Tips for Your 1st eBay Sale – by Reyne Haines

January 6th, 2010 by

ebay-sellingEBay literally sells tens of billions of dollars worth of goods each year.  So how does someone capitalize on such a huge market place to put a few of those dollars in their own pocket?  Here are a few ideas to help sell your antiques and collectables with the world’s largest online auction marketplace.

The best way to get started is to become familiar with the venue.  EBay has many tools listed on their website to assist your selling efforts.   From their home page, go to the “Sell” link on the top right-hand menu and click.  Next, click on the “Getting Started” tab.  There you will find information about eBay’s policies, creating a Seller’s Account and even a “Top Ten Tips for sellers” link.  Browse help for even more information.

Now that you have some of the technical “how-to” you want to think about marketing your item.  Do a little research to determine what the best price for your collectable or antique is.  What is the minimum price you are willing to accept?  Look at the historical sales of items similar to yours.  The more recent a sale has occurred, the more likely you have an accurate price idea.  If your item is rare or one of a kind you may want to have it appraised first.  It’s very important that you know what your item is worth!  Remember that most buyers on eBay are looking for a good value so pricing your item at Top Dollar probably wouldn’t help you make the sale quickly.

Take clear, crisp photo’s and have an excellent description of your item.  The buyers on eBay may or may not be familiar with what you are offering them.  They look closely at your pictures for details -especially if your item is not new and still in the original box.  If you have the original box, make sure to include a picture of it.  The original box can add value to collectable items such as knives, dolls, toys or anything else.

Choose a good title for your merchandise by searching ended auctions for items like yours that have sold and brought strong pricing.  Your description is a picture of words and should accurately depict what you are offering for sale.  Be as thorough as possible and also write succinctly.  Include things like condition, size, markings, color, manufacturer, etc. in your description.

Think about when you want your auction to end.  Many people who are bidding are waiting until the last minutes in an effort not to run up the price for the item.  It might work out better to give your bidders a convenient time to bid and not end your auction on a Monday morning at 4am.

There are classes sellers can take and many books written on this subject.  With a little technical knowhow and good research, pictures and descriptions you’re well on your way to selling on eBay.

Recognized 20th Century Decorative Arts Expert and Appraiser.  As seen on CBS “The Early Show” and NBC’s “The Art of Collecting”. Haines has written numerous articles and books on collecting. Her most recent pubication is “Collecting Wristwatches” for Krause Publications which comes out April 2010.  Reyne is a frequent appraiser on PBS Antiques Roadshow.