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Sell Hobby Items by Mail
You can, if you are ambitious, start a Mail Order Business selling collectables to hobbyist by mail. To begin, you must first find a hobby that appeals to YOU. Next, you must spend several weeks researching that hobby. You must learn what collectors want and how much they are willing to pay for it. You should also know what other dealers are willing to pay for the merchandise which they sell. And you must be willing to pay the same amounts.
Perhaps you already know exactly what you want to sell. If you have been collecting old Valentines, then start a Mail Order business buying and selling old Valentines. Or Stamps. Or Comic Books. The first rule of Mail Order selling is to sell what you yourself would buy.
To give you an idea of what collectors buy and sell by mail, here is a partial list of today's collectables:Phonograph Records, Cigar Label, License Plates, Beer Labels, Circus Posters, Music Boxes, Salt/Pepper Shakers, Greeting Cards, Old Pencils, Atlases, Military Medals, Sheet Music, Doll Clothes, Menus, Cigar Boxes, Train Photos, Old Calendars, Maps, Street Car Tokens, Buttons, Postcards, Fruit, Car Tokens, Fruit Jar Labels, Old Magazines, Gun Catalogs, Paper Currency, Cartoon Books, Theatre Programs, Political Buttons, Baseball Cards, Children's Books, Stock Certificates, Old Toys, Gems, Minerals, Belt Buckles, Airplane Photos, FBI Posters, Newspapers, Coins, Arrowheads, Old Jewelry, Boat Photographs, Advertising Cards, Dog Pictures, Movie Magazines, Autographs, Dolls, Hunting Licenses, Valentines, Cookbooks, Beatle Items, Stamps, Indian Relics, Railroad Books, Fishing Licenses, Comic Books, Thimbles, Automobile Manuals, Diaries, Railroad Passes, Antique Barbed Wire
Once you have selected your field, start a file. Keep copies of all the ads selling your kind of merchandise. Also keep ads showing the dealer's buying prices. If price lists are offered in ads, send for them and STUDY them. MAKE YOURSELF AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD.
Try to locate any publications that deal with your field. Often, you can locate small mimeographed publications and newsletters which will give you all kinds of useful information.
Your next step is to look for merchandise in your own community. Here are some suggestions:
Start by attending flea markets and antique shoes. Don't be afraid to make inquiries of dealers. They often have what they consider "junk" stashed away, assuming that it isn't of much value to anyone. I once discovered a fabulous stamp collection that way!
Browse around through Thrift Shops.
Study the garage sale ads in your local newspaper. Visit any that sound promising. (Sometimes, it pays to telephone first. Also, by telling people what kind of merchandise you are looking for, they may be able to direct you to others who have exactly what you need!)
Place "Wanted to Buy" ads in your local newspaper. Be sure to list your phone number.
It is amazing what you can find in your local community if you work at it. However, if you can't find enough merchandise locally, run ads in the Collector's Magazines listed above. Their rates are very, very low. And you will soon discover that they are widely read!
Once you have accumulated a decent stock of merchandise, you are ready to begin selling it. If there are publications specializing in your field, by all means advertise there. You have a ready-made audience! Also run ads in the big hobby magazines.
Type up a list of what you have and have an Instant Printer make a hundred or so copies for you. Hobbyists don't mind typewritten, mimeographed, or Xerox copies . . . it's half the fund of collecting. Then run your ad. Your ad can merely offer your list to interested collectors free (or for a stamp, to weed out coupon clippers). Or you can offer to make a sale straight from the ad. If you do the latter, stick in your price list with the merchandise. It will be read . . . eagerly!
Here are a few sample ads run by hobby dealers for your
"Railroad Timetables, 1940's
"Old Children's Books and Texts. Stamp for List."
"85,000 Comic Books, Movie Magazines, Funnies, etc.
"Original Movie Poster, Press books,
"Sleigh Bells! Stamp for list."
"Sheet Music. SASE for list."
Just in case you are not familiar with the phrase, "SASE" means "Self-addressed, stamped envelope". As you progress, you will learn continually. Most hobby dealers will tell you that they learn more from the collectors who buy from them than they could ever learn from any other source. Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer
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