eBay sellers are notoriously protective of their niches but today I am sharing information about my personal eBay niche for the very first time.
Back in 2004 I was looking for the perfect product to sell on eBay.
Having sold all of my own unwanted stuff (and that of my friends and family!) I needed items that I could source repeatedly to build an ongoing business.
These items needed to have a high sell through rate and be readily available at a price that allowed a sufficient mark up to cover all of my selling costs and leave an acceptable profit.
I had limited space so I needed items that were easy to store, simple and cheap to package and ship.
Most importantly I wanted items that were not subject to the downward price pressure caused by mass competition.
Prints taken from old books ticked all of these boxes and I went on to develop the successful business model that I subsequently wrote about and taught in my book Prints Make Profits.
I regularly came across the work of Cecil Aldin during my early eBay research and I soon fell in love with his style and subject matter.
Cecil Charles Windsor Aldin was born in Slough, England in 1870 and he is famous for his horse and dog portraits he also specialized in country sports (hunting, shooting, fishing), horse racing, golf, architectural art (country houses, churches, inns) and all of these subjects find a ready market on eBay.
A quick search for the key words “Cecil Aldin” will reveal all manner of items from original art works to vintage prints, books to ceramics, jigsaw puzzles to postcards! All adorned with Aldin’s uniquely styled animal images and hunting scenes.
NOTE: Click on ALL images to enlarge!
So HOW do I make money with the work of Cecil Aldin?
These examples of Aldin sales give you an impression of the wide range of collectable items that sell readily on eBay and these are certainly items that you should look out for if you frequent estate sales, antique fairs and used book stores.
However, my preferred methods for making money are:
1 Flipping intact books
2 Selling the original plates removed from books that are out of print
I prefer these two methods because they are “repeatable” in other words they don’t rely on you randomly discovering a hidden treasure at a yard sale but allow you to target and purchase specific items that you *KNOW will sell for a profit on eBay.
(*based on your research of completed eBay listings)
Let me give you an example of method #1:
Step one is to run an eBay completed listings search for the keywords “Cecil Aldin”.
Step two is simply to peruse the list of results looking for successful book sales like this one:
Step three is to search for a matching title on the book search and price comparison website addall.com
With this strategy you are looking for the cheapest copy with condition comparable to the one that sold on eBay:
I know it seems bizarre that you can buy a modern book on one website and sell it on another website for a substantial profit but trust me, this is indeed the case. I have personally bought and profited from this very book so you can rest assured this isn’t just a clever theory.
Look out for my next post when I will share an example of my second money making method – selling the original plates removed from books that are out of print (this is by far the most profitable of my two money making methods!) .
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Very interesting article and insight into your methods. I am very interested in buying one of your ebook but can you let me know what is the difference between these two? And which one would you recommend to someone who is new to all this?
Prints Make Profits
Thanks for your question Sukh!
The Prints Make Profits ebook provides a comprehensive, step by step overview of the business model and is a good place to start.
Print Sorcery is a video course that includes some additional research techniques and ideas. Being video based this course also gives an insight into my thought process that you don’t get with an ebook.
Great post – I have played around with eBay for quite a while now and earned money here and there but this is cool. Thinking outside the box – this is what I need to do.
Thanks for sharing another great discovery, Stuart. The things you teach are always so easy to do, not at all intimidating. Just to let you know, you may remember, I emailed you and told you I found some prints on eBay that were taken from a contemporary book. Well, it turns out that the book is still in print. I found a used copy for under $10 and have listed about 30 plates. I just sold my first one, and it more than paid for the book itself. So, thank you for getting me started down this niche. Removing prints from books and selling them for profit – who would’ve thunk it?
Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing your experience. This business isn’t restricted to vintage book plates, you can indeed make good money with more recent books and this is a far less risky way to get started and learn the ropes because the prices tend to be considerably lower as you discovered.
Larry O says
Thank’s Stuart, I alway enjoy learning more about “Prints Make Profits”
J Arthur Davis says
As you know I have purchased your book and posted several times. At this point I have purchased multiple out of print books and have taken them apart and have sold some of the prints. That is not why I am posting today. Before I sell any of the prints I scan each one of them at a high resolution. and file them for further use. I am currently working on a process of placing the botanical images on tiles and leather products. It looks like this market will be even larger than selling the prints on ebay. If it wasn’t for your “Prints make Profit” book I would have never gone down this path.
Thanks and keep this kind of information coming.
deb henry says
J Arthur —
Wow, what a cool path you are taking! You have certainly gotten my attention! Would you mind spilling the beans on where you are sourcing your tiles & leather products?
If not publically, could you send an email to Stuart or me? I promise NOT to reveal your secret if you want to keep it under wraps… I’m just REALLY curious!
This is a great example of ‘thinking outside the box’ J Arthur!
Well done and do let us know how you get on with this innovative idea!
An excellent post. Re Peter above. When I started researching for a book I bought the first one I came across. It cost $90.00 and seeing as it was being shipped from the US it cost another $20 plus. There were 10 plates in the book and they were in excellent condition. I probably made even out of it. I was annoyed with myself, seeing the book was in excellent condition I regretted breaking up the book for plates. Like Stuart says in his PMP ebook try and get books that are braeking up and plates still in good condition.
that’s my tuppence worth.
P.S. Look forward to your next post.
Peter Heywood says
Interesting to hear of your Cecil Aldin ‘niche’.
A few years ago I read some work by Avril Harper on the same topic and purchased Cecil Aldins Book ‘Dogs of Character 1928 Edition’ for £50. Not a wise move. I didnt know of book price comparison sites so I could have found it cheaper.
Sadly, although the book is in excellent condition, the illustrations were mainly too small to pull out and mount.. Also, some of the best illustrations were back to back so I could lose some.
Finally, some of the print could be seen through the pages on some illustrations so I could not use those.
I decided to sell the book on ebay but could not find a Buyer even for £38.
There is a lesson to be learned here. Do your research BEFORE you spend any money!!!
Hope this guides others not to make the same mistakes.
Rev Peter Heywood UK
Terry Conti says
Hi There Stuart,
You’ve been doing this type of business for quite some time now. You know what that means. It means it’s working!
This all sounds like this is a unique way of doing business. I like unique ways of doing business that work.
This is a perfect example of what is meant by thinking outside of the box. Looking forward to your next post.