Tuesday, December 19, 2006
In other news, I continue to peck away at Lot 5 and Lot 6. I have given up hope of getting them up for the big Holiday season - especially since Hanukkah is already here and Christmas is less than a week away.
There has been a marked increase in Comic Book sales over the last couple of days, which has been refreshing. Hopefully that will continue for the next week at least.
I spent almost all of this past Sunday getting my Magic Abilities page updated. As I was taking photos for the Champions of Kamigawa common cards, I noticed several abilities that I hadn't previously recorded (notably "Bushido", "Ninjutsu" and "Splice"). I then looked forward at the next several sets and discovered that at least one new ability was added in every set! I then found a handy Rules compendium on the web that summed up the various abilities, and led me to several more in older sets that I hadn't yet added.
Basically, the abilities page about doubled in size when I was all done!
I've not yet received any comments on the Abilities page from users. I've started including links to it in item descriptions (if you check out the Eater of Days card you'll see links to Flying and Trample). Hopefully that will increase traffic to the website and prove a useful reference to people.
Well, that's all for now. Off to process more photos and try to get more cards added to the Store!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The rest of "Lot 6" arrived and has been sorted out. Now I can get back to adding inventory to the Store. The latest large addition was the common cards in the Mirrodin expansion.
The new website is taking shape. I'm particularly proud of the Magic Abilities pages I came up with. I hope it will be of use to customers. Ultimately I want to make it so that a potential customer could click at the end of the definition of, say for example, "Flying" and be taken to my Store with a search for all cards with "Flying" in the description. I owe major thanks to my wife is is acting webmaster for the site. The design is hers - I just write some of the content!
I may have a regular customer! A gentleman in Pennsylvania (hello, Chad!) made a $100+ order last week, and says if he likes what he gets, he may be back on a weekly basis! He's actually already put together the next order. Wow!
Okay - perhaps more tomorrow when I have more than three functioning brain cells...
Friday, December 01, 2006
No sales in the past 24 hours. I didn't even have anything to take to the post office today! Yeesh!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Yes, I know I have not yet finished processing the last two 3000+ card lots. What's your point?
Anyway, I have been chugging away, getting cards added both by increasing the number available for cards already in the Store, and by adding entirely new cards into inventory. In some cases I already have a TurboLister file for the card, but I had previously sold out of it, so I don't need to take a new photograph, or write a description, and that's speeding things up immensely.
In other news, there should soon be a donsmagicandsundry.com, and there will be some pages there that I have in mind with descriptive information on Magic: the Gathering, and I may even start my own little eStore with a shopping cart and the whole nine yards. I'll still keep a presence on eBay, because you can't beat the exposure you get there, but many other places (like Troll and Toad) also have their own websites. That would cut out a lot of the eBay Listing and Final Value Fees, reducing costs, and (hopefully) increasing profit. I will, of course, keep updates noted here.
Who'd have thought back at the end of April, that I would be possibly turning this into a legitimate business endeavor? I was just looking to clear out the last of my Magic cards and sell some comics I no longer wanted...I had no plans to actually become an honest to goodness merchant! But, here I am, racking up positive feedback, making sales, keeping customers happy - and most importantly, enjoying the heck out of it! Yes, sure, it's quite time consuming, but it's kind of fun at the same time. I enjoy "meeting" people from all over the world, I enjoy providing a quality product in a timely fashion. I'm having a blast!
Finally, here's possibly the best feedback I've gotten in a while. A gentleman in Spain (thanks, Paco!) bought a whole bunch of comic books earlier in November. He contacted me prior to ordering, asking if I'd use the USPS flat rate Global Priority Mail envelopes to send them. I'd never investigated these, as my policy since early on (when I had one too many comics get damaged in puffy envelopes) has been that I would only send comics in sturdy cardboard boxes. But, if it's what the customer wants, then it's what the customer gets. These things are pretty cool - only $9.50 to Spain for however much you can stuff into them (as opposed to $10.50 for the GPM sturdy cardboard box with only two comics in it)! So, with permission of Paco, I left out the backing boards I normally have the comics individually packaged with and managed to fit the entire order into two of these envelopes. Nervously I sent them on, not sure if they'd make it safely (they were stuffed rather full!).
