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The 7 golden rules for successful ebay sales

This article will tell you how to sell Lesney Matchbox toys on ebay and achieve the highest prices but these rules can be applied to all aspects of ebay sales and help you avoid the mistakes that even long time experienced sellers that should know better often make.

1). List your toys in the correct category, no one will find your auctions if you are trying to sell a rare Matchbox toy in the Oxford diecast section and the few bidders that do see it will get it for much less than it would sell for if it was listed correctly .

2). Include both "Lesney" and "Matchbox" in your auction title or your auction will not be seen by the many buyers that prefer to search for "Matchbox" or "Lesney" rather than browse by category.

3). Your auction should be timed to end on Sunday or Monday evening when ebay is at it's busiest and there are the highest number of potential bidders online

4). Keep your description brief and to the point but most of all be honest, we don't want your life story and we don't have hours and hours to spare to read it. Your description should be limited to the body colour(s), the base colour, wheel colour / material, decals or labels, any silver or gold trim, the colour of the windows and any accessories that it originally came with. Also list any damage to the model.
The original packaging can be as much as 50% or even more of the model's total value so you should include it in your title, description, and photographs.
Be honest in your description and don't try to hide missing endflaps or chips in the paintwork as most collectors can spot a dishonest seller so don't do anything to tarnish your reputation, besides, it is not in your interest to have to issue a refund because you never showed a missing endflap or broken or damaged model.
A repainted model is not a 'code 3' a 'restoration' or a 'recreation'. It is a repaint so hiding the fact in a long description will only annoy the bidders and in return they will not even bother looking at your other auctions if they just wasted ten minutes reading through a long rambling description only to find it says "repaint" in the final paragraph. By all means describe your model as mint, stunning, beautiful or however you like, after all, we are trying to SELL it so we need to show that it is a never to be repeated bargain of the century but these terms should not be used for something that you lost 40 years ago and just dug up out of the garden.

5). Never try to profit from the postage costs. Excessive postal costs will mean less bids and a lower selling price so trying to profit here will only result in a loss for you. Use a suitable box for shipping. There's nothing worse than receiving a model that has been ruined by shoddy packaging or crushed because it was shipped in a Jiffy bag. A new five inch square box should cost no more than 15 pence to buy and the polystyrene chips will only add pennies. The use of proper packaging materials will result in fewer refunds because models were damaged in the post and reduced postage costs because of the lighter weight of the package.

6). Although not a rule as such you should consider starting your auction at £1.00 with no reserve. Time after time I have seen auctions with a £1.00 starting bid outselling fixed price items, and not by just a few pounds either. Auctions with bids attract other bidders to come and try their luck. Psychology tells them this item has people bidding on it so it must be ok, I'll bid too. Meanwhile an identical item listed with a £20 starting bid will most likely recieve no bids and your ebay listing fees will be significantly higher.

7). No matter how many times you sprinkle your description with 'mint', 'beautiful', or 'superb', at the end of the day it will be your photographs that sell the item for you. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it is very true, even more so on online auctions. For example: I sold 3 identical Matchbox trucks over 3 weeks. The first and second ones both sold for $300. On the third one I had my camera settings wrong so the photos came out a bit blurry. I was in a hurry to get it listed as it was Sunday evening so I listed it anyway. It sold for $200 — lesson learned.
Never take your photographs indoors or with a flash. Digital cameras rarely show a model in it's correct colours and artificial light or flash photography simply make matters worse. Photograph your models outside in natural daylight but not in direct sunlight.
Edit your photographs, Photoscape is a photo editing program, it's a free download that is easy to use and will show your items at their very best. Crop the background from your photo leaving just the model, resize it if neccessary (to between 700 and 800 pixels) and then upload it to Photobucket which is was a free photo storage website.
Now comes the technical bit, when you list your items on ebay, copy your "HTML" code for your picture from Photobucket and paste it into the ebay "item description" box, This will give you a full size image rather than the small picture that ebay gives you by default. Shown below are four photographs, firstly there is an unedited photo taken indoors shown as a normal 'ebay' sized image, the second is also unedited ebay size but taken outdoors, third is an outdoor edited ebay size and lastly an edited HTML image. Ask yourself which one you would prefer to bid on.

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Above: unedited normal ebay sized indoor photograph

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Above: unedited normal ebay sized outdoor photograph

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Above: edited normal ebay sized outdoor photograph

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Above: edited large sized photograph, maybe not the best photo but it was taken with an ancient 3.1mp camera, but the question remains, which one would you prefer to bid on.

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