Secrets of Selling Music Memorabilia on eBay
I’m a massive music fan and buy CDs and vinyl obsessively! In fact my collection has grown so big I have been politely forced (by the lovely Heloise) to store my vinyl in the local Safestore!
I keep hold of a lot of this purely for sentimental reasons (I mean I don’t even currently have a turntable!). And yet there’s probably a good £5,000 worth of vinyl gathering dust…
Now I bet if you take a look around your house, garage or attic I guarantee you’ll find ‘stuff’ that could earn you money. As I’m no expert in the area of selling music memorabilia, I thought I’d draft in an expert to help us out.
Russell Chard on selling music memorabilia:
“Those born in the 1950’s or 60’s are now at an age where they remember ‘the good old days’ and hanker a little bit for their youth.
As the post war baby-boomers have the most available cash to spend on leisure and entertainment this means that memorabilia is in BIG demand. Just pop on to eBay and check out the vast memorabilia categories: Music, Records, Sport, Pictures, Movies the list goes on and on.
And this is where you, using a little savvy and skill can start earning some very respectable money. I know because I do it and with very little hassle at all. Okay, so you’re not going to become a multimillionaire from selling memorabilia but a few hundred pounds a month once you get up and running can quickly snowball into a very tidy part-time income for just a few hours work a week.
What Sort of Stuff Sells?
Let me give you a couple of examples at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
I recently bought an Arnold Palmer golf game on eBay, I used to have one when I was a kid. It was in near mint condition and cost me £55. I sold it 2 weeks later for nearly £93! A £35 profit for reliving my youth for a few games and finding another carpet golf nut who was desperate to get his hands on it. The truth is memorabilia triggers strong emotions in people and if you can get the right artefacts and items you are in business!
This next example is rare, but, it did happen and this potential result should get your juices going for trading memorabilia. In America baseball picture cards are big business, collectors virtually kill each other for the ‘rarities’ that are out there.
A guy bought a whole load of junk at a garage sale and amongst some baseball cards was the ‘Holy Grail’ of cards –the 1909 Honus Wagner tobacco card worth $2.35 million! So for a few dollars outlay he ‘accidentally’ became a millionaire.
I am not saying for one moment that this will happen to you (although I hope it does!!) but it demonstrates that the hidden gems are out there, you’ve just got to find them.
People hoard and collect all sorts of things and if you have what they want they will pay very good money for them. I know of people who collect and trade Mickey Mouse clocks, Aston Martin die cast metal cars, Fishing reels, Cigarette cards, Rare comics, Delphis pottery, Lead soldiers, Airfix model kits, Scalextric sets . . . this list goes on and on . . . But let’s nail this opportunity down to a specific area . . .
How to Get Music Memorabilia Collectors to Throw Money at You!
The best idea is to trade in a very popular market to find your feet. The one I find easiest to source ‘stock’ and to sell in quickly is ‘Music Memorabilia’. I’m talking about CDs, DVDs, posters, concert laminates, vinyl records, cassette tapes, artwork etc.
Everybody loves music right?
So don’t you think that for almost any CD or record that you have lying around at home there will be a buyer out there? Of course there will! I personally, turnover over £25,000 a year from this type of memorabilia alone.
My customers are happy and they keep coming back for more. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not just referring to music rarities, people will buy the latest Amy Winehouse CD as well as rare and collectable items.
That’s why you have a huge market of buyers. There’s a lot of nonsense spoken about the future of CDs. They are very much alive and well. The iPod is king right now but CDs are actually becoming MORE collectable today as a result of it! Vinyl records are one of the ‘Hottest’ markets on eBay and with the ceasing of cassette tape manufacturing, the ones you probably have lying around in an old box somewhere are worth money right now.
But once you’ve sold your ‘stuff’ where can you get more memorabilia to sell?
Well, there are no hard a fast rules but a little common sense will get you a long way. I’ve now moved on to buying large CD and Vinyl collections for resale because amongst boxes of old records and CDs will almost inevitably be some hidden gems with very good potential resale values. However I recommend that you start modestly and build up a good pot of money before you go this route.
You can source CDs, DVDs and vinyl records from a whole host of places: charity shops, car boot sales, eBay for job lots at knockdown prices, record and tape shops, friends and family’s items, auctions, house clearances, even the bargain bins at supermarkets!
The only hard and fast rule that you need to follow is that the items that you sell must be in good condition; broken and chipped vinyl records or scratched CDs are worthless. Always sell items that you would be happy to buy in terms of quality.