Well, not only did they arrive safely, but he's very happy with them! First off, he sent me an email: "Hello, My order arrived last Saturday, and everything was perfect...Everything was as you said, or better, and I couldn't be happier. Thank you very much for everything, it won't be long before you hear again from me, already planning my next order. And I've already left feedback for you, as positive as I could come up with. Thank you very much for everything."
So, of course, I went to eBay to check on the feedback: "Impossible to even imagine a better seller!Excellent!Couldn't be more satisfied!" Wow! Is this guy great, or what? When I die, I want him working on my eulogy!
Well, anyway, that's the latest and greatest from The Sundry. Here's hoping that the holiday season brings many more sales my way...and that I can get enough of this massive influx of inventory up there to be sold!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
- There's more cards overall;
- There's more sets represented.
Lot 5 actually included cards from Legends and The Dark, two of the earliest expansion sets. It also included cards from Cold Snap and Time Spiral which are the two most recent expansions. All four of these were not in Lot 6 - and the Cold Snap and Time Spiral cards are the first I've ever had. Also for the first time ever, I have cards from Beatdown, a strange little reprint box set that they did back in 2000. Also included were some cards from Unglued, an expansion set they made full of joke cards, not intended for serious decks (sample card: the Scissors Lizard, an Artifact Creature that prevents Paper Tigers from attacking or blocking; "Nothing beats the lizard's shear power." UGH!). There were also cards from Portal, Portal Second Age and Starter, three beginner sets of which there are not many available on eBay.
The vast majority of these cards are commons, and many are in bad shape and I don't feel I can sell them. But there are some goodies, and I think the lot will pay for itself in rather short order (once I actually get the cards up, that is).
I decided to hold off on processing the Lot 6 common cards that weren't already in the Store until I had the Lot 5 cards to work with as well - I have to decide what's worth selling individually, what works as sets of two or four, and what have to be grouped together and (hopefully) sold as small lots. It's not worth listing a single card at $0.05 when it costs $0.06 to list it in the Store - but if I have 10 copies of that card, then they can all be listed together for that same $0.06, and now it's maybe worth it (of course, if they don't sell right away, and enough months pass getting charged $0.06 each month...).
Well, it's time to get back to some more sorting. My 6-year old son enjoys helping Papa sort these cards - he doesn't read so well yet, but he can tell which are the commons, uncommons and rares in the newer sets since the symbols are color-coded. So he gets to sort those out for me before I then go and alphabetize them.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I will post a picture of the cards later, I think, so you can get a feel for what 3000 cards looks like. I've so far sorted them into piles based on their set. It includes cards from every Expansion Set from Fallen Empires through Dissension (which means some cards in sets I've never had before) and from the Core Sets Revised Edition through Ninth Edition. It is, as expected, mostly commons - but there's a fair number of uncommons and the promised ~50 rares. Unfortunately, three cards were damaged in transit (they slipped out from the stack and got folded badly on a corner) and of these two were rares. That was somewhat disappointing. Also disappointing was that in the description the seller stated:
"I normally throw in some Arabian Nights, Legends, Antiquities, and The Dark cards too if I find some when I am sorting through rows."
But there were none from these Sets, so I guess he didn't find any. Ah, well. Still a great set of cards for the price ($68.13 with shipping taken into account - or about 2.2 cents per card).
After I get the cards sorted by rarity, I'll then go through and see which cards I already have up in the Store - because those are the fastest to process. Then I'll see if any used to be in the Store, meaning I already have a photo and a Turbo Lister file already for them. Finally there's all the never-before-owned cards which will need the full treatment - photo, write-up, etc.
The delivery time doesn't bother me too much (remember I bought this Lot on Tuesday last week [Nov. 7 for those keeping track]). When I asked the seller, he said he ships on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Obviously Tuesday night was past his Tuesday shipping time, and Saturday was a Holiday for the fine people of the USPS, so he couldn't ship then either.
