I’d like to use this post to share an unusual and potentially lucrative eBay niche that I stumbled upon recently.
I run a regular completed listings search on eBay in the art>prints category to identify popular print genres (I demonstrate the full search criteria that I use in my ebook Prints Make Profits)
Over the years I have identified many profitable print niches this way but none quite so unusual and weird as this one!
This was the completed sale that caught my eye:
NOTE: Click on ALL images to enlarge!
This print is actually a book plate taken from an old encyclopedia that reached a stunning price of $53.50!
The next search I did was for the key word “x ray” which delivered 5,856 results ranging from medical text books to horror DVD’s!
I then refined the search by adding the word “human”….
Returning a much more manageable 79 search results:
These human x-rays were all sold by the same seller and a little further research showed that this seller sells nothing other than human x-rays either individually or in lots.
In fact he has averaged $1000* worth of sales per month for the last 3 months!
(*Terapeak competitor research)
Some of his x-rays are sold as mixed lots:
and some are sold individually:
Note how the seller cleverly pitches his x-rays to lots of different buyers by using keywords in his titles like “halloween”, “haunted” and “zombie”. This brings his auctions considerably more traffic than if he just targeted the medical fraternity
It is also clear from my research that this particular seller is the only seller worldwide selling human x-rays.
None of this information is any use at all unless you can find a source of human x-rays! My first thought was to search addall.com for medical text books containing images of human x-rays.
I tried various key word permutations without success.
Then I ran this search:
The word “rontgenbilder” translates from German to English as “x-ray images”
I purchased this book with photographs of x-ray images.
The book contains hundreds of x-ray images.
However, many are printed back to back and often several to one page.
Below is the result of my first test eBay auction:
Not a huge final selling amount I agree, but the auction did attract 4 different bidders so there is clearly a demand for these plates.
Keep in mind, the book only cost me $22 which INCLUDED shipping.
One additional thing to note is that all I literally did to sell this image was to cut it out of my book and scan it. I then shipped JUST the book page (no matting) as is to the winning bidder.
I had no additional costs other than the mailing envelope and less than 10 total minutes invested in removing the page and later shipping it to the winning bidder!
I will run some further test auctions to try out different pricing strategies including ‘Buy It Now’ and I will keep you posted with my progress.
This turned out to be an interesting little experiment!
However, what I really wanted to get my hands on
were actual human x-rays.
I turned to Google and ran a search for “human x rays” and sure enough there is a seller on Amazon selling x-rays!
Below shows the listing for a set of 18 individual x-rays
(actual x-rays on film as opposed to printed images)
This entire set together makes up a full skeleton.
Now, I must stress that I haven’t bought a set of these x-rays to test and I don’t know if these items are comparable to those sold by our eBay seller.
Obviously, there is clearly a demand for human x-rays on eBay so there is the possibility of a very profitable arbitrage opportunity by buying the full set on Amazon and selling the skull, pelvis, chest, etc. individually on eBay.
This technique of buying several items together in one lot and breaking it into individual items for resale is a very lucrative model that can be applied in many different niches and is explained in detail in our brand new ebook Pieces Make Profits
All it takes is a little creative detective work to unearth the goodies hiding on Addall, eBay and even Amazon!
I would LOVE to hear about any experiences you’ve had with weird or unusual niches on eBay,
Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!
One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to receive a FREE copy of our brand new ebook:
Pieces Make Profits!
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Thanks for sharing your findings on this potentially lucrative niche with us, Stuart.
Regarding unusual niches – I haven’t tried this, but a fellow eBay seller I know posted on her blog some time ago about people selling contents of a junk drawer – bits and pieces of random stuff – and being successful doing so. Don’t know if the items actually came from a junk drawer, but those key words attract a lot of attention, esp if there is something of value included in the contents up for auction.
Unbelievable response for x rays. Who would have thought it. I’m still sticking to prints. Have done reasonably well. Getting ready to purchase my 4th book. Book 3, started listing, (ebay id:planetscotia) but thinking of moving away from plants and to a different niche or just have an extra niche on the go at the same time. I guess it’s time like this you could do with an ebay shop to have different categories but think that’s too soon.
