Sunday, June 27, 2010
This sweet little birthday angel would have been a perfect birthday gift for a girl in the 1950's or 1960's. She is about 5.5" high and delicately made, with JAPAN stamped on her base. She is carrying a present that is decorated with a flower. I believe she may be Napco, based on style, but she might be Lefton. Any confirmation would be greatly appreciated! I love Napco pieces and have several in my own small collection. If I was a December birthday girl, this angel would certainly be staying here! Since I'm not, I'm sharing her on eBay: December Birthday Angel Figurine.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
One of my favorite things about selling vintage children's books and ephemera online is the opportunity to learn about these vintage treasures daily. I just listed a 1918 Aldine Reader, Book Two. The illustrator is Margaret Ely Webb. I researched her work and life, and found that she was born in Urbana, Illinois in 1877. She studied art in New York with both Cooper Union and the Art Students' League. In addition to her beautiful children's book illustrations, she also wrote several art textbooks. She settled in Santa Barbara, California, where she lived until she died in 1965. I also found a truly beautiful example of her illustration on Flickr: Little Red Riding Hood. I love the detail in her art, and the splashes of red color with her crisp pen and ink illustrations. Lovely!
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This card is embossed and from 1909. It has a tan shadow at two edges, but I love the simple design of this card -- pastel colors and thick paper with embossed design.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Just Ten Minutes: A Health Story. This 1926 school book has gorgeous silhouette style illustrations by Jessie Gillespie. I have seen Jessie Gillespie's illustrations in The Birds' Christmas Carol (Kate Douglas Wiggin). I looked for more information, and found that she was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1888 and lived until 1926. I am still looking for more biographical information on this illustrator, so please add a comment if you have more information. Thanks!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Bump sites are quick and easy to use. They definitely yield results, too! I check my eBay Traffic Reports regularly to see where buyers and browsers come from (and you should be doing this, if you are not already). The bump sites yield weekly traffic to my listings.
My three favorite bump sites are:
How bumps work:
You visit one of the sites above. To add your items to the bump site, you will need to copy the auction title, the auction number, and upload a photo of your item. I have found the easiest way to do this is to open multiple tabs in Internet Explorer, so you can move back and forth between the bump site and your auction items. I try to choose bright, colorful items with pictures that fill the whole frame; they show up more on the bump sites.
I hope the bump sites are helpful for you, as they have been for me!
Monday, June 21, 2010
My friend Sally has a wonderful eBay store (thousandsofcards) specializing in vintage playing cards. Through Sally I have also come to really enjoy these cards, and have some charming vintage Dachshund playing cards in my personal collection. Sally wrote a great blog article to share here about collectible vintage playing cards:
Collecting single -- opposed to decks -- playing cards is a popular hobby among senior citizens around the world and is becoming popular with younger people too. Many seniors collect cards because of the warm childhood memories cards reawaken in them. Others collect single playing cards because they are introduced to this wonderful hobby through friends of theirs and because they enjoy the fun of sharing and trading cards with one another.
I began collecting single playing cards when I was very young in the 1950s. They were called trading cards at that time because young girls would spend hours trading cards with each other and because these cards did not have any numbers of suits such as the King of Diamonds on the reverse side of them -- they were blank on the reverse side. This wonderful childhood hobby entertained me and my older sister for hours on end. When we became teenagers, however, our interest turned to boys and our cards were donated to charity. In the early 1990s, my brother Jim gave me a book on antiques for a holiday gift. That book revived my interest in single playing cards. I soon met a man who lived close by who was also a collector and he helped me revive my love of collecting cards by introducing me to other collectors and by giving me several boxes of single playing cards. Today my collection is much larger than the collection I had as a child and the number of traders I share my cards with has also grown exponentially.
I love this hobby and sharing my knowledge of cards with others. I sell my extra/duplicate cards online to collectors around the world. Some people collect only specific types of cards such as art deco style single playing cards or single playing cards that have a picture or drawing of a Dachshund or Scottie Dog on them. Other people collect only cards that advertise Liquor products or Tobacco products. Still others, like me, collect all kinds of cards. While I have my favorites -- cards with pictures or drawings of animals on them -- I also enjoy cards with people, paintings, scenes, railroads, ships, and vintage ads on them. I trade with several other collectors on a monthly basis and am amazed at the number of different single cards there are. Friends of mine search for cards for me regularly and my gifts on birthdays and holidays always include cards.