"Lot 5" is another matter. I bought that lot last Monday (Nov. 6). Yesterday (Nov. 14) I emailed to ask if they had shipped, and was there a tracking number? Last night I get an email that the cards have been shipped by UPS that day - with an expected delivery date of November 21. So a full two weeks after I pay for these I can expect to get them. No WONDER people are so impressed when the pay for my cards on Sunday and receive them on Wednesday, if this is typical of delivery times on eBay! Ah, well, that gives me time to play with Lot 6 some before they arrive, I guess.
Well, it's far later than I planned to be up tonight, so it's off to sleep....oh but first I have to let you know the really cool news - a gent in Spain (thanks, Juan) bought ~$120 worth of comics today. VERY exciting, especially since it includes all 10 2-issue sets (comprising the entire 20-issue series) of The Crusades. I was really hoping they would all sell to one person, so that the series stayed together - but I was leery of listing all 20 as one item.
Monday, November 13, 2006
A lot of my time gets spent answering the "How much would it cost to send me 8 cards to the Czech Republic" style of question, as well as looking up the answer for that very question whenever anyone asks or orders more than a single card. Also, I end up sending many partial refunds to people who blindly accept the shipping that eBay comes up with as correct, and send me way too much money (which always amazes me - if a seller says in EVERY SINGLE LISTING that they combine shipping, why would you NOT wait for an invoice from them before paying?!?!?).
So, anyway, to make things more streamlined I finally came up with my chart of Shipping Charges for Multiple Magic Cards and, to make it even more useful, posted it as a page at my Store. So, not only can I quickly get a shipping amount for making an invoice, but potential buyers can check or themselves without having to email me and wait for a response. I had to modify the Store text at the top of my pages to make the link to this new page more obvious - and I think I'll add a link to it in any future listings as well, in the section where I SAY THAT I COMBINE SHIPPING!
Did I mention that I note that on every single listing? Just checking.
Anywho, that's the big news for today. Four copies of the Chinese Fourth Edition Lightning Bolt that I put up last night sold today at $1 each, so that was good, too.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The latest Chinese Fourth Edition experiment was a bit of a bust. Of the 28 or so auctions I had up, only 7 sold - meaning I actually lost money for the week, as I had used the Gallery feature, making each listing cost $0.55. Bleck.
So, I have decided I need to reevaluate how to sell the cards. The first step was to list the Chinese Fourth Edition Common cards in the Store instead of at auction (meaning 117 new entries needed to be made). Most of them are offered as sets of 2, but some (the more popular ones) I have up singly.
So that's how I spent my afternoon and evening. Now I have to decide how to sell off the Uncommons and Rares.
One experiment this week - I am auctioning a Complete Common Set of Chinese Fourth Edition cards. Hopefully that will sell very nicely. Keep your fingers crossed!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Okay, I just bought another lot of 3000 cards from a guy for $49.99 plus shipping. He says the cards are mostly near mint, and he guarantees 50+ rares in the lot, and says he includes some cards from older sets like Arabian Nights in there as well as the more recent stuff.
And he has a kid on the way and needs to make room. I can empathize.
I also bought two more boxes of Chinese 4th Edition at the same $135 per box as the first one. I'll set aside 5 or 10 packs for sale as unopened and open the rest for a Chinese Magic love fest. I should be able to offer the only Chinese 4th Edition complete common set on eBay by the time I finish. That would be awesome.
Final Magic note: I discovered today that Magic now comes in Russian as well. I did not know this, since I've not bought actual new cards in forever. Now my non-English section is incomplete. I need to get some Russian cards!
Final non-Magic note: tonight's Nucleic Acid Methods test was a mixed bag. Several questions I aced, one or two were iffy, and one I completely had no frakking clue. SIGH.
Monday, November 06, 2006
So, I investigated. The reserve price was not met yet. Ah, suddenly all became clear. In case you don't know, eBay allows sellers to auction an item with a Reserve Price, a price that they will not sell the item for less than. And this price is not revealed to the bidders. So, a person can bid, and have the high bid, but still not be winning because they didn't bid high enough to meet the Reserve. From what I have seen, Reserve Prices are pretty much universally loathed by eBay buyers. I don't think I would ever use one. And auctions with them tend to not get as many bids.
