11/12/2019 at 5:52 pm #70577
Intersting radio segment:
Lots of callers saying they’ve built businesses in the past five years selling discarded items. But there was also discussion that the market for collectibles is bottoming out because older people are downsizing (and dying off).4+
11/13/2019 at 3:12 pm #70612marylibrarianParticipant
- Location: Dora MO
Interesting. At my in-laws estate auction last weekend, boxes of formerly collectible glassware were going for $3-$5 a box. McCoy cookie jars that used to go sky high were bring $5. We had a really good turn out for the sale, I guess the generation that collected these items are passing away or aren’t as active in their collecting. Primitives and tools still did pretty well. The tractor and pickup sold for a good price. Part of the problem is there was just so much stuff!!0
11/13/2019 at 4:21 pm #70615
11/14/2019 at 11:17 am #70630TemudginParticipant
- Location: Washington DC
Here is a very interesting article about the international rag trade that is an excerpt from that book. Basically where the clothes that we scavengers don’t buy end up….0
11/16/2019 at 9:29 pm #70707
I had an interesting conversation with the owner of a comic book store about the boom and bust cycle that affects widely collected items, whether those are comic books, Playboy magazines, sports cards, or beanie babies.
He said in the collectible comics industry, you had all these guys who amassed large comic book collections over the course of decades, often with the idea that they would cash in and sell them at some point and make a fortune.
The problem, however, is that there are a lot of other people with the same idea. There is a point when people who have developed these large collections, and hauled them from move to move, decide they have little interest in the subject anymore, usually as middle age hits. This is also a time when we naturally start to think about divesting ourselves of material goods in favor of financial reserves. Often, they may offer the collection to their child or family member, only to find their kids have no interest in dad’s hobby. So they decide now is the time to cash in and make a killing and use the funds to buy something they really want. Or they may have a sudden need for big cash, due to a divorce, bad investments, medical crisis, or a child’s college bill.
The problem arises because a lot of other collectors in their age cohort had the same collections and the same idea, and the market gets flooded, which drives prices down as supply increases. This has happened in the last decade in the comic book market, with books that were once expected to rise in value dropping precipitously, as collectors find their carefully curated collections are not worth anywhere near what they thought they were.
eBay and Amazon makes just about everything available as well and makes anyone who wants to sell a copy a dealer, which also increases supply and further drives down prices.
Some comics will still maintain value if rare, and from the era before when the publishers created a gazillion different variants designed to appeal to “collectors”; comic books that were published when they were cheap, fun, and disposable “kid’s stuff” will still be collectible; but every year there are fewer of those to be found in a footlocker in someone’s attic.
As discussed on the podcast, the general value of collectibles will fall due to the number of people selling on eBay, and probably due to an aging population selling off their collectibles, I would guess.0
11/17/2019 at 9:00 am #70715
Makes sense. Every niche will have its boom and bust. We’ve spoken before how antique dark wood furniture is almost worthless these days at auctions. In years past, people sold thousands for these giant pieces of furniture. Now no one wants to haul and store these pieces.0
11/17/2019 at 9:26 am #70718Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
There’s vape pipe collectors, who are all probably millenials 😉 As for the collectibles (and the collectables) Bradford Exchange, Franklin Mint and Thomas Kinkade etc. are still advertising their junk in the back pages of TV listings mags, and Royal Crown Derby are still knocking out their interminable series of Imari paperweights so I suppose there’s still plenty of money in it.
Two-thirds of the way down this Wikipedia page there’s “glass bongs”.0
11/17/2019 at 9:57 am #70721
If I had unlimited storage, I’d see this as “giant buying opportunity”. Buy it all up now hold till all this stuff becomes desirable again. Maybe 10-20 years? That would be the long game.1+
11/17/2019 at 10:21 am #70722
Jay, Locally, I’m actually seeing something of a rebound with brown furniture, although its mostly people buying it to repaint or even restructure it.
