Monday, April 14, 2014

Pricing reality check

On Friday afternoon, Ella, Duc, and I attended a local estate auction that promised the moon in its description, from antique books to collectibles to housewares.  While I would like to say that the ad was misleading, it wasn’t.  The sale featured everything advertised and more.  Unfortunately for the estate company, and for the family, most people were walking away empty handed.

Why?  Prices, of course.  I’m a firm believer in selling as high as you can, but when old VHS tapes are $5 each, hardback books (antique or not) are $10 each, and a framed cartoon cut badly from an old newspaper is $8, I think whoever priced the items needs a reality check.

Thankfully, Saturday was better, even though we only went to five sales, including a church sale where I had to talk Ella out of buying the full-sized Ms. Pac-Man machine priced cheap. Church members said it worked, but they couldn’t get it powered up.  So, we waka-waka-waka’d out of there.

After dropping our early morning plunder off at the house, we headed about an hour up the road to an auction that started at 11 a.m.  Set in an old store/antique mall with wood plank floors and items hanging from the ceiling, the auctioneer sold non-stop until 6 p.m.  We should have packed a lunch because we were starving by the end of the day.  A small crowd kept the bids low, but a couple of dealers who obviously have more storage space than me bought the lion’s share of the goods.   However, Ella and I bid on and won $160 worth of stuff, mostly small items for our antique booth, including some old sports memorabilia, a vintage suitcase, elephant figurines, and a box of Star Wars figures.  As usual, it’s still in boxes, waiting to be processed.  I really need more time.

Speaking of our antique booth, I have a new obsession.

During March, Ella and I would visit our booth and wonder what, if anything, had sold.  Oh, we would notice a few of the larger items missing, and we noticed that DVDs were missing.  However, we never really had any idea to what extent any of our merchandise was moving.

We received a sales report on the first of April that detailed sales for March, but I thought that there should be a better way, so I asked if the mall does mid-month reports.  The clerk said no, but dealers could look it up online.

What?  Online?  Why didn’t you say so to begin with?  The mall manager set me up, and now I constantly check to see if anything in our booth has sold.  In fact, a quick check shows that we are more than halfway to meeting our booth rent for the month.  We hope that a 20 percent off sale will spur some Easter sales this week.

Over on Ebay, sales have been slow for me.  During a podcast, Jay and Ryanne at said they believe that sales and listing somehow spur additional sales via whatever algorithm Ebay uses.  While I have no idea if this is true or not, I haven’t been able to list lately, and sales have tanked. 

I did have one semi-good sale over the weekend.  I’ve mentioned before that memorabilia from defunct sports teams sells, and my Oakland Invaders cap finally sold to a dealer in Oakland (where else?).  The Invaders were part of the short-lived United States Football League (USFL).

Even though the cap was a little dirty, it sold to a dealer
Media sales on Amazon, Half, Alibris, etc., have been steady, but not spectacular.  I’ve only had three $100+ days, my benchmark for success, in April so far.  Still, I’ve sold close to $1000 in 14 days, which isn’t too shabby.

As usual, too much work to be done, with too little time to accomplish it.  I need a vacation.

Have a great week.


  1. ebay says listing/sales are related i think they are too. I didnt list for almost a week (even though my store had 400+ items and not a single sale. Then hubby went on short term disability and is watching the kids while i list like a madwoman :D strangely 2 days after i started listing again I had many *many* sales (6 a day is fantastic for me. im up at 15-20 sales for the last few days). That being said that Pac Man machine is FANTASTIC! too bad it didnt work :(

    1. Yeah, too bad about the Ms. Pac-Man machine. Of course, we really don't any place to put it, a reality that would have dawned on Ella once we got it home.

  2. I have been listing a lot lately with all this Lego and I swear, I can't get anything done because the sales keep coming in. I'm sure that the two things are related so I just keep at it. I'm about to run out of my 50 free listings and I haven't gotten another free listing offer from ebay yet this month, so I'm hoping for one of those again. I have a lot of things to relist as well.

    1. Can't get anything done because of too many sales? We should all have that problem. Seriously, that's great.

  3. Enjoy your stories of scavenging. We also have been to estate sales where the prices are ridiculously high. Usually the last day of the sale, the prices become more reasonable. I also get this feeling whenever I go into Goodwills these days. Places getting too expensive for resellers.

    We have no idea if listing does cause more sales, but it certainly can't hurt either way. Keep it up.

    1. Goodwill used to be a big source of income for me; now, they are just an afterthought.