Scavenger Life Episode 508: Independence = Responsibility

3/28/21 – 4/3/21

Total items in store: 2224

Items sold: 50

Gross sales: $3178.85 (up 88.6% from one year ago)

Net sales: $2315.37 (up 126.9% from one year ago)

Highest price sold (net): $311.17 — 4 authenticated autographs of former Supreme Court justices

Lowest price sold (net): $7.19 — Women at Work Vol. II softcover book

As expected, high dollar sales picked up this week with the start of the new quarter and new eBay bucks certificates. I will miss the daily 1% eBay bucks, that was about $150 back in my pocket every quarter since almost all of my sourcing is done through eBay auctions. Hopefully this means eBay will start rolling out 3% or higher eBay bucks promos more frequently.

My average sales price was quite high this week. That’s as much a reflection of how my scavenging has changed over the last few years as anything else, and it’s reflected in my highest and lowest price sales this week.

The low price sale was a book! A leftover from my weekends spent scavenging library sales. I am a big reader and library sales are/were such a joy for me, as long as there are not too many Amazon people with the scanners there. Almost everything is a buck or two, and there’s so much trash but always a few treasures and sometimes some truly amazing stuff. I used to have a full bookcase of books and media (CD’s & DVD’s) listings, but over the last year that’s dwindled down to half a bookcase (if that). And honestly, in terms of time to profit ratio, I may love buying things for a buck and listing them for twenty, but that’s a long haul to making $xxxx a week. So library sales may not be a part of my scavenging strategy post-pandemic.

But up until the last couple years, those low-dollar items were all I could afford. As sales improved, I was able to start investing in better inventory and more long-tail items like most of us do. That is what led to my highest price sale this week, sheets of stamps which were autographed by former Supreme Court Justices.

I bought these autographed stamps a year ago (maybe more?) in auctions from one of the sellers I regularly buy from whose selling strategy is to run thousands of auctions every week. That kind of strategy is not for me, but it’s very common among trading cards sellers in particular and often they’ll dabble in other stuff like Pokemon cards (which I know nothing about) or autographed memorabilia/documents/etc. I always get a little interested and bid a little higher when I can “add on” to my auction haul with something that’s a little outside my comfort zone. Learning about all this cool stuff is one of the best parts of being a scavenger.

There are a few main companies who do autograph authentication and all of the stamps I bought were authenticated by the same company. Beyond that, I compared the autographs to other examples (because even the authenticators make mistakes sometimes) and the autographs looked like other autographs by these Supreme Court justices. So even though I didn’t get the autographs authenticated myself, I was confident that they are authentic. So I figured if I could get these autographs for $50 or so each, it should be fairly easy to make money on these autographs. How many signatures could there possibly be of these Supreme Court Justices from decades ago?

I didn’t win all of the auctions I bid on (story of my life) but something like 8-10 of them. This was probably one of the first handful of times where I was able to spend $300 or so and didn’t need to make an immediate sale to get some or all of that money back. So I priced the stamps high to where if they all sold, I’d double my initial investment plus make a few hundred extra. I figured I could wait a while and see what happened.

It’s easy to get impatient after you have items that you’re sure will sell and you don’t get an offer. Not even a nibble. No activity. Nothing. And of course that’s what happened, and of course I got impatient. So I tried putting these stamps on sale. Once I got a watcher or two, I tried sending offers to buyers. I tried listing them on auction with a starting price that I would be happy. I sold two of them over the last 18 months or so, but that didn’t even cover my initial investment. It can be a little disappointing when you think you’ve found cool items and they just don’t sell…

Then, in the course of a single day, all those feelings change because the one buyer you were waiting for finds your listings. Just like that, I’ve covered my initial investment, almost doubled it in fact, and most of all got reminded the most important Scavenger Life Manifesto lesson. List it and forget it.

It still boggles my mind that someone will spend $300 (or more!) on the perfect things for their collection, but it’s very obvious from the buyer’s feedback left that they are a serious collector of historical artifacts and autographs. Who knows if my buyer ever would have been able to find these particular autographs if I hadn’t listed them. I’m sure their collection isn’t complete yet, but they were probably just as happy to buy these stamps as I was to sell them. And that’s kind of cool to think about.

This post was originally published on this site