How to sell parts of a valuable collection on eBay--without the feedback?
March 17, 2008 1:43 AM   Subscribe

How do you begin to sell collectible or designer items on eBay that are easily counterfeited or faked without thousands of positive feedback?

For years, I collected Nike sneakers. Many of the sneakers I have are highly collectible and worth several hundred dollars. I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready to get rid of some of them, and traditionally eBay has been the standard marketplace for Nikes.

However, there exists a rampant market of fake, knock-off, or "variant" sneakers on eBay--as I'm sure there is for many other collectibles or designer items. In my seven years as an eBay member, I've bought dozens of sneakers, and I know that I would never buy Nikes from someone who didn't have feedback indicating that their product was how do I sell to someone like me? I'm not a reseller, I've never sold shoes on eBay before (though I have sold other things and do have 100% feedback), I don't have references or a reputation; I'm just a collector myself looking to get rid of a few pieces for some extra closet space and cash. I'm not actively involved in any of the online sneaker collecting communities (because frankly, the hobby tends to attract 13-year old boys), nor is there really a better way to sell the sneakers.

Surely someone must have gone through this before (with something other than sneakers...though if it was with sneakers, please do share!) How do you make sure you get the fair value for your high priced item on eBay without the reputation to back it up? How can collectors liquidate their collections without taking huge losses? Tons of big, high quality photographs obviously, but what else can I do?

(Flight Club, a popular sneaker consignment store, is currently selling one pair sneakers I want to get rid of for $1100. There's a recently completed auction on eBay for the same shoes from an unknown seller for $81, just so we're clear on how much market value I stand to lose. All the other completed auctions with higher starting prices aren't bid on. As to why I'm not just using Flight Club--the shoes aren't deadstock/brand new).
posted by cosmic osmo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
you could always sell them through nike SB forums

or if you are a size US12 email me what you have and i might buy from you :)
posted by moochoo at 3:11 AM on March 17, 2008

I've sold Nike sneakers once in a while on eBay, and I often buy from private collectors off eBay. If you have something worth $$$ that has been widely faked then I would suggest:

1. Check the eBay sneaker price guide from and start your auction at an appropriate price to indicate that you aren't looking to flog knock-offs at a discount.

2. Include "watermarks" in your photos to show that they really are your shoes.

3. Link your for sale items together with "see my other items" links, and have a common story in all the listings about how you are selling a collection. Anything personal is good to indicate that this isn't a business for you.

4. Depending on the shoes, try and photograph the key areas that indicate that they are not fakes. Include the label on the box, the tag on the inside of the shoe showing the size, date of manufacture, and the factory codes. Additionally consider a close up of the sole insert taken out of the shoe, and the heel logo, and the toebox. Check the various guides to fakes for more details.

I'm not sure there is an easy way to liquidate a whole collection, without taking a considerable loss compared to elevated Flightclub prices. Why don't you post the shoes you are considering selling here, and we can try and give further advice, and/or reasonable offers.
posted by roofus at 3:25 AM on March 17, 2008

I know you don't want to hang out with 13 yr old boys, but SneakerPlay is just lovely and there are some normal people there too. Might be a good place to share your collection and check for interest.

I'm a member and far from a 13 yr old boy. Msg me if you need an invite.
posted by kaydo at 3:33 AM on March 17, 2008

I am also a member, and far from 13 year old boy, but sneakerplay still has it's share of infantilism.

This may be too obvious to mention, but if you live in a big city, specifying that you are happy to arrange a meet-up to exchange sneakers for cash is a good way of reassuring concerned buyers.
posted by roofus at 3:37 AM on March 17, 2008

You're correct on the photos. Sign up for Auctiva which will allow to add 20+ free images of your item on your ebay page.

Get hold of the best camera you can and take as many high resolution photographs of your item from every imagineable angle, and add those to your listing.

Put a brief message in your listing explaining what you did here, state that you are open to all questions on your items, and offer a full refund should the item not be as described. Make sure you can accept Paypal.

I don't think you'll have a problem, and if the item is good your reputation will count for very little at all. In my experience no feedback at all is preferable to 1 negative in 100. BTW - is the Flight Club sale for $1100 a completed one? Because I think eBay reflects the market value of something far more realistically than collector specific websites (eg - Abebooks) where sellers are more likely to dream up pie in sky figures and wait for a desperate collector.
posted by fire&wings at 4:11 AM on March 17, 2008

Response by poster: I am in New York City, so local meet-ups would definitely be an option (though selling online opens up the west coast market). I stopped looking at NikeTalk a few years ago and I'm not familiar with SneakerPlay or the nike SB forums, but my worry is still the same--the lack of reputation.

The most "valuable" shoes I'm trying to sell, both in minimally worn condition are supreme dunk lows in white size 10 US and atmos air max 1s size 9.5 US...really it's the supremes this question is about, because while I know that I'll never get $1000 for them--FC's pricing is ridiculously overinflated to begin with--I know what they're worth and I really would like to get a fair deal for them because they're not even wearable (they're not my size, which is the only reason they're not beat to hell. I have the blacks in my size and they are beat to hell).
posted by cosmic osmo at 4:14 AM on March 17, 2008

Response by poster: (the Atmos Air Max 1 Bs, the purple/khaki/gold colorways....I didn't even realize Atmos had released another Air Max until I looked through eBay just now...)
posted by cosmic osmo at 4:28 AM on March 17, 2008

One of the options is to take them down to a local e-Bay store. Having worked at once for a few months, while they'll take a hefty commission, they also have an existing approval rating which will force the price higher. At the same time, because they're easily counterfeited, the store might not sell them, or tell you to go another route.

