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ISSUE 75: Yard Salers Issue 75: Nov./Dec. 2011: Becoming Expert in Your Niche, Holiday Push, Fabulous Flips Contest Finds

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Hello, all!

Well by one day after Halloween the orange in the stores had been replaced by holiday red. Like you, no doubt, I am pushing myself to list, list, list so my stuff will be up when people start opening their wallets and buying for the holiday season.
I have already noticed a slight uptick in sales. And I have also noticed a continuation in the trend where the kind of stuff I used to sell on eBay I can increasingly sell on amazon, where I can list it so much faster. Not everything, of course; eBay is still the big yard sale in the cloud, even with all its attempts at amazonification.
For example, I recently sold an Archie comic - "Archie's Christmas Stocking" (which shows you those holiday sales are already trickling in) - the kind of thing I would only have thought to sell on eBay a while back. I also finally sold one of my beloved Naval Academy reunion yearbooks - "The Golden Lucky Bag" - to a lovely gentleman in Bavaria. And, I sold a Victoria's Secret swimsuit catalog..one that wasn't even in the greatest of shapes, but I got $29 for it probably because whoever bought it was a big fan of Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen, who was on the cover in one of the skimpiest black one-pieces I have ever seen. It always feels good to sell something you get for free in the mail!

(If you're interested in finding out more about making money selling catalogs and which ones sell for the most, do check out my ebook in the Yard Salers bookstore at http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp.)
eBay's got all kinds of stuff cooking for the holidays..but one thing sellers may be wondering about is if and how their new shopping cart will help (or hurt, or do nothing to) sales. I wrote about it for EcommerceBytes: Kicking the Tires of eBay's New Shopping Cart. So check it out if you are interested.
EcommerceBytes.com (formerly known as AuctionBytes.com, but both urls work) also has all sorts of coverage about what eBay and other sites are doing for holiday promotions.
Also, a shout out to reader and flips goddess Amy Kagey, who had a piece about a Benoit Perfume bottle published in Antique Trader. (Amy, or any other reader, if you have a photo or pdf of the piece, pls. let me know..I'd like to show it, or some of it, in the next issue!).
Profit by Selling Toys This Season! Jenni Hunt shows you which ones are red-hot and where to find them! You can buy her Silver level of membership for only $29:
<A HREF="http://wahmcart.com/x.php?adminid=22&id=2659&pid=8955">Click Here!</A>
There is a wonderful new book by one of the eBay gurus and Internet Marketers I most admire, Jim Cockrum. His new book, FREE Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business Online and Off is now out at bookstores and on amazon and bn.com. A link is below:
If you for some reason cannot see that link, go here:
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1118034716/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=aoldiskandmem-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=1118034716">Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off</a>
(The above link is for my affiliate page on amazon; you can of course buy the book directly on amazon or bn.com, from a physical bookstore, or however you prefer).
But even if you don't buy his book, I urge you to sign up for his FREE newsletter, at http://www.jimcockrum.com/blog/pages/free-newsletter/. Some of the best advice out there from someone making a nice living selling on the Internet (and off!).
The latest Flips contest is in this issue. We'll be doing another cash prize of $50 for the next contest, and runnerups winning free copies of my new ebook, which I really think is my best: "Flip It Again," http://www.yardsalers.net/frequent_flips_sales.asp
As a reminder, the Yard Salers' Facebook group is at  http://www.facebook.com/groups/27871336031. Non-facebookers, still working on adding a non-facebook message board to the YardSalers.net site soon.

Also, don't forget to share those Flops. The really ugly pig cookie jar missing its lid yearns to leave my backyard. Post them on the Facebook group and I'll be sure to include them in the next issue, or email them directly to me at juliawilk@aol.com.
Can you really find Masters Augusta National green golf shirts to sell? You can! I have already found two. For more insider info on which golf shirts sell the best and the best places to find them, I recommend Suzanne Arant Wells's  ebook, The Golf Shirt Bible. Only $19.95. Check it out, if you want, via my affiliate link below:
If the above link does not work, try copying the following into your browser:
This is now our fourth issue in the new email system, AWeber. If you have any problems or questions about links in the newsletter, or other issues, feel free to email me at juliawilk@aol.com.
OK, now without further ado, let's get to the rest of this issue! 
Flip it for big bucks:  http://bigbucksflips.com/
Feature Article: Becoming Expert in Your Niche

I've been reading the most amazing book. It's called "A Rare Book Saga," and I have to give credit to Craig Stark of bookthink.com for mentioning it in one of his recent newsletters. It's the story of one H.P. Kraus, who was a legendary rare/antiquarian book seller throughout most of the 20th century.

