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Selling Old Collectible Vintage Art Print Ads on eBay
- How to Sell Vintage Print Ads on eBay
Whether you're an eBay veteran or just starting out, here's a niche you may want to consider. It's relatively inexpensive to get started, and the rewards--both financial and aesthetic--"ad" up!
- eBay H*O*R*S*E* June 2013--Vintage Print Ads Niche
It's one thing for someone to report about the terrific haul he or she has made at a yard sale, estate sale, or thrift shop. Of greater interest to most are the actual resale values of those finds.
Selling Collectible Vintage Ads on eBay
Right smack dab in the middle of my vintage years, that cosmic calendar time half past the summer solstice and hopefully two to three decades before my last snowfall on this big blue marble, I am setting about to forge multiple streams of income...not for my benefit, mind you, but as trickles of liquid personal finance that will hopefully overrun the floodgates for my loving descendants.
Once upon a time, I worked as a baker. While I enjoyed the work and the delightful faces of those who enjoyed my products, the graveyard hours were weighing hard on both my body and psyche. I was therefore motivated to find alternative ways to earn a living.
About a dozen years ago, I discovered eBay. Initially, I sold fishing flies. But that took a toll on my already arthritic neck and back. The return on the labor-intensive investment wasn't good, and so I decided to sell the very fly tying materials and supplies I'd been using to make the flies. That proved to be a wise choice.
The income from such a venture, although steady, was nominal, and so I began to search for new niches on eBay.
About three months ago, I began researching sellers on eBay who were offering up collectible vintage print ads.
Instantly, I was fascinated. The nostalgic pull I experienced as I studied the images and item descriptions reinforced my hunch that this would be something I could really enjoy doing.
Here are the steps I took to get started...
First, I did my homework. I began diligently studying the successful sellers. What kinds of ads were they listing? How did they describe their items? Which sellers appeared to be selling the most? Why were they more successful than others? What prices were various sellers asking for?
I chose about ten sellers and sent each of them a list of questions. Some sellers never responded. Those who did respond graciously gave me a few pointers. One man said he'd worked many years to learn how to do it right, and he believed I would definitely understand why he was jealously guarding his expensive secrets.
I quickly determined that I'd have to just jump in and do it. Still, the effort hadn't been wasted because it pushed me out of my comfort zone and motivated me to reach out to others, a trait that doesn't come easily to middle-aged and senior citizens.
My next step was to procure some inventory. I found four thrift stores in Walla Walla County that sold magazines. (In the early going, I sold old magazines...that is, until I discovered that I could get just as much from one ad as I could from selling the whole magazine.)
My wife and I also went to estate sales. At one estate sale, I took a huge chance and bought 180+ Life, Look, Saturday Evening Post, and McCall's magazines for $90. The following week, the woman who was running the sale called us back and offered me a great deal on Scientific American and National Geographic magazines--for another $17, I picked up another fifty magazines.
Another great find was a couple of boxes of National Geographic issues from the 1920s and 1950s that I purchased from the Country Store in downtown Walla Walla. The initial price was $65, but I lucked out and got them for 50% off due to the booth owner not wanting to renew her lease at that store.
Three months ago, I started this new niche on eBay. I posted a lot of the NG ads at a very inexpensive price. Being a newbie, I figured the best way to attract customers was to substantially undercut everyone else.
I soon learned that this was the bane of eBay entrepreneurship. To offer things at too cheap a price can actually backfire on a vendor. Customers may perceive the seller to be a fly by night or very inexperienced individual who didn't know what he was doing (and--in my case--they'd be absolutely correct!).
So I began experimenting with my prices...three months later, I think I'm comfortable with the general price range I set for my vintage ads.
In the early going, I used a pair of scissors to cut the ads out. But this can be extremely time-consuming as well as a little sloppy. I thus invested in a relatively inexpensive Dahle paper trimmer which saves me a lot of time and more than paid for itself after a relatively short time.
In addition, the vintage ads seller would be wise to purchase--again, on eBay!--plastic sleeves and acid-free backing boards that protect the ad from bending during shipping and add to the longevity of the item as a collectible. Vendors offer up a variety of sizes for both sleeves and backing boards in bulk amounts and at very reasonable prices.
Finally, while there is no set in stone formula for success in selling vintage ads on eBay, one general thing I've learned is that the more successful vendors in this niche have been in this business for several years...even decades...and thus have tons of inventory listed.
As for me, after doing this for about three months, I've managed to sell a little over sixty ads, grossing somewhere between $500-600 and with a net profit in the neighborhood of $300-400. Elementary interpolation would therefore suggest that this little stream of income could bring in about $1500 or more in the first year. I can only get better and more efficient at this as I glean more experience.
In Hub Page articles to follow, I will be sharing interesting vintage ads (such as the ones that adorn this post) and personal anecdotes illustrating my enjoyable odyssey in this fascinating and rewarding eBay business niche.
I heartily invite you to follow along and perhaps even try your hand at this interesting venture. Your comments and questions are welcomed and appreciated.
© 2012 Hawaiian Odysseus