The item represents a chunk of a large batch of cards the seller bought from a card shop that was going out of business. He bought ~17,000 cards, and wants to sell them off in lots of 3000+ each.
I thought about what I was willing to bid. The shipping would be $20 in and of itself (the seller will use UPS, and this package will be heavy). So, I tried bidding $50. Now I was the high bidder (my bid was $36.01) but the reserve was still not met.
I sent the seller an email. What are the rarities of these cards? 3000+ commons is not such a useful thing, necessarily. No reply. I debate with myself some more. I try bidding $70. Still not met. $80. Still not met. Okay, at this point I gave up. A total of $100 for 3000+ possibly all or mostly common cards...I'm not willing to risk any more than that.
The auctions ends. No further bids. The item does not sell. I go off to eat dinner.
When I come back I have two emails waiting for me. First, a response from the seller: "To be honest, I don't know. Myself and others have been going through these and are still pulling out rares and uncommons. There are a lot of older rares that I wouldn't know that were rares unless I looked every single one up and I don't have that kind of time. It's a gamble. I bought 8 monster boxes from a gaming store that closed down and have no idea of what is exactly in all of the boxes." So, the lot will, most likely, be mostly commons. Remember, though, that in older sets the cards were not color coded for rarity as they are in newer sets, so many Uncommons & Rares may slip through, as he indicated.
The second email was a Second Chance Offer from the seller. He's willing to let me have the item for my "max bid" of $36.01!
Okay, I have to try this. Only $56 for over 3000 cards?!? Even if they're all commons I ought to be able to turn a profit on that!
So, I did it. "Lot 5" as it will be known will hopefully be in my possession before too long.
SIGH. I just don't seem to be happy if I don't have cards to process for this blasted Store. What is WRONG with me?!?!?!??!?!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
But, in addition to being the anniversary of my birth, it was also a very Happy day at eBay. Well, Alan's City of Brass sold for only $18.50 (it had been in the Store at $40), so that was a bit of a disappointment. This week I have Shahrazad up (originally in the Store at $50). We'll see what happens.
But two experiments I tried this week went very well. First off, I auctioned some Complete Common sets from various Expansions. The person who won the Tempest set (for $5.50) then went on to my Store and bought the remaining three Tempest sets I had there at $12.50 apiece - so that was great. And the four Chinese Fourth Edition auctions I had up (Birds of Paradise, Animate Dead and Dark Ritual, plus an unopened booster pack) sold for almost a combined $30. Considering the entire box of unopened packs only cost $144 or so, that's not a bad start. I basically paid $4 per pack, or 27 cents per card for these things. The Birds of Paradise sold for $20.50, the Animate Dead for $2.92 and the Dark Ritual for $1.25 - each a good improvement on the 27 cent investment. And the unopened pack sold for $5.01 - itself not too bad (it might actually come out as a loss if I take fees into account, though, now that I think about it).
Well, anyway, I remain convinced that a profit is to be made on this box. I have 27 Chinese Fourth Edition auctions up this week - each starting at $0.99. Some are for two copies or even four copies of a given common card, as I don't think anyone is likely to bid $0.99 on a single copy of that particular card. We'll see how they go. I have a bid on another box of these things from the same seller I got this one. I may even try to get two more if I can. I think that with a large pool of these to draw from I can easily corner the Chinese Black-bordered 4th Edition card market on eBay!
Oh, and by the way - a Biotech course update for you. I have my second exam in Nucleic Acid Methods this coming Tuesday (that's the class where the first test I was sure I did horribly in). The second (pop) quiz in that class went not so well - 6/10. Ugh! But the first test in Cell Culture went very well - I aced the short answer section and only missed 6 of 54 multiple guess questions. Overall score was 95-96%. Not too shabby!
Friday, October 27, 2006
I just finished getting the last of the non-English cards up into the Store. I now have lots of Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Korean cards up for sale. The last ones up were Italian Legends cards from "Lot 4" - one surprise was that Moat is worth in the $60 range. Who knew?
Anyway, I am ecstatically happy to have all that work finished! All that's left to do is deal with Josh's Dungeons & Dragons books, and decide what exactly I'm going to do with the black bordered Chinese 4th Edition cards I bought that arrived yesterday.
