Make Money Tearing Up Old Books and Magazines …

Make Money
Tearing Up Old Books
and Magazines …
… and Selling Them
on eBay
Make Money Tearing Up Old
Books and Magazines
and Selling Them
on eBay
Copyright Avril Harper, Meander Press. 2007
All information is provided in good faith and is accurate
to the best of our knowledge.
This document is for information purposes only and does not
impart legal or financial advice to readers who must consult their
own legal and professional advisors before spending money or taking
action of any kind based on operating a business such as
outlined in this document.
No part of this course can be copied by any means whatsoever
in part or total without the express written permission of the copyright holder.
It is the reader’s responsibility to ascertain and abide
by national and international legal, moral and ethical issues.
Make Money Tearing Up
Old Books and Magazines
and Selling Them
on eBay
You can join our affiliate program and earn 60% by selling this eBook to your
customers. You will find affiliate details at
NOTE: Screenshots have been included throughout this book which may be
difficult to view properly at actual paper size. Top of your screen in PDF Acrobat
Reader you can increase the size of the page. Try 150%. That works well for me!
eBay is a dynamic arena and it changes every day, as do the products being sold on
eBay. I want you to succeed in this business and others I have planned to tell you
about, so I’ve added a blog at which you can access at a
secret site I will email you about a few days after your purchase. I will change the
blog site location frequently to prevent unauthorized access so please make sure
my emails can circumvent any spam filters you may have in place.
Learn from Sellers With More Experience Than Yourself
Starting Out on eBay
Beginners’ Guide to eBay
The Value of eBay Research
Let Us Get Listing Together!
The Magic of Second Chance Offers
How to Start a Bidding War for Your eBay Listings
Tips to Help Your Business Grow Quickly and Prosper
Be Careful Using Templates for Your Listings
Locate All Your Stock on eBay
Problem of Perception
Sell Photographs from Vintage Magazines and Newspapers
Gifts and Advertising Novelties
Patterns and Plans
Decorate Your Products
Turn Out of Copyright Publications into Top Selling Items on eBay
Republish Early Book Illustrations
Start Your Own Membership Site
A Plethora of Profitable Product Ideas
or e wor d
Personal Message from eBay PowerSeller Avril Harper, Chartered MCIPD
“I Make Good Money Tearing Up
Old Books and Magazines
and Selling Them on eBay”
(I’ll Show You How to Do the Same)
For the past few years I’ve been tearing up old books and magazines and selling them on
eBay and generating very good profits.
The entire concept has made me an eBay PowerSeller – three times over – yet I genuinely
am just touching the surface of this exciting opportunity.
There’s much more to this business than any one person can ever hope to tackle and the
market is wide open for more people to copy me exactly and generate some extra
spending money or even earn a full-time living this way.
No doubt you are wondering why I am giving you this vital information, why I should
share my secrets with you. After all, if it’s this good why don’t I keep the entire business
to myself and make sure no-one ever grabs a share of these easy profits?
The truth is I have as much of the market as I can reasonably handle, and I genuinely
don’t want to spend my entire working life cutting up old papers and magazines. I like
writing, too, and publishing, and selling collectibles.
So a few days a week is all I can manage for this business. The rest is wide open to you,
and many more people, and there’s no way this market can ever be saturated even if
thousands of people buy my guide.
It’s all so easy, so profitable, so enjoyable, and when you see what’s involved you really
will be amazed at the prices people all over the world will pay for items anyone can find,
take home and dismantle, and …..
………. Best of All ……….
….. you don’t have to learn for yourself how to get started making good money from
tearing up easy-to-find books, newspapers and magazines, because Make Money Tearing
Up Old Books and Magazines and Selling Them on eBay is packed with illustrations,
showing you how to turn your finds into easy cash.
You will discover, in precise detail, exactly how to operate one or a string of eBay
businesses, all selling individual items removed from old books, magazines and
newspapers, and how to turn almost every page of those publications into a profitable
earnings source for you.
It Gets Even Better Because …..
• No personal contact is required ………. Everything can be done by email, fax,
telephone or post.
• There is nothing else to buy ………. my guide, and the publications themselves
………. are all you need to get started and run this amazing business on eBay.
• No special skills or knowledge are required ………. If you can open a book
and carefully sift through the pages ………. you can operate this business. All
you need are the publications themselves and knowledge of what to do with them
next, alongside a complete step-by-step guide to placing your ads. on eBay at the
right time, in the right place, at the right price. All this takes just a few minutes to
do and costs very little. Even so there are many ways I will reveal to reduce the
‘work’ involved and lots of ways to cut costs to virtually zero and still those ads.
can generate many dollars apiece and attract multiple bidders and lots of second
chance offers. More about this second chance offer concept later where you won’t
be surprised to find this is where the very biggest benefits exist in this easy
business and where phenomenal profits are frequently made!
• We have organized a special membership site to ensure you always have access
to the very latest edition of this book and to provide access to new and upcoming
bright ideas for turning a profit on newspapers and magazines you can buy for
pennies and sell at very high profits.
This Is What You Need to Know
You Can:
• Start this business right away with no risk whatsoever ….. there is little or no
investment involved.
I started with a book I already owned (It was a huge book about dogs and packed
with pictures, text and diagrams) and a few pounds for eBay advertisements and
some additional materials for presenting my stock (this is the big secret to turning
sometimes absolute rubbish into valuable ‘must have’ items).
I’ll give you precise examples in this book and show how you can emulate my
success without ever encroaching on my market.
• Run the whole thing from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
• Be paid $5, $10 ….. even $100 or more by every customer. Remember some
people will buy several of these items, others will bid up to incredible amounts for
items that cost you pennies. Look at Illustration One, for example, look at prices
paid for dog prints from a book that can easily be bought on eBay for less than
$30, which contains dozens of prints that rarely go unsold at auction. I’ll tell you
all about this type of product later, it’s a great niche market money spinner, and
you could make a full time living on eBay by listing just one or two of this type of
print each day.
You’ll see illustrations of high bid items throughout this book including many for
my own auctions. I’m working in the UK so £ signs are inevitable in parts of this
book, but the business actually works better in the USA with its huge population
and large niche market customer base on almost any subject you’d care to name.
The fact is, although I started working mainly on I quickly discovered
the bulk of my stocks went to America where the market is wide open for hundreds
more people to market products similar to mine.
The profits are unlimited, sometimes quite shocking, and only today someone paid
me £29.01 for an item that cost me £10, and that £10 was for an entire book, still
packed with pages for me to sell, and not just the few pages this customer
purchased from me. It was that big dog book, Hutchinson’s Dog Encyclopaedia,
that I mentioned earlier.
If I get just ten more sales from that book, even at far lower bids, I’m sure you’ll
agree the profits are well worthwhile.
• Work when you like ……… mornings, evening or weekends ……… you
choose the time and place.
It really doesn’t get much easier, especially when you have someone already
experienced in the business to guide you in the early days.
So, without wasting any time, let’s get on with learning this business.
Best wishes
Avril Harper
Avril Harper, Chartered MCIPD
P. S. This document has been created as a FAST START GUIDE to selling items
taken from old books and magazines on eBay. It was never intended to cover
everything there is to know about selling on eBay. There is so much more to know
about selling on eBay, so many different products to sell, so many tips and techniques
to increase the perceived value of your items, and so much money waiting to be made.
To help our readers I have added a selection of articles about selling on eBay to our
sites at and
P. P. S. This document takes no account of the simple process of actually starting out
in business, such as opening a business bank account, choosing a business name,
registering to pay taxes, and so on. That information can easily be obtained from local
libraries, government business advisory units, banks and accountants. It is the
reader’s responsibility to comply with all local, regional, national and international
rules and regulations affecting his or her business.
If you’re tired of buying business start up guides from people who tell you they are
making lots of money on eBay but won’t give you their eBay ID to prove it, then worry
no more. I will show you exactly what I do to generate good profits from this business.
My eBay ID for this particular business is toppco – it stands for The Original Printed
Paper Company because original paper items are my specialty. I’ll show you lots of
screenshots and reveal my own selling secrets throughout this book and at the
membership site set up to accompany it.
Illustration One - Selling Section of One of My eBay Accounts
Notice prices here are in £s, it’s my UK account, and it’s the one through which I sell
most of my paper items, alongside other paper items here in the UK, while also attracting
bids from all over the world. Note that my customer IDs have been obliterated for
privacy purposes.
Illustration One is an early screenshot for one of my eBay accounts, specializing in dog
collectibles, which are essentially clippings and prints and other items taken from old
books, magazines and newspapers. I chose this page because it highlights several types
of items being sold and also introduces another profitable concept for anyone working
with old newspapers and magazines, namely ‘The Public Domain’. More about this later.
As you can see from the arrows at the left of the screen, out of ten items shown here, five
are prints from old books and magazines, one is a book compiled from public domain
information. Called Book of the Bulldog it’s essentially pictures and text copied, some of
it retyped, most of it scanned, from early texts and illustrations.
You may be surprised to know that the bulk of my stock comes from the United States, on, where many suitable books are easily available at $50 a time or much less.
The fact I can buy my stock so inexpensively from America is testament to the fact few
people over there are running a business like mine.
*** STOP PRESS *** Notice one of the items – PUG / PUGS. Named Dogs.
Vintage Print. 1935/36 – currently has bids up to £26.81 - and still has several days
left at auction. How much did that print cost me? About 20 pence, probably less,
because it came from a book containing hundreds of pages, every one of which has
an illustration of some kind. The final figure was £51 with two people bidding, one
paying £51, the other accepting a second chance offer of £50. Both prints went to
Let me show you more examples to illustrate the worldwide potential of this business.
Some of these illustrations are several months old but that is irrelevant, they represent the
same kind of things fetching very high profits today. I will add more examples later to
prove the long term potential of this business.
Illustration Two - ‘Completed Listings’ for Keyword ‘Clippings’
Always lots of interest in articles, clippings and cuttings (mean much the same thing)
about famous people, especially no longer living.
Illustration Three - Cuttings Related to Popular Niche Market
Always lots of interest for niche market subjects, in this case the paranormal.
Illustration Four - Articles for Niche Market Subjects, e.g. Boxing
Sport is a hugely popular subject, especially boxing, baseball, football, golf, cricket.
Illustration Five - Historical Subjects Are Also Hugely Profitable
Al Capone and the Titanic Disaster are always popular sellers.
Illustration Six - Infamous People Are Also Popular
Legends, like Houdini, Elvis, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, have fetched huge prices on eBay.