Please visit my eBay Store to see the types of cards that are available and of interest to collectors. ThousandsOfCards on eBay
Thank you, Sally, for this great blog post!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I have used Best Offer for years and I am a real believer in it. I think it is an even more useful sales tool in our "down" economy. It works a bit like an auction in reverse. You list your item at the price you really want to sell at and buyers will make an offer for what they think the item is worth. You then decide whether to accept their offer or not.
Going in to Best Offer, you need to realize you will get some occasional silly offers -- i.e. an offer of $1 for an item that is worth $100. I have learned over time to handle these by countering with a reasonable offer and a little note that says something like: "Thanks for your offer! I can usually discount __% with Best Offer" or "Thanks for your offer! $___ is the lowest I can take for this item."
I have Best Offer on everything but ephemera (vintage Valentines, Christmas cards, postcards, etc.). Since I already offer free shipping on my vintage paper items, I don't want to negotiate lower; however, I periodically have Markdown Manager sales on all my ephemera. (I am running one right now for $1 off each card.)
I have not inflated my prices before adding Best Offer, as I want to stay competitive in eBay's Best Match search. I would recommend against inflating prices to add Best Offer for this reason.
For the items with Best Offer, I always accept offers of 10% - 15% off. If someone offers less, I may accept or may counteroffer with a polite note. I am a huge believer in the counteroffer with a polite note, as I feel this generates regular sales for my store.
Occasionally buyers will repeatedly send ridiculously low offers, or send offers with a rude note like "$1 is all this is worth." I just decline with no note, and block those buyers.
I hope you find Best Offer beneficial too! I make Best Offer sales most days, and think it is a great eBay tool.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Hickory Dickory Dock 1963 Platt & Munk Foldout Panorama and Animal Panorama 1964 Fold-Out Book McLouglin Brothers. Animal Panorama is especially cute, featuring a Beagle puppy on the cover and on page of the fold-out panorama. Very sweet!
Friday, June 18, 2010
History of Our Presidents 1960s Vintage Pop-Up Book PB
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Over the years, I've focused on my favorite niches on eBay -- vintage children's books and ephemera. Occasionally, though, I find something that I want to list that isn't in one of these areas. I usually list these items either once for a 7 day auction or once for a Fixed Price 30 day listing. If the items don't sell, they then go in a donation box for my next trip to Salvation Army to donate items.
A couple of weeks ago I received these coupons in the mail. They are for Purina horse feed. One is for a free 50 pound bag. Great! -- except, I don't have a horse. So, I tried listing them on eBay for a 7 day auction just to see what would happen. I started the auction at 99¢. To my surprise, they bid up to $10.01. Neat! I will certainly list other "free stuff" coupons that I find on eBay. I'm not going out looking for them, but if I find them they will go online.
If you'd like to see the closed auction, you will find it here: Auction for Purina Horse Feed.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I want to recommend two great blogs for sellers; I think you will enjoy them both.
Suzanne Wells has a wonderful blog called eBay Selling Coach. I have been a reader for a while now, and I love the tips she gives. She always has great pointers about what is selling NOW and tips on great things to look for. I have learned a lot from reading her articles! I enjoyed writing a guest blog for her site: Selling Vintage Children's Books on eBay. In the article I talk about vintage children's books to look for. It was fun to write.
Susan of My52cents has a great auction blog. She is one of the most positive, upbeat people I know, and this is captured in her writing. I think you will enjoy reading what she has to say! Susan is the queen of Squidoo, and has so much knowledge. I have learned a lot from her tips! I enjoyed writing a guest blog for Susan on Vintage Little Golden Books. It includes information you may enjoy, like how to spot a true "A" (First) edition.
Again, I cannot recommend these two wonderful blogs highly enough. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do!
Monday, June 14, 2010
When sales are sluggish, I have found that Markdown Manager ignites them ... it seems to bring new attention, since the prices are different from before. And buyers seem to be drawn to a percentage off sale.
To find Markdown Manager, go to My eBay, then Account (top of screen), then Marketing Tools. You'll find Markdown Manager on the Marketing Tools page.
To use Markdown Manager, sign in to the page. First you will want to choose a sale title. This is just for your reference, so it can be anything, i.e. Books 10% Off.
Then you will need to choose a start and end date for your sale. In my experience, a good sale period is 2 - 7 days. I have not had success with sales less than 1 day or more than 7 days.
Then you can choose a percentage off. This is up to you -- 5%, 10%, 15%, etc. I generally have deeper sales (i.e. 20% - 25%) for 2 days, and smaller sales (5% - 10%) for 7 days. But experiment with this, and see what works for you.
