7 Tips for Selling Expensive Collectibles On eBay
By Sydney Johnston
Recently, a friend asked me to help her brother sell
his collection on Lladro glass figurines on eBay.
These are expensive glass collectibles and I knew
nothing about them - but I don't have to. The
principles for selling expensive collectibles on eBay
are the same, regardless of what is being sold.
Obviously, like any eBay auction, the seller must
have a powerful listing with great pictures. This is
always true regardless of what the merchandise is.
Expensive collectibles offer splendid opportunities,
but also need special precautions.
1. Price: decide the lowest amount you will accept
for each figurine and set that price as a reserve.
Then make your opening bid absurdly low - yes,
Example: if you will accept $1,000 - make your
opening bid $25. There is no risk in this, because
you don't have to sell unless the bidding reaches
$1000, but the low price attracts buyers, (assuming
there is demand, of course).
Looking at completed eBay auctions allows us to
track prices, Again and again we learn that starting
the price where the seller hopes it will end is not a
For instance, a seller wants to get $750 for his
figurine. An opening bid of $750 won't attract nearly
as many buyers as an opening bid of $25 and -
surprisingly - the lower bid almost always gets
higher prices. There is some psychology at work with
the cheap price. It may not make logical sense, but
it's the reality of life on eBay.
2. Devote space in your auction listing explaining
how you will pack your item to ensure safe transit.
This is critically important because in the back of
every buyer's mind is the dread of receiving a
package that rattles. A collectibles buyer will
inevitably be thinking of the hassle she will have to
go through - and the possible loss of purchase price
- if her item is broken. She needs to know that the
seller has carefully considered this issue and has a
3. For the protection of both of you, insist that the
buyer pay for appropriate insurance. Don't allow this
to be an option. You definitely do not want the
liability of a broken collectible that costs hundreds of
dollars. In fact, if a customer objects to paying for
insurance, this might possibly be a red flag. A
genuine collector is very eager to add to her
collection and wants her figurine to be protected.
4. We can safely assume that every Internet buyer
has heard stories of fraud on eBay and elsewhere
on the Net. Therefore, anything you can do to prove
the authenticity of your collectible is well worth your
time. Is there a marking on the bottom? Do you have
the original box or other container? Does it have a
label? Is there a certificate of authenticity or an
appraisal by a respected organization? If the answer
to any of these is "yes", then be certain to
emphasize your authenticity in your auction. Taking
pictures of your proof is especially effective.
5. I don't suggest offering a guarantee except in the
most general way - that is, you, the seller, are telling
the truth about the product. Anyone bidding on a
collectible is knowledgeable and therefore they
know what they're buying so there should be no
reason for a return. If someone expresses
dissatisfaction and mails your merchandise back,
there is every likelihood of it being broken. You do
not want the hassle of trying to collect on broken
merchandise or putting yourself into a litigious
situation with someone who refuses to believe that
the collectible was broken via return shipping.
Also, you don't want to take a loss on your eBay
fees, which might be substantial if the price is high.
6. With a really expensive item, always offer the
option of an escrow service - at the buyer's
expense, of course. They may not take want this
service, but make certain they have the option. You,
of course, know that your merchandise is legitimate,
but the buyer isn't so certain. eBay recommends an
escrow service that is available to all members.
7. If you're willing to ship worldwide, you need to
take special steps to protect yourself. In the US we
have AVS (Address Verification System) which offers
some protection. A very large portion of the fraud
suffered by buyers occurs outside the United States
and you are justified in protecting yourself. Losing
the purchase price on a $5 item isn't such a big deal
- but a $1,000 collectible absolutely does matter.
Your bank can advise you on the time it will take to
verify foreign funds. Be certain to let any prospective
buyer know in your auction that there will be a delay
if they are outside of your country. Do not let your
merchandise out of your hands until you are sure!
If you follow these 'rules', the chances of selling your
expensive collectibles at the highest possible prices
will be greatly increased.
About the Author
Learn how to sell on eBay with 16 hours of online instruction taught by a 10 year eBay veteran. Own an eBay business instead of an eBay hobby.
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