I opened up 21 of the 36 packs, and have some good cards in there. A couple of Serra Angels, a Birds of Paradise, a Sengir Vampire, a few other highly-sought-after cards. I also took 15 packs, set them aside unopened, and put them up in the Store asking $15 apiece for them. I have no idea if I'll get it or not, but I'd rather start high.
I'll put one of those packs up for auction, starting at $0.99, on Sunday and see what happens. Once I have a better feel for the Foreign Black Border (FBB) market, I'll know what to do with the cards I opened up.
Well, it's time to head off for a well-deserved break from Store business. The Boys and I made an apple pie, and it's baking as I write this. Hmmmmm....apple pie......
Monday, October 23, 2006
So, last week I decided to start listing the Arabian Nights cards one at a time at auction. This would serve two purposes. First, to finally sell these cards. Second, as previously mentioned, I really believe that sales pick up if I have something flashy up for auction, so I think that having some Arabian Nights cards out there will draw in traffic - and maybe even sell some of the remaining of Alan's cards at full Store price!
Last week I listed the Bazaar of Baghdad, a rather popular Land card from that set. I had listed it in the Store at $225, which is a bit on the high side for that card, but it was in really great shape. The final bidding price was $174.50 - about 20% lower than the Store price had been, but at least a decent price for a single card.
This week I have listed the Old Man of the Sea. Originally in the Store for $55, we'll see what it ends up at by the end of the auction - I started the bidding yesterday at $0.99 and it has one bidder and three watchers so far. This is kind of a cool card - you can use this Creature to take control of a Creature from another player. This card has never been reprinted again since the Arabian Nights set came out.
If you remember your history lesson from yesterday's post, you know that the Arabian Nights set was only printed in English. It was also the very first expansion set to Magic: the Gathering, and so had the smallest print run. That makes all the cards from that set rather rare in the world. PLUS, since they came out so long ago, and in such a time before Magic became such a world-wide phenomenon, many of the original cards got pretty beat up, leaving very few cards in Mint or Near Mint condition. That's what makes Alan's collection so remarkable - his cards were kept in REALLY great shape!
On another note - I decided to try for that unopened box of Chinese Fourth Edition booster packs. I was willing to go as high as $135 for the box (plus the $9.50 for shipping). I was outbid, and wasn't too stressed about it. Later, though, the seller made me a "Second Chance Offer", since he apparently had more than one of these boxes available. This allowed me to buy one at my maximum bid price if I wanted. Heck, yeah! So, winging its way to me tomorrow by UPS should be a nifty box of valuable cards. And I know they'll be in Unplayed, Mint condition because the packs haven't even been opened yet! Only one person on eBay seems to be selling these packs, and they're asking $22.00 for one booster pack. I just bought 36 of them in the box for substantially less per pack! I think I'll try auctioning off at least one unopened pack and see what I get. If I even get $5 per pack I'd turn a profit! And the earnings could be even more if I open some packs up and sell the cards individually. Sounds like fun!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Today I finished getting the last of my French Magic: the Gathering cards up. The majority of them come from a Magic expansion called Renaissance.
In order to fully explain this I need to give you a little background info. If you're a Magic person already, you can probably skip these next couple of paragraphs.
When Magic: the Gathering started, it was only printed in English. The first versions of the game, now known collectively as the Limited Edition and separately as Alpha and Beta were published with black borders around the edges of the cards. When these cards were reprinted under the name Unlimited Edition, the borders were changed to white. Precedent was then established that the first time any card was published, it would be with a black border. This precedent was then extended to the first time any card was published in any given language, it would be printed with a black border. So, for example, when the next edition, Revised Edition, was released in English and also, for the first time, in Italian, German and French, the English cards were printed with white borders (because they had been previously printed in English). But the Italian, German and French versions were printed with black borders. In many cases now, these other language versions of these cards sell for more than their English counterparts because of the black borders. Normally, if all else is equal, non-English cards sell for less, it has been my experience.
