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Researching your treasures online with eBay or other sites

Posted Monday, January 24, 2011, at 8:55 PM

Is it finally time to reduce your clutter, make up for Christmas gifts bought or exchange your treasure trove for cash? Maybe you are just curious what Aunt Susie's precious vase is worth on today's market.

Even if you decide to let someone sell it for you on consignment, or list it in the Times-Gazette classifieds, it does not hurt to have an idea of its worth, so open up your internet browser and do a little searching. eBay may be the first name that comes to mind, but there are numerous selling sites out there now and it pays to make the extra effort.

There are two basic searches on eBay. Search what is being offered today and what they are asking for the item, or check what was offered in the past 90 days and see if it actually sold and how much. Many of the selling sites do not offer this, but if you are a member of eBay (free) you can go to advanced search and click the "completed listings" box.

Hopefully you will get a mix of current, sold and unsold items. I say hopefully, because if your item is truly rare it may not have been listed in the past 90 days. In that case, you need to do a broader search on Google to see if you can find it on other selling sites. If I do this and STILL do not find a value, I usually put it on auction and see what the market will bear.

BUT, if it is a valuable piece of jewelry or you KNOW it is a true antique, take a step back and consider that an on-line marketplace may not be your best option. There are specialty auction houses that know what they can sell and determine the value. It may be well worth your while to pay to have it appraised.

By the way, I am NOT soliciting consignment business. We have way too much to work with now. If you know someone who is willing to sell for others, suggest they become an eBay Trading Assistant (also free). Check TA's on eBay and you can learn the qualifications. Maybe you are interested yourself?


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Have you ever noticed the little box underneath the search button titled "Include description"? This searches for your key words inside the description.

Sometimes there is just not enough space in 54 letters to say all the key things about an item in the title bar. Most don't want to pay the extra fee for an extra line unless it is an expensive item, so they just hope they got all the key words for which you are looking.

By searching the description, you get a lot more results but maybe it helps you find your special treasure.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 26, 2011, at 8:58 PM

There are a lot of search capabilities that many do not see because the options are so huge. You apparently use eBay frequently espoontoon so you know how many choices are there.

One can search by distance from the buyer, free shipping, dollar amounts, color, size, auctions,buy it now, U.S. only etc.,etc. Categories often have their own unique search parameters.

Under records alone, there is style of music, condition of record, price range, speed, record size, duration, by seller (BTP would be good, just saying....) and customizable settings for expedited shipping, returns accepted, lots, cashback, best offer, sales, giving works and multiples.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 9:25 AM

That's good to know.

I didn't know you could look up past items that sold...

-- Posted by espoontoon on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 6:37 AM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.