Illustration Seven - Influence of the Public Domain
The public domain spawns an immense range of best selling products on and off eBay,
such as these vintage patterns which are sent on CD or as an email attachment.
Big Big Business Idea
Articles, cuttings, patterns and other out of copyright, and so called ‘public
domain’ items, can be copied – photocopied, scanned, photographed – and many
will still sell very well today. Be sure to choose subjects which have a very strong
collector following in their own right.
Once you have a high priced article, relating to Houdini or the Titanic Disaster, for
example, copy it before fulfilling the order. Offer the copies on eBay as I and lots
of other PowerSellers do recreated as pictures, postcards, articles, prints.
I could spend hours just researching and giving examples of items people are selling on
eBay which you will shortly be selling, but that would just waste time that would be
better spent on showing how to profit from all of this fabulous stuff. So let us content
ourselves with a short list of the things you’ll be selling, all derived from books,
magazines and newspapers:
Publications Themselves
Knitting, Sewing and Other Craftwork Patterns
Free Gifts such as blotters, calendars, tape measures
How to Articles
Historical Articles
Famous People Articles
Year Compilations
Music Scores
Stories, Novelettes and Other Out of Copyright Material
etc., etc, etc.
Illustration Eight - Items I am Currently Selling
This advertisement for Pears’ Soap by Phil May is actually the back of a book containing
hundreds of Phil May cartoons. It’s a bit grubby but it will clean up with a special soft
eraser made especially for cleaning antiquarian books and prints.
This page came from a huge book containing information, plans, patterns, and lots of
information now classed as in the public domain. These toy patterns are great sellers on
eBay and can be copied in print or digital format.
Learn from Sellers With More Experience
Than Yourself
Today I discovered something even I didn’t think possible, namely eBayers all over the
world specialising in clippings but, where I am happy with £20 a go for these items, some
of these people were making hundreds of pounds a time for their clippings collections.
The even bigger surprise was that many of these listings were not for original items, but
rather they were photocopied versions, some had been retyped or otherwise copied, often
as gif or jpeg files, and presented on CD.
Here’s the proof of what I found that Sunday morning in a few simple screenshots and to
find the exact same listings yourself do this using Illustration Nine as your starter point:
Go to - the biggest and best listings and business ideas are here.
Go to ‘Search’ at the top of the screen. Wait for page to open.
Go to ‘Advanced Search’. Wait for page to open.
Type ‘articles’ – ‘clippings’ – ‘stories’ into the search category (A). (Do these on
separate occasions, that is articles one time, clippings the next, and so on).
5) Go to ‘Completed Items’. Choose a search for ‘Any Country’ on all three options
at the right side of the page (B)
6) Wait for listings to appear and click on one or two, especially those achieving
highest prices, and once you find someone with a shop or PowerSeller status, click
on ‘View Seller’s Other Items’ - I bet you will stay there for days just marvelling
at the wonder of what you find.
Illustration Nine - Using the Advanced Search Facility to Locate
Hundreds of Ideas
Illustration Ten - Screenshot Showing Completed Auctions from
Advanced Search for ‘Clippings’
Notice the high prices achieved for some of these clippings. Notice, too, how sellers
specialise, in pop music on this occasion, but in many other subjects also such as: cats,
dogs, horses, China – the country, China – the material, great crimes, Jack the Ripper, and
many, many, many more.
Illustration Eleven - Immense Prices are Achievable
Wow! This screenshot from recently completed auctions shows how wonderfully
profitable this business can be. Look at those prices and wonder why you have waited so
long to get started in this easy business.
And why, like me, you should look for a tiny niche
with thousands of big spend bidders – then work hard to
dominate it!
Doggy Prints are Very Popular but There are Many Other Special Interest
Subjects are Just as Prolific Auction Price Record Breakers, for example Sports
Memorabilia, Topographical, Naval, Military, and Hundreds More.
This is just one eBay seller who regularly makes very high profits (topping £100 a
print on occasion) who has a very simple system for adding value to prints that cost
literally pennies to buy and sell at incredible profits, especially in the run up to
Christmas when prints make fabulous gifts. She simply adds a little color to her prints,
adds a mount, and sells them as H/C (Hand Colored) thereby turning her very ordinary
items into something quite unique. All names and listing numbers have been removed
to preserve privacy of buyer and seller.
READ MORE ABOUT DOGGY PRINTS later in this book and the fabulous prices
they fetch when you apply a few easy techniques to improve the perceived value of
your print.
Starting Out on eBay
Very little is required to get your business of the ground, just enthusiasm and
commitment, alongside:
• A computer. Nothing special is needed as long as you have Internet access but
generally speaking the more up-to-date and faster the computer, the more
successful you’re likely to be.
• Internet access. Any ISP will do but if you don’t have Broadband then aim for a
one-fee service provider, such as AOL, for which you pay a standard fee
regardless of how many hours you spend online. If you have Broadband you
already pay a fixed fee with no additional telephone charges.
• Digital camera or scanner. Quality illustrations are paramount to successfully
selling paper collectibles and ephemera on eBay.
• Credit Card (to prove you are genuine, it won’t necessarily be charged).
• eBay sellers’ account.
• PayPal account (not compulsory but it tempts impulse buys and many people
won’t buy from non-PayPal sellers). PayPal is almost essential for selling overseas
and means you can charge and be paid in domestic currency which PayPal
converts to local currency at the buyers’ end. PayPal takes a variable percentage
of the transaction fee from sellers. Go to to open an account.
• Broadband helps again because the more items you list the more money you’ll
make and you can list many times faster with Broadband (in my case about thirty
items an hour listing vintage prints, compared to ten or so without Broadband).
• Something to sell, better still lots of things to sell. And there are so many things to
sell, you’ll be totally spoiled for choice, as you are about to find out.
About Feedback
Feedback is a process whereby buyers and sellers rate one another based on actual
Getting positive feedback is important for building a business on eBay and a reputation
based on what other eBayers say about you. Negative feedback is represented as a
proportion of overall feedback, so the lower your feedback rating, the higher the impact
negative feedback has, unlike PowerSellers with, say, 10,000 feedbacks, for whom one
more negative has almost zero effect.
Once feedback is given, even in the heat of the moment, it can’t be changed, so a negative
stays with you for life. That’s more or less what eBay say, but in reality it isn’t always
so. Most feedback is constructive, not destructive or the result of a tantrum, unlike the
only one I got, last Christmas, when an item I posted did not arrive next day. IT WAS
CHRISTMAS REMEMBER! I got that removed on advice from eBay to join
SquareTrade – - who, for a low price, about twenty dollars, will
mediate between parties to a negative feedback in a bid to have the feedback removed.
Adverse feedback can also be removed by mutual agreement between parties via eBay’s
negotiation system.
These are some of the reasons you’ll get bad feedback:
• Delay in sending product.
• Sending product badly wrapped.
• Not sending product at all.
• Item not as described.
• Not answering emails.
• Charging high postage and trying to make more money that way.
• In retaliation for you giving negative feedback to another eBayer. This is the
most worrying aspect of all for serious business eBayers who, though they know
it’s their duty to warn other sellers about undesirable customers, are often too
afraid of incurring negative feedback purely as a result of leaving it for others.
I AM GOING TO ADMIT here that I never give feedback first, I always give it
when good feedback has been left for me by individual buyers or sellers. That
may be breaking eBay’s unwritten rules, I don’t know, but I do believe the
feedback system is seriously flawed and very subjective.
• Just Because! Sorry, but some people will complain about anything and nothing,
and will leave feedback out of jealousy, because they are having a bad day, or
because the Christmas post slowed down the item you sent to them! Or Just
Illustrations Twelve and Thirteen how feedback appears in an eBay account and how it
helps distinguish ‘good’ from ‘bad’ eBayers. But remember some negatives are given out
of spite and pure nastiness and, likewise, many positive feedbacks are given purely to
avoid reciprocal negative feedback. Which would you prefer to buy from given the
following real life eBayers as judged from their feedback review?
Illustration Twelve – Example of Negative Feedback
Would you buy from this person? The ‘No Longer a Registered User’ message at the top
right of the screen probably means the person has chosen to leave eBay of his or her own
accord or else has been removed by eBay as an unsuitable - very unsuitable - member of
the eBay fraternity.
Illustration Thirteen – Example of Positive Feedback
Much better wouldn’t you say?
You Also Need
• A friendly, considerate disposition, and the ability to handle difficult people, all
help avoid the ‘Big N*’ which can seriously damage your business. (*Negative
• Cash to get started is minimal. For example, most items with a starting price of
less than $9.99 cost about $0.50 to list on eBay.
• The business can be self-financing. I’ve got my selling activities down to a fine
art. Most eBayers use PayPal, including eBay itself for collecting selling fees (not
surprising as eBay actually owns PayPal). So every few days I click on ‘Accounts’
in my personal eBay area, view the amount I owe eBay, then click on ‘Pay Using
PayPal’. Easy, and because I know everything left in my PayPal account now
belongs to me, I can confidently list more and more items, take more money into
my PayPal account from winning bidders, and every few days use PayPal to clear
my eBay fees. All this means I need never worry about nasty listing bills
appearing later.
• Time to list items and handle fulfilment as well as to communicate with eBayers
who will ask questions about points not mentioned in your listing. Obviously, the
more items you offer, the more time you’ll need to run your business properly. As
a rule of thumb, I’d say anyone could easily offer ten different repeat sale items,
and get by on just a few hours a week for listing, relisting and fulfilling orders, and
half an hour each day for answering emails, and so on.
There is obviously much more to know about selling on eBay which is largely
outside the purview of this book. But because I want you to succeed, new and old
eBay hands alike, you’ll find a selection of free guides to download about eBay at
LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED - because you can find
spectacular profits in the most unexpected of places.
The print below sold for £120 plus on eBay. It is an original watercolor, of Peel
Harbour in the Isle of Man. It isn’t especially good and I could have worked far
harder at presenting it. See the tiny crinkles on the scan? They could easily have been
ironed out (iron from the back with thin cloth between iron and paper item) and it
could in fact have generated much higher bidding.
But then I never expected a page torn out from a child’s autograph album, dated 1911,
would be worth anything more than £3 or £4. More fool me! This album came with a
large bundle of postcards I really wanted, the autograph album I considered worthless
Given the fabulous profits from this album, there were actually ten more similar prints
in the book which also sold well on eBay, I will definitely allow at least another few
hours for studying autograph albums as well as photograph albums and scrapbooks at
The Value of eBay Research
You can discover exactly which areas people visit most on eBay and consequently help
determine suitable subjects for you to check out in books and other publications
containing prints and other potential single page sellers. You can also determine which
words they use to find products like yours, allowing you to choose carefully those
important keywords required in your auction titles.
