Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

How To Sell Antiques On eBay

Why Aren't Your Antiques Bringing What You Expect On eBay?

Recently I've noticed that a big portion of the new readers of my weekly newsletter are collectors who don't feel they're doing a good job selling their collectibles on eBay. Usually they think this because auction prices aren't meeting their expectations.

A big reason for lower than expected prices is the declining market. Things are tough and people aren't buying as much. My buyers are being more opportunistic. If you put a good or great deal in front of them, they'll buy, but otherwise they'll just wait.

Another reason for declining prices is there are more sellers as collectors age and start downsizing. This increases the number of items on eBay competing for the attention and dollars of buyers.

When you add in the sheer number of listings the average eBay antiques shopper has to scroll past to find something good, it becomes very hard to stand out.

As sellers we don't have any control over declining prices. We're price takers. We take whatever someone is willing to pay.

However, we can do things to increase the chances of getting higher prices.

Here's 23 tips for selling antiques on eBay

  1. Know what you are selling. This means researching your antique on eBay to see what similar items have sold for, and to see how the higher priced closed auctions were listed. A price guide is not as valuable as looking at completed eBay listings.
  2. When you're doing research, pay attention to completed auctions that sold. This is where you'll find keywords, categories, and other important details buyers want to know.

    If there is a wide difference between selling prices, try to understand why the more expensive antique brought higher bids. Is it different? Was the condition better than others? Or, was it just two bidders fighting and over paying?
  3. Always use titles with relevant keywords. Most eBay searches are done with the default title only option. How to find keywords for antiques.
  4. List your antiques in the best categories. The best category may not be the one eBay suggests. For example eBay will suggest a book about cast iron toys should be listed in the books category. The book will get more attention and bids in the cast iron toys category. How to find eBay categories.
  5. List similar antiques at the same time and offer shipping discounts for buyers who win multiple auctions. This increases cross bidding and ending prices.
  6. Use photographs that demonstrate the overall quality of the antique rather than pictures that emphasize the defects. I'm not saying you should hide damage, but rather that using images showing defects should be inserted after overall shots. eBay picture advice.
  7. Know your buyer, and write your auction description for him. I sell toy trains to collectors and operators. While both care about condition, the operator is more interested in features than rarity. Right now I have trains on eBay that are worth less than the original packaging. I have one sentence describing the condition of the train, and a paragraph about the original box. My photos also show the boxes more than the trains.
  8. Use the jargon a buyer would use to describe your antique.
  9. Speaking of rarity, don't make exaggerated claims of rarity or desirability. Listing something as rare or desirable when it isn't decreases the chances an eBay shopper will look at your other listings.
  10. Offer international shipping. I offer international shipping on all but the largest and heaviest items I sell on eBay. It takes 2 minutes to fill out a customs form for a package that weighs over 4 pounds. For lighter packages it takes even less time. In many cases the foreign bidder will come in second because his shipping cost is higher.
  11. Don't use abbreviations unless they are widely used by buyers. Do you know what "MOC" and "OOP" mean? "MOC" is "Mint on Card" and would be familiar to some toy buyers. "OOP" means "Out of Print" or "Out of Production" and is commonly used to describer either books or mass produced collectibles. You'd be better served to spell out the phrase in the description and title.
  12. When selling antiques on eBay focus on selling rather than on preventing problem buyers from bidding. Keep your description focused on the item being sold.
  13. Don't save time by listing a lot of unrelated items in one large lot. I just got a box in the mail from an eBay seller who saved some time listing her trains by just dumping them on a table outside and then shooting a few pictures of them lying there. I paid $26 including shipping for the box load. I'll make 10 times that when I resell the stuff. This is called eBay Arbitrage.
  14. List provenance if it's important. An example of unnecessary provenance is "I bought this at a yard sale and know nothing about it." A good use of provenance is "This was purchased from the original owner and has not been cleaned."
  15. If you don't have experience selling antiques on eBay, start by listing cheaper items. This way if you make mistakes, they'll be less costly. Free report Getting Started on eBay.
  16. Pay attention to eBay fees. I'm always surprised at the number of people who start auctions at $10 rather than $9.99. It costs 25 cents more in eBay fees for the penny difference in starting price. Also watch out for unhelpful yet costly listing upgrades. More on fees and listing upgrades.
  17. List during special promotions. I have a number of expensive, but thinly traded items, I list during special promotions. In March 2012, the special is free insertions for auction listing to store owners so I listed the items as auctions with high opening bids.
  18. Watch your sell through rate. This is the number of sold items divided by the number of listings. This is important if your buyers use best match to view search results and categories. Low sell through rates lower your exposure to these shoppers.
  19. Use a bulk lister like TurboLister. This is a free program provided by eBay that allows you to write and manage your auctions easily.
  20. Don't beat a dead horse. I've been seeing the same overpriced antiques listings on eBay for years. I look at the same saved searches every week, and scroll though hundreds of these listings in every search. Pull the listing and then run it again in a month or two.
  21. Don't end your items early unless there are no bids. In the last 24 hours of my auctions the prices usually double or triple. Never end an auction because of an offer to purchase the item outside eBay. In every case when I rejected or ignored an offer, my antique has sold for more than the offer.
  22. Don't assume eBay is the only place to sell antiques. Try a flea market or antiques show, some ads on Craigslist, or maybe even get a booth in an antique mall.
  23. Systemize your eBay selling activities. If you get frustrated while listing items on eBay, you may be disorganized. I've gone and watched people list on eBay. In some cases I should have brought popcorn because it was like watching a clown. Here's an explanation of my eBay selling system.

