I have sold items on eBay for several years now. I was fortunate enough to live down the street from a video store that got rid of their old VHS tapes for $2 each. I was able to find a lot of out of print VHS tapes that way and some sold for as much as $20 on eBay. But, I have my two favorite eBay success stories that I love to tell to other people. These great finds cost a total of $1, yet brought in over $500 on eBay.
After my mother died, I grew up in my grandmother’s house. Her house was old – built in the early part of the Twentieth Century. It had two bathrooms because before she bought it, the previous owners had used it as a duplex. The bathroom we used most often was the one right off her kitchen. It was nothing like the luxurious bathrooms in today’s home. In fact, you had to squeeze by the sink to get to the commode. But, what it lack for in room, it made up for in cabinet space. I think originally it was intended to be used as a pantry and somewhere along the line, before my grandparents bought it, someone converted it into a bathroom. The cabinets started about head high and ran all the way to the ceiling. We used the first two shelves to store things like towels and medicine, but the top shelf went mainly unused. One day, when we decided to paint, I had to clean out all three levels of shelving. When I got to the top, I found several old books. One was a history book and one was some type of dictionary. I loved the old timey photos in the history book and asked Grandma if I could keep it. She looked at both books and stated they were not hers, but must have been left behind by the people who owned the house before her. I stored them in my room, not giving them much thought.
When I married, my husband was in the Marine Corps, so we moved around quite a bit. Tired of lugging around so many things, I decided to get rid of the books. I had already sold a few things on eBay, so I decided to see if these old books were worth anything before I just donated them to the thrift store. The dictionary was the Black’s Law Dictionary. However, it was the second edition, so I didn’t think it would be worth much. I did decide however to go ahead and put it on eBay. Boy, was I surprised at the response it got. Apparently, the second edition of this dictionary is pretty hard to find. The bidding ended at $192.00. I am sure my Grandmother, who had died right before I married, was smiling down on me from Heaven.
My second favorite eBay find story occurred in my hometown of Memphis. Whenever I visit home, my dad and I always go out to the garage sales. One weekend we were particularly lucky – we stumbled upon a neighborhood sale. I found a (possibly fake) Kate Spade purse for $1 then as we were leaving that sale, my dad pointed out an unusual looking desktop globe. Unlike the traditional globes that have green and brown for land and blue for water, this one had black for land and grey for water. Each continent was outlined in yellow, but there were no country names or boundaries drawn on the globe. It was priced at all of a dollar. My dad asked if we should get it because it was so unusual. We knew from looking at the metal tag on it that it pre-dated 1963 because there was no zip code on it. I was born in 1963, so I always remember that anything without a zip code must predate that time. We decided to take the big leap and gave the guy $1 for his globe. When we got home, we tried to research the company name (which has since escaped my memory), but we found nothing. Not wanting to lug the globe all the way back to North Carolina, we left it in my dad’s attic, where it sat for months. Finally, searching the Internet, I found out that the globe was used for teaching, which was why it had no country names or borders. My dad decided to finally list it on eBay when he saw a similar globe, not in nearly as good as shape as ours, going for over $200. In the end, the globe auction brought in $325. The bidder was tickled to get the globe in such good shape.
So next time you see something unusual, you may want to take another look at it. It may be worth more than you think!