Clipping Collectible Magazine Ads and Selling Them on eBay

One of the toughest things about eBay is finding good items to sell.

Let’s face it: Selling a hot item is easy. You basically fill out a form, upload a picture, and that’s it. When it sells, you ship it.

Over the years I have had various items that sell well. Books on War do well. Certain old magazines sell well. I sold many old Jazz magazines some years ago. It took no effort at all, because there was high demand. But here is the problem. Sooner or later you run out of that item. Where do you find more? Old jazz magazines sell well because they are tough to find. When people see them on eBay, they bid the price up. While you, the seller, have them, you feel quite good, like a great capitalist. Then the stack of your product gets lower and lower and then it is gone. Where do you find a supply of things to sell?

There are many scams out there. For example, you will see “wholesalers” trying to sell you products to resell. Good luck! Before you buy, take the time to do a search on eBay to see what those items sell for. Most often, the “wholesale” price of $10.00 that they are offering you sounds nice, but when you look on eBay, the same item sells for $3.95. You are going to lose if you buy it for ten.

Then there are drop shippers. This is usually, not always, a scam. You upload the information to eBay, make the sale, and then the drop shipper sends it from their warehouse to the buyer. It sounds so easy. You don’t have to invest in storage space or go to the post office. Here’s the catch. Most of the time you sign up for the service, and once again, you pay too much for the stock and can’t break even. Then there’s this little detail. Let us imagine that you do make a sale. You contact the drop shipper. They are late sending it out or don’t have the item any more. Now you have an angry eBay customer and your feedback rating is likely to suffer.

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One readily available source of product is old magazines. Believe it or not, nostalgia drives a good market in the ads that you find in them. Let’s imagine that some guy had a favorite baseball mitt when he was a kid. He can’t find it nowadays, but he can see it and almost smell the old leather when he sees the ad for it that appeared in a Boy’s Life. He or someone like him is going to pay ten bucks to have that color ad. He might frame it. He might put it in a notebook with other ads that bring up important memories. Who else buys ads? People who worked for American Airlines 40 years ago might like to see the plane that they flew, or the terminal that they worked in. Again, it’s pure nostalgia.

Another appeal is the art work. Some of the ads have great drawings or paintings or photography. Page through a 1950s Life magazine and you will understand what I mean.

Even contemporary ads sell. Just do your research on eBay.

I find that ads sell at a slow but survivable rate of one per ten listed. This means that you have to charge ten bucks or more to make a profit and pay the fees on the ads that don’t sell. Plenty of Power Sellers sell nothing but ads. Yes, they usually have an eBay store, but you can start with simple auctions.

You must take care to cut them out of the magazine with care. Quality is important. You can get a cutter at a craft store that will do it perfectly for you. They cost about $20.00.

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Also, package them with care. I found that putting an ad in a flat rate Priority mailer, with a square of cardboard to stiffen the package, worked well. You don’t want the ad arriving folded or wrinkled.

Now, take my word for it. It involves work. You have to get the magazines, page through them, cut the ads, list them, and keep the stock organized. It’s no get rich quick scheme, but it is Work, good, honest work that has a payday.

And one great benefit is that storage space is almost nil. A thousand ads fit in the space that a 1000 page book takes, so it doesn’t take a warehouse to store these things.

And the supply is almost unlimited. Let’s face it, they keep cranking them out every day. Get magazines from friends, relatives, etc., or dive the dumpster behind the bookstore, where they rip off the covers but toss the magazines when they can’t sell them.

Good luck.