Then you can choose to put one category of your listings (i.e. Books, Sewing Patterns, Postcards, etc.) on sale, put your entire store on sale, or you can choose items selectively using any criteria using the link "Select listings individually." I love this feature, and usually select items this way -- i.e. items under $8, or ephemera only, or items over $20, etc.
I am a great fan of Markdown Manager and Best Offer (an upcoming blog post!), and find both these eBay tools are great for generating sales. I hope this is helpful for you too!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Thankfully, I found it!
Now when I write a listing, I make a 3" x 5" card for each item. On the card I write:
Name of item
Digital photo names (numbers)
File where photos are located
Box # where item is
I keep these cards filed in colorful plastic shoeboxes that I bought inexpensively at Target. They are filed alphabetically by item name.
All of my books are in numbered boxes. If I sell the book Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar, I can pull the index card, see it is in box #31, pull the book, and voila, I'm ready to pack!
It is also easy to delete photos, as you know exactly where they are on your computer.
I've used this method for years and I swear by it as a simple way to organize books that have been listed online.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
First, I wrap the book in a clean plastic bag. I feel this is important, especially as some areas (like the South, where I live) are much more humid. This helps protect your book.
Then I tape the wrapped book to a piece of corrugated cardboard that is just a little bigger than the book size. I get free, clean corrugated boxes at the liquor store in my neighborhood and cut them up, so I keep a stock of cardboard in the house.
If the book is more delicate, like a Wonder Book or Little Golden Book, I tape a layer of Bubble wrap over the unprotected wrapped book.
I then put the wrapped book in a manila envelope, tape with clear wide packing tape, and I am ready to print postage.
I love the printed postage from Paypal. I print labels on regular computer paper and affix it to the package with clear wide tape.
I hope these book packaging suggestions are helpful! If you have other green-wise packing suggestions, I would love to hear them as well.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Photos, photos, and more photos. Photograph whatever's good about your item and also any flaws (very important). You will want multiple photos for almost everything. Think about what the buyer would like to see. For instance, with books, I photograph the book cover, the front endpaper, at least one photo or illustration from the book, and the back cover. I frequently also photograph the spine.
AVOID STOCK PHOTOS
They do not show the buyer what he or she is actually purchasing. Most eBay buyers feel the same way. I very highly recommend avoiding stock photos in all instances.
IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Describe what you are listing in detail. I try to write a description as if the buyer cannot see a photo of the item; I want to be detailed and descriptive. Be sure to discuss the condition in detail. List any flaws, however small. (I also recommend photographing any flaws.) Do not depend just on item specifics; actually write a solid description.
Please keep them brief and buyer friendly. Keep terms positive and avoid negative phrases. Have a buyer friendly return policy. Remember that with Paypal buyer protection, the buyer can file if item is significantly not as described, and the seller will have to refund. I feel very strongly that it is important to present yourself as a seller in a friendly, accessible way in the seller's terms.
I hope these listing tips are helpful, and I wish you wonderful sales!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Here are a few suggestions for book listings on eBay.
What is the title?
What is the publication date? (see copyright page -- you are looking for the latest date mentioned)
Who was the author?
Is the illustrator memorable (i.e. N.C. Wyeth, Eloise Wilkin)?
Is it a hardcover (HC) or paperback (PB)?
Is it vintage (VTG)?
Will buyers be searching by book type -- i.e. Community Cookbook, Little Golden Book, etc.?
Is it signed? Or a First Edition (1st)?
A couple of examples of titles from my own listings:
Farm Pets 1954 Junior Elf Book VTG Anna Ratzesberger
Question and Answer Book 1963 Mary Elting WONDER BOOK
I am not a fan of descriptive versus specific auction titles -- i.e. DARLING BEAGLE BOOK 1944. That is not going to catch your buyer's attention if he or she is looking for a specific book (or author, or illustrator).
I am also not a fan of wasted words -- i.e. BEAUTIFUL, LOOK, MUST SEE.
In eBay titles, I believe it's best to follow the advice of Sgt. Joe Friday from Dragnet: "Just the facts, ma'm."
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Bonanzle is such a homey and cheerful site that both buyers and sellers will find much to like.
It's beautifully designed -- see the handpicked lists that appear when you first visit the main page at Bonanzle. This attention to detail follows throughout the site.
Not to be missed are the individual booths with a place to leave messages for the seller near the top of the page. If you'd like to peek at my booth at Bonanzle, you'll see what I mean: Birdhouse Books at Bonanzle.
Be sure to take a few minutes to stop by People at Bonanzle. The forums are lively and friendly and overall a very positive place, and check out the "Say Hello To" feature in the bottom left side of the screen. You can leave a friendly welcome to new members. Nice!
