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Ten Freebies I Have Sold on eBay
Dare to Be Free!
Loving the Four-Letter Word that Starts with F
F R E E
I happen to love FREE.
What I love even more as an online seller is to go on treasure hunts for items that are free and then turn right around and sell them on eBay. Sometimes, the net profit is small. Most of the time, my gain is within the $5 - $20 range. On rare occasions, and if the planets and stars are in the right alignment with a blue moon on the rise, I score big. My biggest thrill to date was to sell an item that I received free of charge for $500.00! You'll be reading about ten items I got for free and sold on eBay.
But, first, let's look at viable sources for these free items.
Inspired by Fellow Hubber and eBay Seller, Mommymay
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Where Can I Find FREE Items?
Everyone's blessed with their own special thinking cap. I put mine on just now and, in just a few minutes, came up with the following sources for obtaining free items, some of which I've actually done as well as a few that are still on my eBay bucket list.
Imagine what you could come up with if you sat down for a half hour with your favorite cup of coffee and brainstormed for the next half hour.
- Old calendars You can sell the calendar in its entirety or sell each photo or art print as a separate item. regarding the latter, in your title as well as item description, be sure to acknowledge the artist or photographer and make reference to the year and calendar you removed the print from.
- Old photo albumsThat's right! Old photographs are surprisingly in demand by eBay buyers. They don't even have to be that ancient. I've sold quite a few from the mid-1990's.
- Kitchen drawers, bedroom dressers,and storage trunks are mother lodes for ephemera--old paper items such as movie tickets, graduation announcements, greeting cards, sports programs, newspapers, magazine clippings, church bulletins, etc. These items sell quite well to scrapbook and nostalgia enthusiasts.
- Bookshelves; the public library In your lifetime, you've most likely accumulated a good-sized cache of books. Maybe it's high time you checked into selling these on eBay. The public library sometimes gives away free books to make room for new inventory.
- Your kitchen cupboards You'll be surprised to pull out mugs, bowls, and dishes from the far recesses of your kitchen cupboards that you hadn't seen for years. Ask yourself, Am I really going to be using these? If the answer is no, you just found yourself a cache of freebies.
- Yard/garage/estate/church rummage sales Savvy yard sellers these days set aside a table or a cardboard box full of free items as a draw for customers as well as a courtesy thank you. You'll be surprised, as I have been many a time, to find treasures in there.
- Magazine subscription samples Magazine companies are literally spending six figures or more each year giving away free magazines as a come-on to potential subscribers. Take entrepreneurial advantage of these freebies, but just make sure you do the right thing and formally cancel the subscription(s) when you receive the follow-up invoice. Keep the magazines in mint condition, and you'll be able to describe them as such when you list them on eBay.
- Beachcombing (Hiking/Walking) Whether you're fortunate enough to live near an ocean, river, or lake or, in the alternative, landlocked in Iowa, keep your awareness up as you move about your respective terrain for unusual items you can sell on eBay. A uniquely shaped rock; an oddly-shaped piece of driftwood; colorful pieces of glass with sand-smoothed edges; a pine cone; a leaf you can press; an arrowhead; etc. Be bold and list the item for 99 cents and see what happens. Or set a fixed price of $9.99. Whatever you decide to do, it's all good because it was all free to begin with!
- Grandparents' Attic Antique and vintage collectibles sell very well on eBay. An attic is a veritable gold mine just waiting to be excavated. Don't censor your selections by saying nonsense like, "Oh, that'd never sell!" Some of the craziest sales occurred with items that most people would toss out in a heartbeat. Be different! Be unique! Be special! Be eBay-quirky!
- Speak Up and Ask (Or Forever Hold Your Peace and Wonder) You happen to be casing a neighborhood...um, let's re-phrase that...you happen to be on a leisurely Sunday drive appreciating the beauty of your community when you happen to spy an old beat-up Singer sewing machine in the tall grass just south of the old maple tree in someone's yard. It's a total eyesore. Immediately search your mental Rolodex of stock lines to use in this situation. As you walk towards the front door, quickly get into a state of mind that exudes confidence and online auctioneer professionalism (you're a successful eBay seller with a 100% feedback rating of 14, so act like one!). I jest, of course, but you get my point. You will never get anything if you don't ask. Who knows? That man or woman who comes to the door might consider you to be a godsend for volunteering to rid their place of that old, decrepit sewing machine from the Civil War days. You just never know...so ASK!