Good luck everyone in all you do.
Great! Thanks for the tip! Judy Ebay id: kid_rancher
Hello again, Judy here, just wondered what you found out about selling personal information. I would like to get started. Thanks, Judy. Ebay id kid_rancher
My advice is to purchase the x-ray set on Amazon that I discussed and put up some test listings on eBay.
I doubt whether there is a way around the personal information issue so it is very unlikely you can use hospitals as a source of x-rays for resale (unless, of course you happen to be the subject of the x-rays like Tommy!)
I haven’t listed my X-rays yet on Ebay as they are the original films and as such I only the one set of 16 films. I was wondering about taking them somewhere to be made into prints. This way I could sell them multiple times and sell the originals later. Does this sound like a good idea to you? The large ones are about 14″ x 18″ and the smaller ones are 12 x 14 and 9 x 12 which brings me to my next dilemma. Shipping them without being damaged in transit.
I am disabled and on a low budget, which is why I have’nt yet purchased your book (which sounds great). Any thoughts/ideas on how I should approach this? Should I bother with the prints or just sell the films? If I print them, is there a way (or should I bother to) make them appear like an antique?
Some great questions Tommy and you are definitely thinking along the right lines!
Selling the original x-rays without first capturing the images is a big mistake. You can either scan them using your home printer/scanner or take them to a local print shop for scanning.
Once you have the scanned images you can use them in so many different ways in addition to simply printing them, check out Print Sorcery for ideas to get the wheels turning!
Rigid envelopes will protect both the original x-rays and the reprints in transit, check out this post for my recommended suppliers: https://stuart-turnbull.com/multipleincomestreams/print-sorcery-more-ebay-trade-secrets-revealed/
There is no need to make them appear as antique items because the buyers are interested in the subject matter not the age of the item.
Thanks for the tips Stuart. I’ll definitely have to take them somewhere to be printed as my scanner and printer can only handle up to legal size (81/2 x 14).
Hi Stuart, I was a featured game piece seller in your new ebook ‘pieces make profits’ I was I flattered! I work in the medical field, and tried to get some human X-rays also animal X-rays. I was told that it is against HIPPA regulations to give out personal information. I even offered to cut out the little corner information that tells the patient’s name but was told ‘No’, because it is like giving away personal information. Is there any way around this? I was able to obtain some exposed fold plates that were blank that I intend to sell on etsy, for crafting templates as they are very sturdy, and will not wear out with repeated use. Any ideas on obtaining X-rays that have images on them would be greatly apprieciated. Thanks for cranking out great information. Ebay Id:
I really loved this post! I’ll be pinning it on pinterest!
Teri Nelson says
Huh! I keep thinking “I CAN come up with a niche idea of my own, I CAN, I CAN” – but every time I read your newsletter, you make me realize “I NEVER would have thought of that!” and I realize I need your expertise in this field, because I think I’m brain dead! I am GREAT at taking your tips and using them to make sales of my own, but I can’t seem to come up with new ideas myself. I guess that’s why you make the BIG BUCKS!! lol!
You are amazing, just want to let you know that. I bought the “Prints Make Profits” immediately when I first saw it and have never regretted it. Being physically disabled, it absolutely keeps my mind busy and stops me from going crazy! Thank you so much for saving my sanity with your great ideas. If I have any problem with them at all, it’s that I want to do EVERY SINGLE ONE that I get from you! My husband says I have to stop adding new items to sell! So I guess you have to stop coming up with great ideas!
I already purchased “Pieces Make Profits”, so please don’t put me in for the drawing. Let some other lucky person win it. I just wanted to let you know that you’re a smart, ingenious, generous person and I appreciate it every day!
Cool! This post just reminded me that I have a set of old encyclopedias in the basement that I had totally forgotten about. I am enjoying and appreciate the info in Prints Make Profits. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Stuart!
Thank you for sharing this idea with us – who knew people would be interested in this!
It certainly makes you think outside the ‘box’ to find a niche market.
