Last year I bought a book through Amazon called “White Ear and Peter” which was published in 1912 and illustrated by the famous English sporting artist Cecil Aldin (1870 – 1935)
see the detail – all images will open in a separate window if you click on them
The price of £21 sterling (including shipping) equates to roughly $32
I then invested in mat/mount kits which consist of a custom cut mat, back board and self seal cellophane bag
As you can see from my invoice above, I bought 45 mat kits (this particular book contains 16 plates but I try to buy my mat kits in bulk to reduce the shipping cost per kit)
I paid a total of £75.30 ($117) which is £1.67 per kit ($2.61)
I began listing the plates on ebay a couple of weeks ago, initially I listed 10 of the 16 plates with a start price of £17 ($27) and sold 5
I re-listed the 5 plates that didn’t sell with a reduced starting price of £9.97 ($16) and this time 3 of the 5 plates sold
In the last week I listed a few more with £17 ($27) start prices and sold these:
The buyer of the beautiful parrot print above sent me this lovely message:
“Thank you so much for listing this GORGEOUS, rare print. I am a parrot breeder and collect vintage/antique “parrotphernalia” so this will be a wonderful addition to my collection that I will enjoy in my home each and every day!”
As you can see from the image above I chose to list this particular print in the ‘Collectibles>animals>birds>parrots’ category and not the ‘art>prints’ category as I did with the other prints from this book.
Do consider the subject matter when listing your own prints, some print subjects will fit naturally into a dedicated category such as this one.
Some ebay shoppers search their favorite categories for items that catch their eye so this technique ensures your item is visible to the right people.
OK, so how much money have I made so far?
I have sold 10 of the 16 plates taking a grand total of $295.09!
Less ebay/PayPal fees of $44.26 and the cost of 10 mat kits at $26.10 leaves a NET PROFIT of $224.73!
I am sure you will agree that this is an excellent return on my original investment of $32
AND I still have 6 plates left to sell!
This represents a 600% profit and is a perfect example of why vintage book plates are THE PERFECT ebay product:
- Anybody with internet access can do this!
- No special tools or skills required.
- Thousands of hungry niches to target.
- Simple step by step product sourcing.
- No need to leave home.
- Your product is easy to store, cheap and simple to ship.
- This business is interesting and fun!
- You can get started for next to nothing.
This looks great, Stuart – how can I learn how to make these amazing profits for myself?
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Christine Holroyd says
Hi Stuart. You seem to have more choice in the UK when choosing the category. Mine just comes up as Collectables>Animals. That’s it. I am about to list a double sided book plate with a squirrel on one side and a stoat on the other so am I better off placing it under Art>Prints?
I’ve found this article very useful. Thanks so much.
Thanks for your feedback, Christine!
Yes, the Aus ebay categories are different to both the UK and US categories so there is no point in listing in collectibles>animals (far too broad) I’d use the art>prints category as you suggest.
Thanks for the tip about listing the prints by subject matter. I’ve done that before with other types of items, like figurines, but never thought to do that with prints.
Pat Howell says
Hi Stuart, I was looking at the listings you showed in your examples. I could not make out the matting. When you list, is the customer aware if the print is matted? Do your pictures show the matting or only the print?
Thanks for your question Pat!
I usually provide a couple of images per listing – one close up shot to show detail (which I use for the gallery image) and one that shows the whole matted print. Of course I also talk up the value of the print in the description by describing the type and quality of the mat board used.
Michael Gorman says
Really interesting Stuart, I have regained my interest in Ebay-the whole subject of ‘Arbitrage’ is fascinating, kind of cheeky but in a good way-after all no-one is forced to buy your wares. Thanks for your advice and sharing your good fortune, I must look into this.