I've been a Bonanzle member for a while, but after retooling many of my titles and prices at eBay, decided to delete my Bonanzle listings and re-import items from eBay to freshen my Bonanzle booth.
It took the better part of a day for my 2700+ eBay items to import to Bonanzle. Then I spent the next afternoon updating shipping preferences. This was very easy with the batch editor found at My Bonanzle (top of screen). The site is intuitive and easy to navigate. Unfortunately, my HTML did not translate over, so I lost my pretty templates, and only my first photo from eBay imported.
I have had several sales at Bonanzle in the past year, and the buyers have been uniformly nice. Customer service is upbeat and responsive. It's been a positive experience, and this is an ecommerce site that I would highly recommend.
Monday, June 7, 2010
I am so incredibly impressed with what I've seen! I started an import of my listings (over 2700 items) from eBay just before 8 AM this morning. It was completed in an hour. In addition, my custom templates and photos imported, and all my shipping rates imported as well. WOW!
It took me about 15 minutes to set up my seller terms and seller description. At 9:09, my storefront is completely up.
I absolutely could not be more impressed, and highly recommend Addoway. I also hope you'll pop in on my Addoway store: http://www.addoway.com/birdhousebooks/storefront/
Sunday, June 6, 2010
THINK TWICE ABOUT STARTING AT 99¢
A long time ago, sellers could start items at 99¢ and generate a bidding war. Over the years, eBay has changed. Yes, starting at 99¢ may work great for in demand items, like a popular electronics gadget. But for vintage and one of a kind items, or media of almost any type, I have found that items started at 99¢ usually end at exactly that -- 99¢. Your time is more valuable than that -- and shipping supplies may end up costing you almost as much as you make! I never recommend starting that low.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH
The easiest way to see what your item is worth is to do a search on eBay. After you search, you will want to sort by price, and then look at the difference in Auctions Only items (tab at top of screen) and Buy It Now Only items (tab at top of screen). You may also want to look at the left-hand side of the screen and click on Completed Listings.
With books, you are likely to see a very broad spectrum of prices. I always disregard the "penny seller" listings (big companies that list many, many books for under $1). I try to look for listings by other "regular sellers" to get an idea of pricing. If a book is in good to very good condition, or if it fairly uncommon, I usually price near the upper end of the price range -- but not the highest price.
I also recommend Best Offer for items, but that is a future blog post here!
CHECK OTHER SITES
If your item is rare, you may want to do a Google search for it as well. I check more uncommon book titles on ABEBOOKS (http://www.abebooks.com/) for prices, and I also like the used book search at Addall (http://used.addall.com/). There are other item-specific sites for different categories.
WHEN IN DOUBT, HAVE A DEFAULT PRICE.
When in doubt, especially with items I cannot find online, I start auctions at $9.99. This has worked well for me in the past. I highly recommend having your own default price, especially for auctions. My fixed price default runs a bit higher, as I also include Best Offer.
I hope these pricing tips are helpful, and I hope you make great sales on eBay!
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Can anyone help me solve this yard sale mystery? Thank you in advance!
Friday, June 4, 2010
LOOK IN YOUR OWN HOME
Especially when starting out, your own home is a great resource for goodies to sell on eBay. For instance, I regularly cull my CDs, DVDs, and books and pull aside things that I don't think I'll listen to/watch/read again.
And don't forget to think creatively. See my old blog post called "Never Throw Away an Empty Box!" (http://birdhousebooks.blogspot.com/2007/12/never-throw-away-empty-vintage-box.html) I found some vintage department store gift boxes from long-defunct stores, and they sold great on eBay!
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY SALES
Organized sales at churches, community groups, libraries, etc. are all great! For these, you want to arrive early and be sure to take a cloth bag or box to gather your treasures as you shop. My biggest tip is to always look ON the tables, ABOVE the tables, and UNDER the tables, as you never know what you will find.
I have had uneven luck with thrift stores. They are browsed so heavily in my area by collectors and dealers, and the prices tend to be on the pricey side for resale. But -- I have friends in other areas who swear by great buys at the thrift store, and you may have some wonderful stores in your town.
One word about prices for resale -- I never spend over 10% what I think resale will be. For instance, if I think a vintage children's book will resell for $10, I would never pay over $1 for it. (And I certainly would love to get it for less than that!)
EBAY AND OTHER VINTAGE SITES
Again, not as great a venue for resale ... once you add in the shipping I've found you typically pay more than you should for a resale item, using my 10% rule. But -- you never know, and worth looking!
