Gearing up for the Holidays

Now is the time to post your collectibles for sale for the upcoming season. While its obvious that the holiday season is the busiest time of year for shoppers, what may not be obvious it that your potential market has just doubled. While the collectors may still be shopping for themselves, their loved ones will be shopping on their behalf. So take this time and put all your efforts into posting, posting, and more posting items for sale. Put aside sourcing, advertising, and maintenance -- this time should be used to put all your items online. This is true even for your more obscure or less sought after items, as shoppers are looking for anything to fill that gift void. Especially after the holidays are over, the web is filled with those shoppers who did not receive the collectible items that had wished for.


Building a Niche Market - Why its important.

Successful sellers will always emphasize the importance of building a niche market when starting a business or selling for extra income. While the benefits of developing a niche market may be obvious to some, the underlying necessity may not.

For those who may not know, a niche market is selling goods or services that are very specific to an individual's needs, such as figure stands for Mego Super Hero Action Figures. While many may be focused on selling the Mego Figures at a premium, another seller has innovatively tapped into the market of creating an accessory to a highly sought after product, and creating a valuable supplement.

A secondary benefit of finding and developing a niche market, is that while there may be tons of Mego Figure sellers in the market, there are probably only a few sellers who are offering the stands, so their competition is very low, resulting in higher sales for them.

The third, and most important benefit, is that online sales definitely dip during the summer months, while people are vacationing and taking advantage of the outdoors and warm weather. So while you may be a seller who prides themselves on selling a wide variety of items, it is nice to count on your niche items to get you through the lean months of sales.


What's Hot, What's Not

Collecting and selling is heavily influenced by which items are hot, and surrounded by either hype, demand, or pure interest. Knowing why an item is HOT or NOT, puts you ahead of the game, and behooves you to do some research.

There are couple of ways to help you disseminate this information. A well known source is the eBay called What's Hot, which eBay makes readily available to sellers with the url below:

A major drawback on this, is that there is no preview to what's selling well. Primarily, its a hindsight tool, and by the time you find out, the market is flooded with items at top price. So whether you are interested in collecting or want to source your inventory, you'll have to pay what the market demands now.

Here are a couple of ways to determine top sellers in your collecting market before its too late:
  • Subscribe to trade magazines or price guides (Beckett, Tuff Stuff, Wizard Magazines)
  • Subscribe to collector's e-mail newsletter (www.scoop.com)
  • Read discussion boards online. Some even have digest emails that get mailed daily
  • Subscribe to RSS Feeds to your favorite seller's or collecting web sites.
  • Find out what items dealers are looking to buy. You can either ask them in-person or thru e-mail and some even post it on their web site.

Just like in the stock market, capitalizing on items when they are low and unknown is the secret to high profits. So take your time to do your research.

Please add any information sources that you believe help you find valuable items in your specific collecting market.


Comics Origins and Collecting

So its time to discuss hype versus actual value, when deciding which comics you want to collect. This is a very subjective answer of course, as we all have different tastes. However, one thing should be considered when you are deciding how you want to invest that $50 that is burning in your pocket. Specifically, I am speaking about a comic title's origin.

Origin in the sense of how did the comic story begin. The comics that have their birth in TV, Toys, or Movies, do not stand the test of time, compared to those comics that started purely in comic book form. So while Star Wars, Halo, Transformers, and G.I. Joe are hot titles and characters right now, they did not get their start in comics. This is a big determinant in whether a comic will keep its value over the years, as the fans of these titles grow up, and the captive audience has moved on.

Lets compare two titles. Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, two hugely successful franchises. Both have had movies, t.v. shows, toys, video games, and of course comic book representation. But which of these comic titles has had the more impressive comic value over the years? See Comparison below of original issue # 1 value as of today in Wizard Price Guide as of 3/2008.

TMNT # 1 -- Mirage Studios -- $900
Star Wars # 1 -- Marvel Comics -- $30

Now, there are a lot of factors to the price difference, including scarcity, perceived value, etc. But, characters that have their origins in comics versus other media, largely outweigh those that do not.


Nice price cut from eBay on media sales

eBay really stepped up to the plate this week, as they announced posting price cuts on media auctions. The media cagtegories include books, movies, music, and video games. No mention of whether Final Value Fees would be decreased as well. The new lower fee price table can be seen below:

Starting Price Current Fee New Fee
$0.01 - 0.99 (auction-style only) $.20 $.10
$1.00 - 9.99 (auction-style & fixed price) $.40 $.25
$10.00 - 24.99 (auction-style & fixed price) $.60 $.35

In my opinion, this is a huge step in the right direction by eBay, who have chosen to listen to their customers' feedback and input. Since a lot of these media types are sold as used goods, their sold price is usually between the $1 - $20 range, so the higher posting fee was a large chunk out of the final profit made by the seller. This great news coupled with the recent decrease in store inventory from 5 cents to 3 cents are solid improvements by eBay's business development team.


Sex Sells Baby!

The old adage that "sex sells" is not only true, but prevalant in the collectibles industry. A magazine that has an attractive celebrity or sports figure on the cover is likely to sell 5x better than your average magazine of that circulation. Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issues sold as collectibles, sell at double the price of covers with sports figures. While most of these sports figures are or soon will be inducted into the hall of fame of their respective sports, that uknown model in a bikini spread out on the white sands will garner the higher price.

But swim suit models are not the only popular sex icons, as covers of ESPN the Magazine include recent issues featuring Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova, and Gretchen Bleiler. While these ladies are authentic athletes, they are involved in sports that usually do not get much mainstream attention. So why does ESPN make a point to showcase them on their covers? You got it... Sex Sells.

Of course you can use this knowledge to better serve you as you decide to source your sale items or your collection. On a side note, the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue is on sale this month.


This blog was created to share news, information, and trends related to the collecting and selling of pop culture items. I personally specialize in sports magazines, sports memorobillia, comics and action figures. However, all sorts of collectible lovers are invited to post their thoughts on this site, in an effort to share ideas and knowledge.