There are several places where eBay provides this assistance. This is how to do it using
eBay’s Pulse Pages. The Pulse Pages denote eBay’s most active listings and are a great
source of information to help sellers increase their profits. This is where you not only
find the currently most commonly visited listings within specific eBay categories, but you
can also check out most commonly used keywords and phrases used by potential bidders
to locate products within a specific category or sub-category. Go to the pulse page at and at the bottom of the page you’ll see the currently most visited
listings on eBay, left of the screen is a portion dedicated to currently most popular
keywords. These listings can be narrowed down by manoeuvring within the categories
menu and sub-menu shown in the next illustration.
Illustration Fourteen – eBay’s Home Page on its .com Site
This is where you can access all eBay categories, like this:
Illustration Fifteen – Lots of Categories to Choose From
Let us go with ‘Crafts’ for now which the next illustration shows we can further subcategorise, in this case we will choose ‘Crocheting’.
Illustration Sixteen – Finding a Niche Sub-Category
The next page shows the most popular searches, that is keywords, for Crocheting includes
‘Vintage Crochet’.
Illustration Seventeen – Finding Hot Keywords and Phrases
Click on ‘Vintage Crochet’ and you’ll see current listed items with bids.
Illustration Eighteen – Researching Hot Keyword Listings
This is a great place to research publications containing patterns for you to list as original
items as well as to copy for today’s craftworkers.
Let Us Get Listing Together!
Selling looks complicated when you first begin but it’s actually quite easy. My first few
weeks of selling made me dread getting up on a morning. So much to do, so many things
to check, so many things to go wrong. Nothing much ever did really go wrong!
The first time you list an item the whole process feels complicated but with a few weeks’
experience it’s a simple question of pressing a few buttons, making changes if you like.
Let’s look at what’s involved for your first sale.
We’ll use one of my products, a doggy print, as our example.
Illustration Nineteen – Print from National Geographic Dogs Edition
Brief Description of the Product
This is one of our most popular prints and a consistently good seller. It’s a picture of
Greyhounds by an artist called Louis A. Fuertes and it is an original print or book plate,
not a reprint or copy, taken from a genuine copy of National Geographic Magazine,
March 1919. It has been mounted ready to frame and the outside measurement is 10
inches by 8 inches. It is in good condition and I have produced a certificate of
authenticity testifying that it is an original.
Big Tip: Once I have listed this item, I then have a template for all identical items as well
as all other breeds of dog from the magazine concerned given that all were by the same
artist. So the one template works for all dog breeds in the publication with just a few
amendments required to reflect breed and listing category. The same goes for clippings
of all breeds of dog taken from a specific source which can be created in simple template
format and amended purely to suit individual breeds, number of pages in the clippings
package, age and condition of the items, and so on.
Now let’s see how to sell – or more appropriately, list my Greyhound print.
Go to your chosen eBay site. Go to ‘Sell’ as the top of the screen and click through.
You’ll be asked to provide your ID and password, then click on ‘SIGN IN’.
Now choose a selling format: auction, buy it now, shop, describing the various selling
methods available.
Choosing Categories
Now you’ll be asked to choose a category for your listing, this being the place you
consider buyers most likely to congregate. Sometimes the choice is simple and there’ll be
a category just perfect for you, for example ‘Collecting > Advertising’ and ‘Art > Prints’,
whatever best suits your product.
You may also choose a second category for the same listing if appropriate. eBay also has
a Category Selector Tool into which you key a few words describing your item, in
response to which you’ll receive a list of possible places to list your item.
• Sometimes eBay’s own suggestions are perfect, sometimes they’re a waste of time
and can actually restrict your selling chances. All depends on the words used to
describe your item. If your choice of words or description are wrong or is
misunderstood by eBay’s Category Selector Tool, you’ll be worse off than using a
pin to choose your category.
• Learn from experience and spend time studying eBay’s categories, noticing where
other sellers have placed similar items, how they’ve described them, what starting
prices and reserve prices apply. By the way, most buyers hate reserve prices and
prefer to see a realistic starting price which is just as useful to you and less
confusing for them.
Illustration Twenty – Learning from Other Sellers’ Listings
This is the home page of – I’m using this illustration because the .com version
was used in a previous illustration and because front pages change, making it useful to
understand the variations right away.
Click here and you will be taken through to
the page shown in Illustration Twenty-One.
You can also search here.
Illustration Twenty-One – Advanced Search Facility
Type Words To Describe Your Product Here
Note the Completed Listings
Option Here – more about this later.
When listings appear to your search, click on those that most resemble your product and
when the listing opens, at the very top you can see the category chosen for the listing.
Illustration Twenty-Two – Checking Someone Else’s Chosen
This is the category chosen for this advertisement.
• Don’t use a second category until you have experience; work at getting the first
category right before expanding.
• Once you’ve chosen the category, click through to the next page which may
require you to choose a sub-category. If you chose ‘Collectibles’ as your first
category, for example, you’ll now have to choose from types of collectible postcards, animals, pez dispensers – again, be precise, and learn what you can from
other sellers before wasting your hard earned cash on mistakes.
NOTE: In time, I discovered the best place for my greyhound print in the UK was
‘Collectibles’, sub-category ‘Animals’, sub-sub-category ‘Dogs’, last category
Creating Titles and Descriptions
After categories come ‘Titles and Descriptions’, where you provide information about
your product which hopefully encourages bids and discourages dozens of emails for more
Creating listings is an art form, and a science, too, and must never be hurried or guessed
at. AIDA is the formula to which all sales materials comply - it stands for the process of
selling by:
Attracting ATTENTION
Creating DESIRE
Forcing ACTION
On eBay this means getting people to notice your advertisement, get them interested and
make them click on your listing, get them to want your item, and finally get them to act –
namely to bid.
Experience taught me that, for prints, the most important words for the headline were:
‘Vintage’, ‘Early’, ‘Original’, ‘Print’, ‘Book Plate’, and others, coupled with breed of dog
and year the print was published.
Illustration Twenty-Three - Typical Listing for the Greyhound Print
GREYHOUND. Vintage Original Print / Book Plate. 1919
Beautiful print of Greyhounds from original by Louis A.
Fuertes. Not a reprint or copy. Good condition.
Mounted ready to frame.
Mount size: 10 inches x 8 inches, aperture approximately 8
inches x 6 inches.
BIG TIP: Spend as long as you can studying other people’s advertisements for products
similar to those you are selling. Remember to use the ADVANCED SEARCH facility to
find successful finished auctions to locate similar items and determine what helped some
sell, and why others failed. Spend time studying listings, categories, words used, etc.
Once you’re finished, click through to the next page where you’ll provide pictures and
Adding Pictures and Payment/Fulfillment Details
‘Pictures’ is self-explanatory; ‘details’ is all about using special devices to create impact
for your listings, such as emboldening text, using special highlight colors, having your
listings appear in high-traffic locations, and more. Until you gain experience, just create
a simple listing and forget the add-ons with the exception of having your illustration
featured alongside the title in all eBay listings. This Gallery feature is useful given that
pictures really do help sell products. It costs nothing to have your first picture listed
inside your description where people only see it once your headline has attracted their
attention and made them want to know more (This is where AIDA comes to the fore).
You can also pay more for extra features to make your listing more noticeable, such as
emboldened text, featured top spot in your chosen category, and others. My advice:
forget the expensive add-ons, they are not at all necessary for the type of products you are
selling. If you just get the title right in your listing and use keywords to attract your
potential buyers, those people will work hard to find you, not vice versa.
Payment and Postage Details
Click through to the next page were you’ll give Payment and Postage details. This is all
very straightforward, you’ll give the starting price for your product, state whether a
reserve price is required, and if you are offering BUY IT NOW you’ll give the
appropriate price. You’ll also state what payment options are available, such as PayPal,
check or postal order, credit card, other.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you decide to sell worldwide, I recommend you insist overseas
buyers use PayPal or other intermediary payment processor but not Western Union which
is banned by eBay. I also recommend your starting price is one you’d be happy to accept
if only one person bids. The higher bidding goes the better for you,, and by setting an
acceptable starting price you won’t risk selling your item at way below the price you paid
for it. You will come by many eBayers who swear you should set a really low starting
price, regardless of how much the item is actually worth. This is to save on listing costs
and also to generate bidding from people ‘trying their luck’ and hoping they’ll get a real
bargain if theirs is the only bid. The theory is that once a bid has been placed, others will
invariably follow. I’m not altogether in agreement as very often you’ll end up selling the
item at a silly bargain price. I recommend your starting price is the very minimum you
want to make on the item.
Finally, click through to the next page where you’ll ‘Review and Submit’ your listing.
Reviewing and Submitting Your Listing Details
Be careful, study everything, check for misprints and mistakes, and then press to submit.
If you discover a mistake you can revise your listing, subject to conditions, by entering
your eBay Summary page and clicking on the little arrow under ‘Action’ right side of the
page. You can make other changes at this particular place as you’ll discover if you spend
a short while studying the various elements of the page.
Now You Wait, Look and Learn!
The listing’s up there, your products are ready to sell, and there are still seven days (other
options exist though seven days seems most popular) to go before your first auction ends.
Now it’s time to sit back awhile, take a break, and spend time learning about what
happens when items do sell, and what happens if they don’t!
Go to (or other area) and click on ‘My eBay’ at the top of the screen
where you’ll be asked to sign in using your ID and password. On some computers your
ID will be stored but unless you store your password personally – not recommended –
you’ll have to remember it each time you access your personal panel.
Sometimes you’ll be connected directly with your personal panel, sometimes you’ll reach
a page where you can click on ‘My eBay’ to see how your listings are progressing.
Why the best item to buy to resell is something nobody
wants and would never contemplate buying.
But wait, there is an incredibly good reason for you to buy that item and with just a few
minutes’ effort I’ll show you how to turn it into something people will fall over
themselves to buy! This is the stuff bidding wars and eBay record breaking auction
prices are made of.
The very best type of item is a book, packed with prints, even damaged and dirty prints,
with covers that are torn and tattered, dirty and totally useless to collectors and
booksellers. Like a book I bought at Hexham Auction Mart a few weeks ago, it cost £10,
but as a collectors’ item in good condition it was worth several hundred pounds. It
contained lots of cat prints by Louis Wain, which are always hugely collectable and can
fetch really high finishing prices on eBay.
