Originally Posted by TRF
Steel, do you have any idea what the Forge (CrossGen) TPB's are going for? I can get my hands on a complete set pretty cheap.
Define "cheap". If you mean like a buck or two each because you want to read them, then ok. Otherwise, don't waste your time as they're not a decent re-sell item (a set of 3-5 just went unsold at $3.99 on eBay).
Maybe one day, CrossGen will be the "next" Valiant in that bored collectors will attempt to grab every book ever issued by the company but right now it appears that even the TPB's are $0.50 bin fodder.
And good luck to you and the wife on the eBay thing, TRF. But a 60" DLP? Do you have a cavern for a living room?? That's HUGE.
Anyway, a couple things I learned:
Focus on two or three things and make sure you know your buy and sell prices backwards and forwards. I specialize in buying and selling a couple things- comics and comic-related material, collectible games (particularly MTG and Star Wars Miniatures). I also seem to have an eye for antique dolls found at auction. My mother is a professional doll restoration artist so I've learned a few things via osmosis.
If you take a stab at selling comics be sure your grading is precise and it's always better to downgrade by half a grade if it's questionable. I've sold a number of most likely solid NM books at NM-minus just to hedge my bets and I've never had a buyer question my grading. I also have had good success writing detailed "defects/attributes" descriptions for mid-grade books. For example, I may grade a book at Fine-minus, but I might also note that it "Displays as a VF copy". People eat that up because they'll pay a premium for a mid-grade book that shows off better to their friends.
And always be on the lookout for stuff you can sell because you can get lucky that way. I hit on a couple items that I wasn't even looking to buy. Last year I purchased six early (6 of the first 13 made) Randy Bowen Marvel mini-busts for a total of $80.00 from a pawn shop. I turned around and sold them for $920.00 (Thor netted me about $250.00 all by himself). Came across a large lot of complete Viewmaster reel packets from the 1950's at an auction and grabbed them for $25.00. Sold them for over $250.00. Yeah. Viewmaster reel packets. Local comic store owner sold me four Wolverine #20 RRP cover variants for $5.00 each. Sold them for a combined $280.00. Local auctions are a Godsend. Pawn shops are good. But for some reason, antique shops are mostly just the Devil for me. Can't find a bargain at one to save my life.
If you have an eye for stuff like that, eBay can be the alchemy of the 21st century. For less than $150.00 invested in the above items, I had almost $1,500.00 in the PayPal account. At that point I started buying up large Star Wars minis and comic book collections- never paying more than half the resale value (which is eBay, not "guide", value) while continually cycling funds to build more inventory to cycle for more funds. AND, along the way, was able to keep a bunch of great stuff for free. Buy large lot, keep the books you need, sell the rest for a profit.
Over the past year, my overall investment to "start up" was less than $250.00 and the total sales probably ended up around the $9,000.00 mark. But the funny thing is that all but about $75.00 of that $250.00 was actually profit re-invested. At one point, I had about five grand just sitting in the PayPal account with an additional couple thousand bucks out on purchases. And I was just doing it part time. Still have about three grand of inventory just waiting to be sold. Wish I had the time right now. Sigh.
Also, suppress your web developer instincts to build dramatic cool eBay auction pages. Remember, many folks still have dial-up internet and even if they don't simple is generally better. The key is to just give a solid pic (or three) of the item. Not too large because it'll slow up refresh rate, but not too small so that the item isn't clear. For condition-sensitive stuff, make sure the pic is larger and able to be supersized. Write good (and I mean GOOD) descriptions, ship in boxes (and note that in your auctions), and always with Delivery Confirmation (note that in your auctions as well). eBay also has a good free application you can download (TurboLister) and use to "template" your auctions and upload them to eBay 'en masse rather than having to work directly online. Much easier and faster.
There's more, but I don't want to turn the comic book thread into eBay central so if you want a couple other "tricks", PM me and I'll be happy to help.