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How To Sell Coffee Mugs on eBay
Selling Coffee Mugs on eBay
If you are looking for a product that is easy to find, inexpensive to buy and potentially very profitable, you might want to consider selling used coffee mugs.
The average coffee mug sells for less than $20, including shipping, which is not a huge profit but is reasonable, considering the cost of a used coffee mug is under $1. Factor in the fact that the most expensive coffee mugs can sell for hundreds of dollars and suddenly the investment of the fifty cents or a dollar you will pay for most mugs becomes worth the risk.
Once you learn a bit about selling mugs and which mugs to sell, the return on your investment will grow. Selling a mug that cost you less than $1 for $10 actually is a fairly decent return on your dollar and not a bad way to get started selling.
On this page, discover how and why you should sell mugs. Please note that I am an experienced Canadian eBay seller and it is with eBay as my selling experience that I write this page. I talk mostly of used mugs because they can be more readily found at a resellers price. However, I have had occasion to sell new coffee mugs that I happened to find at a significantly reduced price. Being in Canada creates some unique selling challenges, mostly related to the higher cost of shipping.
Where once people collected teacups and saucers, they now collect coffee mugs.
Who Collects Coffee Mugs?
Recently, I started writing online about coffee mugs and as part of a challenge, I created more than thirty pages dedicated to the World of Coffee. I learned during this experience that most of us collect coffee mugs and that there are two types of collectors. There are collectors that I call accidental and collectors that I call intentional. More people fall in the first group than the second, and those in the first group often do not even realize that they are collectors.
Learn more about the world of coffee mug collectors and participate in our polls so that we can learn more about who collects coffee mugs.
Coffee mugs are easy to check for damage. Simply check each one carefully for chips, cracks, scratches and stains. Generally, you want your mugs to be in nearly perfect condition.
Pros of Selling Coffee Mugs
- Everybody needs a coffee mug.
- People love their coffee mugs and often seek them out when they are broken.
- Coffee mugs are easy to find. They show up everywhere. Start with your own cupboard and then haunt the yard sales, thrift shops and consignment shops.
- Used coffee mugs are affordable. Most are priced at under a dollar. Occasionally, when someone knows that a mug is valuable, you might spend a bit more, perhaps up to $3.
- As long as you have a couple of shelves to spare, coffee mugs are easy to store.
- Coffee mugs are easy to check for condition issues.
Cons of Selling Mugs
- Coffee mugs are breakable.
- Selling coffee mugs means that you have to be prepared to SHIP coffee mugs, and put in the required effort to package them safely.
- Many coffee mugs are not particularly valuable.
- In Canada, shipping coffee mugs is fairly expensive.
- Lots of people are trying to sell coffee mugs on eBay. They are certainly not a unique item!
Collectible Coffee Mugs
Which coffee cups should you buy?
Of course you will want to be on the lookout for the more valuable coffee mugs. However, learning which ones to pick up and which ones to leave behind is a learning process. Here is a simple list to get you started. If you have already had success selling coffee mugs, please feel free to add the types of coffee mugs that you have sold successfully in the comment box at the end of this page.
- Vintage Pyrex, Fire King and Anchor-Hocking mugs.
- Vintage restaurant mugs. Some of these will also fit in the first category.
- Starbucks mugs. Some are extremely valuable, many are not. However, I pick up every Starbucks mug that I see and sell the less valuable ones as sets.
- Mugs with famous places, people, television shows or movies.
- Disney mugs, particularly vintage ones or extremely nice ones. Disney sells a lot of items at retail when they release them so I often find this a category that can be harder to sell in. SHOP CAREFULLY. Be choosy.
- Mugs by fine china manufacturers like Lenox, Villeroy & Boch, Portmeirion, Tiffany, Wedgwood, Adams and Royal Albert.
- Vintage Taylor & Ng coffee mugs.
- A recent find is the FTD mug known as the Big Hug Mug. It appeared in an interrogation scene on HBO's television series True Detectives. Since then, it has gone from a mug that was not particularly noteworthy to one that people want because of the fame it received in the television series.
How To Price Your Coffee Mugs?
A helpful approach to pricing your coffee mugs is to do an eBay search for completed listings with the highest price first. Reading the top few successful listings will give you an idea of the important keywords to use in your listing title and allow you to determine what you might expect to get for your mug.