My eBay selling manual explains step-by-step how to research, list and sell within an efficient framework. With the Auction Revolution manual, you'll not only get higher prices on eBay, but you'll save money on listing fees, and save time and aggravation.

Get your copy of the Auction Revolution.


"The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales"
is now available for immediate download.

Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

Ted at his desk.

Most Popular Articles on IWantCollectibles
  • Finding Products To Sell On eBay
    How to find products to sell on eBay is the most common question I get from my readers. This page has links to all the articles and reports I've written about finding eBay products.
  • How To Be An Antique Dealer
    The best way to start an antiques or collectibles business. Part 1 of a five part series on being an antiques dealer.
  • Understanding eBay Changes 2011
    This page covers eBay changes and has links to all articles on IWantCollectibles about working within the changes. Sign up for my free newsletter for articles covering new changes as they are announced.
  • Tips for Starting an eBay Consignment Business
    Selling on consignment is the perfect way to start on eBay. This article is an introduction to consignment selling, and explains what you'll need to be successful. First in a series on eBay Consignment.
  • Shopping For eBay Products At Garage Sales
    Thirteen tips for garage sale shopping. Part one of a two part series on garage and yard sales.
  • Finding New Products for eBay
    If you want to sell new products you need to concentrate on items others are not selling. You need to find sources other sellers are unaware of. That is not hard to do. Here's a list of articles to get you started on the right path.
  • eBay Auction Category, Title And Keyword Advice
    A series of articles about getting your items found on eBay. Covers category selection, eBay keyword rules, and researching keywords. Finally you'll learn how to write an informative, keyword rich title.

The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales
is now available for immediate download.

Free Antiques and eBay Newsletter
Get 9 Free eBay Ebooks
Free emailed newsletter includes free ebooks, interviews with eBay sellers, and helpful articles. You can unsubscribe at any time.

More Newsletter Information

eBay Questions and Answers

About .

Contact Terry

Free eBay Ebooks

eBay Advice

Antiques Advice

Antiques and eBay Reports

Antiques Articles

How To Sell Antiques On eBay

Learning Antiques Values

How To Be An Antique Dealer

A Few Quick Buying Stories

Resources For Buying On Craigslist

Search Craigslist Across Cities and Categories

How To Sell Antiques

How To Learn About Antiques

How To Act At Antiques Shows

Selling At Antique Shows Versus On eBay

7 Habits Of Successful Antiques Dealers

Tools of A Successful Antiques Dealer

Finding eBay Keywords For Antiques

"Storage Wars" and Mini Storage Auction Tips

Should You Be Selling With Fullfillment By Amazon Too?

Sorting Antiques To Sell Them

Avoiding Common Mistakes Made By Collectors And Dealers

Are You An Expert On Collectibles?