Ahh! My favorite! One of my favorite things to do is have breakfast with friends and go to dozens of yard sales. I am going to say a couple of things that are contradictory to what you may read elsewhere, but these tips work for me. We never go as "early birds," but go after the "early bird" dealers, so we can be a bit more leisurely and also more thorough. (It is amazing what the early birds pass by, and what gets put out later in the morning!) Also, we do not go as dealers, with business cards, book scanners, etc. We are always friendly and chatty with yard sale sellers, and friendly conversation often yields great goodies that aren't yet put out. For instance, "I love these vintage books! Do you have any more?"
A nice thing about yard sales is that prices are not written in stone. I like to gather all the things I want to purchase together, and then ask "how much for everything?" I usually get better prices that way than when I make a specific offer.
Again, a big reminder to look ON tables, UNDER tables, and ABOVE tables ... and to think outside the box about goodies you see.However you choose to search, I hope you find great goodies ... and I would love to hear about them!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The 1931 card above shows a little boy and girl in a hot air balloon. It reads: "I'm up in the air over you! Please be my Valentine."
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
WHY DO YOU WANT TO SELL?
Do you want to sell just a few things you have around the house, or do you want to get into selling as a way to bring in additional income (i.e. selling regularly)? This will make a difference as you plan your first steps.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SELL?
Unless you are selling things that you have around home (and that is a great way to start!), you should think about what you want to sell. I strongly advise picking an area, or 2 or 3, that you know and enjoy, and starting with that area. Examples would include CDs, baseball cards, baby clothes, cosmetics, handcrafted jewelry, or more.
When I first started on eBay, I sold books ... new or used, all different types. I've worked as a bookstore manager and I love books, so it seemed like a good starting place. Over time, I started listing especially in the areas I know and love best -- children's books and cookbooks. Through the children's books, I also developed a love of illustration, and a love of vintage ephemera as well. That's how I started on vintage cards.
HOW MUCH DO YOU PLAN TO SELL?
If you want to sell just a few items a week, you will do well working with the sell your item form at eBay. If you want to sell more, you will want to choose a listing service to keep things organized, to design good looking auctions, and to develop a more professional auction look. I have used the Inkfrog listing service for years and I highly recommend it -- http://www.inkfrog.com/. Inkfrog allows you to make auction templates, so you can "fill in the blanks" for similar types of listings, and it also lets you design an auction look that suits what you are selling. For instance, I use a vintage cherries design that looks a lot like a 1950's stamped tablecloth linen. If you'd like to peek, you can look at one of my auctions here:
Make It With Buttons 'N Beads - 1975 vintage craft book
I'll pick up tomorrow with a new installment on where to find items to sell on eBay. Hope you'll stop back by!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I am excited to begin Day 1 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. Jeanette Cates is leading a great group at http://jeanettecates.com/blog-challenge/. It's a simple idea; you blog daily for the month of June.
I enjoy blogging, but tend to pop in occasionally (rather than blogging regularly), so this is a great discipline for me.
My blog focuses on vintage treasure hunting, and selling online (eBay and other venues). If you're new to the blog, I hope you'll enjoy it!
Concurrently, I've been working on Summer goals, so the timing of the blog challenge is perfect!
Here's what I have planned for the summer:
I'm going to stretch my selling legs a bit and try some new venues, in addition to eBay. I love eBay -- I mean I really love it -- but the Spring 2010 "store in core" changes have not been kind to media sellers, as the market is now flooded and prices on books, music, movies are lower. With this in mind, I plan to import my listings to both Addoway (http://www.addoway.com/birdhousebooks) and update my booth at Bonanzle (http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/birdhousebooks).
I will be listing on my beloved eBay too -- mostly vintage books and ephemera. My eBay store is located at: http://stores.ebay.com/Birdhouse-Books.
I also am planning to blog daily about my online selling adventures, including pictures of great finds. Of course, I will post more about Addoway and Bonanzle as I explore those sites.
July is about Amazon Marketplace. I will be pulling more of my media items over to my marketplace store (http://www.amazon.com/shops/vintage-books-galore). Once again, this is in addition to eBay.
I will continue adding items to my Amazon Marketplace and listing new items on eBay.
I also plan to make a new "price book" to check my items for current prices on eBay. I will be pulling media items under $9.99 and putting them at a 30 day sale before donating them. I will continue to carry ephemera at a variety of prices (starting at $6.99) because it is such a pleasure and ease to deal with.
So ... blogging should fit in nicely with my summer plans, and I'm looking forward to this new adventure. I hope you'll be coming along!