AT Inbox: Online selling options must be low cost

Online selling options must be low cost

Mr. Bradley,

Good thoughts on your column. All of them. Interesting that the eBay transaction ended mid-term, so to speak.

Right now, this collector is having some success with a method to sell a few antiques and reach a local-regional audience: list on craigslist before listing on eBay. Why? (a) Local transactions save shipping costs, finding boxes, tape, etc. (b) No gargantuan fees ripped off by eBay & PayPal. (c) Local transactions help my local economy. (d) The transaction is more honest – fees from eBay and PayPal are essentially eBay fees altogether, divvied up between two different names. I’d dare say the lack of honesty on point (d) is what has brought many people to become disgruntled with eBay in recent years.

You have to plan ahead on your sales as a collector to make the local-first strategy work. But eBay is a pain unless an item is going to rake in $25 or $40. The costs just don’t justify the effort to sell. A couple years ago, I tracked my net income after time, fees, more fees, materials, travel and the occasional postage shortage to clean out a closet via eBay. I made something like $2 a day over the course of one week’s worth of listings.

eBay not too many years ago was the giant garage sale of the nation. The fees were penny ante. We all felt like Sears Roebuck & Co. to have a successful sale. A friend and eBayer I know says that it used to be a giant online rummage sale. Who would ever have thought that a $5 steam iron could get $20 instead thanks to eBay? We all felt the pull of the national market in those days.

But eBay has evolved into a giant online discounter. And eBay will always have a place, mind you. As I say, you can make money on it with a $25 item. But not a $5 item. So the fee structure has forced out thousands of antique dealers with their flea market booths, collectors like us and moms & dads cleaning out the closet. Craigslist is hampered by its lack of sophistication and vulnerability to spam. eBay has gotten too big for its head. You will remind me that there is and I’ve tried it and liked it. But I’m a realist. The trend of the Internet is that there is a cost that needs to be covered. Keep it low cost and it will have a future because there always will be a need for an online experience for the rest of us. I would welcome hearing other opinions.

Just my two cents.
John J. Archibald
Benton, Ark.

Ed.: offers free classified ads for antiques and collectibles and is owned by F+W Media, Inc., publishers of Antique Trader magazine.

Family brewery feature brings back memories

I enjoyed reading about your noble quest in the Antique Trader.

I grew up in Waupun in the late 40s and early 50s (we played New London in football). Although an enthusiastic beer drinker in those days I must confess that I never ran across Knapstein Beer. I remember Reinlander, Chief Oshkosh (at $2.25/case!), Kingsbury, Fox Head 400 and a host of others, but my favorite obscure brand was Theresa Pioneer Beer. Never a connoisseur, Pioneer beer was pretty awful and probably deserved its fate.

Good luck in your search.

Mike Stoffel

Do you research your antiques and collectibles before or after you buy them? If so, how do you research them?

I have a small booth in an antiques mall. Prior to placing items in the booth I first “Google” them. The only place thus far that I have paid for a value is Worthpoint.

Once in a while I can get a value from the sold items at eBay.

I also have links for specific items and have notebooks where I have filed by alphabetical order types of items from magazines and have books.

Once in a while, I just have to plain guess. Silly enough, I never research before I buy (usually I have an idea of worth) because I buy for ME not for resale. If I like it I just think to myself of how much it is worth to me. Then I go online sometimes to get the histories and fun information about the item.

Sometimes I even print this information out and attach it to the item if I decide to sell it.

Debbie Miller
Aussie-Magic Vintiques
Alton Antique Mall, Alton, NY

It is wise to do research before any purchase whenever possible. At those times when not possible, rely on experience and past knowledge. Invest in price guides that cover your collectibles or interests.

Don’t discard “old” PG’s or reference books which are of great value on identification and other particulars. You can throw out the quoted prices as practically worthless in most cases, valuable as a reference point only, or for comparing against similar classes of items.

As a resaler I have a personal library of over 400 volumes of reference books/price guides which have paid for themselves several times over. When the time comes to retire from hobby or sell off collection, these books sometimes fetch more than the new price so can also be considered an investment.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, safe holiday travels, and blessings in the New Year.

Wayne Nielander
Belleville, Kansas

I dont know how I am going to fully research an antique when I have found not one website to give me an idea of what anything is worth.

Southern Belle
via email

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