The secret here is to dismantle the book, separate the prints and neaten the edges. Discard
any that are really dirty and damaged, these will just spoil your reputation on eBay and
lower the perceived of your other prints. Now all you do is add a mount, call the whole
thing a ‘matted print’ (it just means ‘mounted ready to frame’) and list it on eBay. My
purchase had about thirty Louis Wain prints still in good condition, some of which fetch
$20, some $50, It is not a good idea to list all prints together from a package such as the
one I bought as this floods your own little market and again lowers the perceived value of
your prints and makes bidding wars less likely.
The Magic of Second Chance Offers
You will often find your listings attract plentiful bidders and lots of scope for Second
Chance Offers where duplicate items exist. I don’t personally agree with this feature, it
just does not seem fair that the winning bid is really the losing bidder where second
chance offers are made after the sale.
Let’s see how this works on eBay. Let’s say you auctioned a dog print, by Lucy Dawson,
from her Dogs as I See Them book. The auction attracted four eager buyers, and a
finishing price of $42. Imagine, too, that you can easily obtain copies of the book at $100
a time, and that these are the final bids of your four eager bidders.
Bidder 1 - $42
Bidder 2 - $41
Bidder 3 - $31
Bidder 4 - $21
When the auction ends, Bidder Number 1 gets the print for $42. If you already have
duplicate stock you might consider offering bidders 2 to 4 the print at their finishing bids.
But notice that, if bidder number 4 gets the print for $21, then he pays $21 less than the
‘winning’ bidder. This is why I consider Second Chance offers a tad unfair at times. But
if there is money to be made from it, who am I to complain?
You, the seller, must decide which Second Chance Offer orders to make based on the
price you paid for stock you already have and the cost and ease of obtaining duplicate
items in sufficient time to fulfill second chance orders without risking delivery delays or
eating too heavily into your profits.
Oftentimes a book will be so rare that duplicate stock is almost impossible to find but
there is another potentially very profitable option here, namely one of offering reprints of
prints and other items which are in the public domain, that is out of copyright or for
which copyright never applied. Be careful however and be absolutely sure your
customers know which items are genuine one hundred per cent original and which are
recent copies.
How to Start a Bidding War for Your eBay
You’ll see how, for a little extra ‘work’ you can increase your prices significantly and still
have people fighting between themselves to buy whatever you are selling. This is so
easy, yet most people on eBay just don’t know this secret I reveal here, even though it
costs nothing and takes just a few minutes to do.
One-off items such as you will soon be selling, emanating from publications which may
have been published in limited edition and are now quite rare usually attract multiple
bidders and start a frantic bidding war where even the smallest item, such as a pattern or
Bidding wars are great, you can make many more times for one of hundreds of pages
derived from a magazine than whatever you paid for the entire magazine.
There are a few other things you can do to start your own private bidding war, such as:
• List two items in one listing, to appeal to potential buyers or different interests.
So, for example, you might list an article about Houdini with a magic game that
came free with an early magazine, meaning your listing will attract both Houdini
fans and magic fans in general, as well as people seeking unusual new tricks to
actually use today.
• You can choose two categories to suit a single item listing or a multiple item
listing such as the Houdini / magic trick listing. Different categories attract
different people but only if items you list actually do appeal to people searching
through those categories. Get it right and one listing can attract multiple bidders
from each of two different categories and culminate in a fierce bidding war.
Illustration Twenty-Four – Article Turned into A Decorative Piece
This article from a publication dated 1954 isn’t what you’d call ‘old’ but it did attract
several bidders but who knows whether they bid on the poem itself or because the seller
had turned it into such a decorative piece?
Tips to Help Your Business Grow Quickly
and Prosper
Let us go with lots of tips but don’t forget there is so much more to learn about
selling on eBay a great deal of which is included in articles at my sites and
• Don’t think if an item goes unsold first time round that no-one really wants it. It
usually isn’t so. I have listed items that attracted no bids at all in their first listing,
only to have people fighting over them and generating great prices second time
round. eBay is one of the fastest changing markets ever. New people register
daily, some leave, sometimes people find categories they hadn’t noticed before,
people’s needs change, fashions change. Items that don’t sell first time can easily
be best sellers just a few weeks later.
• Market your most likely best sellers off the Internet. For example, I had a postcard
recently depicting a very famous classical concert conductor from the late 1890s.
I found a list of newspapers from all over the world, dedicated to classical music,
and sent an email about the card, including its listing number on eBay. I don’t
know if my actions influenced the steady bidding on the item, but it took just a few
minutes to send the press release by email and bidding was better than I expected.
• Be honest in all aspects of your business and treat customers with utmost care and
attention. Be honest in all your product listings and descriptions. Don’t make
promises you can’t keep. Offer a satisfaction or money back guarantee to generate
more bidders and to help alleviate whatever negative feedback might result from
dissatisfied buyers.
• Offer as many payment options as possible, to tempt more buyers. Some people
prefer to pay by check, or cash, some prefer PayPal. But see the next tip first.
• There is no such thing as the ‘right price’. No-one knows how much an item is
really worth, even at auction. Price is what someone is prepared to pay at any
point in time. At auction an item might go for many times its catalogue value, or
for a pittance if your product is badly described or goes in an unsuitable category!
Regarding price being what people are prepared to pay, today I sold four miniature
postcards for TWENTY ONE POUNDS. I have more than forty years’ experience
of buying and selling old postcards, and never in my wildest dreams did I expect
more than a fiver, for all four cards!
• Most paper items with just light stains can be left as they are and still attract eager
bidders. People expect items aged 100 years or so to show a few signs of age, it
shows they are more likely to be genuine than other items in pristine condition.
But grime and dust, scribbles and pencil notes do not look good and can detract
from the appearance of the item and its selling potential. Most such blemishes can
be removed with a light eraser or piece of dry bread. Rub the eraser or dry bread
carefully across the problem area, in one direction not back and forwards or you
could cause the item to crinkle or tear. There are ways to remove heavy foxing
and really dirty stains from antique prints which involves chemicals and wet
cleaning which is well outside the scope of most eBay sellers and not often
commensurate with the extra value added to the item. If you think you have a
valuable, but very dirty print, and you want to test its value in good clean
condition, then leave it to a professional, the kind you’ll find advertising in
journals targeted at collectors of antiquarian books.
• Look for add-on profits from every sale by either directing buyers to your eBay
shop for similar or complementary items or by adding a catalogue or list of offers
in their product delivery package.
• Think economies of scale. Buy products in bulk but only if you have a winning
product on your hands. The more you buy, generally speaking the less you pay,
and the cumulative effect on your profits can be immense.
• Save every listing you make. If you followed my advice above, and you’re
specializing in one area, all you have to do for new listings is adjust your
description, take a new picture and relist the item. eBay’s software Turbo Lister
allows you to create and keep listings offline which can be edited and uploaded in
bulk. It is absolutely wonderful and I recommend you obtain Turbo Lister right
away. You’ll find it available under ‘Selling Links’ at the left side of all your
personal eBay pages.
• Some items naturally attract more people in their country of origin, especially
collectibles such as vintage prints of New York City (they’ll attract more interest
on, and others from Melbourne, Australia (best on, and
Berlin, Germany ( In reality, really enthusiastic bidders check the entire
eBay marketplace through the ‘Search’ facility, but you can never be sure, so
consider your market carefully for every new listing (‘new’ meaning untested
items which can be obtained again later if listings go well).
• Regarding packing, for paper items such as clippings and framed prints, pack them
first in a see-through envelope and fold to fit the items without squashing them in.
For clippings, just place them inside a white envelope of appropriate size and again
into a hard backed envelope ready for posting. Prints are a little more delicate and
I always pack the print inside pieces of hard card just a little bigger than the print
itself, before placing it into a hard-backed envelope or other suitable wrapping.
Do not, EVER, fold a print or other item for any reason, especially to force it
inside a package for posting. A long circular posting tube is best for very big
prints and maps, for example, but be careful of textured surfaces which might
crack from being rolled to fit the tube.
Be Careful Using Templates for Your
eBay Listings
I’m one of many people who list sometimes hundreds of items every day using templates
such as provided by Turbo Lister. They are great, you create a title and description just
once to suit virtually all ‘same-kind’ items, like postcards, music sheets, first day covers,
prints and advertisements. It makes listing so much faster when all you do is change one
or two words in the title, change the illustration, and press to upload.
Here’s an example, based on postcards I was selling last month, all from the early 1900s,
all in the same condition. The very same problems can ensue wherever you list items that
have very similar qualities and lend themselves well to using a template.
My title for an original postcard template was this:
The description in all said something like ‘Old postcard, dated 1900, good condition’.
This remained constant throughout so I just changed the illustration and Postcard
Topographical Location in titles for every one of those 100 listings. Listing number one
looked like this:
STOCKTON-ON-TEES c1900 Postcard
I uploaded it right away, then it occurred to me there was something else I should include
in the title.
These were wonderfully attractive real photographic postcards from a well-known and
very popular north eastern photographer, namely Brittain and Wright of Gateshead well
known for their Phoenix series.
I wanted some of that information to go in my title, so I changed my original template, to
look like this:
TOPOGRAPHICAL LOCATION c1900 Brittain & Wright Postcard
This became my master template and all I did then was change the title of the
topographical area in the title, like this:
STOCKTON-ON-TEES c1900 Brittain & Wright Postcard
And this:
And This:
BILLINGHAM - STOCKTON-ON-TEES c1900 Brittain & Wright Postcard
My 99 listings with Brittain & Wright looked so better and said so much more than my
first listing without Brittain & Wright.
But strangely, only the first item sold, the others didn’t even attract one bidder. I
wondered why, I began to check. The main word ‘Postcard’ would attract lots of eager
bidders and buyers, in fact the first listing, the one that sold, had over 20 viewers as
spotted from the free eBay visitor counters available in Turbo Lister.
It was ages later before the reason hit me as to why those 99 listings failed and it had all
to do with being too eager to list, and even more to do with complacency commonly
confronting ‘same item’ listings using templates.
The fact was those extra words Brittain & Wright had knocked my title outside the 55
characters allowed in eBay’s listing titles. I checked the first template, the one without
Brittain & Wright, that template would have fitted all of my postcard titles. But I failed to
check what effect those extra words Brittain & Wright would have on my title.