There are a lot of gems within this book, including his amazing story of surviving both the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps during the early years of World War II. I continue to be awed by the stories of how people managed to live through these pits of Hell. One strategy Kraus employed was almost comical. He and his working partner carried the same tree branch up and down a hill all day long, to give the appearance they were working (they bribed their greedy commanding officer to get away with it).

But aside from his many captivating stories, most about tracking down, buying and selling very old books and incunabula, I feel I learned a lot about the high-end book trade. The moral of the story? Whatever your niche is, find out who is the best at it and read their memoirs (if any exist); study what they do, and build a good reference library.

Just a few things I learned from Kraus's adventures in the trade:

- One of his healthiest source of sales in the beginning of his career was from periodicals. So, if, for example, you sell books, don't necessarily neglect this tangential type of product (or if you sell some other type of product, look for other goods tangential to those).

- Finding the right person or people to sell to can be crucial. His first experience with this was his first job as a salesman, before World War II, selling books for Wasmuth Verlag of Berlin, "a large publisher of German art books." (Incidentally, German-language books in general and especially art books have sold very well for me...I usually find them at library sales).

He suggested selling books to Egypt, the only territory Wasmuth did not have covered. While on his way, the Bucharest salesman fell ill, so he tried to pinch-hit for him. He went from house to house in Bucharest, knocking on customers' doors, but they couldn't understand his "halting French" and he soon ran out of money. Crying in his hotel's lobby, the night concierge, a Polish Jew [who presumably spoke Yiddish] asked him what was the matter, and he poured out his tale of trying to sell architectural books to no avail. The man told him to call on Alleja Kissilev, the city's most famous architect, and his address. He did, and Kissilev bought every book from him, in two copies.

This launched Kraus's career of buying from the right people, selling to the right people, all at the right time. And he even bought back some of the books he sold to wealthy collectors, only to turn them around and sell them at a later date for an even bigger profit than he made from them the first time around.

His great love was illuminated manuscripts (per wikipedia, these are "manuscript[s] in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders (marginalia) and miniature illustrations."). Generally these are very old. But if he made a trip to potentially buy items about which he did not have much knowledge, he'd often take a partner or friend with that specialized knowledge to help him out.

- Another thing I learned is the importance of having a good reference library. Kraus's was so famous, it was actually sold in a Sotheby's auction, "The Celebrated Reference Library of H.P. Kraus." I bought a copy of this catalog for my own reference library.

Other reference works I have found immensely helpful include:

- Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide (Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide) 
(This is put out every year, and the latest version is quite expensive; around $219 on amazon.com). But...you can buy a copy that is several years old or so, for a lot less, and it will still have most of the artists referenced, and recent prices for their sold worlks.
Here's a link to the most recent one on amazon; I do not think the 2011/2012 one is out yet:
Among the other books and reference resources I consult include Kovel's guides, eBay specialist forums, and other specialty collectors' sites.
So make a choice to keep learning about your specialty topic(s). It can pay off handsomely. And don't forget to keep your eye out for reference books when you're out at estate and yard sales..you can get them a lot cheaper that way!
Holiday Push: Quick Tips

