Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's the Law...Police and Law Enforcement collectibles sell!

If you found a shirt or hat at a garage sale with a police badge emblazoned on the front would you buy it? You better Danno, because Ebay is filled with Law Enforcement collectors! LE (Law Enforcement) stuff is very collectible. I always keep an eye out for golf shirts and hats with police emblems on them. There is a huge segment of collectors out there who love to buy, display and trade all things LE.

But you have to be a little bit careful. There are some eBay regulations on law enforcement collectibles. For example, once I tried to list an old wooden police night stick but it was quickly removed by eBay because it is considered a weapon. You will also get a nasty e-mail if you attempt to sell a "Fraternal Order of Police" or "PBA" anything, so don't bother with those either. Both FOP and PBA are very protective of their associations and trademarks and will be on you like a cop making an arrest!

Avoid any local police department shirts, these have only limited interest and can draw the ire of the local coppers if they see it on eBay. I once listed a local police department polo style shirt and was subsequently bombarded via E-mail by a local “Barney Fife” type. Deputy Fife basically accused me of somehow stealing the shirt from his police department. I politely explained to him that one his officers must have donated it to Goodwill since I bought it there. He must have been a heck of a police investigator, because he didn't believe my story and with no further evidence basically called me a thief! I was getting ready to blast him back when a cooler head interceded. His Police Chief followed up with an E-mail explaining that they did not want the shirt to fall into the wrong hands. ( I guess that's why he was the Chief and Barney was only a deputy!) I think it was an overreaction on their part, the shirt was not official uniform type stuff. But I am very pro-law enforcement, those guys have a difficult job and I am not going to cause them any extra aggravation. Even though the Chief offered to pay for it, I ended up donating the shirt to the police department and mailed it to him gratis.

But don’t let that little side story dissuade you, I have done very well selling State Police and Federal Law Enforcement shirts. I occasionally find these shirts at the thrift stores. The above picture of a great looking US Secret Service polo shirt was a big winner for me. It had the agency emblem stitched on the front, very top quality stuff. I paid only five bucks for it at the local Goodwill Store. No secrets here... the shirt sold for fifty bucks on eBay! Now that's a sweet return! So keep an eye out for the right kind of law enforcement collectibles and buy and sell em Danno!

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  1. I tried to sell a Qantas Crew Cabin Uniform (Talked about it on my blog last week).
    I didn't realise I was breaking policy :-(
    I got it for $1 and it's beautiful - but current so unsellable.

  2. That's interesting, did you try to list it and eBay shut you down? Just curious....

  3. Interesting. I would never have thought to pick these types of shirts up. Nor, would I have thought there would be a problem selling them. How about local fire dept. shirts? Do they do any good?

  4. Yes Ebay shut it down.
    I think I will give it back to Qantas.

  5. I thought eBay would do that too you, oh well! Utah Bill-I was going to mention Fire Department shirts but left it out for brevity. I haven't had much luck with them, there are just too many local fire departments which dilutes the number of bidders. There is however some bidding interest in the big city Fire departments like NY, Chicago, ect. But nothing compared to the interest in Law Enforcement stuff.

  6. It's mainly police and other uniforms, official ID badges, and equipment that eBay doesn't allow. They don't want people impersonating the cops, for example. Great post!

  7. I just discovered your blog and have really enjoyed reading what has sold well for you. This past month was my first time selling on eBay and I'm hoping to continue learning the ropes. My first round of listings sold very well and I plan to list more in January.

    A couple of you sell/ship internationally and if so, what essentials do you include in the shipping/handling section to ensure that your fees are covered? I'm trying to avoid newbie listing mistakes by underestimating shipping. Also, do you ship in special boxes/poly mailers when doing oversea shipments....

    Basically anything you have to input on the shipping aspect of things would be great.

    Also, do you mostly list auction style, or do you list fixed price? I read some resources that stay, start low ($0.99) and others to say pick a reasonable starting point where you're sure to recoup the costs you have into an item. Any input on this?

    Best Regards,
    Moriah B.

  8. Hi Moriah-I am glad you are enjoying my blog and hope it helps you make some money on eBay. I do sell internationally but state in my item description that buyers need to e-mail me prior to bidding so I can quote them a shipping rate. When they do, I estimate the cost using

    I use the same shipping material for domestic and international usually a padded or tyvek/poly envelope.

    When setting a starting bid I am not a fan of the 99 cent starting auction. You can end up giving the item away and losing money if the right bidders are not looking that particular week. I set the price at what I paid or higher. A good rule of thumb is $9.99. This is a 25 cent insertion fee. Go a penny higher and it kicks up to 50 cents. I find $9.99 gets the bidding started at a reasonable price.

    You have some great questions and I would like to expound on it some more in an upcoming blog, so keep checking back. Thanks for your comments!

  9. You will definetly be missing a lot of business and bids if you do not sell internationally.

    A major break through for me regarding shipping and handlinge for both domestic and international was when I purchased an accurate scale. I reccomend you do it as soon as possible.

    Good Luck with your eBay business, and as always Good Hunting.

  10. Thanks for the tips. Yes, I got a good digital scale and am figuring out what works best for photos.

  11. Interesting post ... I tried to sell an LAC Sherrif's Explorer shirt that I bought at the GW. The Explorer shirts look very similar to the officers' shirts. Someone emailed me to tell me it was against eBay policy, which I ignored until eBay finally shut down the listing. And I agree with previous comments re: selling international ... I have sold many items to international customers. And I am no longer listing at $0.99 auctions...have lost money on these. Plus it's not worth the time and effort. I always start with $9.99 ... the magic number!

  12. I agree, 99 cents doesn't fly anymore. With the law enforcement stuff, I stick with state and federal agencies and don't receive any complaints.