I think one thing people often miss when talking about “early eBay”….sellers love to say its success was all about antiques and collectibles, but I was around then, and I’d say much of its early success was actually fueled by the same sort of speculative fever that drove the Gold Rush out West and the Beanie Baby craziness on eBay. A lot of people seemed to believe it was a “can’t lose” sort of thing….you could make money buying and selling on ebay, but anything you bought would just go up and up in value , so you could sell it for a quick buck or hold it and sell it when it had gone up even higher. A lot of people who were attracted to ebay selling back then weren’t antique dealers or collectors…they weren’t attracted by the sense of community or the “neat old stuff”, and they certainly weren’t really business savvy….it was, as Glenn Frey noted in a somewhat different context, “the lure of easy money, its gotta very strong appeal”
As is always the case in this sort of “boom”, it is always followed by a bust, whether it’s stock market prices or Beanie Babies or Antiques. Way back in the Seventies, when Inflation was rampant, gurus were advising people to buy gold and silver and art and antiques because their value would always continue to increase.
As with everything, knowing when to get in on something like that is important, but knowing when to get out—before the bust—is maybe even more important….
One reason ebay is so different now is that a lot of people on ebay are no longer viewing it as a kind of easy money grab…it’s a job, it’s work, and , for scavengers, it’s only big , easy money if the scavenger lucks out and finds that ten million dollar painting or something….and most of us never will….0
11/17/2019 at 10:29 am #70723
One reason ebay is so different now is that a lot of people on ebay are no longer viewing it as a kind of easy money grab…it’s a job, it’s work, and , for scavengers, it’s only big , easy money if the scavenger lucks out and finds that ten million dollar painting or something….and most of us never will….
This is the big question:
–Are there more people jumping in and trying to make quick money? “I sold a purse for $100. Everything I find Ill sell quickly!” Delusion that will end badly.
–Or are there people realizing it is a job and are willing to put in the work to create a home business. Consistent listing. Good customer service. Storage. Willing to hold onto items. Can ride out the ups and downs of sales.0
11/17/2019 at 11:37 am #70724
Jay, My guess? Most of the stuff sold on eBay these days is sold by people who view it as a job(part time or full time, stand alone or as one sales channel). But I suspect many of the new sellers coming on are still attracted by the idea—now pushed to varying degrees by various youTube gurus—that ebay is easy money (especially for scavengers or retail arbitrage types). Those folks either leave when they discover it really is work, or they decide to stick it out and buckle down and work at it.
The lure of easy money is still there, but not like it had been. Back then a lot of people really believed, well, I paid $100 for this on an ebay auction, and maybe that was high, but that’s OK, because I can always sell it next year for $200.00….I think that sort of craziness is pretty much behind us. Which is why, even if eBay improves their app and makes it easier to list and sell on ebay, the Old Days still aren’t ever coming back…because the belief in the magic of the marketplace is gone.1+
11/17/2019 at 7:00 pm #70742
I haven’t seen any of the “Make Meth-Level Profits by Selling Old Crap on eBay” paid courses, but I have seen many of the eBay videos that urge people to make a fortune on eBay. I see lots of suggestions about scaling and out-sourcing and virtual assistants, all of which are probably good ideas for many sellers, yet I never hear eBay gurus talk much about research.
I do very well, IMHO, selling books because I know the market very well. I can pick out the valuable items on a shelf very quickly before using a scanner to verify. But I’m pretty useless when it comes to finding the really valuable pieces in jewelry, or china, or LPs, or marbles, or model trains, or hundreds of other categories. Sellers with a much broader range of inventory, like our hosts, have a much better range of knowledgeable about specific niches from working with a lot of categories.
If it seems like the collectible market is no longer profitable for me in the category I specialize in, I would pick a couple more and start really heavily researching it – reading reference works, haunting bulletin boards devoted to the subject, and obsessively reading the “solds” on eBay each night. I’m doing this now with fine cooking/chef’s knives, which I’m starting to find in estate sales. I should probably pick out a few more niches.