The end result was 99 listings ending in such as: postc, postca, postcar, and lots more
variations depending on just how many of the final characters were thrown out when I
included my postcard titles.
NINETY NINE listings and not one including that most important word to make my
products sell ‘Postcard’. Some did however include ‘Post’, ‘Postc’, and some longer
variations, but not one had the word in full meaning people searching for ‘Postcard’
would find just one of my listings. The most important thing to remember here is that few
people look into actual categories, such as Collectibles > Postcards to find what they
want, most simply key a main word used to describe their collecting interest into eBay’s
search engines, in this case ‘Postcard’.
It doesn’t happen often, it wouldn’t have to or I’d lose money fast, but it does mean I
need to cast at least a cursory glance over my listings on Turbo Lister before uploading
them to eBay.
Locate All Your Stock on eBay
eBay is one of the best places to find publications to use in your business. I buy all my
old dog prints on eBay in the form of books by popular artists like Lucy Dawson, Cecil
Aldin, Nina Scott Langley. Few people bid on these books other than to read or collect
them and they will bid up to the actual market value of the book which is often way
below the possible eBay value for one item from the publication later turned into a print.
Locate stock by maintaining careful records of publications from which your own and
other eBay sellers’ best individually presented prints and posters, articles and other items
come. Determine how much each book is worth to you in terms of resell values for those
individual items, then actively search for similar items selling on eBay.
Because you will make so much from your individually listed items you can afford to bid
way above the typical price of the book collector.
There’s an easy way to find thousands of books containing hundreds of illustrations (for
posters, advertisements, prints, articles, etc.) for countless different high selling subjects.
You do it using eBay’s search engine, at the top right of any screen, and mid-way down
the home page. Choose ‘Books, Comics and Magazines’ as your main category and key
in specific words such as ‘illustrated’, ‘illustration’, ‘advertisement’, to find potential
good buys across a wide horizon of subjects. Or key in specific words to locate specific
interest books, such as ‘dog illustrations’, ‘fire service advertisements’, ‘photographs
New York’, and so on. The first search type, using one word commands, will leave lots
of books to choose from. The second search type, more specific than its partner, will
involve more work in the search stage but lets you hone in directly on books to suit you
Tip: When you find someone offering products to suit you, add the seller to your
‘favourite sellers’ list because many specialise in particular subjects or collectibles and
could represent regular suppliers for your business.
Problem of Perception
Some people see what they want to see in your eBay listing, and often see something you
promise which actually is not promised at all. Let me explain: for many people the word
‘print’ means expensive, limited production, very rare. But they are wrong because
‘print’ is the actual process of preparing a printed item, it does not always refer to the
item itself. So, because you say you are listing a ‘print by Cecil Aldin’, for example,
some people will think you are offering an illustration that may be one of just a few
created from an original of Aldin’s work., rather than the item being an illustration
‘printed’ in a rare vintage book which you have dismantled to resell individual items on
I had this problem surface many times and once I explained their mistake to buyers, all
was well, even if some still wanted a refund.
The problem was eventually solved by very carefully wording my eBay listing and
describing the item as a ‘book plate / print’ from an early book illustrated by ‘Named
The fact you are breaking no rules by referring to pages from magazines and books as
‘prints’ may antagonise some people, and even though it is their fault, their
misconception, you should act to avoid any problems later and certainly to avoid
complaints and refunds.
This example shows how I word my listing to minimise problems:
Original book plate / print from one of Lucy Dawson's (also known as
'Mac') spectacular books published in 1936. Genuine item, not a copy
or reprint, guaranteed 70 years old. Matted ready to frame. Overall
size in mount 8 inches by 10 inches. Would make a wonderful present.
Sell Photographs From Vintage Magazines
and Newspapers
At the turn of the 19th / 20th centuries many newspapers and magazines began replacing
hand drawn and engraved illustrations in their publications with photographic images
which are collectable in their own right. On eBay, and elsewhere, you’ll find people
selling pages clipped from magazines containing text and photographs and achieving very
good prices. Here’s a big tip: rather than dismantle an old publication to sell
photographic images separately, try scanning one or two items while still in their original
binding. If these items sell, try a few more, if those sell, consider dismantling the main
item and list individual articles with photographic images. I have often found this
technique more than quadruples, sometimes much more than quadruples the potential
resell value of the original publication. My most profitable sources for this technique
include Illustrated London News, Graphic, Sphere, but there are many others you’ll
usually find selling at low prices at local auction or on eBay itself
Look Between the Covers
It isn’t just text and illustrations many books contain. You’ll often find books used
as places to store small flat collectibles, like separate prints, funeral cards,
newspaper clippings, and these items can be immensely valuable in their own right.
Here, for instance, is a funeral card I found in an old history book.
At first glance it looks like any early In Memoriam card, but look more closely and
you will see it is also a valuable piece of local history interest and also of import to
collectors of mining memorabilia.
I found several similar cards inside the book from which this one came, each
pertaining to one of several miners killed during a fall of coal at New Shildon
Colliery, County Durham, England in 1880. The original book packed with text
and prints cost me about $100 (around $200) and will probably yield many times
that amount for its bound contents once dismantled and sold individually. These
small funeral cards fetched up to $16 each and sold on eBay the first time they
were listed.
Here you are normally specializing in the kind of full-page advertisements found in great
profusion in very early publications. Advertisements might be colored or black and
white, photographic or artist-drawn.
Whatever shape they take, framed and unframed, mounted and unmounted advertisements
are very popular on eBay.
You can sell advertisements displayed in see-through packages or they can be mounted
ready to frame or even fully framed ready to display.
I have always sold advertisements unframed, and find them highly popular with collectors
and dealers alike. Many collectors buy handfuls of advertisements especially of their
favorite subjects or if prices are low.
Some publications are prolific sources of quality advertisements, especially Illustrated
London News and National Geographic, The Graphic, The Sketch, and many more
To understand how profitable this business can be, consider that some early publications
included twenty or more full-page advertisements, which can easily resell on eBay at $20
apiece or more.
Better still, those magazines can be purchased in bulk for pennies at local auctions, flea
markets and collectors’ fairs.
The secret is to arrive early in the day at garage and boot sales, flea markets, jumble sales
and collectors' fairs and buy every pre-1940 publication you can find featuring
advertisements before the trade arrives and gives your bargain hunting game away.
To know whether you are getting a bargain, count the ads in an average issue, multiply
this by 50 cents (about 25p in the UK) and that's the very minimum the publication is
worth to you. More likely you'll be offered the publication at much less than this,
especially if you buy in bulk.
As for most ephemera-based projects, the secret is to buy inexpensively, package and
display well, and sell individually in specifically themed categories, such as Coca Cola,
Dogs, Horses, Food and Drink, and more as you will see from sub-categories within eBay
UK’s Collectibles/Advertising section which closely resemble other eBay sites:
Coca Cola
Soft Drinks
Other Drinks Advertising
Other Transportation Advert
There are many, many categories in which to sell your prints, clippings and other paper
items as you will discover by studying other people’s listings. Note, too, that some items
which might more accurately go under ‘Advertisements’ could actually sell better in other
categories, such as advertisements for early dog related items which I would personally
sell in the dog collectibles section.
The next illustration shows my own listing which has several popular collecting themes
and should enjoy a high finishing price. It is a poster advertisement (so called because it
is large and would make a good wall decoration), it is antique (published 1900 so
officially antique), and it is the work of one of the world’s most popular artists, Cecil
Notice how I carefully ensured the artist, age, product and poster potential feature in my
Illustration Twenty-Five – A Cecil Aldin Advertising Print
People have always enjoyed reading about subjects that interest them, which most of the
time means buying newspapers and books or reading about their favorite subjects online.
But people are also keen to read very old information about their favorite subjects, even if
that information originally appeared several hundred years ago. And so you will find
people bidding on eBay for articles taken from antique and recent publications, some just
out of interest and for pure reading potential, others as collectors keen on owning
anything ever written and illustrated about their popular subjects.
Generally speaking, all you need do is remove the pages from the magazines that feature
articles you want to sell which you then illustrate and describe in your eBay listings.
One publication may in fact yield several profitable items for selling on eBay, some
publications just one. The latter type, where just one subject might interest eBay buyers,
are usually special interest niche type publications or from a specific topographical
location. Where just one potential selling subject exists, you are faced with either selling
the publication as one lot or dissected into individual articles. In such a case, I tend to
scan the articles without removing them from the publication, list them separately, days
apart, to see if the articles will sell individually and make it worth my while dissecting the
magazine. If nothing sells, I list the publication as one lot next time. If just one of say
five articles from the publications sell, I generally still dissect the magazine, fulfil the one
article, and relist the others at a reduced price. The trick is to list your articles with a
starting price where one sale covers your costs for the entire publication and still yields a
profit for you.
There is no real heavy or technical work listing articles for sale on eBay. As long as your
title contains keywords to describe the collecting interest, for example: slavery, Civil
War, Boxer Dogs, Kate Greenaway (and millions more collecting areas), potential bidders
will find you, you won’t have to work hard to sell your item.
Here’s an example of something I am selling, an article about slavery and the terrible
conditions confronting the victims of this barbaric time in our history. The article
appeared in a newspaper called THE MIRROR published in 1839.
I realise that collectors of Black Americana, who also specialize in slavery, probably use
keywords like ‘Slave’ and ‘Slavery’ to locate items that might interest them on eBay.
So my title for the listing includes both those words in the title which means most people
looking for similar items will find me. Having researched similar subject best selling
items on eBay, I discovered that no specific category was involved and that most sellers
chose a category specific to the type of product, not the subject, in this case ‘newspaper’.
So I listed my items under Collecting > Paper and Ephemera > Newspapers > Antique
(pre-1920). That would have sufficed but I had a real feel about this item so as you can
see I chose an additional category: Collectables > Ethnographic > Americas.
Illustration Twenty-Six - My Listing for an Article on Slavery
Because very early articles, like my slavery article, are now in the public domain, I could
copy them and sell them as reprints, either as downloadable pdf files or on CD.
Illustration Twenty-Seven - A Unique Concept
This is a truly unique concept and one well worth emulating. The individual has either
purchased, written, or otherwise obtained rights to reproduce certain articles which are presented
in newsletter format with spaces for individuals to add their own business details and create their
own customer newsletter. Neat!
‘Clippings’, sometimes called ‘Cuttings’ as both names suggest, are simply items cut
from books and other printed publications. They can be large or small, or even comprise
entire sections of a book linked to a specific theme.