As we're already knee-deep in the holiday season, here are a few quick tips:
- Keep selling up to and after Christmas and New Year's.  There's been some discussion about how late is too late to sell for the holidays, up to Christmas. I said I sell into Christmas and beyond, as people tend to descend en masse online, gift cards in hand, once the holidays are over. And others say they sell holiday-related stuff all year! 
- If you haven't organized your inventory very well, it's worth it to take a morning and get everything sorted an alphabetized, if possible. I've been doing this with my boxed books, and doing it a la H.P. Kraus, taking different chunks of the alphabet at a time. E.g., organize your A-H books, I-M, N-Q, etc. Or you can alphabetize one box (or shelf), then two together, then three, etc., until you are done.
- If you have large swaths of unlisted merchandise, put like items together and do a big photo session of each type of thing at one time. When you are done with the photo sessions, then do a batch listing session. This will keep you from switching around too much between tasks, selling categories, etc. 
For example, I plan to take one morning to photograph all the remaining jewelry inventory I'd like to sell this season, then the purses, etc. On another morning, I will list them.
- Make sure you have enough shipping supplies now, so you're not stuck running to the store last minute for a rush order. And, do as much as you can online! I don't even go to the post office for international orders anymore; I use Endicia.com.
- Try to take time and enjoy the season, even as you may be rushing around! 

Flips Contest: Embalming Book

Beloved reader Marilyn wrote in about a particularly unusual  find. I put our whole exchange below, in case you are interested.
Embalming Book Brings Well-Preserved Profits
Hi Julia,
I picked up a book at a local thrift store for .99.  I checked what this title was listed for on Amazon & was pleasantly surprised to find the book was priced for $115-150.  I listed mine For $110.00. It sold within the month. The book, "The Principles and Practice of  Embalming." The stranger the better when selling books.
I have about 40 books listed on Amazon. I usually sell about one a month, but in Sept. I sold three for about  $180. Another good Amazon flip was a paperback book by Barbara Walters printed in the '70's. I think that the title was "How To Talk To Anyone About Anything", or something close. It sold for $35.00. A dollar or less is usually what I pay for books.

Thought that I would share a good flip with you.

The books that are not worth me listing them either go in a booth that I have in a local antiques co-op or a yard sale. I do not understand how anyone can sell a book for .01 or .99. It isn't worth a trip to the Post Office.
Still having fun,

Hi Marilyn!
How have you been? Wow! Now that is a niche! A morbid niche, but hey, there's a need for it out there! Just curious, did it have any drawn illustrations, or photos, or both?
Thanks so much for sharing. Esp. interesting you found it at a thrift store. I've been finding fewer and fewer good books there, but you never know. Oh hey, I know that Barbara Walters book! In fact, I bought it myself at a yard sale or such, for myself, because I used to do interviews for the Washington Post magazine.
Totally agree w/ you about the $0.01 - 0.99 cent books. I don't get why people bother w/  those...maybe they do huge volume and eke out profits in shipping? Not for me.
40 books on amazon is pretty good. If you list more, you will most likely have more sales. And have you tried FBA at all..fulfillment by amazon? That can help sales, if you're willing to ship the books to them.
I just put most of my packages outside my house and my mail carrier picks them up.
Well thanks again for the flip! 
Thanks and many happy sales to you!

The embalming book was illustrated with both drawings & photos. 
When the Barbara Walters book sold, I wasn't sure where I had put it. I was just going to say that it was no longer available, but after checking the listing price, I got busy & located it. I now have the Amazon books organized a little better.
I live in a rural area. I hate to ask my mail carrier to walk to the porch for one package.
I just asked to join your facebook page. The other members have already given me some good tips just reading their comments.


Hi Marilyn,

Wow..that must have been interesting! In a morbid curiosity sort of way. But, it's all part of the circle of life (and death), something that hit home for me this past year with my mother dying in my own home. But, I think it's nice in  a way to be able to "go" at home. Who knows how I'll feel when that time comes!

OK, sorry to get morbid on you! I didn't think of that, about how mail carriers deal w/ packages in rural areas. Good point. It's sad to see the postal service struggling; I hope they make it. I like  Saturday delivery but I'd be willing to give it up to see the USPS survive. 

All right, probably "too much information"! Thanks again for the flip, and it will be in the next  newsletter.