It is fair to say that not all of your stock will give you a good return but on balance this really is a small business idea where you cannot lose.
A Few Tricks of The Trade
Consider buying some extra ‘gash’ CDs for pennies and cannibalise the cases so that you can replace a cracked cover on a valuable item.
Always check vinyl records for scratches and damaged labels. Always clean the vinyl using distilled water and dry with a vinyl record anti-static cloth.
Here’s How to Create Music Memorabilia Products From Scratch
Now let’s think of ways that you could ‘repackage’ music memorabilia – you could frame items very cheaply and sell them at a premium. This is something I’ve been doing for some time with 7-inch vinyl records.
One of my re-packaged record products is hanging on the wall of a CEO’s office in one of Britain’s biggest companies. Memorabilia sells to all types of people from all walks of life. ‘Repackaging’ is a great way that you can make a bog standard record or CD more desirable.
As I mentioned already, with a bit of imagination anything can be turned into a ‘hot’ product.
You can soak records in water and slide the labels off for example, use some kitchen roll to lay the damp labels on and press them in between heavy books.
You’ll get a flat dry label or labels and you can mount them for framing very simply using some card from an stationery shop or art shop and hey presto you find a frame, photograph it and you have something to sell that enthusiasts and collectors will be interested in buying. Don’t rush it either, the more professional you can make your creation look the better.
Montages of labels look great and are a nice piece of nostalgia that people will be interested in. You can do this with CDs, concert tickets, artist laminates (which you can source on eBay for very small sums of money). Often sticking to one band or artist with these types of self-made products will attract more interest.
Tip: As it’s important that you reach your market quickly, always list these items twice on eBay – once in the Music Memorabilia section and then either in the CD section or Vinyl Records categories.
Repacking Vinyl Records and Artwork
This is a great little low cost start up business idea. Thinking ‘outside the box’ will help you come up with your own ideas too.
Source vinyl records either from your own collection or from other sources I’ve mentioned already. Don’t pay over the odds for anything, this idea is for minimal start up costs and maximum returns!
I have often been told by sellers at car boot sales that they could get much more for a Record /CD Collection on the Internet and that’s why their price is high. I always say to them ‘Well, if that’s the case why are you not selling them on the Internet?’ – a good response that always gets you a much better deal! Try it and be bold and confident.
I usually bulk buy record collections. Ask friends or family members if they have an old record collection, if they do they will usually be delighted to get rid of them usually for pennies. If you get really lucky they may just let you take them away to stop them from cluttering up their houses.
Sort your newly acquired records into famous artists and big hits as these will generate more interest and get any buyer misty eyed about their youth or the first record that they ever bought.
To check whether a record was a hit or not and to gauge the potential for repackaging, the perfect resource is The Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles. Get a copy. Every 7-inch record ever to chart in the ‘Hit Parade’ is in there and it’s a great way to sort out the good stuff from the bad.
List all your unwanted items on eBay as a job lot, you will sell them – probably not for much but it puts more money into your pot to get on with the real business of repackaging the popular records to sell.
You Are Interested In 2 Types Of Vinyl Records
Firstly, vinyl records in plain paper sleeves. Some of the singles released in the 60s and 70s had record company logos on these sleeves. It doesn’t really matter as unless the record is a rare gem and worth good money you might as well throw the sleeves away. Clean the record with distilled water and dry to a shine with a duster.
Don’t worry about small scratches as once framed they will be barely visible. If a record is severely damaged don’t buy it, destroy any that you get in any job lots, as they are useless for resale.
The next thing to do is go out and buy some frames. This is not easy as the frames need to be a couple of centimetres bigger than a 7-inch vinyl record otherwise it won’t fit in the frame.
I do not know of any shops that sell the correct size of frames for record framing. The good news is that it’s not too hard to find a company who will manufacture frames in surprisingly small amounts and pretty cheaply. I recommend a black frame surround and regular glass; non-reflective glass is more expensive.
Order no more than 12 frames in your first batch. Get some neutral coloured thin paper or card from a stationery shop and cut to size to be the backing to your framed vinyl record. Magnolia, white even light yellow are attractive colours – do NOT use black for obvious reasons.
Place your vinyl record in the frame with the backing paper behind it, some Pritt glue applied to the rear of the vinyl record will set the record straight in the frame.
Close the back of the frame and you have a simple, attractive ready-made piece of music memorabilia. It’s that simple!