Ideas and Suggestions
• Sell a complete section of a particular book. For example a book about dogs in
general can be broken into breeds and listed separately. Here’s one we sold as a
complete section. It’s from Book of the Dog, 1910, and this section is for the
Beagle. Our listing simply gave a headline the likes of: ‘BEAGLE. Vintage
Clippings, 1910’.
The description was also brief, giving just the title of the book, the appropriate
breed, the number of pages and illustrations included, and the fact that the item is a
genuine original, not a reprint. Much the same could be done for almost any book
on any subject.
Illustration Twenty-Eight – One of my Own Clippings Packages
• Sell items taken from several different sources, preferably on a common theme,
and present in a plastic wallet or see through paper-backed bag.
• Clip items on one theme, say a specific breed of dog, taken from various parts of
the same publication. This is especially profitable from yearbooks which included
lots of new information about the subject at hand as well as being packed with
advertisements dotted throughout the text.
• Sell the items in specially made scrapbook format. All you need is a children’s
scrapbook into which you paste all the items you have about a specific subject.
Illustration Twenty-Nine - Screenshot showing write up for one
item, namely Bon Jovi!
Notice the write up here which is very detailed. Notice, too, the high number of bids
Gifts and Advertising Novelties
Early publications often contained useful free gifts for readers, some of which are
profitable collectors' items today. The most common free gifts were advertising inserts
and sometimes advertising blotters.
These were common in small-size publications from the 1890s to 1920s. Most important
of all, they are fairly easy to find and can be marked up at a very high profit. I have often
purchased dozens of publications, as a batch, for just a few dollars and priced them
several hundred times higher mainly for their free gifts and novelties.
Advertising inserts are especially beautiful and highly collectable. They normally appear
as a page, smaller than the magazine page itself and they are often bound into the body of
the magazine. Many are highly colored, others quite plain.
Best of all, however, those magazines most commonly containing inserts are a very, very
rich source of full-page advertisements ready for you to clip and sell as they are or to
hand-tint and frame for display.
Inserts can be sold separately, as collectors' items, or framed, as does a colleague who
frames and sells all types of early advertising ephemera. And I know of more than one
specialist dealer who buys privately and sells entirely through eBay.
Many early publications also included bonus gifts, normally bearing an advertising
message. For example, paper measuring rulers were common in books of knitting and
sewing patterns. Offering something the recipient will actually use, as for a ruler or color
shade chart, for example, was highly targeted advertising and would doubtless generate
many sales for the firm promoting the gift. Other common freebies include whist score
cards, children’s painting books, quality knitting patterns, and more. All highly
collectable and very popular sellers on eBay.
The next few illustrations give you an idea of what to look for.
Illustration Thirty - Advertising Insert
Illustration Thirty-One - Advertising Blotter
Patterns and Plans
Patterns and plans are popular with collectors and others who want to actually make
whatever items are depicted on them. They can be sold in their original format, as pages
or pullouts or, in the case of public domain items, they can be recreated on paper or in pdf
or other digital format.
Knitting and other craftwork patterns are hugely popular sellers on eBay, especially
unusual and niche market types, such as dolls’ clothing, war-time economy designs,
clothes for animals, fancy dress and so on.
Woodwork plans are immensely popular and, like knitting and crochet patterns, any that
featured just once, many years ago, in a tiny low-circulation publication, can be worth a
premium today in original or reprinted format.
Illustration Thirty-Two - Vintage Pattern Reproduced for Today’s
Neat Tip
Here's a tip I find very useful each time I come by a really nice craftwork pattern in some
very early magazine which I consider might also appeal to knitting, sewing and crochet
enthusiasts today. Given that Victorian patterns, in magazines, were usually printed with
a hand drawn illustration of the end product, those items hardly look appealing for
craftworkers today. But many crochet, sewing and knitting enthusiasts are keen to buy
very old patterns of the type no longer available in craftwork supply shops. A nice
picture is vital to your chances of selling old time knitting, sewing and crochet patterns on
eBay, and that early picture from the original magazine is not going to fit the bill.
You need to have the product properly created, in physical format, and then use this as the
illustration for whatever knitting, sewing and crochet patterns you are selling on eBay.
You could do it yourself, of course, but that wastes time you would better be spending
locating more items to sell on eBay, so I recommend you either look round for a local
craftworker or contact managers of local hospitals and care homes and ask if any of their
patients or residents is skilled in crochet, knitting or sewing, and wants to profit from
their craftwork skills.
I do not want you to use this tip to generate quality products without paying the
commercial rate for the work done on your behalf. The only reason I mention hospitals
and care homes is that many elderly people are very highly skilled craftworkers and
unable due to age or infirmity to make money on their own behalf. I would like to think
my readers would pay well above the going commercial rate for quality craftwork created
for them.
Once the product is created, take photographs and either sell the original item or return it
to the creator who might sell it again at local fundraising events. To avoid hurting any
feelings, emphasise you needed the item to illustrate knitting, crochet and sewing
patterns, which the creator has helped you do magnificently, and now you want that
person to make even more money from their skills.
These are hot sellers on eBay and many are just pages out of early and more recent
magazines. Some early publications, larger ones, had double center page spreads that
make great posters and prints. They can fetch bids of $20 and more.
At online and offline auctions and other suppliers, look for special interest magazines,
targeting a specific audience, say dog lovers, train enthusiasts, classic car owners, and so
on. This way you will be able to buy huge bundles of similar titles. Most are from once
avid collectors who have given up their interest or maybe died and consequently their
entire collection will almost certainly be available as one lot at local auctions and their
online counterparts.
Before attempting to sell these magazines in their own right, that is complete, scan a few
of the advertisements and other interesting full-page features and offer these on eBay as
individual advertisements or posters. Many magazines contain twenty, thirty, or more,
great items, and some will easily fetch more offered as individual posters, prints or
advertisements, than the price they’ll achieve as a complete book. But always check first
before cutting.
Many early magazines, such as Illustrated London News, contained special news features,
at Christmas, for example, and on the occasion of special events such as a Royal
Coronation, Guy Fawkes’ Night, and so on, when some spectacular prints and
advertisements are found that can generate great prices at appropriate times of year.
Fireworks advertisements, in particular, were highly colored and often drawn by wellknown illustrators and can fetch great prices offered just before November’s big day.
Generally, the more affluent the audience targeted by early magazines, the better the
contents will be, and the fewer the number of magazines printed for the minority affluent
classes and so the rarer and more valuable those magazines and their contents are likely to
be today.
Illustration Thirty-Three - Poster and Article as One Lot Selling on
Old prints are valuable collectors' pieces and there's a good income to be made simply
from packaging prints neatly and categorizing them according to theme. Most popular
themes include: animals, sports (especially golf and horse racing), royalty, music hall
artists, topographical (named locations) and children.
Very early magazines containing lots of prints which can be picked up for pennies at
garage sales and flea markets include: Illustrated London News, The Graphic, Sketch and
The Sphere, alongside a multitude of books and magazines targeted at specific subjects,
such as dogs, railways, cats, horses, woodworking, travel, topography, and thousands
more popular themes.
Illustration Thirty-Four - The Sort of Items You Are Looking For
This is a page from the 1958 Book of Dogs
published by National Geographic. It’s a first
edition, so that makes it more desirable for many
people. It’s a book that’s packed with prints, all
great sellers, and even at £9.99 per print we make
numerous sales each day from a book you can
easily buy on eBay for less than £50 a go!
Sometimes much less!
This print is by Cecil Aldin and most of his books
contained numerous prints, up to twenty or thirty a
time. Books are readily available at around £50 a
time and virtually all prints will sell at between
£9.99 and £30 each! The mount we add increases
value significantly.
This print is interesting for several reasons: it’s about bats which is a
very collectable subject, and it is from a book by Oliver Goldsmith,
himself a popular collecting subject, not forgetting it was
published in the late 1840s so it is officially an antique.
Notice that, although I have used examples of vintage prints in this book that does not
meant modern prints are not also popular on eBay. The trick to selling modern prints on
eBay is to locate publications from one country which were not marketed elsewhere and
sell your items on other eBay country sites.
Prints need to be carefully removed and made to look more attractive. Most will have
jagged edges from being removed from the publication. Cut the jagged edges, removing
as little as you can. Aim for an even border all round. Now get some stiff card, available
from art shops and most stationers. Cut this to a similar size to the print and place it
behind. Now cover the whole thing with a see-through bag and sellotape the package
closed. This applies to colored and black and white prints you want to sell in their original
Look for old (antique and modern) picture frames at boot and garage sales, flea markets
and collectors' fairs, and make a point of visiting auctions where boxes of frames can be
bought at a pittance and used to increase the perceived value of your prints as well as to
add significantly to their resale value.
Multiply the Value of Your Prints
1) Add a mount to the cheapest print and immediately it is more attractive and valuable to
potential buyers. The benefits are several and include:
• Makes the item appear more professional.
• Hides text on the other side of the print.
• The print can now be classed as ‘matted’ - sounds good, but simply means ‘with a
mount, ready to frame’.
• Makes a great gift compared to the unmounted version.
• Makes the item appear much bigger and increases perceived value.
• Cuts competition since many other sellers are too lazy or lack time to mount prints
this way.
• Increases perceived value of item and incites high bidding.
• Hides jagged or foxed borders on many early prints which do not encroach on the
picture itself. Without the mount the print is far less attractive than its counterpart
and will generally attract low bids.
2) Have black and white prints and engravings hand colored and mounted or framed
to increase the value of even the most common and cheapest print.
3) Give a Certificate of Authenticity. This is simply a sheet of paper, with or without
decorative border, which testifies that the print is original and taken from a specific
source published on a particular date. The certificate is always taped lightly to the
back of the print in the mount so that it can not be removed and added to another
print obtained elsewhere.
Next illustration is a close copy of one we use which you are free to adapt for your
Illustration Thirty-Five – Certificate of Authenticity
This is an original print from The Book
of the Dog by Robert Leighton, 1910.
Signed ……………………..
Castle Eden Books, Avallan, High
Hesleden, etc.
4) Make your advertisement for the print descriptive and include details that are likely to
attract bidders and be sure to include words they might use to find products like yours.
Not everyone searches through eBay categories to find things they want to buy. For
example, someone collecting Boxer dog memorabilia, to whom we offer Boxer dog
prints, postcards, and other paper items, is more likely to go to the search box at the top of
eBay’s front page and key in ‘Boxer Dog’, than is likely to click on ‘Collectibles’, then
‘Animals’, then ‘Dogs’, then ‘Boxer’!
