How does one sell special interest items on the Internet anymore?
December 13, 2012 7:02 AM   Subscribe

How does one sell special interest items on the Internet anymore? Is that even a thing these days?

As our respective families have finally passed on the last of "our boxes" as they themselves clean out their house, we've been making great strides in our own house to pare down our belongings, donate what we can and save only the items that are truly meaningful.

What's left is a basket full of items that may or may not have "value," mostly from the 80s (my childhood years). These include, for example: an old, functioning Simon game, a full set of matchbox cars with carrying case, a brand new "send-away" Frosted Flakes Tony the Tiger light, etc. Also included are framed, signed photos of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (I went through an X-Files phase) and a brand new, in-box 20 piece Mikasa bone China set from my parents' wedding.

I put value in quotes because I'm not hoping to cash in on things like these, but I know I could likely sell them and that they could likely find homes with people who would truly appreciate them versus simply donating them.

So, my question: I've heard rumors that eBay is no longer worthwhile - is that the case? Is Craigslist too shady these days? If so, I'd love your suggestions on the best way to sell or find the people best suited for items with a specific "interest group" these days on the Internet (or in person?)

posted by atayah to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For each of the items, look on eBay for Completed Listings, so you can see if the item is selling, and if so for how much. That will give you an idea of whether it's worth your while listing them or not.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:11 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ebay and Craigslist (if you want to make a few bucks)
Freecycle (if you just want to find a new home for your stuff)
posted by Thorzdad at 7:12 AM on December 13, 2012

I've heard rumors that eBay is no longer worthwhile

As an eBay employee, I endorse EndsOfInvention's advice.

The eBay Fees page is here. You get 50 free Insertion Fees for Auction style listings each month. If your Auction listing sells, you'll be charged 9% of the total cost to the buyer (purchase price + shipping) as a Final Value Fee. Income tax will be owed on your profit.

To use a specific example: this person sold a Duchovny/Anderson signed picture for $61.89. [They charged the buyer $3.79 for shipping. I'll assume it cost them exactly that amount to ship it.] Since they used Fixed Price instead of Auction, they would have paid an Insertion Fee of $0.50 and a Final Value Fee of $6.44. So they cleared $54.95 for however long it took them to create the listing, package the photo, and take it to the post office.

On the other hand, they have both signatures on the same picture as well as a certificate of authenticity - both of which increase the item's value. And as an experienced seller, they probably were able to create the listing in less time than it would take you.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:01 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I should add that by accepting PayPal as a payment method, they would have owed PayPal $2.20 for handling the transaction. [2.9% + $0.30] Thus reducing their profit to $52.75.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:14 AM on December 13, 2012

My guy and I are selling our old stuff mostly on eBay and Amazon, and while we're not making a fortune (and we didn't expect to), we are finding homes for our stuff. For things that aren't selling, we have used Freecycle or offered them to friends and family who said they wanted them. We have a little more stuff than you do, I think.
posted by patheral at 12:27 PM on December 13, 2012

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