Wednesday, December 23, 2009

If you list it, they will come.


It never ceases to amaze me how far people will travel just to hand over money to you. Find some little innocuous item at your local yard sale, list it for sale and someone drives hours just to buy it. I've seen it first hand a bunch of times!

Recently, I sold two doll furniture kits that required full assembly. The kits were identical and were basically balsa wood cut-outs. I found the sets at a thrift store and paid ten dollars for each one. My reasoning was that doll furniture is really a sought after item on Ebay, so why not doll furniture kits too right? Ummm, no..... I was completely wrong! These two kits were an albatross and hung around my basement for about nine months. I tried to sell them on Craigslist and Ebay and found no interest. I guess most people want their doll furniture assembled and ready to play with. Can’t really blame them for that.

However, seeing a last chance to sell them during the Christmas season, I posted them on Craigslist for what I paid for them. Low and behold, a lovable grandfather who lived about sixty miles away contacted me and said he would buy them. With traffic, this kindly old gentleman drove two hours just to pick up these two dumb boxes. He told me when we met that he was going to build them for his granddaughter - very nice! I broke even on the deal and was just happy to get them out of my house. So live and learn, no more kits for me! But I could not get over the fact that this grandfather drove so far for the kits. Not to mention the assembly work he had ahead of him. That's a heck of a grandfather!

A more successful Craigslist sale was the train set seen above. I purchased this from a serious collector who was asking only $50 for it. It was new in the box and never opened, basically a traditional HO scale set but made by "Marklin" of West Germany. The seller was one of these guys who did not deny himself when buying train sets. If he wanted a set-he bought it. I suppose this was one set too many for him since he told me he never took it out of the box! I paid him his asking price and surmised that between train collectors and Christmas shoppers, I would find a buyer and make some money.

Doing my research on Ebay, I learned that although these sets are considered high quality, there was not a huge demand for them here in the States. I worried I might get stuck with a another no-sale dud. This is where Craigslist comes in very handy. You can post an item for sale and list it for months at not cost to you. Hopefully over time, a collector will discover it and make you an offer.

Fortunately that’s what happened with my German trains. A father and teenage son wanted them bad, driving well over an hour to pick them up. I made arrangements to meet them near the turnpike exit to make it a little easier. I was asking $125 for the set and was paid every bit of it from the young collector. So I made me a quick $75, not bad considering I thought I had a stinker on my hands.

As James Earl Jones said in the movie classic, "Field of Dreams", “If you build it, they will come”. In my case it's usually, "if you list it, they will come!"

Yep they will come...to buy your stuff !




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