McCall's Pooh Pattern Sews Up a Tidy Sum 

Hi Julia, thanks again for such great content in your newsletter, I so enjoy seeing the pictures and stories that make what we do so much fun! My recent flip was a McCall's pattern from 1965 showing patterns for the original Pooh, Tigger, Roo etc.
The pattern was never used but the package was a little rough as you will see in the picture. The original cost of the pattern in 1965 was 50 cents and I paid 25 cents at a yard sale 46 years later!

I started the auction at $6.99, it received 17 bids and sold for $51.00 much to my surprise! Someone said that it's some special anniversary for Pooh but I did not verify. How fun is that! No work no fuss and a fabulous profit margin.
Well, until next time, stay cool and may the auction goddess be kind!
Hey Deb!

How goes? Great to hear from you! Thanks so much...so glad u enjoy it!

Wow...a Pooh pattern flip..amazing! That's a serious profit margin..love it. I come across patterns frequently at estate sales but am not sure what is worth grabbing. Perhaps these iconic characters are the safest bet. 

Happy selling

Now we have some entries that came in via the Yard Salers Facebook group, in case you missed them. We're going to do a quick roundup of those:
I have a flip! At the end of an estate sale I scored a bunch of free things and was allowed to look in a kitchen pantry that hadn't been emptied yet. The lady wanted me to give her $5 for everything I found! (She was tired). I gave her more but I still made $730 total so far from everything! Here's the latest sale.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/ eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270 819195204
Vtg Le Creuset Enzo Mari La Mama #26 Round French Oven Dutch Burnt Orange 1970s in Collectibles , Kitchen Home , Kitchenware , Cookware , Cast Iron |eBay
Only managed to hit a couple of sales on Friday. I remembered Julia mentioning in a post that architecture books did well when I came across these. 
The first book --"New Architecture San Francisco" I wasn't too sure about. A general overview of a general subject of a major city usually signifies a dud--generally. The contents however listed the individual architects who did the work, so I though...t "well...maaaybe".For a buck it was worth a gamble. Alas, a dud it was. 
HOWEVER, the other book was devoted to just one architect-- Mario Botta. Specificity wins. Cheapest on Amazon is $53.00 in Acceptable condition. Cheapest on Abe.com is $70.00 There's no Mario Botta books on Ebay where I'll be listing it. A dollar well spent. :)
Anyways...thanks for the tip and my newly acquired taste for architecture :)
Amy's find below clocked in 22 bids and closed at $710...whew!
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/ eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&ite m=320783257398

I wrote the article for the Home Run Guide on these figurines and this one sold for great money last night!
Florence Ceramics Grandmother and I Figurine Pasadena California Pottery MINT in Pottery Glass , Pottery China , China Dinnerware , Other Figurines |eBay

Amy has yet another one, too...Amy is on fire in this issue! This one went for $611 with 35 bids!

Amy Alexander Kagey http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/ eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =220888769451&ssPageName=S TRK%3AMESE%3AIT
Madame Alexander 1957 Cissy Doll in Blue Ball Gown & Fur Stole in Dolls Bears , Dolls , By Brand, Company, Character , Madame Alexander , Vintage Pre-1973 , 1948-59 |eBay

OK, now it's time for our $50 cash winner and our almost-winners, who really are winners too! Marilyn wins the $50 cash prize for her very unusual embalming book find. Marilyn, please email me your PayPal id when you get a chance.
And everyone else -- Deb, Shannon, Christopher, and Amy -- wins the free ebook of their choice, including my latest, "Flip It Again," (available at http://www.yardsalers.net/frequent_flips_sales.asp.). Just email me at juliawilk@aol.com and let me know which one you would want.
No flops in this issue, though a Star Trek board game I bought at a recent yard sale would qualify. Remember to send in those duds too...they're good for a laugh, and the worst one wins a prize, too!
Reader Mail

The below piece of email came to me from a reader in the UK, Andrew. (Yes, Virginia, we have readers in different parts of the world!). I had heard from other Brits that their version of "yard sales" was "car boot sales," so thought the below distinction would be interesting.