- Post Craigslist Ads Time for a pop quiz! What is my favorite four-letter word that starts with F? That's right! FREE!!! And if you're a lizard just now crawling out from under that rock, Craigslist is FREE! So put up an ad--something simple like: It's SPRING CLEANING TIME! I'm willing to come by and pick up your unwanted items for FREE! No more trips to the dump site. No fees! No gas expense! It's FREE, and it's definitely a WIN-WIN for you and me! Chances are you'll get a lot of junk...but chances are you'll also find diamonds in the rough! (An alternative idea is to be specific in your Craigslist ad as to the things you are interested in. Be up front and say that you are providing a free service in exchange for free items.)
- Dumpsters I am not yet experienced in this field. I have been to dumps as a kid to scavenge for parts and stuff or to whip old records with a flick of the wrist to see how far those bad boy flying saucers could go. But I have yet to go inside of a dumpster. The closest was the time I was frantically throwing away bagels I'd burned at my last traditional job in Redmond, Washington, and I found a bunch of coins all around the front and sides of this large green city dumpster. So I made like Hansel and collected Gretel's tossed coins. Made a huge haul of 67 cents that morning!
- Last Second Strategy This works especially well with moving sales...you know, where someone is very motivated to get rid of their junk. It's the final minutes, and you see the harried look on the owners' faces. Again, suck up your inhibitions--remember, you are an eBay professional, so act like one!--and simply ask, "Sir/Ma'am, your sale is about to end. I am more than willing to help you get rid of any unwanted items. Would you consider giving any of these away for free?" You, my friend, would be surprised at how many responses in the affirmative you would receive. But, you have to ask.
Okay, Let's Get Started, Shall We?
Alright, then, here we go.
The following are items I acquired over the last year, absolutely free of charge, that I was able to sell on eBay.
Kuhio Beach, Named After a Hawaiian Prince
In early 2012, I dissected a 2011 calendar of Hawaiian beaches that my mother had sent me. I carefully removed and photographed each print and listed them separately on eBay as fixed price listings in my store.
Yesterday, March 12, 2013, I sold the print to the right for $7.99.
Air Jordan--the Dunk!
Sports Illustrated was kind enough to send me a free subscription for two months. Knowing that this particular issue paying homage to basketball legend, Michael Jordan, would be considered a highly-prized collectible, I listed it on eBay where it sold on February 25th, 2013, for $7.85.
Corporate Photo Print
Standard Oil Marketing Promotion
In the late 1940's, Standard Oil of California gave away free photo prints depicting various geographical locations in the USA to motorists filling up their gas tanks. An elderly female friend had thrown a huge batch of these prints away, so after receiving her permission, I promptly retrieved them from the trash heap. This print of Mt. Rainier sold for $11.98 on February 25, 2013.
Those Haunting Eyes!
I have bought and sold this particular issue of National Geographic magazine several times. It is, arguably, the most sought after cover of this periodical's history. Last summer, I purchased $20 worth of assorted magazines at an estate sale. This issue was thrown in as a freebie.
It sold on November 6, 2012, for $24.99.
Out of the Closet
Here's something I found going through an old cardboard box in my closet.
In the 1970's, I did a lot of jogging and running. As a member of the Road Runners Club and National Jogging Association, I accumulated a bunch of certificates and patches.
On a whim, I decided to see if these would sell on eBay. As it turned out, this item (that sold for $6.98 on December 16, 2012) was one of several patches snatched up by collectors.
Bunnies Don't Just Come Out at Easter Time!
A storage locker acquisition in Seattle resulted in a carload of free collectibles to sell on eBay. One of the collectible figurine sets was the My Blushing Bunnies series.
I sold this cute bunny figurine entitled, 'Sno Ball When You're Not Here, for a Best Offer price of $10.00 on December 28, 2012.
When Pink Goes Green!