Using your 12 frames you can offer up for sale many more vinyl records as you can simply change the records in the frames for photographic purposes and just create the finished product for the ones that are in demand and selling. Minimal financial outlay for multiple testing for customer demand.
I hope you can now see how easy it is using a little imagination to create and sell these types of products. It’s easy to do and can get you very good returns. You’ll probably find that you like your creations so much that you will hang some up in your own home and friends and visitors will comment on how unique they look. I regularly make framed records to order. A really good idea is to create your products and find local outlets to sell them for you. Gift shops, newsagents, book shops are a good start – you will obviously need to negotiate a commission with the owner but the good news is they will sell for more money than on eBay for example as they are ‘impulse’ buys. That is why they have to look professionally made.
You could even make your batch and test them at Car boot sales, the sky is the limit with memorabilia! The second type of vinyl record that you are interested are the ones that were very fashionable in the late 70’s and early 80’s – coloured vinyl and picture bags. These have higher rarity value than normal vinyl records and in the case of picture bag vinyl records you get can 2 products out of one record.
Frame the vinyl record as before and frame the picture bag as a separate product. This will increase your profit very significantly. The only snag with picture bags is that the frames need to be slightly bigger again.
This type of framed music memorabilia product is very popular as it’s the artwork for the 7-inch single that really strikes a chord with buyers. Iconic bands and artists are very desirable – bands like U2, The Police, Pink Floyd etc.
You will have to do some initial digging around and a little bit of legwork but this is a fun and profitable business blueprint that could really generate you a second income.
The sky is the limit you could frame book covers, beer mats, football programmes etc. just adopt the sourcing and manufacturing principles to the letter and your customers will be happy and demand will be as good as the effort that you put in.
More Essential Tips To Start Your Business
Use the Internet to value your items, simply go to Google and type in ‘vinyl record values’ and the information on their worth is simple to find. There are quite a few websites that do this. This applies to CD’s too.
Nine times out of ten big name artists sell for more money and more quickly but there are many instances of lesser know bands CDs/Records selling for a lot of money. For example, have you ever heard of a band called ‘The Orb?’ Didn’t think so, well their CD’s sell for BIG money, there are always exceptions to the rule. Don’t throw anything away until you have researched its worth.
When you sell these items you will have to package them carefully. I use Viking Direct Mail Lite Jiffy bags and for rare items additional bubble wrap to protect them. www.viking-direct.co.uk will show you a whole host of packaging ideas for all shapes and sizes. On websites like eBay you will sell a fair amount to foreign buyers, always remember to price your shipping and packaging costs to cover your costs. Postal insurance is a must for valuable items. Out of every 100 packages I post around 2 will not arrive. Always be prepared and covered!
First port of call to get started is eBay – the undisputed king of memorabilia selling.
If you haven’t set up an account you can do so at: www.ebay.co.uk. You will also need to open a Pay Pal account to collect your money and to pay out to source stock, Pay Pal is owned by eBay and you can sign up easily via eBay.
Amazon is another great place to sell CDs, DVDs etc – some of you may already have an account set up if not once again it’s easy to do a www.amazon.co.uk. Once you achieve a certain amount of sales you can convert your private Amazon account to a merchant account.
Always keep your buyers email addresses, note what they bought from you and email them a friendly note if you locate items that you think that they may be interested in. A private sale saves on fees and you will build up a rapport with your customers which is essential in any successful business. You can put small ads in newspapers and magazines for you inventory of items, this you can set up with a simple webpage on the Internet. This type of advertising is VERY cost effective. Trawl through your local newsagents for magazines like Record Collector and get a feel for the market.
Start Earning Now!
So just how much could you make from selling these repackaged items? Of course, the price of framed records depends on their rarity but a good guide would be £5.99 for 7 inch records – as they can cost pennies to buy and about £1.20 to frame, you could make over 250% profit!
Framed picture bags can sell from anywhere between £3.99 to £10.99. With framed albums I think a £12.99 price tag would be fair. In my experience some can go for a lot more and some less.
I hope that I’ve shown you how relatively simple it is to get up and running selling Music Memorabilia in no time at all. You could easily generate £200 plus a month from a standing start, and as you get more knowledgeable you will start to generate serious amounts of spare cash for you and your family to enjoy!
Download Your FREE Top Selling Memorabilia List Here!
Selling memorabilia is a fun way to earn some extra money and it really is a growing market. To find out the hottest sellers go to www.canonburypublishing.com/music and take a look – hopefully you’ll get some inspiration!