack while jogging. He was only 41. We hadn't known he'd had any serious heart issues, though some heart disease ran in the family. But we learned he'd been complaining of chest pains for a few months. So, to be brief, if you or any of your loved ones have similar pains, don't wait! Get it checked out. Get a stress test, and body scan, if possible.

**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!). **

Good health and happiness to you all, and happy hunting!


In This Issue:

1) Powersellers and Profits: Does Big Money mean No Time?

2) Flipping the Model: Getting Items Come to You, Instead of the Other Way Around

3) It's Selling for *How Much*? Curious Big Ticket Items on eBay

4) More Thoughts on Brands

5) The Little Matchstick Whirl: What's Hot, and How the Heck do You Find Out?

6) Reader Mail

7) Next eBook: Wholesalers? What Do You Want to See?



1) Powersellers and Profits: Does Big Money mean No Time?


There have been some interesting articles lately about eBay and powersellers. One guy in particular has gotten a lot of attention. He's Jay Senese, and he and his wife Marie run the highest-volume business on eBay, selling CD's. (They call the business 1 Cent CD, giving you an idea how tight their profit margins are).

Jay makes a six figure income; he won't say how much, but says it's much less than the $250,000 he made in his former life as a stockbroker. OK, not bad, huh? Except when you start to read more about the Seneses' lifestyle.

The CDs consume their home -- they're all over their living room table and on the floor. They can't remember when they last took a real vacation. Their young son helps them sort and handle the CD's. Marie says, "They asked my son in the first grade what he does at home and he said, 'I help my mom sort CDs and put them in trays,' It's one of his earlier memories."

You can read the article in the LA Times in full at:


There's also a great article about him and some other eBay powersellers from Fortune magazine at:


I don't know about you, but I don't call that progress. To me, that lifestyle would not be worth the money, not that $100,000 is a huge amount of money these days anyway (depending on where you live, of course. I happen to live in the Washington, D.C. area, one of the most expensive parts of the country). We might as well go back to an agrarian economy where man and woman slaved away in the fields and at washboards from sunup to sundown. Hasn't technology brought us more leisure time? Not necessarily. But I maintain the optimistic notion that it can.

My dream for you and me is that we make good money off eBay and similar venues with not very much time; in fact, with as little time as possible. To me, eBay is fun: turning stuff you no longer want into cash; stalking that surprise great find at a thrift store, yard or estate sale; watching your auctions each week and getting psyched when they get bid on, or better, bid up.

Still, there are some interesting things to learn from the Seneses. Jay turned what was his passion: music and collecting CD's: into a profitable business. They have a gimmick -- 1 Cent CD -- the auctions all start at a penny, which attracts a lot of attention for the most part. (Of course, they do run the risk that the auction will close at a penny, and they will be out listing and other fees! But that usually doesn't happen).

He's gotten a method of acquiring inventory that works for him: 1) starting with his own huge CD collection which he no longer uses (and, in fact, now that CD burning technology is available, a lot of folks are simply burning all the songs they like onto blank CDs, then reselling their used store-bought CDs online or at yard sales); and 2) making bulk deals with local stores for acquiring their unsold or unwanted CD inventory for a cheap wholesale price.

I'll continue to seek and research powersellers, and when we find some we can learn from, we'll analyze their businesses. And if they have time to kick back, we'll probably emulate them!


2) Flipping the Model: Getting Items Come to You, Instead of the Other Way



There are a lot of ebooks out there (including mine). Maybe too many. The key is in finding the ones that are worthwhile or not. I of course like to think that my own ebooks are among those that are! But I also like to read other ebooks, both to check out the competition and to learn from others' experiences.

I've read many ebooks about auctions and eBay and not all of them were IMHO worth the price. But there's one in particular that I can feel I can recommend to you, and I'd like to discuss some of its ideas here.

It's by a guy named Terry Gibbs, and he offers a lot of good, hard-earned, down-to-earth advice. He deals mainly in vintage toy trains, but his advice could apply to any category of stuff. The central idea behind Terry's ebook is that rather than fighting the crowds at estate sales and thrift stores, etc., to get your inventory, you get the inventory to come to you. You do that by doing things like placing ads in your local papers; things like 'Top dollar paid for your old XXX.' Terry walks you through all the different techniques he's tried and what works for him. There's a link to it below, if you want to check it out:


If I did that right, you should get Terry’s page, and if you should decide to order, he should get word that the referral came from my newsletter, and I should get some kind of percentage of the sale. This is the whole ‘affiliate’ idea you may have been hearing about. I’ve seen a lot of claims out there about affiliate programs and the big sums of money they’re supposedly making people, but I am going to remain skeptical until I find out more. I’ll tell you all about what I discover, of course, so you can determine if you want to try to make money on your own using the whole affiliate concept.

