Collectibles can fetch hefty audience on eBay

There it is: still boxed after five years, your mother’s precious Betty Boop doll.

It was her pride and joy. You couldn’t stand it, until you learned that it’s fetching $600 on eBay. The same goes for dad’s old Beatles posters. They’re a bit worn, but going for hundreds of dollars apiece. “Abbey Road” … “Yellow Submarine” … and “Help,” I need somebody to turn this cache into cash.

Selling on eBay is at once inviting and intimidating. It looks easy enough, until you take a closer look. You have to sign up, register a credit card, write a description, take pictures, answer questions, send an invoice to the winner, then wrap the item and hope the buyer is happy. And don’t forget the fees.

More trouble than it’s worth? Not at all, especially for items that beg for a wider audience than you’ll find on your local Craigslist.

Step 1: After you’ve registered as a seller on eBay, get organized. Let’s say you found 20 more Betty Boop dolls in your mother’s basement. Assemble the items, then list them on a sheet of paper, along with a quick description of each, especially any defects. Go online – wouldn’t you know it, there’s a website called bettyboop.com that lists every model. Use it as a reference.

Step 2: Take pictures, at least three or four of each item, with a digital camera, and make sure the pictures are clear and bright. Transfer the images to your computer or laptop.

In the meantime, assemble packing materials, including bubble wrap and appropriate packaging. Also, be sure to check with the Postal Service, or online, to check the rates for the items you’ll be selling. It might be a good idea to invest in a digital scale.

Step 3: List your items starting with a simple, straightforward title, such as: “BETTY BOOP – black dress – great condition.”

Putting the item in all capital letters will help draw attention to it.

Describe your item fairly and honestly, and don’t puff it up. One more thing: spell it right; if you type “Bettie Boop,” you won’t get nearly the traffic you want.

Let people know up front what the shipping charges will be. Finally, price it low. That will attract more customers, which tends to drive the price upward. Schedule your items to end in the evenings or on a Sunday, when more people are likely to bid.

Step 4: Sit back and wait for the bids to come in! Notify the winners, wait for them to pay and ship the items. Then look for more dolls – there must be more.


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