5) Make sure your advertisements include age, theme, date and source of your prints.
Bear in mind when people use the search box instead of making their way through the
various categories, their keywords will search for headlines featuring those words and
also descriptions. Consequently, most important features of your product should be
included in both headline and descriptions. Also remember that some people type
important words in single and plural format, for example: Boxer dog/Boxer dogs,
boxer/boxers. Make sure your listings also include single and plurals of important
keywords and descriptions. There are also spelling and grammatical variations to
consider where you sell internationally.
6) If your original book is special, say a first edition, or a limited edition, then say so in
your listing. To the expert book collector it might be unimportant, to people viewing your
listings it might make the difference between a sale and giving your product the miss. It
might also increase the perceived value of your product and hence attract frenzied
7) Take great care removing prints from publications. We tend to open the book midway
and fold it back on itself, so the spine is inside the fold and the inside pages appear on the
outside. The object of turning the book inside of itself is to break or weaken the spine and
therefore loosen the pages. Many times the pages will break loose and just need
trimming. If pages are difficult to remove take the staples out of the book, where
appropriate, or begin breaking the spine by hand from the outside or by individually
removing threads that hold the pages together.
• We find the best place to get quality mounts very inexpensively is on eBay itself.
Go to the search facility, request a search for items locally (so many available it
isn’t worth looking long distance), and use keywords like: ‘mounts’, ‘photo
mounts’, and wait for a nice selection of suppliers to appear, some selling items by
auction, others offering Buy It Now.
• When you find a good supplier we recommend you stick to that person and even
buy their items outside of eBay without breaking eBay’s rules of course.
• Search other items available from your chosen suppliers in both their auction and
shop listings.
• Buy items in bulk and save on postage costs.
• Use prints as decorations for letterheads, greetings cards, notelets, and so on.
recently attended a flea market where someone purchased every single print I had
of the area and other places close by. Later in the day I took a look around and
noticed she had a stall, selling stationery. The prints she bought were used to
illustrate letterheads, greetings cards and notelets.
And she was doing a roaring trade. She told me the majority of her customers were
private individuals who liked to choose their own print which was then transferred
onto notelets and letterheads my customer created for them.
Naturally, she holds the original print meaning most customers purchase again
rather than risking poor quality copies of their own. Soon she says she'll expand
into her own exclusive range of Christmas cards and view cards and tells me early
views are always more popular than recent ones. These items are frequently seen
attracting multiple bids on eBay and other online auctions.
Decorate Your Products
A great many all early publications contained prints which are collectable today. But
very often those prints are bland and sometimes very lightly printed and not always very
attractive. But I have seen those very same items given a ten minute touch up and sell at
up to $200 a time. I have actually seen them sell way above that but let’s not get too
excited because really high prices like that don’t happen every day. But it is very easy to
make thirty or forty dollars from the vast majority of sometimes hundreds of prints
contained in one publication.
That ten minute touch up involves either hand coloring the items or mounting them or
even framing them. For the record, when a print is mounted it is often referred to as
Hand coloring is a simple job and there are many places to turn for help. Very basically,
it took me about half an hour to look at how others were coloring and matting (adding
mount) to their prints on eBay and increasing the value of their prints many times over.
Often all that is needed is a pastel crayon to add a little color to the print which you then
color tone with a mount. The various colors can create a very dramatic change on a very
basic and rather nondescript print. Let me show you how it’s done with this following
print, a view of WEST COWES IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. The print is from the
European Magazine and was published in 1806. The European Magazine contained
hundreds of prints in every annual issue and they look absolutely wonderful colored and
Illustration Thirty-Six - Print Before Treatment
Illustration Thirty-Seven - Print After Color and Matting
Pastel coloring is simply a matter of sweeping the crayon or chalk piece very lightly
across the print then quickly blending the color across your target area using your finger
tip or a small piece of cotton wool and using a cotton wool bud for smaller more
complicated areas of the print. Do not rub back and forwards or the print will crinkle and
tear. Rub lightly with the pastel coloring, one way only, then very quickly blend the
coloring across the print before it takes root and over-colors in parts on the print.
Illustration Thirty-Eight - Print Before Coloring - Hugely Popular
Subject – Dogs
Illustration Thirty-Nine - Print After Coloring and Mounted
(Matted) Ready to Frame
Turn Out of Copyright and Public Domain
Pubications Into Top Selling Items on eBay
There are millions of books in the public domain, just a tiny handful have been
reproduced for today’s readers. Many, many more exist just waiting to be found.
A good example is Illustrated Book of the Dog by Vero Shaw c1880.
Vero Shaw’s Illustrated Book of the Dog was the first real attempt to catalogue, describe
and illustrate the breeds in existence at that time. It went out of copyright many years
An original copy today costs more than one thousand pounds. So many people want to
read it, so few can afford that kind of money.
A tiny handful of people have brought the product back to life, using public domain
A large US publishing company recreated the entire book, in print format, with a new
title, but the words and pictures remain true to the original (other than changes to fonts
and colors entitling the company to copyright their book). Another firm offers a CD
version of the original book with pages scanned into pdf format, while another sells paper
copies of individual breed titles mainly on eBay.
There’s still lots of scope for someone to sell the entire version of the book, text and
illustrations, either as a full printed book (very big) or on CD (a bit of hard work scanning
the pages but eventually a winning product potentially for life).
Don’t let that one thousand pound price tag bother you, the book is in the public domain,
and though I have not yet found a downloadable or other free source of the original text, it
will exist somewhere.
Couldn’t I just use the republished version from the American company and retype that
for my book? No, those few changes to pictures and text means the book is copyright to
them. Even changes to layout such as shorter paragraphs, explanations in the text to
outdated words and such, belong to them and copying anything means risking legal
action. Besides, I can’t be sure the words in their book are definitely identical to the
original, unless I read both books alongside one another, meaning double or triple reading
time, and I’d still need the original to work from. The best answer is to find an original
copy and work from that, either by scanning pages in graphic or text format and
compiling into a Microsoft Word or other editor document.
Originals do sometimes become available, inexpensively, some publishers sell damaged
copies, you can sometimes find copies at local auctions, and the original text and
illustrations will be available somewhere from an online public domain source. The
harder that information is to find, the better for resellers, so be prepared to spend time and
effort locating items for your business.
Illustration Forty - eBay, a Great Place to Look for Product Ideas
There you go, eight items, seven are books, one a print, all (seemingly) suitable for
reprinting from the public domain.
Notice I said ‘seemingly’ because I have no idea, without checking, if these books were
the originals published in the USA or if they have been reprinted later and still bear the
original title. I must check that before assuming I can reprint any of these items.
I play it safe by obtaining only original items, not later reprints, hence the reason I buy
quite a lot of originals from eBay or at flea markets and offline auctions.
Next I decided to check out another very popular subject, Magic. Next illustration shows
what I got.
Illustration Forty-One - eBay, a Search for Books on Magic
Wow, just look at those books and all (seemingly, remember) suitable for reprinting for
today’s readers. Let’s leave magic for a while, I have some great ideas concerning magic
for you to use which you’ll find in the next project.
Next I looked into the ‘Illustrated’ section of ‘Antiquarian and Collectible’, I found some
great titles there, and some wonderful prints which can be sold as originals first and later
as reprints. I don’t always sell the originals if I intend to sell reprinted items. I keep the
originals just in case someone challenges my entitlement later.
Illustration Forty-Two - More Books, Illustrated This Time
The above illustration shows a book that took my fancy, second picture down, Photo
Album of Washington D.C., and I began looking again at that magic book we discussed
earlier Magic and Card Tricks (1859).
Republish Early Book Illustrations
That book about Washington, called Photo Album of Washington, D.C., got me thinking
about my own love of early topographical postcards which I reproduce and sell on eBay.
I reckon if several people fight over an original postcard from my listing, then at least
some will be happy with a reprinted version. I always make very definite mention in my
listings to whatever might be a reprint of one previously or still existing in my own
Back to that Washington D.C. book, and these two pictures below are from the eBay
seller’s listing. Look at the fabulous old photographs involved.
They’re perfect for reproducing as postcards, but there’s nothing to stop you selling
reprints as wall posters, framed prints, letterheads, or hundreds of different items.
I decided to look further amongst this massive section of illustrated books published
between 1850 and 1899, and very definitely in the public domain, where I found dozens
of great items to reproduce as pictures and photographs, as well as artist drawings, maps,
and a great deal more.
Illustration Forty-Three – Illustrations Now in the Public Domain
These panoramic photographs are very popular as reproductions, they are much more rare
than their postcard size counterparts and look more unusual than their traditional size
counterparts when mounted or framed.
Illustration Forty-Four – More Great Illustrations from the Public
More great photos, well animated, making them much more interesting than buildings
only pictures. They’re postcard size and very clear.
Several companies, on and off the Internet, specialise in creating reproduction postcards
from original topographicals such as those in the 1886 book.
One such company, Nostalgia, created hundreds of different postcards from the 1990s
onwards. Their cards are in great demand, even after so short a time. Visit any postcard
fair and you’ll see numerous sellers of reproduction postcards standing alongside their
counterparts of vintage only collectibles.
Be careful how you describe your reprinted items. If you’re selling to collectors you must
say they are reproductions or risk possible legal action.
I describe my reproduction products as: ‘Reproduced from an original photograph, 1886’.
Copy my wording, I don’t mind a bit.
Start Your Own Membership Site
Illustration Forty-Five - A Book Selling Today on eBay and a Great
Idea for a Private Membership Site
That magic book mentioned earlier, Magic and Card Tricks 1859, contains more than
1000 tricks.
The book could form the basis of a membership site where magicians and others
interested in card tricks and magic, pay an upfront membership fee and monthly payments
thereafter. That entitles them to download items and read articles and other news items
intended just for them.
The site could include part of the book as a New Member Offer followed by twenty new
tricks every month. That would keep you going for a good few years. But wait, don’t
worry, that book was one of several magic books available on eBay today.
For very little effort you could make yours the biggest and best membership site, or sites,
given the vast range of public domain subject materials to work from.
Why Membership Sites are Such a Good Idea
Compare converting that book of 1000 tricks in book format, printed or digital, and as a
membership site as just described.
The benefits of membership site over the book are:
• Greater perceived value. The site looks to contain way more information than the
book. The book is just a pdf file, takes seconds to download, a day to read. The
membership site, that looks really big, and members will be reading from it for
months, maybe years to come. Who would guess that both products contain
exactly the same information?