My guess is that if the market is shifting and becoming more and more competitive on collectible and rare items, becoming a specialist in more categories (while still maintaining a jack-of-all-trades mindset on anything that will sell) may be the best way to surf the waves of a changing marketplace.
Generalists or Specialists – who do you all think will do best in the future? I’d be interested to hear.0
11/18/2019 at 9:41 am #70758
Generalists or Specialists – who do you all think will do best in the future? I’d be interested to hear.
I think you have to be both. Sell lots of different items, but know how to go deep when needed.0
11/17/2019 at 8:20 pm #70745scott2Participant
- Location: Merida, Mexico
Arizona mike, I used to sell books also on amazon, it was a good and fairly easy way to make a buck. Back then it was all about volume, scanning and bulk searching. Listing was very quick and media rate shipping was very cheap. If I moved back to the US again I would jump back in to that as a base income and continue to learn more about different categories and try to keep branching out. The big thing with books that helped me was living near alot of expensive areas, folks would read a book and then donate it to the friends of the library stores.1+
11/17/2019 at 8:22 pm #70746
@scott2, yeah, Amazon sales have been good to me. Their draconian attitudes to 3P sellers makes it a very precarious market, though, which is why I expanded back to eBay as well, which I found I like a lot.0
11/18/2019 at 7:36 am #70752almastyParticipant
Yeah, Amazon seems way more unstable than Ebay at this point. Any book can be gated for any reason, whether by the publisher directly or so-called pricing errors. Entire categories of books I just list straight on Ebay now to avoid any potential hiccups.
I guess you weren’t impacted by the Spring 2018 glitch on Amazon. Sales just slowed to a crawl for absolutely no reason. The glitches on Amazon are just as bad or worse than Ebay.
As a f/t bookseller for 15 years, I can say that the heyday of Amazon is long over. Yes, you can still make money on it, and there are of course good books still to be found for it. However, if you don’t want to give up a bulk of your profits to FBA, it is hard. I won’t even go into the detrimental effects of over saturation. Even the days of having a PDA/scanner combo were a bit of a barrier for newbies. Now you can just download an app on your phone, if you so choose. Many sellers are too cheap for that and just use the Amazon Seller app, hah.1+
11/18/2019 at 10:10 am #70761
I find the worst part of selling on Amazon to be the inability to communicate with anyone with the power to make a decision on a potentially business-ending action – they are increasingly using bots and AI to answer appeals to discourage them. And the risk of selling a book that a textbook publisher’s attorney flags as “counterfeit”. Sellers have little recourse in an appeal. For all its faults, eBay is like dealing with your mom and dad by comparison.0
11/18/2019 at 11:33 am #70772Retro Treasures WVParticipant
I occasionally try to do amazon by scanning barcodes, but it seems pretty much all Retail Arbitrage has become gated requiring distributor invoices.
Amazon was fun while I did it, but I got in at the tail end and that ship has sailed.0
11/18/2019 at 3:27 pm #70781ZachParticipant
- Location: Kansas City
Anything originally advertised and sold specifically to be a collector’s item was probably produced in huge quantities and is almost always worth little to nothing on the secondary market.
Worse yet, people who have collected this junk usually have unrealistic expectations on its value, even at venues like garage sales.
I avoid “collectibles” like the plague.0
11/18/2019 at 3:55 pm #70783Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Nothing sucks more than driving out to a yard sale only to find it is ALL the “limited edition” collectors crap. These sales usually have high prices and include notes next to the price pointing out how much they allegedly go for on ebay.0
11/19/2019 at 4:41 pm #70842
Stopped at my local Goodwill today. They have one display counter that has traditionally been all jewelry (which I know little about, so rarely buy, but I know some of the regulars buy from it often.) Store manager told me word came down from on high (I suppose the Regional Honchos): starting Dec 1st, all jewelry will be sold exclusively on Goodwill’s online site.
I assume this applies to all the Goodwills in my region. Don’t know if it applies to other Goodwills elsewhere, but I thought I’d give you guys a heads up…the policy might be coming to a Goodwill near you soon…0
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