Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers

You might recall last week we talked about ways to turn inexpensive items into high price bestselling products.

We looked at a few ways to profit from vintage atlases and early sheet music.

These items rarely attract good resale profits in their own right, but give them anew slant or use them to create altogether different products and you could be banking profits little short of staggering.

Today I have three more ideas for you…all proven to work and make excellent profits for me in recent months.

Resale Opportunity #3. Make a Vintage Stamp Collection

These are an excellent place to find items for resale.

The average collectors’ stamp album priced in the low pounds at auction typically contains stamps worth pennies to most collectors and definitely not likely to repay time and effort required to list stamps individually or in small bundles on eBay.

But as part of other collectable or decorative items, those stamps can be worth several pounds each to you.

You can look for albums from salerooms in distant locations with no or inadequate internet access that attract few experienced stamp dealers and collectors. Some very low prices are possible in those salerooms for albums that could return massive profits.

Regardless of market or its location, you should focus on albums with stamps issued pre-1900 – a popular collecting era – and then list at least ten complete pages of stamps separately on eBay.

Pick pages at random to determine the potential resale value of remaining pages. Low finishing prices, less than two or three pence per stamp overall, suggest you will almost certainly make higher profits from removing stamps and disposing of them like this:

(i) As inserts in jewellery products  similar to those discussed last week for maps and sheet music. Search Google images for ‘postage stamp pendant’, ‘postage stamp cufflinks’, and similar, for a massive selection of product ideas to recreate from low value stamps.

(ii) Sort low value stamps into countries, subjects, periods.  Pack in groups of ten, twenty, or more stamps. Offer packs to collectors on eBay and Etsy and as scrapbooking materials on most craftwork sites.

Here are some examples of stamps selling to collectors and craftworkers on Etsy:

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers10 Unused Vintage Postage Stamps – £5.37

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers 100 Vintage Australian Postage Stamps – £4.55

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers  40 Flower Postage Stamps – £4.09

Tip: Look for low price one country or one theme stamp collections in auction salerooms and at flea markets, collectors’ fairs, on eBay, etc. This makes it easier and faster for you to create packets compared to buying multiple country/subject collections and having to dismantle and repackage stamps from numerous different sources.

Key ‘postage stamps’ into the search box at to find packets of stamps attracting high prices for other people.  Model your packs on the bestselling and highest priced similar items from other sellers.

Tip: Keep same subject/country/era stamps in separate envelopes until you have sufficient stamps – all the same design or all different – for your proposed new packs.

(iii) Use the stamps to make decorative items such as lamps, framed prints, and countless other products selling in high numbers on Etsy. Such as:
Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers Pendant featuring Italian postage stamp – £40.37

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers  Postage stamp original artwork, framed – £19.95.

Idea: sell kits for buyers to make their own end products, including stamps (or maps, music sheets, etc.), other essential materials, also instructions.

Resale Opportunity #4. Costume jewellery

Jewellery made from inexpensive materials like plastic and semi-precious stones and low cost beads are also well worth collecting.

Costume jewellery can be purchased in big lots in offline auction salerooms as well as at flea markets and collector’s fairs, where low prices are common.

At one of my own favourite flea markets, I regularly find stallholders offering plastic bags filled with up to thirty or more pieces of costume jewellery for between fifty pence and one pound a pack.

Fifty pounds can buy you a person’s entire collection of costume jewellery in some offline salerooms.

Now do this:

(i) Pick out broken and heavily damaged items. Separate their components and store similar items together, such as all black beads, all heart shaped charms, and so on. You can sell these items in small or large quantities to jewellery makers on eBay and Etsy.

(ii)Look for makers’ names on some pieces. Compare names against similar makers’ goods selling on eBay. List better items individually on eBay, using fixed price if similar items have sold recently and auctioning any with no similar offerings.

(iii)Take all potentially low price items and either bundle  and offer six or more pieces of costume jewellery together on eBay or Etsy or create more attractive and potentially much higher price jewellery from existing materials.

Tip: So called ‘statement’ jewellery is very popular and attracts high prices on eBay and Etsy, with finished pieces frequently created by mixing large beads from several original pieces of costume jewellery, or by adding additional features to one existing piece. Very large beads, complete brooches, oversized plastic charms feature on many of the highest priced, bestselling products.

Here are some examples offered on eBay and Etsy:

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers Pink Charms Statement Bracelet, Lampwork Handmade on Vintage Miriam Haskell Chain – priced £100.51 on eBay UK

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers

Vintage Charm Bracelet Assemblage Statement priced £55.00 on Etsy

Now for something completely different but still likely to make high profits for you…

These are items you’ll be turning into higher priced products and your initial investment can be high with a very high ROIReturn On Investment – possible from every purchase.

Resale Opportunity #5. Limited Edition Collectibles

Increasingly sellers are obtaining niche subject collectibles or historically important items and splitting them into several parts, before adding a descriptive label and certificate of authenticity, usually referred to as COA.

These original items are commonly found in specialist auction salerooms, such as where recently several pairs of bloomers belonging to Queen Victoria have sold for between ten and sixteen thousand pounds.

That’s a chunk of money, but lower prices are possible for less well-known but still popular celebrities and events.

Here are some recent sales on eBay:

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers A piece of the 1905 Wright Brothers Flyer III Plane sold for £599.64

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers A tiny piece of the trousers worn by Clyde Barrow – ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ – at the time the pair were ambushed – fetched £395.76 and attracted just one bid.

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers A piece of hair from Mary Lincoln – wife of Abraham Lincoln – made £275.83. Notice the image is overprinted ‘1 of 10 only’.

Three Ways to Turn Penny Items into Bestsellers

Portions of letters or documents hand written and signed by important celebrities are offered with a copied certificate of authenticity for the donor piece and presented in decorative format, such as words from a letter from JFK and another from President Lincoln, both attracting regular sales at £240 a time.

It’s possible to buy the original complete items on eBay and resell portions on eBay and numerous other places. But your original piece might cost thousands of pounds in major high profile marketplaces.

I have, however, frequently seen letters from important historical personalities selling in the low to middle hundreds of pounds in rural salerooms without their own internet presence.

Do not cut into original documents – or other item – before testing the market for your proposed end products. Instead, scan the original item and then crop words and phrases or fragments separately from your digital image.

Fabricate a gallery image of a finished product using background pieces such as COA and photographs and manoeuvre the imaginary cropped portions into place.

List sufficient make-believe products which, if they all sell, could exceed your initial investment along with selling and operating costs. Use auction listings to determine optimum selling prices and only dismantle your donor item when you’re already in profit.

And there you have it, five great ideas for turning mainly low price items into bestselling high profit products and more to come in the free report for you to download in our March issue of eBay Confidential.

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