More from 101 collectibles that rarely, if ever, go unsold on eBay

Today I’m giving more ideas for collectibles that almost always sell on eBay.

This is in preparation for subscribers to my monthly newsletter eBay Confidential to download a long and free report detailing 101+ collectibles to watch out for at flea markets and in local auction salerooms.

As mentioned last week, my free report will be for subscribers only. But there’s still time for everyone to grab their copy, even non-subscribers who sign up for a risk free trial of eBay Confidential.

Sign up now here and if my newsletter isn’t all you want it to be and more, you can claim a quick and courteous refund – and keep my free report.

Onto another couple of collectable items now…

1. Circus memorabilia. Circus memorabilia is highly popular on eBay and accounts for some of the highest-priced listings each week.

One of the most popular products within the overall circus memorabilia product-listing category is posters, especially promoting well-known organisers and high-profile shows from Tom Mix, Sir Robert Fossett and Bertram Mills, and accounting for recent finishing prices like these on eBay:

Tom Mix Circus Poster Original One Sheet Vintage Western 1930s sold for £1,091.94.

Tom Mix was a circus entertainer who performed with his horse Tony, and he became one of America’s first motion picture actors.

His popularity brought fame and fortune and allowed Tom Mix to start his own circus company in the 1930s and to feature on posters like the one just mentioned.

The circus folded just prior to the onset of the Second World War and few posters from the day have survived the passage of 75 or more years intact. So they are quite rare today and you’ll find Tom Mix posters attracting bidders from various collecting interests, mainly circus and cinema. Hence the reason bidding wars and high finishing prices are common for Tom Mix memorabilia.

Rare 1950s Sir Robert Fossett’s Gigantic Circus & Zoo Poster Penzance went for £300.00

The topographical element, Penzance, would attract bidders for more than just circus memorabilia and could result in a bidding war on rare items. That makes it vitally important to include the location for the event in your eBay titles.

Bertram Mills Circus Poster fetched £245.00

Notice only four words appeared in that title and still the item attracted four bids and a high finishing price. I’m certain an even higher price would have emerged had the seller included the location for the event in his title, as well as the date it took place.

2. Acts of Parliament. Acts of Parliament have always been made available for public purchase, even though they hold little interest for the masses today. But in Georgian and Victorian times, middle and upper-class families would retain copies of all laws passed by Parliament and bind them into year volumes.

You’ll often find Acts of Parliament selling individually at flea markets and antiques fairs, and more often in bound volumes containing 100 or more different Acts, usually in chronological order.

These large volumes cost anything from £40 to a couple of hundred pounds but I suggest you avoid any volumes or individual Acts priced more than £2 or £3 per Act. That’s because the majority of Georgian and Victorian Acts were about general finances and generic matters relating to the military and navy, and they are somewhat boring for most collectors today, as well as being difficult to describe on eBay.

The highest prices go to Acts relating to specific topographical locations and eminent people of their day, as well as historically important events.

So while most very early Acts are likely to be worth £5 or £6 each, and make a tiny profit on big bundles of Acts costing a maximum £2 each across the board, it’s those mentioning specific collectable topographical areas that are likely to fetch the highest prices, and others dealing with memorable events, notably slavery and famous people like Horatio Nelson.

Here are a few recent high price examples selling on eBay…

1807 British Slave Trade Abolition Act of Parliament Africa West Indies America sold for £172.00

1806 Annuity Grant to Admiral Horatio Nelson’s Brother by Act of Parliament fetched £25.00

ACT OF PARLIAMENT – PURCHASE OF LAND Sheerness & Chatham KENT FOR THE NAVY 1816 went for £14.99

I’ve keyed in the title for the last listing exactly as it appeared on eBay. Notice how capitals were used for most words in the title, but not for what I personally consider the most important search terms, ‘Sheerness’ and ‘Chatham’.

So someone browsing through listings is unlikely to spot those topographical search keywords among all the clutter of less-important capitalised words.

I would have placed those locations in all capital letters, so they stand out from the crowd of listings, and leave the generic text in lower case with initial letters capitalised. One possible exception is ‘NAVY’ which is a high-popularity keyword and would deserve all capital letters.

3. Slavery. Following on from Number 2, almost anything related to slavery is collectable, although some items might be banned from selling on eBay because they are ‘hate’-related – in the same way the German swastika cannot be listed.

Typically, products and listings that glorify or celebrate disgraceful events in history are likely to be removed by eBay, as recently happened for slave toys based on the film Django Unchained.

Items commemorating the end of slavery or working towards abolition, however, are likely to fetch high prices, such as the following examples…

JAMAICA ENSLAVED & FREE 1840s Slave Trade West Indies History made £1,020.00 (The product was a book.)

VA Gov. Rutherford Tries to Keep Slave Family Together went for £659.68 (The product was a letter pleading for help to keep the family together.)

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. Abolish SLAVE TRADE – Autographed Letter made £319.99

William Wilberforce fought long and hard for an end to slavery: his name is one of the highest-frequency search terms relating to the slave trade and its abolition.

As to when an item relating to slavery – or the swastika and other symbols of hate – are allowed to be listed or will more likely be removed, eBay says they will allow listings for ‘Items and media related to natural disasters and human tragedies that have substantial social, artistic or political value’, but they won’t allow listings for items that ‘graphically portray, glorify, or attempt to profit from human tragedy or suffering or that are insensitive to victims of such events’.

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Please note: This is going to be my last preliminary listing for collectibles that rarely if ever go unsold on eBay. My free report will include 101 such products, and probably a few more, and will only be available to subscribers to eBay Confidential, including people taking out a free trial subscription. So if you’re not currently a subscriber, please ensure you obtain my free report by taking out a risk free trial now here.

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