My wife has a knack for finding treasures in the trash. We were shopping at a liquidation warehouse site near the Walla Walla Airport. This outfit would often put a lot of the merchandise they couldn't move onto the loading dock outside the warehouse.
One of the freebies she picked up was a Pink Panther mug. Cute, but nothing classy or fancy about it, right?
Funny thing is, it was purchased by a woman in Canada for the amount of $73.00 on September 18, 2012.
You Reap What You Sew
The moment I became acquainted with my feminine side, the more successful I became as an eBay seller.
Gentlemen, I say this with tongue firmly embedded in cheek, of course, but there's something to be said about being open to the things that appeal to the fairer sex.
Case in point: I found a stash of sewing patterns on a freebies table outside of a thrift store in the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland)--about an hour's drive from my town. I snatched them up and have sold a few thus far. The 1985 pattern to the right sold for $6.50 on January 25, 2013.
Yearbooks? Cheer Books!
An elderly Christian lady friend was in the process of downsizing her possessions in preparation for a transition from her home to an adult retirement home. I noticed she was throwing away a lot of old yearbooks. My wife and I asked for and received her permission to keep the yearbooks.
I sold this 1904-1954 Golden Anniversary Madison College Album for $50.00 on February 19, 2013.
Lunch Can with Thermos
Oh, I Believe in Yesterday...
One could summarize what I do on eBay as a metaphorical Time Machine.
I take a bit of Yesterday and list it Today with the hope of selling it Tomorrow.
That said, I can think of no more appropriate way to bring this illustrative segment of Ten Freebies I Have Sold On eBay to a close than to get a little help from my friends, The Beatles.
Again, from the storage locker acquisition in Seattle, I listed a 1964 Beatles Lunch Pail on July 26, 2012, with a starting bid of 99 cents. It sold, seven days later, for an astounding $540.05.
eBay Human Interest Stories
- How to Sell Your Mugs on eBay
Whether you're an ebay veteran or newbie, collectible decorative mugs are fascinating items to procure and sell. A writer engages in his favorite pastime--mugging it up for his readers.
- My Ship Has Sailed--on eBay!
Visualization is an essential factor in realizing entrepreneurial success. Hawaiian Odysseus uses a true life anecdotal style to illustrate how he brings his impulsive ideas to fruition.
- The Pink Panther Soars on eBay!
How cool is the Pink Panther? The more appropriate question for Hawaiian Odysseus and his wife on a particular autumn Sunday was: How HOT is the Pink Panther?
- Oh, I Believe in Yesterday--on eBay
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- Ten Great Items for Newbies to Sell on eBay
When a fellow writer requested an article about items a new member could sell on eBay, Hawaiian Odysseus was up for the task. He learned just as much from the writing of it as he hopes his readers will.
The Bottom Line
My motive in writing this piece was not to toot my own horn--something I have yet to find for free, by the way--but to demonstrate for you that the most incredible opportunities still exist on eBay.
In the current national and global economies, one would be wise to consider sources of income that are not dependent on the traditional employer/employee work dynamics or the rigid eight-hour shift structure or, especially in the case of working moms, separation from your children for 1/3 of their youth...and more, if the commute is long and the traffic heavily congested.
eBay is making it easier than ever for new members to sell. Once again, we consider the word, FREE.
- It's FREE to join eBay.
- Each month, you get 50 FREE auction listings.
- With those 50 FREE auction listings, you also get an added option of setting a fixed price--a Buy It Now price, if you will--for FREE!
- If you charge the customer for shipping, your shipping charges are FREE.
- Even if you offer FREE shipping, a wise eBayer knows how to incorporate the shipping expense into the starting bid, thus ensuring that your shipping charges are still FREE.
Are you seeing why FREE is my favorite four-letter word that starts with F?
Ten Freebie Items I Have Sold on eBay
Calendar Print: Kuhio Beach Sunset
Sports Illustrated Magazine
Mt. Rainier Print
My Blushing Bunnies Figurine
Pink Panther Mug
Madison College Yearbook
1964 Beatles Lunch Can with Thermos
Picking Profits Helps You Get Organized
© 2013 Hawaiian Odysseus