Karyn in NZ
Michelle S says
Excellent idea! Thanks for showing us the power of searching for hidden niches. Who would’ve known? Although, I noticed in researching different prints that sell that horse anatomy seemed to pop up. I have a vet friend who actually has one of these prints. So, it would make sense that doctors and other enthusiasts would be interested in human anatomy prints, x-rays, etc., but I certainly never put 2 and 2 together until now. The fact that people cross-stitch x-rays is amazing. Thank You, Beth, for uncovering that one. Definitely time to think outside of the box. 🙂 Thanks for getting us to think, Stuart!
Luther Wood says
Stuart, thanks for getting us to thinking. Since “Thinking out side the box” has been stressed and used so much for the past few years, I’m taking it a little further… Think out side the box…out side the box. Do you get the picture? It’s amazing what the mind can create if we unleash it and not be inhibited about it. Just let it go! That’s what Einstein did and see what he thunk up.:)
Jillian J says
Well, I guess people have an interest in all kinds of things. It is true one man’s bones is another man’s art.
Sometimes it is hard to get your brain, x-rayed or not to think along the lines of the buyer, but thank you Stuart for making us think about all the strange items that are of interest to others. Now if you could just get x-rays from all the airports you would have an endless supply of people’s luggage. Ahhhhh another niche. Thanks
Andrew Milburn says
Thank you Stuart, as always you bring us new ideas on sourcing new niches. You always teach us how to think out side the box. Well done and many thanks
thanks Stuart,some of my prints that i put up didn’t,sell but had plenty of watchers So I’m still finding my niche. i sold a map from an 1889 book but the prints didn’t sell and they are beautiful. As a photographer I do plan to sell some of my own prints that haven’t been exhibited. They were printed as 5×7 proof but look like custom print photos since I always get my negatives good. Your new niche has me thinking. I may be able to get a free book to use. Thanks for sharing and making the screen shots enlargeable. That has been very helpful to me.I have Prints for profit and would love your latest: Pieces for profit if I’m the winner. Thanks again. I just turned 60 on Saint Patricks day. This is very exciting!
Hi Stuart.This idea really rattled my bones.I think I’ll give it a try.Regards Don S.AKA therutherfordexchange
Once again you have uncovered a very interesting and possibly profitable niche item, I have followed your prints plan after purchasing (your prints make profits) book including updates a couple of years ago, and I now have a good little side line selling old prints, I look forward to you finding more niche print ideas and very kindly sharing them with your subscribers.
Who would have thought that X Ray prints had a market? Certainly not me.
This proved that thinking outside the box is a must nowadays which so much competition online.
Now it’s time to change my views about what sells on ebay and go outside my comfort zone and look at everything from a new perspective.
Thank you for sharing this us.
Beth S. says
Stuart – what a neat find!
That 1923 German X-Ray book you found might be in the Public Domain (if the author has been deceased for 70+ years). You could take your scans and sell the re-prints too! You should consider doing a book entitled “RE-Prints Make Profits”.
It looks like crafters would use them – there’s even someone on Etsy making cross-stitch patterns from x-rays!
I also found some people selling x-rays on CraigsList.
You’ve definitely got the wheels spinning in my head with this one!
I also have a DVD from my MRI with HUNDREDS of images on it. Now if I can only figure out where I put the darn thing???
I have a mess of x-rays of ME in my closet. I had a 40′ fall as a 19 yr. old and these are x-rays of my back, etc. showing the pins,rods, screws etc. inside me. Never thought that they might actually be worth anything. Just a packrat at heart and never threw them away. Might be worth a little more because of the fractures, pins, etc. shown on them. What do you think Stuart?
Thanks for your comment, Tommy!
I think you may be right!
I noticed x-rays showing pins, fractures and even jewelry doing particularly well during my research.
Get them listed and let us all know how you get on!
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Stuart. I love selling prints and would love to read Pieces Make Profits. Pick me! Pick me!
Costume Queen says
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Now hear the word of the Lord.
With all the tribes using skull and bones in their art work for shirts, bandanas, emblems, rings and necklaces, it only follows they would want some wall art or for whatever use they have for xrays in their homes or lives.
Very interesting article. I think I’ll start looking for ‘Dem bones’ for profits.
Sandra Morton says
Well Stuart, let’s make no bones about it – you’ve just revealed a view inside another hidden eBay niche. Thanks 🙂