This guide is written with the new eBay seller in mind, specifically targeted to toys, but other new sellers may find the basic information useful as well...
Maybe you've got some of Grandpa's old toys collecting dust in the attic? Or you have been wondering if you should start buying some of the antique, vintage or collectible toys you see at yard sales, local auctions & flea markets to resell for a profit on eBay?
Let's say you've found some old goodies in the attic. Lucky you! Now first you need to identify the item. Sometimes identification is quite easy if the items have the original box, or are clearly marked by maker name, logo or have other decals or graphic work on the item. But often the only real identification may have been on the item's long lost box. Or identifying marks may have been worn off by years of play. Listing an old white metal car for sale will likely not reward you with the same final selling price as listing a Vintage Schuco Elektro Hydro-Car, for example. Reasearch can be time consuming, but also very interesting & educational, along with eventually putting more dollars in your wallet.
There are many excellent price & identification guides & reference books available specific to particular types of toys. You can find lots of information online, and at your local libraries and bookstores. Many books for specific areas of collector's interest are for sale here on eBay. Plus some diligent searches of current & completed auctions on eBay can be quite productive if you have at least a tidbit of information about the item to start with.
Still truly stumped? Try posting a description and a photo of the item on the toy or doll discussion board within the eBay community. Be as specific as possible when asking for identification help. Including a photo & asking something like - I have an 8" long tin car, with the letters TN in a diamond shape above the rear bumper, will certainly increase your chances of getting some assistance, vs no photo & asking the vague I found an old red car in the attic, does anyone know what it might be?
Ok, so now you've identified your old toy. Now of course you want to know much is it worth? Prices go up & down in any collectibles market & toys are certainly no different. Your specific thought it would pay for the kid's tuition antique doll or wind-up sadly may have been selling for more 3 years ago than it is today. At the same time, that 1980's looks like a piece of plastic junk toy, may suddenly have increased in demand with sky-rocketing prices due to a resurgence of popularity from the re-release of a cartoon series, movie, etc. Price guides may get their information regarding value from a number of sources, including sometimes possibly wishful thinking. At the same time, some may be low as they are not up to date with current trends.
OK, so what is my toy worth? The trite answer is what a buyer is willing to pay for it. But that's not very helpful. If you are here reading this guide, we'll assume you plan to sell your toy on eBay. That means although the prices you've found in books or items for sale on other sides can give you some idea of value, the real selling price you can expect to see is more likely to be in the price range of what similar items have sold for and are currently selling for one eBay. I have seen items at local auctions and co-ops sell for over double the price they have sold for on eBay, and at the same time I have found items at local auctions, etc. selling for a few dollars that I have purchased and resold for an excellent profit. Before listing your toy, be sure to check the eBay completed auctions search which shows you what items actually sold for - and those listed that did not sell - for the last 15 days. Sellers can set any initial starting selling price, but if you see your item listed twice for $500 with no bidders, and selling for $100 with 10 bidders & $125 with 1 bidder, you can get a pretty good idea of ture current eBay value.
Also when looking at prices locally or from other sources keep in mind the shipping costs. When I sold locally in a co-op, I could always command higher prices for larger, bulkier or heavier items, because the buyer did not have to take shipping costs into account for the overall price. If a toy selling at your local flea market for $50 is going to cost $20 to ship, buyers may only be willing to pay $30 for the item.
So now you're wondering if its worth it to buy that big old tin car you saw at the thrift store? Let's say your cost for the car is only $15.00 and you see they are selling for $50.00. Cool ! Easy $35.00! Right? Not exactly. Don't forget eBay's cut of your windfall. That includes listing, final value & PPal fees. Let's say you start your car with min selling price of $24.99, and it sells for $50.00. Shipping cost is $9.00. Your total eBay & PayPal (assuming you accept payments through PPal) would be approximately $5.00. Now let's say your cost for packaging material - tape, bubble wrap, tissue paper, packing peanuts, etc.- was another $1.00. And a special trip to the post office, if you don't have your packages picked up, cost another $1.00 in gas. Your net profit on your thrift store find would be $50 - $15.00 - $5 - $1 - $1 = $28.00.
Only you can decide what % of profit you need to make it worthwhile to make the initial investment or to part with Grandpa's toy, take photos, write the listing description & package & ship. Some folks may decide using my toy car example, it's too much work for a $28.00 profit. Others may be thrilled with a $28.00 profit or just looking to clear out some unwanted items & would be happy with almost any profit after all costs. Just keep in mind the percentage of expense in eBay fees is actually higher for lower price selling items. If you list and sell an item for $4.99, your overall selling cost (incl PPal) would likely be around $1.25 - 1.50. So as you can see, purchasing items for $2.00 strictly for re-sale & selling them for $5.00, after fees & shipping supplies, etc., unless you are selling in great volume, will be a lot of work for very little profit.
Final few tips -
Get some FeedBack...Particularly if selling a higher value toy, be sure to have at least a few postive FeedBacks as a seller with low priced items before trying to sell a high priced item. Bidders will still buy from a new seller if it is a rare or hard to find item, but you are much less likley to realize the full value as many buyers may be concerned about dealing with an inexperienced seller. Plus the practice you get selling those low cost items will help you to perfect your photo-taking & description writing skills.
Know how much an item will cost to ship... If you don't have any way to weigh your item at home, package it as you would for shipping and take it to the post office & find out how much it will actually cost to ship for different methods. My personal opinion is that more new sellers lose money or make little profit initially because they undercharge for shipping, including supplies. Been there, done that my first year !
eBay Fees... Go to the chart showing selling fees in the eBay help pages & be sure you know how much your listing & selling fees will be and where the cost break-downs are. Listing an item for $10.00 vs $9.99 will cost you an extra 25 cents in listing fee!
Hopefully this guide has been of some assistance to you.
Have fun & good luck selling !!!
Vintage Lot 2 Metal Boxing Glove Charms Jewelry Sports Left Handed Gloves Old
Buy It Now