With 157 million buyers worldwide, eBay is the go-to place for selling rare and unusual items. In its 20 years, it’s seen it all from a cornflake shaped like Illinois that sold in 2008 for $1,350 and Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast that went for $1,025 in 2000 to a 405-foot yacht that sold for $170 million (with an $85 million down payment).
Of course, most people don’t have items that rare or exotic, but on the other hand a pair of shoes sells on eBay every two seconds. That means just about anything you have in your house could get you some cash. In fact, here are three things you have collecting dust right now that are worth more than you think.
Do you have a vinyl record collection just sitting around in a closet? You could convert it to digital music or enjoy it in its original form with a new turntable system. But maybe you’ve already repurchased the music as digital files from iTunes or Amazon.
Depending on the record or collection, you can make some serious money. One user is selling his collection of 13,000 high-quality records for $278,000. Of course, you probably don’t have a collection quite that large, and he’s probably not going to get that price.
Still, if you have a rare early record, say from the ’30s or ’40s, you can list it for $10,000 or more. An original or otherwise noteworthy record of a famous artist like Nirvana, Pink Floyd or the Beatles, can list for several thousand.
You might have a set of albums from Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones or some other artist that together could be worth a bundle. Even if you don’t think an album or collection is worth anything, it’s still not a bad idea to post them.
Just glancing down the list of high-priced albums for sale, there are plenty from obscure artists and genres you wouldn’t expect would sell. You never know what some collector or fan might be dying to get their hands on.
And even if your record collection gets you less than $100, that’s better than the nothing you’d get if you just threw it all out. Just be sure you do a little research first so you don’t charge too little. You should also brush up on your eBay selling tactics (bit.ly/1OCN8aE) to maximize your profits.
It’s easy to think that any high-priced items on eBay are going to be “old” vintage, but when it comes to technology, even a few years ago is considered “old.” That’s why if you have an earlier iPod, you might be able to unload it for an unbelievable amount.
There are two types of high-value iPods listed on eBay: rare and in-demand. Examples of rare iPods are the limited-edition red U2 iPods ($5,000+); early edition iPods with box art featuring Bob Marley, Billie Holiday, Run DMC or others ($7,000+ used; $45,000 asking for unopened Billie Holiday); unopened first-edition iPods of all types ($5,000+); or later-model iPods with an artist signature or other special features.
In-demand iPods are mostly iPod Classics with storage sizes of 80GB and up. Since Apple discontinued the Classic, die-hard fans of the model are driving up prices trying to get the remaining ones.
You can find new, unopened 7th generation 120GB or 160GB models selling for upward of $900. Used models demand several hundred dollars. Even broken ones can sell for up to $100 as iPod lovers are scrambling for parts to keep their beloved gadgets running.
iPod nanos, minis, shuffles and other models can also list for several hundred dollars, if someone wants a particular model or color badly enough. You’ll want to look around and see what other similar items are going for. EBay also has a handy tool (bit.ly/1XPPvwY) to help you find a reasonable price for your gear.
Or you can decide to ask for an astronomical price and see what happens. Right now, one user is selling a “Collector’s Set” of three unopened original iPod Classics (a 5GB, 10GB and 20GB) for $100,000! I doubt they’ll sell, but if they do, it could make the list (bit.ly/1O3qFq9) of most expensive eBay auctions, although it would be at the bottom.
Similar item: If you have some old flip phones lying around, they could also be worth something, especially if they’re unlocked or can be unlocked. For example, a used Motorola RAZR2 V9x is listed for $170. Punch the model number of your flip phone into eBay and see what comes up.
It’s always surprising to remember that the last VHS tape was manufactured in 2005 and the last standalone VHS player as late as 2008. By that time, DVDs had completely taken over, and nearly 10 years later we’ve moved on to Blu-ray, digital downloads and streaming.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for VHS tapes, however. And if you had kids in your home in the ’80s or ’90s, you probably still have a box of tapes in the garage, including some that might be worth a lot.
The ones you’re most likely to have are Disney films. Prices for these vary wildly based on condition, version and how many you’re offering.
An original “Beauty and the Beast” in good condition can list from $150 to $500, and a set of the editions and sequels can reach $1,000. Black Diamond Editions of “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Dumbo” and others are listed for up to $250, and a collection of 23 Disney movies is listed for $790.
On the other hand, you can find used Disney VHS tapes on eBay for just dollars. While that’s still something, it definitely pays to do some research on condition and whether it’s a valuable edition. Or you can be like one highly optimistic user and list every single tape in your collection for $500 each and see what shakes out.
Aside from Disney, other high-value types of tapes range from WWE and WWF wrestling tapes, to “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” history documentaries, rare box sets, screeners, foreign films and more. As with everything else, even if you think something is worthless, there might be someone out there looking for it.
The idea that any item can sell to the right person applies to just about any older or unique item in your home. Even items you think are mundane or ordinary might be more valuable than you realize.
Of course, what you get for an item comes down to when you list it and how you present it. If you have a bunch of vintage outfits, for example, save them for October and spin them as Halloween costumes. Hold those Christmas decorations you want to unload until November when people are in the right mindset.
Be sure to brush up on your listing skills so you know what does and doesn’t work in product headlines and descriptions. Look around eBay to see what photos work for you and which ones don’t. Also, be sure you know how just a few dollars’ difference in list price can affect how fast an item sells or how much you end up with (bit.ly/1Me5Gk6).
Finally, be willing to settle for a smaller amount of money than planned. Some people keep an item listed forever, holding out for a fortune. Be willing to lower your price to make a sale. If you’re just throwing out an item anyway, anything you get for it is pure profit.
And if you’re on the other side of the fence and want to buy, be sure you learn these three tricks to get the best deal (bit.ly/1KcDRGD).
Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.