I think in a case like this, consigning locally may be better. Be sure to look into both.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 4:59 AM on March 17, 2008

Sneaker Freaker suggests $807 for white supreme lows as a mean eBay value this year, but the edge is definitely coming off prices, even as the dollar devalues. Size 10 is both the commonest and the most popular in the US/UK, which is sort of a double edged sword.

Nike SBs as expensive as the supremes are often faked, but in my experience the fakes are pretty bad. If you need the money fast, sign up for niketalk etc and post your listings looking for an NYC meet-up. Otherwise drop them off at FC and see what they say. They do sell near-DS shoes too.
posted by roofus at 5:09 AM on March 17, 2008

currently selling one pair sneakers I want to get rid of for $1100
Selling or for sale at? There's a fairly big difference.

I don't have sneaker specific experience, but I would say photographs of your whole collection would go a long way towards assuaging fears. They would show that you are a collector, you many different collectible shoes, not just one 18 wheeler full of this one kind.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:41 AM on March 17, 2008

Response by poster: Selling or for sale at? There's a fairly big difference.
Oh, I absolutely agree. That's from a consignment shop and is the price the seller sets, not the buyer (unlike eBay which demonstrates "market value" to be somewhat lower, hence the $807 quote roofus gives)...I just noted it to demonstrate one "accepted value" of the item in question because people unfamiliar with sneaker collecting might not realize some of the absurd prices people do pay for shoes and might not realize I'm talking about potentially high three figures for one pair.

So here's the followup to my question--how exactly do I set this eBay auction up? Lots of detailed pictures, yes. Background story and description, yes. Offer to meet locally and exchange for cash, yes.

But in terms of starting bid? Buy it now option? Reserve? Any other time I've sold something on eBay it's been something I knew would get bid on (mostly old video games and iPods) and I just set the starting bid at 0.99 with no reserve because I wasn't worried about it eventually reaching market value. That doesn't seem like a great idea for this scenario, yet I am hesitant to set a high reserve price or start the bidding at the lowest I'd accept for the shoes because all that goes against everything I know about selling successfully on eBay. It'd be a pain to have no one bid on them at all. I'm hoping to get at least $500 for them ($600 would be ideal) and that is not a trifling amount of money for me.
posted by cosmic osmo at 7:05 AM on March 17, 2008

You can go along way in allying the fears of buyers by writing thoughtful, deep descriptions which not only describe the shoe, but provide information about your collection, why you're selling, where you got the shoes, and the like. People love details. If you come across as a real person who shares an interest in this hobby you'll do well.

Also providing solid contact information, and offering local pickup (even if you live in BFE and it's unlikely anyone will use it) goes a long way too.
posted by wfrgms at 9:05 AM on March 17, 2008

As an infrequent seller and frequent buyer on eBay, when it is fake-able and from an unknown seller I will bid *much* less. Until the recent bump in fees, I've always sold my old laptops on ebay (for great prices, IMO), bought Digital SLRs on ebay for 1k+ as well as collectible, fake-able artwork. It doesn't matter how much you promise that you'll refund my $$$ if the shoes aren't as advertised, for me to spend more than, say, $150 you really need to have a lot of feedback. Specialized feedback is even better, which for me means that the local ebay consignment stores are untrustworthy- sometimes they know what they've got, sometimes not.

I'd suggest contacting Flight Club, the seller you mentioned. Tell them you've got a collection, arrange to sell it through them, offer them a cut. Even if they take 15-20%, you'll still get more $$$ than if you sell it yourself.

It is unclear how little feedback you have. Are we talking about a new account you just opened? Or an account that is a year or more old, but only has a handful of feedback? This really matters, whether you have 6 feedback or 30.

Think what aggravation Flight Club could save you- they'd write the descriptions, they'd take the pictures, they'd answer the inevitable questions:

buyer123: iz this genUine? Y/N?

buyer456: Can you please describe the styling on the shoelace ends? Please include length, weight, and color adjusted against the Heimler scale.

buyer789: Will u combin shipping fer all auctions I win?

If you don't want to sell it in concert with Flight Club, what about slowly building a reputation on ebay by selling (at a loss, obv) some of your more inexpensive pieces, making it clear you're joining the online community with a AboutMe page and a fair return/refund policy. Wait until you have strong specific feedback (from shoe collectors) and then start selling the expensive shoes. By then, hopefully, people will be searching for *your* auctions knowing that they're the place to find collectible shoes.

What about soliciting the same advice from some of the 13 y/o boys on the shoe collector forums? They could help advertise your auctions by chatting about them and if you establish a "presence" you might be deemed more trustworthy.

Good luck!
posted by arnicae at 10:05 AM on March 17, 2008

Would it be possible for you to sell other things first -- smaller, less easily fakeable stuff -- so that you could build up a good feedback rating?
posted by peacheater at 10:25 AM on March 17, 2008

Offer to meet locally and exchange for cash, yes.

Don't do this.

I sell on eBay and am a former Power Seller.

Any item that I sell >$100 I send Insured & Signature Confirmation and I will only ship to an address confirmed by Paypal.

Experience has taught me this.

If you exchange a high value item in person for cash you will have no record of the transaction and the "winner" of the auction can very easily claim he never received the item.

"But I have the emails we exchanged documenting we did the exchange in person" you might say. Good luck with that. A signature confirmation is your best protection.
posted by mlis at 7:44 PM on March 17, 2008

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