Yard Sales vs. Garage Sales Vs. Car Boot Sales

Here in the UK we call them GARAGE SALES but not Yard Sales. They are not popular. Most folk would go to a CAR BOOT SALE to sell their stuff in a public place rather than than have the world invade their home Look forward to seeing the articles - I have always enjoyed reading your pieces. Always good to learn what the USA is doing in the small business arena.
  Thanks, Andrew! Hey, all you over there in the UK, would love to see photos of these legendary "car boot sales" to share with other Yard Salers. If you have any, or take any in the near future, please send them to me! 
And finally, this from Michelle of our Facebook group. For those who are bummed that it's getting too cold for yard sale season...check out this way of getting cool merchandise from her Squidoo Lens, below:
For a lot of us, yard sale season is pretty much over. The weather is about to get nasty (if it hasn't already). If you're in an area where yard sales are season dependent, don't give up. There's another fun, warm and dry way to get good eBay merchandise. I wrote this Squidoo lens a couple of years ago (before storage unit auctions - which this is NOT about - became the rage). I hope it helps!http://www.squidoo.com/ workshop/Live-Auction-Tips
OK, everyone, that's it for this issue. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and a happy and super-successful holiday season! See you all next issue, and remember to email those flips and flops to me at juliawilk@aol.com!
 I recommend the ebooks by Steve Lindhorst..he has done a lot w/ fba (Fulfillment by Amazon).
His ebook about selling on amazon is at: http://juliawilk.lindhorst.hop.clickbank.net?x=21
There is also a comprehensive course about selling on amazon/FBA at: http://paydotcom.net/r/109654/juliawilk/26850135/
(Both those links are my affiliate links to these products, but you can certainly purchase them via a different link as well..the price is the same).

That's it for this issue! We had a light mailbag. Any questions, comments, compliments, rants or raves, send to juliawilk@aol.com. On second thought, send the rants to my gmail account, juliawgal@gmail.com...I don't check it as often. ;)


What $ells on eBay for What - $24.98

Chanel on eBay Price Guide - $9.95

Make Big Bucks Selling Albums on eBay - $19.95

Make Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay - $12.49
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to "Make Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay"

Making Money (and Getting a Life?) via Craigslist - $8.95
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to "Make Money (and Getting a Life?) via Craigslist"

Make Money Selling Kids' Clothes on eBay - $8.95
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to Make Money Selling Kids' Clothes on eBay

Nonfiction Books that Sell for $50-$250 on eBay (eBooks) - $4.50 (This is already half-price)


Over 500 Books that Sell for $50-$5000 on eBay - $8.95
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to http://www.yardsalers.net/500Books.asp

How to Spot Fakes: a Special Report - $4.50
(email me at juliawilk@aol.com)

New Special Report: "A Book that Looks Like Nothing" - $4.50
16 - plus pages about "sleeper" books that look like nothing, but sell for "something" -- some up to 


eBay: Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks, 3rd Edition - 45 new from $3.50 44 used from $1.24

My Life at AOL - $13.98

The eBay Price Guide - 8 new from $27.93 24 used from $0.65


How to Make Big Bucks with Garage & Yard Sales - $8.95 (only available by email; PayPal 
me $8.95 or email me at juliawilk@aol.com; this one not available at hald price)

Garage sale and wholesaler expert Pat Bateman has put together a fabulous ebook about making regular income with yard sales, finding wholesale goods to sell, using drop shippers, and more. Right now I'm offering it at a special preview price for $8.95. PayPal me at juliawilk@aol.com and you will receive the ebook via email, usually within hours.

Books by Julia L. Wilkinson:

Copyright 2011 J.L. Wilkinson LLC 

Thank you for subscribing to Yard Salers. Yard Salers email newsletter may be freely distributed in its entirety, so please pass it on. You may reprint any of the articles in this newsletter for any purpose as long as no portion of the article is modified without permission, and this tagline is included:

Yard Salers, www.yardsalers.net

Publisher, Julia Wilkinson, author of the award-winning "eBay Price Guide." and "What Sells on eBay for What"

No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Yard Salers makes diligent efforts to obtain accurate and timely information. However, Yard Salers disclaims any liability to any party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in Yard Salers, whether or not such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.




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