27 Ways To Find Antiques To Sell On eBay

Buying Antiques At Garage Sales

Antiques Reports

Finding Profitable Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales

Get Into Estate Sales Early For The Best Deals

Negotiating When Buying Antiques and Collectibles

How To Sell At Antiques Shows And Flea Markets

Buy Collectibles With Terry's Proven Strategies

Learn How To Spot Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries

Start Your Own eBay Consignment Business

Buying Antiques and Collectibles In Stores And Malls

eBay Articles

Finding Products To Sell On eBay

What to Sell On eBay?

How eBay's Best Match Search Works

How To Sell On eBay For Beginners

The Drop Shipping Myth Explained

Dealing With eBay Changes 2018

Overcoming Common eBay Seller Frustrations

27 Ways To Find Antiques To Sell On eBay

Advice for Writing and Selling Ebooks On EBay

Selling Antiques On eBay

Using Facebook and Pinterest to Promote eBay Auctions

Tips for Starting an eBay Consignment Business

eBay Title Tips

Selling At Antique Shows Versus On eBay

Buying eBay Products at Yard Sales

Finding eBay Products At Garage Sales

23 Tips For Taking Better eBay Pictures

Finding Wholesale Products To Sell On eBay

How To Use eBay Listing Upgrades And Options Efficiently

Does An eBay Store Make Sense For You?

Minimizing eBay Fees

19 Ways To Quickly Improve Your eBay Auctions

eBay's Detailed Seller Ratings Reexamined

The Fixed Price Listing Trap

Finding eBay Keywords For Old Items

Adding Youtube Videos To Your eBay Auctions

Commonly Used eBay Abbreviations

How To Drive Traffic To eBay Auctions and Websites

Selecting The Best Category And Keywords For Your eBay Auction

Finding eBay Products By Finding People

Identifying eBay Products People Want

Signing Up People For Your eBay Consignment Services

Motivating eBay Auction Visitors To Bid

Getting Started Selling On eBay

eBay Keyword Rules Explained

How To Add Free Pictures To eBay

eBay Selling Tips

Free eBay Shipping Calculator

Shipping Advice for eBay Sellers

eBay Packing With Paper

eBay Arbitrage Profits

Figuring eBay Consignment Fees

How To Have Negative Feedback Removed For Under $500

Finding Antiques And Collectibles To Sell On Ebay

eBay Reports

Setting Your Ebay Business Up For Growth

Start Your Own eBay Consignment Business

Finding Profitable eBay Niches

Finding Profitable Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales

Finding Wholesale Products To Sell On eBay

Secret eBay Product Sources

Selling Public Domain Items on eBay

Free Reports

Free Interview with Jim Cockrum on Escaping The eBay Volume Trap

Free eBook -- eBay Images Made Easy

FREE Interview -- Conquering The Chaos Of Your eBay Business

FREE eBook -- The eBay Buyer's Guide

FREE eBook -- The eBay Seller's Guide

FREE eBook -- Getting Started Selling On eBay

FREE eBook -- Improve Your eBay Auctions

FREE eBook -- Cherry Picking Guide To Finding Valuable Antiques and Collectibles

FREE Interview -- Conquering The Chaos Of Your eBay Business

FREE report -- 961 Items That Will Bring High Prices on eBay

Free eBay Shipping Calculator

eBay Resource Reviews

Review of Jim Cockrum's "Silent Sales Machine"

Review of Stuart Turnbull's "Prints Make Profits" eBook.

Review of Pete Bruckshaw's Auction Arbitrage Secret

Review of Avril Harper's "Mags To Riches"

Review of Don Hoppe's "Auction Arbitrage -- The Complete Guide to Flipping"

Salehoo Directory Review

Review of Diana Ratliff's "How to Spot Fakes, Frauds, & Forgeries, FAST!"

Review of Skip McGrath eBay Teacher

eBay Snipe Program Review

Review of eAhoy.com

BMO Harris Mortgage Brokers Lie

The Resentful Consumer
© Copyright 2001-2020 Terry Gibbs
IWantCollectibles LLC
IWC LLC PO BOX 842, Mesa, AZ 85211