Some sites and ebooks shout out at you that you can MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS by SELLING OTHER PEOPLE'S PRODUCTS while SITTING ON YOUR COUCH CRAMMING CHEESE COMBOS INTO YOUR MOUTH (here I am being facetious). It doesn't make sense to me that you could make a lot of money selling other people's products; it's more likely other people can make a decent amount of money if they have a LOT of people selling THEIR products.

In fact, one successful ebook author I talked to said that he was making most of his money from his affiliate sales...i.e., from all the various people out their selling *his* ebooks. But, each individual affiliate wasn't making a whole lot from their cuts of his sales; maybe they'd make around $30/month.

OK, so Terry is my first experiment with this; I'll keep you posted as to how it goes! I want to stress again that I wouldn't recommend a product or ebook (or give you an affiliate link to click on) to you, my readers, unless I'd reviewed it myself and felt it was a great value for you.


3) It's Selling for *How Much*? Curious Big-Ticket Items on eBay


There has been some fun discussion on some of the message boards I've been hanging out on. (Some of you may or may not know that I used to work for AOL, and starting back when it wasn't even named that yet, so I've theoretically been hanging out on message boards a long time).

At any rate, some people were kicking around links to auctions that are interesting and/or outrageous.

*** Anyone for a Beer? And Can I Move Into Your Attic?

A recent auction on eBay for a can of "CLIPPER PALE" BEER (from 1941) went on eBay for; drumroll please; $19,299.99!

The seller says, 'It has always been indoors, accidentally stored in the rafters of my old building, where I have found many treasures.' Hey; can I move

into your old building?? Really; you'll hardly notice I'm there! This takes me back to days of yore: the seventies, when my brother and I actually went combing old dumps in the area (dumps that were no longer being used as dumps, that is; vintage dumps, if you will), looking for buried and partially buried old beer cans.

He had quite a collection; cone tops, classic flat tops, you name it; but after going into the army, he left the stash in my mom's attic, and she sold the whole kit 'n' caboodle at a yard sale before moving. I shudder to think the small fortune that was sold for a song that day. Ah well. (If you know of any old dumps in your area, hey, check 'em out!) (My husband keeps saying my eBay obsession is going to lead him to find me searching in a dumpster one day).


Eminem; 8 mile or 18 Mill for His Old House?

(OK, forgive me; I was really reaching for a creative headline there).

Yes, the famous rapper's erstwhile Detroit home; a modest cottage by any other name..with 18 days left to go, is currently going for; are you ready for this? $11,001,200.00!!!!!! And the auction isn't even over, folks! I recommend checking this one out just to say you've seen it:


Here's a quote from the description:

'This house on Timken in Warren was the former residence of Eminem, and had been in his family for over 50 years. It's a cool house in a great neighborhood just north of Detroit. It's on a quiet, tree-lined street, conveniently located near major freeways. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, some hardwood floors, structurally sound. All major appliances included. Additional pictures and information are available at:'

Let's home Mr. Em 'cleaned out his closet' before moving out of that 'crib,' or we'll no doubt be seeing some other blasts from his past online;


4) More Thoughts on Brands


A seller posted the other day on the boards asking why she had no bids on her auctions. I took a look at her stuff; cute, nice, boutique frilly girls clothes; and yep, no bids. What gives? She didn't have any major brand names in there. I can't say 100% that's what was doing it, but I'm convinced more and more that people look for items based on brand search. (Maybe when they really have a good chunk of time, they'll browse, but who among us gets big chunks of time that often?).

Just something to think about as you list stuff this season.


5) The Little Matchstick Whirl: What's Hot, and How the Heck do You Find Out?


I've become fascinated with the 'little matchstick' icon that appears next to items that become 'hot' on eBay; as in over 30 bids. (Why 30? I don't know. Maybe it's high enough that an item has to be really popular before getting that many, making it extra-special).

We were talking about it in one of the forums, and it seems that you only see the little flaming matchstick when doing a 'browse' to list items; it doesn't seem to come up if you call up that same item in a search.

Why do we care? Well, I thought I might try to get some info on the items that were hot to share with you all. If and when I do, you can be sure it will come your way.

(I bid on one hot item that someone posted on the board; a bag of raw rubies that you can sift thru looking for nice specimens; thought it would be fun for my daughter to get for Christmas; she likes gems and minerals, and her birthstone is ruby).

Looking for a hot toy to sell this season? Two Words: Yu-Gi-Oh. Oh wait, that's three words. My daughter is all about these cards. And the Washington Post tells us toy manufacturers are now using eBay as a way of testing demand for their items.


