How to profit from beneficiary collections…

Buy collections for next to nothing and sell them for high prices on eBay

PLUS: Why trading assistants should choose an appropriate eBay ID and shop name

PLUS: Sell your public domain prints on Café Press

Local auction salerooms are excellent places to participate in a very special product-sourcing method that involves buying extensive collections and re-selling those items individually on eBay, where profits can be staggering.

This idea works so wonderfully well because when a collector dies, his beneficiaries may not share his interest in dolls or stamps, guitars or military badges, or hundreds of other collectable items.

This means few beneficiaries know how to sell collectibles individually, or at anywhere near their true market value, and they can’t be bothered to find out.

So the most likely end result is for beneficiaries to sell the collection intact, usually in a local general auction saleroom, where they won’t have to wait long for goods to be sold and the proceeds handed back.

Compare this to the professional way to sell a valuable collection: to enlist a specialist auction saleroom with a clientele of high-interest, big-spending buyers who receive catalogues by post, containing professional images and extensive write ups (which gives them confidence to place their bids without even visiting the saleroom in person).

Such sales sometimes take place just once every year, meaning beneficiaries might wait months, and possibly a year or more, for their money.

Compare that to local general salerooms holding weekly or fortnightly sales, converting goods to cash in a few weeks at most.

That is why you won’t find heavy bidding taking place in high street general salerooms that rarely post catalogues, whose website images are usually unprofessional and descriptions too short, thereby not tempting absent bidders.

This all explains why valuable collections usually fetch much lower prices in general salerooms than from specialist international auction companies.

The end result is huge collections of extremely valuable goods being sold for a tiny fraction of their market value – representing really handsome profits when later sold separately on eBay.

You can make money this way – by telephoning local auction companies every week or studying their catalogues, looking for collections of items that should fetch high prices sold separately online. You can expect to buy at least two or three lots every week for a fraction of their resale value on eBay.

How trading assistants should choose an eBay ID and shop name

On the Internet you really need a good business name to succeed: one that is not only memorable, but also describes the kind of goods or services you offer.

This is especially so for firms set up to sell other people’s products on eBay, as commission sellers and consignment agents in the USA – more often called trading assistants in the UK.

One of the best ways to attract visitors to your online shop is by choosing a descriptive trading name: one which search engines will recognise and display for Internet users seeking someone to sell their products online, in this case on eBay.

Your name must be descriptive, such as ‘Durham eBay Trading Assistants’ or ‘Wesellyourstuffonebay’ or similar – but not ‘Jay’s Shop’ or ‘Sellersparadise’. Those latter names say nothing to tempt search engines like Google to return your site to web users seeking someone to sell their goods on eBay.

More good examples for a trading assistant business include ‘Durham Auction Selling Services’, ‘Selling4U’ and ‘XYZ Drop-Off Shop’. They all sound good and say clearly what the business is about. Not so good are ‘Icon’ (or ‘I con’!!), ‘Worldwide’, ‘Billy’s Business’, ‘AMC and Co’, and other similarly non-descript and even derogatory compilations.

When you’ve chosen a business name, have a bank account opened in that name, and be sure to reserve an appropriate domain name – preferably the dot-com version, so you can more effectively market your business online.

You can choose almost any name you like, with the following exceptions:

  • You must not deliberately choose the name of another business in the same field, or a name that is confusingly similar, with the intention of benefiting from that other company’s goodwill or reputation. This is called ‘passing off’ and is actionable at law. To avoid inadvertently breaking the rules, check names in telephone directories, business guides and advertisements for possible conflicts. Make sure the name you choose isn’t already trademark-registered to some other business.
  • Look for domain names featuring your business name in search engines and domain name registries. If your chosen business name, with .com suffix, has not been reserved, chances are the name isn’t being used by someone else, although a few simple checks will still be worthwhile. Try typing the words of your business name into search engines to see if any sites appear for ventures with similar-sounding names.

If there is another company with the same name, it isn’t always breaking the law to use the name yourself, as long as the name isn’t legally registered or protected by trademark and copyright law, and you are not using another firm’s name to benefit your own business.

Sell your public domain prints on Café Press

Out-of-copyright prints are in high demand, especially if mounted ready to frame. Some subjects are more popular than others – notably dogs and cats, sporting subjects like golf and cricket, and topographical (named place) subjects.

I’ve seen really high prices paid for well-illustrated items on eBay and on countless other websites.

But there’s something I discovered just recently that’s even more amazing than selling your prints on eBay: it’s a company that creates hundreds of different products from your original or reproduction illustrations.

That company is Café Press, which, like another big-name company Zazzle, is a produce-on-demand site to which members upload images for the site owner to recreate on products to sell to the public.

You can upload your own illustrations or others from the public domain to your own free shop at Café Press and earn royalties from sales of products featuring your images.

Here are just a few of the product types created at Café Press:

  • T-shirts
  • hats
  • bags
  • prints
  • stationery
  • stickers
  • badges
  • books
  • CDs
  • bathroom tiles
  • mugs
  • glasses
  • table mats
  • wall plates
  • wall calendars
  • mouse mats
  • dog coats
  • dog blankets
  • greetings cards
  • coasters
  • bed throws
  • magnets
  • golf shirts
  • hoodies
  • baby clothing
  • and more besides


Consider having products made at Café Press to suit a specific niche market on eBay, such as freemasonry, scuba diving, topographical views, etc. Pack your eBay shop with different items and lots of different views and images.

You can also sell your products on eBay and have most produce-on-demand sites fulfil orders direct to your customers, or buy your own stock to fulfil orders.

It costs so little to keep an item in your eBay shop for the entire month and sales for some of your listings can reach double figures monthly and high profit margins.

This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here