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Virtual Toy Chest's
Guide to Selling Toys

Thinking of selling your old toys? The first thing you should do is identify the toys you have for sale. You may remember most of their names. The ones that you do not you will need to look up. In this regard, our web site includes an extensive library of pictures and information. Next you will need to determine how much each item is worth. Our price guide has listings for most toy series. You may also want to consult the completed items in e-Bay. Although these seem like simple steps you would be surprised how many sellers skip them. In many instances this leads to mis-listed auctions that do not sell, or sell for a fraction of their value.

Next, you need to decide where you are going to sell the toys. There are many options including online auctions, yard sales, newsgroups, newspaper ads, flea markets, and toy dealers. In general, the best option is e-Bay. It has the possibility of drawing the greatest number of potential customers. This increases the chances of selling the item, and may also increase the selling price. The two downsides to e-Bay are the shipping costs, and the fees. Buyers generally subtract the shipping cost from the amount they are willing to pay for an item. So an action figure that is worth $5.00 may only sell for $2.00 online because there is a $3.00 shipping cost. If this figure was sold locally you may be able to receive its full value. This consideration is especially important for large toys that cost alot to ship. For such items you may want to consider an ad in a local newspaper or yardsale. If you are not in a rush to sell your toys, then you may want to try some of the free options, such as newsgroups and newspapers that let you have a free for sale ad.

There are some additional considerations involved when selling on e-Bay. The following tips will help you avoid the pitfalls of the listing and selling process.
Listing the item
(1)Creating an auction title
The function of the auction title is to attract buyers, and so it is a very important part of the auctioning process. Firstly, it should include keywords that relate to the item being sold so that buyers can find the item. Secondly, it should differentiate your auction from competeing auctions. With regard to the first point, you should always include the name of the series, or its abbreviation, in the auction title. If you are auctioning a single toy, you should always include its name in the title. If you are auctioning several items in a single auction and one of them is particularly valueable, its name should be included in the title. If there is space you may want to list the manufacturer of the toy, and its date of production in the title (these can usually be found on the back or leg of the toy). Many people that are browsing around look for general terms such as figure, action figure, vehicle, lot, toy, MIB, c9, large, huge, etc. If appilicable, consider including these in the title. Type the title in capital letters. It is free and makes your auction stand out.

(2)Setting an appropriate opening bid.
If you know how much an item is worth, this is totally straight forward. I have seen many sellers set low opening bids and have their items sell for a fraction of their value. Take for example e-bay auction 3185648437. It was for a nearly complete Air Raiders Man O War with Box. It started at $10.00 and sold for $36.00. It is worth well over $100.00.

I would advise against including the Buy It Now option in the auction. If you set the Buy It Now price too low, then the item will sell at that price and you will not earn as much as possible. If you set the Buy It Now price too high, then bidders will not consider using that option anyway. Take for example the auction of a loose Dolph figure from the Tigersharks series. The seller put a buy it now of $50.00. Lucky for him someone did not take it, because it ended up selling for $126.00.

In some instances you may wish to set a reserve price on the auction. If you set a very high reserve this can help you determine the current market value of an item.

(3)The item description
It is essential that you create an informative description of the item. Do not skip the description and just just include photographs, as some buyers find items through information in the item description. You should list exactly what is being sold and the condition of the items. If an item is complete then you should say so. You should list all of the terms related to the item being sold, such as the year it was made, and the company that produced it. Describe any flaws that are apparent. These may include missing limbs, cracked plastic, scratches, paint chips, sun fading, warped extremeties, etc. Some sellers may be tempted to misrepresent their items. Although they may think that this will lead to the item selling for more than it is worth, the buyer can cancel the sale because the item was misrepresented. Further, such misrepresentation will taint your reputation, and you will have a hard time selling items in the future.

(4)Digital photographs
Include pictures of all of the items that are for sale. Ensure that the items are in focus. Provide proper lighting, as using a flash can reflect from plastic packaging. The of the main reasons for including photographs is to allow the buyer to evaluate the condition of the item. Thus, ideally include two pictures of each item that is for sale: (1) one taken from the front; and (2) one from the back. The photographs should be cropped so that the item fills most of the picture. The resolution of the cropped pictures should be at least 400 pixels high so that the detail of the item may be seen. In many instances it may not be practical to take individual pictures as described above. In such instances try to not to include more than a half dozen items in a single picture. Another reason to have photos of the toys is for insurance purposes, if they are damaged in shipment.

(5)Terms of Sale
Always include in your auction the terms of sale. This includes
(1) the payment methods accepted;
(2) the date payment is due;
(3) the cost of shipping; and
(4) that you are not responsible for the items once they have been shipped (remember to obtain a receipt of their shipment)
Many buyers like to purchase insurance, and this should be offered as an option.

Completeing the sale
The selling process is fairly straight forward. Pack the items according to the shipping companies guidelines. If the items are not properly packaged and the items are damaged in shipment, the insurance claim may be denied and you may be stuck with the bill. Never ship the items before you have the payment in your possession. If you ship the items before receiving payment, you may never get paid and you may lose the items. More importantly, ensure that the payment has cleared and cannot be canceled before sending the goods. This is espically important when accepting online payments, which are quite easy for the buyer to cancel.

Well, thats about all you need to know. Good luck selling your toys!

Copyright 2004 Virtual Toy Chest
All rights reserved.