My Weekly Score: WWI Stereoview Cards

One of the many traits a good eBay seller has to have is patience. The buying part of this business can be pretty exciting. I love digging through yard sales to find little treasures. I love the fast paced atmosphere of an auction house. And I love being surrounded by all sorts of vintage items when I walk into an antique store.

But selling? Sometimes that gets boring.

I don’t mind listing, and I love when we sell something awesome, but it’s that time between when you have to wait for someone to find your item, decide to buy it, and actually pay for it. Of course, we have plenty to do around here in the meantime, but it still takes time and patience.

So, it was with a great dose of patience that I listed the set you see below.

This is a 6 “volume” set of stereoview cards. It’s actually three boxes, each made to look like a pair of books. If you open the back, another compartment slides out. Each compartment holds about 100 stereoview cards of black and white pictures detailing the history of WWI.

We decided not to list it on auction because I was having trouble pricing it. It was also an extremely niche item, so chances were that the right collectors wouldn’t find it in the 7 day window that the auction offered us. Listing it on Fixed Price was also much cheaper, and you can’t argue with that!

This is just one example of the nearly 300 cards that were in this set.

We bought this set for $280 and knew that shipping was going to cost a max of about $10 if we sent it Media Mail. That’s almost $300 already, and some of the other sets weren’t going for anything close to that. Instead of listing it on auction, I put it up on Fixed Price with a Buy It Now for $495.00. I figured that would be a good profit if someone wanted to buy it right away and it would also discourage super low offers.

This was the box with the most damage. Most of the boxes had some small tears and mildew stains, but it didn't matter! The cards were nice enough that it completely made up for it.

Luck was on my side and, it turned out, I didn’t need that patience after all.

That night we got an e-mail from a buyer who was interested in purchasing the set for a friend – a WWI historian. His offer was $400. Perfect! That was a great profit and way more than we expected to make on these.

But then something else happened.

We got an offer from another buyer for $450.00. Wow! It was a better deal, but I like accepting offers on a first-come-first served basis. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good person – someone who wanted to buy this to give as a gift to someone who would really appreciate it? Count me in!

I ended up e-mailing the first buyer and kindly telling him we had another offer. I asked him if he was willing to pay more, and if he was we’d be happy to give it to him as he was the first one to contact us. If he wasn’t interested, there would be no hard feelings and we would gladly accept the other offer.

Turns out that we were in luck again. He really wanted the set, so he offered us $460 for it. Sold! This is the sort of thing that makes online selling addictive, but even more than that I love knowing that our items go to collectors who will appreciate them for years to come. That’s the best part of selling online.

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