What price to actually start the listing at is a personal choice. Knowing what your mug usually sells for helps you to price it reasonably and helps prevent you from giving it away.
I recently sold this jadite mug. I might have generated more excitement if I had started the price lower but since I am very aware that I often do not have a lot of success in the auction format, I priced it to start at a price at which I knew would cover my shipping costs and allow me to make a profit and I still managed to draw a couple of bidders.
I priced this vintage jadite mug at $39.96 and the final sale price was $45, which I was happy with. My costs for selling the mug, including purchase, shipping, eBay and Paypal fees, left me with a profit of $27.29, which is not bad considering my initial investment of a dollar.
How To Pack Coffee Mugs For Shipping
Packing mugs for shipping is easy once you have the proper supplies.
My shipping method is fairly straightforward and I have yet to have a cup be broken.
Using the bubble wrap with the large bubbles, I wrap my mugs twice using a 12-inch wide strip with the bubbles facing in. Each time I secure the ends with packing tape as scotch tape will not hold.
Then I place the wrapped mug in a box that accommodates the mug nicely and not tightly. If the box is a bit too big, I make sure to fill the extra space with a bit more filler. Depending upon the weight of the parcel, this can be more bubble wrap or newsprint. I take extra care to make sure the handle is nicely cushioned and not near the edge of the box. Placing the handle at an angle toward the corner within the box is usually helpful.
It is critical that no part of the mug touch the box.
I have often thought that purchasing a number of the perfect sized box would be ideal. However, that would add at least a dollar to the alreeady expensive Canadian shipping cost so, at least for now, I recycle boxes that I collect from various sources including the grocery store.
This is the method that online mug retailer Zazzle uses (with the exception of the recycled box) and I assume that they ship lots of mugs and that it is therefore a pretty safe method. I have the added confidence of having shipped mugs in this manner for a number of years and never having had one broken. However, if I ever have the opportunity of selling a particularly valuable coffee mug (like a Starbucks mug for $1000), I would probably increase the level of protection.
Canada Post insurance does not cover breakage of items so it is critical that my mugs be packaged well.
How To Pack A Mug For Shipping Video
At just over 7 minutes, this is a long video about how to pack a mug for shipping. However, if you want to learn how to ship mugs you may want to take the time to learn from the experience of pomeroysporch. This is, in my mind, the ultimate mug shipping method. I particularly like the addition of the cardboard to protect the handle, which is the most vulnerable part of a coffee mug.
Buy Boxes For Shipping Mugs
Long ago, I figured that the perfect sized box for many mugs would be about 8 inches by 8 inches If you sell a lot of mugs, having the perfectly sized box on hand is a good thing.
Have you ever sold a coffee mug?
If you have sold a coffee mug, have you had any BIG sales?
How much did the most expensive mug you have ever sold sell for?
If you have never sold a coffee mug, are you considering doing so?
If you have never sold a coffee mug, are you considering doing so?
Collectible Coffee Mugs
- THE WORLD OF COFFEE: Your Complete Coffee Resource
A resource page from which you will find information about coffee, including but not limited to coffee beans, mugs and how tos.
- Who Collects Coffee Mugs?
I am willing to bet that you collect coffee mugs, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Find out who else is collecting mugs and what types of mugs are in their cupboards.
- Hallmark's The Polar Express Hot Chocolate and Coffee Mugs
What would be more exciting than having a cup of hot chocolate in an exact replica of the Polar Express' hot chocolate cup and saucer?
- Collectible Marc Tetro Coffee Mugs
Love the Canadian images on these Marc Tetro mugs!
- Starbucks Halloween Coffee Mugs
Love Starbucks? How about Halloween? If you love them both, you're going to want to add one of these handsome Starbucks Halloween coffee mugs to your collection!
- Vintage Taylor and Ng Coffee Mugs
Some of these vintage Taylor and Ng coffee mugs will make you smile!
About the Author
'Treasures By Brenda' is a small, home-based eBay store located in central Canada in the nation's capital of Ottawa. Check out my store by visiting this link.
Here's a warning for anyone thinking of selling coffee mugs. Doing so can cause your own coffee mug collection to multiply when you are not looking.
© 2011 Treasures By Brenda