6) Reader Mail


I've had some interesting reader mail, as usual. Every reader who writes me is interesting. I guess we're all so darn interesting because of the cool collecting we do; or is it the other way around? At any rate, remember Christine from the last issue, who had that great tip about including extra information with your listing? She's got some news. I'll let her share it:


Hi Julia!

I finally got my site up and running! I'd be grateful if you could pop it into the next newsletter ... which, btw, is fabulous!

- Christine

By the Sea Store wants to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. We've put together a collection of fabulous Thanksgiving recipes and simple decorating ideas and hope that you'll visit www.by-the-sea-store.com to get inspired

If you like our site, please let us know; and pass it along to friends and family.

Please check back soon for December holiday ideas.

Happy Holidays,


The BEST Thanksgiving Recipes and Easy Decorating Hints at www.by-the-sea-store.com


Thanks, Christine! (Gosh, I' m blushing that you like the newsletter so much!) ' Any others of you launching new sites, redesigns, or have other news to share? How about a very special item you'll be putting up for auction? Drop me a line! I'll do my best to put it in the next issue.


I got another email from a nice gentleman who used to work for Christie's (and still works for them in some capacity). I forgot to ask him if I could use his name, so I'll just rephrase his question. I'd actually like to pick his brain for an article for a future issue of the newsletter re: his experience at Christie's; we'll see how that goes.

He says he has a decent amount of 1980s & 1990s auction catalogues in various categories, & would like to find some nice way to get rid of them & perhaps sell them.

I suggested he might want to look at some of the specialty auction sites before considering eBay. 'If u do one or more on eBay, I recommend checking recent similar closed auctions (if any) and see what they brought. Or test one with a high reserve, if you don't want to sell it under what you think it's worth,' I wrote.

I did come across one web site which I think might be worth checking out for you: http://www.ephemerarts.com/catalogs.htm.


Another reader was looking for a good place to sell a collection of specialized books and how to get top dollar. I suggested he scope out, among other things, the book forum on AuctionBytes (an excellent site and resource, btw), at http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/index.php (click on the Books forum). It's run by Craig Stark, who really knows his stuff.


7) Next eBook: Wholesalers? What Do You Want to See?


OK, so I must confess: I'm working on a new ebook, and I'm pretty excited about it. But since I'm superstitious about current projects, I won't say what it is yet; but I want to ask you about another idea I have for a special report, and I' d love your opinion. I' ve gotten a lot of questions about wholesalers; which are any good? Are any any good? How do you find them? So I' m considering taking that on, though I think it will be a huge project.

Personally, I' m skeptical of wholesalers. And it's difficult to research since, if a powerseller finds a great one, they aren't going to want to give away their secret. But if I hear from enough of you that you'd find it valuable, I'll take it on.

What else would you like to see in the ebook world? Let me know! (And, if you have an idea for your own ebook, I heartily recommend you write it! But, that's a whole 'nother topic for another day, as my ninth grade social studies teacher used to say).


But Julia, you ask, what about yard sales? Estate sales? Haven't you been to many? Sad to say I haven't been to many due to various reasons, one being the aforementioned death in the family; another being that earlier this month there just haven't been many good ones.

I did, however, go to one bonanza event: the National Press Club annual Book Fair. Here they gather up all sorts of illustrious authors in one room, and you go around getting any of their books you want signed (they make you buy them on the way out, of course).

But what a great way to get a bunch of signed first editions, to keep, collect, or sell off at a later date! I got books signed by Chris Matthews, Christopher Hitchens, Tom Shales, George Pelecanos, Caspar Weinberger, George Will, and many more! (OK so there were some liberals there too. I almost got a book signed by Dick Morris, but decided the parents at my daughter's school, the auction for which I was acquiring many of the books, would be too embarrassed to bid on it).

If you're into books, check out your own paper for listings of hot authors coming to town. There's gold in them thar quills.


Enough of my bad puns, you say? Stay healthy and happy. Be safe through the holidays; while remembering to enjoy them! See you next month.

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 juliawilk@aol.com.]

New eBooks:

-- Making Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay: http://www.aolmemorabilia.com/clkslcat.html

- 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).

Julia Classic:

What Sells on eBay for What:


My Life at AOL (available at amazon.com and 1stbooks.com)


Copyright 2002 Julia L. Wilkinson


Unsubscribe: Just email Julia at juliawilk@aol.com until she masters this Topica newsletter software.

[technical note: because I am having problems with Topica at the moment, I am publishing this issue via simple email. Future issues should be sent out via a publishing program, however].



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