• Members will call back regularly, to access new download files and to see other
items you are promoting.
• You can begin making money right away with the membership site, unlike the
book which might take weeks to convert to pdf. The site can be uploaded in a
week or so, needing just a chapter or two converted to digital format and uploaded
ready for early members. The rest can be done in your own time as long as
monthly deadlines are met. Incidentally, that week mentioned for creating the book
is at your discretion. A book of that size can easily be scanned in a day, but it can
be boring, repetitive, tiring work. But if you want money quickly, it’s worth the
• Far greater earnings potential for the site than for the book. Books have
notoriously low perceived value, especially in digital format. But a membership
site, that is well worth buying, even at ten times the book price!!
Aim to provide membership sites for niche markets, such as retailers, restaurant owners,
musicians, people with closely shared interests who like to keep up to date on their
special subject. Go for people with money to spend, mainly because they are making it
from whatever their shared interest is, and be sure to emphasise the ‘tax deductible’
element of paying to access your site.
Individual Books with Copy Potential for PDF Files and Hard Copy
Books you will be reprinting and selling this way are obviously not intended as
collectable books but rather for the information they contain. For example, a few months
ago, at auction, I bought a large quantity of copies of the Mirror newspaper in year bound
volumes, published in the early 1800s. Those newspapers contained contemporaneous
news of the day, from people who actually lived through the events reported in the
newspapers. Lots of this information has been lost in the midst of time or distorted by
being reported inaccurately down the decades. Particularly exciting were articles about
the final days of Slave Trading, the Second French Revolution in the 1930s, the events of
the Mutiny on the Bounty, and various articles about major towns and cities such as
China (always a collectable subject) and strange events in early 19th Century London.
Many of these events and their write up in those newspapers are little known today and
given these are contemporaneous accounts the original newspapers sold very well on
eBay at around £70 a time (about $150). I reckoned that, given people were bidding so
high for original newspapers, a very good market may exist for copies of these articles
and complete newspapers.
So I took a few articles to test the market, I scanned them and added the scans to a
Microsoft Word document then converted them to pdf. As instant download files, selling
at a few dollars apiece, you only need sell thirty or so to make a good daily living on
eBay, or elsewhere.
Potential is immense for taking articles and complete books and turning them into pdf or
hard copy reprints for people wanting to buy the most popular and profitable product of
all time: information!
There’s a free guide to creating and selling eBooks on eBay which you can download at (Go for the eBay option at the right side of the page and you will
be able to access the book with others about making money on eBay).
Illustration Forty-Six - USA Copyright Law at a Glance
For UK copyright law and other matters of importance concerning the Public Domain go to
A Plethora of Profitable Product Ideas
• These are best sellers in their own right and very commonly found in bulk
alongside other paper collectibles commonly found at local auction houses,
especially those in out-of-the-way areas where few bigger traders are likely to
• They can be sold individually, or in bulk, say in year groups, or listed individually
with date and issue number in auction title and description.
• But we found if an item doesn’t sell individually after one or two appearances on
eBay, it can be sold either mounted or already framed.
Illustration Forty-Seven – A Comic With More Eye Appeal than
Reading Potential
Here is one we couldn’t sell on its own, but which went quickly at a great price once it
was mounted.
One of the very best moneymakers of all. Most atlases contain maps from all over the
world, from well-known and sometimes out of the way locations, and therefore fit very
tight niche markets on eBay. They can often be purchased very inexpensively especially
at smaller, not so well advertised auctions. Just a week ago I bought a massive book
published in 1903, which contained 140 plus maps all in good condition. It cost me £3.
When I got home I checked into eBay’s Advanced Search facility for completed auctions
and found the very same maps selling at upwards of £20 each. More than this I also
clicked on the menu on the screen showing these items and chose ‘Highest Priced’ to
learn exactly which maps fetched the highest prices once those auctions had ended, and
those, naturally, were the ones I listed first.
Fashions, Patterns, Fancy Dress
Another very easy project where all you have to do is look for copyright-free patterns and
designs which you can combine into books or sell individually.
• History repeats itself, especially in the fashion world, and many early 20th-century
designs are popular today. This means you can copy early knitting, sewing and
other craftwork patterns and sell them on eBay. Alternatively, you could use the
pattern as the basis for a new design, perhaps incorporating several earlier patterns
and including new features of your own.
• For sewing and craftwork projects based on templates and picture patterns and
now in the public domain, you can simply copy the original item, reword the
instructions and sell the product as your own. For recent designs, make a few
changes to the original and reword the instructions.
Compile a book of fancy dress outfits with patterns and instructions for
mothers to make these items themselves.
Compile knitting patterns for baby garments and sell to parents and
craftworkers looking for unusual creations.
Compile a pattern book of early 1920s fashions: knitting, sewing,
embroidery, etc. (Other decades can be used as desired).
The secret here is to look for copyright-free cartoons which you can publish as they are or
revamp to suit today’s market.
• As for other copyright-free material, although there is no law against lifting and
using cartoons, it is arguably immoral and unethical to claim the work as your
• Overcome whatever problems might exist by redrawing or tracing and reworking
the cartoon or at least changing something significant about the drawing or
Cater for Lovers …. Of Anything and Everything!
Actually, that title is a little misleading because this project covers virtually every interest
for which there is a large, better still, indeterminate audience.
• This is my particular favourite and, arguably, the easiest to profit from. All you do
here is clip, collect and collate as many snippets as you can relating to one
particular subject or theme. Cats, dogs, golf, writing, children, Amish recipes,
fortune-telling, witchcraft, and more, are useful ideas for books that are simply
compilations of everything you find on the topic.
• Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1001 Great Golfing Jokes
Everything You Didn’t Know About Cats
Psychic Cat and Dog Stories
1001 Great Dating Tips
500 Amish Recipes
Candles and Witchcraft: Ten True Stories to Brighten Your Life
50 Ways to Reduce Everyday Stress
101 Ways to Market Your Writing
Early Veterinary Practices
• Other copyright-free items you can pick up and publish verbatim include recipes,
fancy dress and knitting patterns, party games for children, seasonal topics
including Christmas and Easter, and many, many more.
Make Money From Specific Dates
Look in any magazine and you’ll find a common theme running throughout: anniversaries
and seasonal material. In fact, the need for such contributions is so great that many firms
work exclusively with items reflecting things that happened 100 years ago, people (living
and dead) who are celebrating an important milestone (birthdays, deaths, marriages, etc.)
and other pieces relating to regular events, like Christmas, Bonfire Night, Easter, and so
on. Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Produce a range of birthday cards including information of interest to
anyone born on that date or during a certain month or year or sharing a
particular star sign. The more specific, the higher the price and the more
carefully targeted your marketing must be.
• Locate, package and sell newspapers printed on the recipients’ date of
birth. These can be originals or reproductions, where appropriate, and
your customers must know whether yours are genuine or copies. For
this business you’ll need good storage facilities, even if you offer
More About Knitting Patterns
• Knitting patterns are hugely popular sellers on eBay, especially unusual and niche
market types, such as dolls’ clothing, war-time economy designs, clothes for
animals, fancy dress and so on.
• Again, look for out-of-copyright items and other patterns that never had legal
copyright. See the Copyright Chart featured earlier.
• Many old publications included free patterns as loose items or pull-out
publications which need no additional work on them to sell. However, you are not
always allowed to copy these items unless they are in the public domain so where
you have a good seller, work hard to obtain as many copies of the parent copy
publication as possible.
Sell The Publications Themselves
• Another of my all-time favourites and another business I have operated for many
years. This project centres around the magazines and newspapers themselves, in
their original state.
• Publications are a major collecting interest while other customers just want a jolly
good read. Again, publications sell very well on eBay especially in their proper
• For this project you will be categorising publications according to whether they are
collectible per se or whether they are more appropriately reading material. This
will influence your choice of eBay selling categories for those items.
Craftwork and Artistic Creations
There are literally hundreds of different things I have seen selling on eBay which are
essentially made from books, magazines and newspapers, both old and new. I will
include just a few ideas here for you to integrate into your business:
• I bought a beautiful trinket box, made from wood, which had a picture of a Boxer
dog applied to the top, and the whole thing glued to protect the picture and add a
lovely sheen. The same seller uses all manner of pictures for his trinket boxes,
including early named location street scenes, advertisements for products long
since disappeared, early movie and theatre stars, and so on.
• Another eBayer sells decoupage items, again very early pictures and scenes, and
stated to be original items from early publications. Decoupage is a bit of a timeconsuming art but simply means applying layers of paper onto one another,
creating a few bends and folds, to eventually create a 3-D effect that can be
mounted and framed.
• Jigsaw puzzles can be created from early pictures. These can be physical items or
computer desktop puzzles which we have made ourselves and offered as free gifts
with our doggy prints and collectibles. You could use the original paper item to
create a really exclusive one-off product for physical items or you could use
reprints instead where the item is in the public domain.
• We’ve also seen original and reprint items laminated and sold as tablemats for
humans and animals.
• Items in the public domain can be used to create your own unique brand of
giftwrap and gift tags. We’ve seen such items selling very well through niche
market categories such as, our favourite doggy categories, railway memorabilia,
angels, witchcraft for Halloween, equestrian, and so on. All you have to do is scan
in your favourite pictures, open a Word document, and manoeuvre the pictures into
place on a page of appropriate size. A4 works best for giftwrap and almost any
size works well for tags which can also be laminated and cut to size.
• Woodwork plans are especially good sellers. They can be for log houses, sledges,
anything, and they will always attract a ready audience. If they are in the public
domain you can even copy them and sell as many copies as you like.
So there you have it, almost one hundred pages and many more to come in free gifts and a
blog site accompanying this product. I hope you find something that interests you and
helps make money for you from this profitable world of tearing up old books and
magazines and turning them into hot selling products on eBay.
About The Author
Avril Harper is an eBay PowerSeller and has been
writing business opportunities books and articles for
almost twenty years. (Read her articles at:
She has authored several books on the subject of
making money on eBay and also offers a large selection
of free to download books and reports at:
Her books include
Make Money Tearing Up Old Books and Magazines
and Selling Them on eBay
The Insiders’ Guide to Making a Full Time Living
Selling Vintage Topographical View Postcards on eBay
Avril has hundreds of articles and tips about making
money on eBay at:
Click the image below to download your free eBay
PowerSeller reports.