As a side note, Revised Edition also "cycled in" some cards from the expansion sets Arabian Nights, Antiquities, and Legends. Since these cards had previously been published in English under these sets with black borders, they still fit the precedent to have white borders in Revised.
Okay, now here's where it starts to get a little funky. When it was decided to move on to the Fourth Edition of Magic, Wizards of the Coast wanted to "cycle in" some different cards from Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends as well as The Dark and also planned to return some cards that were taken out of the set for Revised (notably Ironclaw Orcs and Twiddle). The problem was that these sets were not published in any non-English language (except for Legends and The Dark which were published in Italian). As a result, cards that were going to be "cycled in" to Fourth Edition had never been published in German, French or (for the Unlimited, Arabian Nights, and Antiquities cards) Italian with black borders. So, to meet policy, they couldn't be printed with white borders along with all the rest of the Fourth Edition cards until they were first printed in those languages with black borders.
Enter Renaissance. Released only in German and French (and in a scaled down version, Italian), this expansion set printed the cards that they wanted to "cycle in" to Fourth Edition with a black border. These cards also bear whatever the appropriate expansion symbol for these cards from their original appearance (a scimitar for Arabian Nights, an anvil for Antiquities, a column for Legends, or a crescent moon for The Dark). So it might seem just by looking at the cards, that they came from those original sets, only in German, French or Italian.
As far as I can tell, I am the only person on eBay with any Renaissance cards up for sale. That makes it extremely difficult for me to price the blasted things! Is a black-bordered with expansion symbol Bird Maiden in French worth as much as one in English from the original Arabian Nights? Almost certainly not. But is it worth more that a white-bordered one in English from Fourth Edition? Almost certainly so.
Another problem - how to market these? Technically they are Renaissance cards. But most people don't know about that expansion! The closest English equivalent is Chronicles - a set published as a companion to Fourth Edition, printed in English and then Chinese of all things a year later, that reprinted many cards from the earlier expansions with expansion symbols but with white borders. It would be dishonest to imply that a card from Renaissance was actually from Arabian Nights, say - even though that's what it looks like.
Another issue is that I have been unable to find, anywhere, even at Wizards of the Coast's official Magic: the Gathering web site, a rarity listing for this set (that is, which cards were "common" and "uncommon" or even "rare") which is information I usually include in my listings. I finally settled on using the rarity from Fourth Edition, since that I could determine.
All in all, it's very perplexing. I settled on including the words "French", "Chronicles" and "Renaissance" in my item titles. If I'd had more room I would have included "Arabian Nights", "Antiquities", "Legends" or "The Dark" for whichever set the card originally appeared in.
By the way, for the sake of historical completeness, Fourth Edition was also the first one to be printed in Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. These, of course, had black borders, since they were being printed for the first time in those languages. I am eyeing right now an auction for an unopened, factory sealed, box of Chinese Fourth Edition booster packs. That's 36 packs (each containing 15 cards) of cards with black borders that sell for more than their white bordered English equivalents (double or better in many cases!). If it sells for a reasonable price, it could turn a healthy profit. I may well try to buy it.
Yeah, yeah - I know, I know - I swore I wasn't buying any more. So much for that!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Several good sales lately, including a few of Alan's "commission" items. I'll be pleased when the last of them sells, and I can get Alan the rest of his money!
Toward that end, I put up one of them, the Bazaar of Baghdad from Arabian Nights up for auction this week. This card was in the Store for over $200, and I'll be very happy if it gets bid up that high. It's up to $132.50 as of this writing, which makes me happy!
On a completely unrelated note: the Nucleic Acid methods first exam which I was sure I bombed wasn't as bad as I feared - I actually got an 87/100 - amazing! The class average was 67%, with a high of 91, so I didn't do too shabbily at all!
Well, it's off to bed, now - far too many late nights these last few days, and I have Cell Culture lab in the morning. Ugh!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Lot 3 is completely finished and up in the Store. Thank goodness! Now I only have Josh's cards to finish and a whole bunch of non-English cards, and I'm done!
In other news, the third (and final) Collector's Edition went up for auction this past week, and ended up selling for $576. Less than I'd like, but it's gone - and went for a good deal more than someone else's which sold a few hours before mine (for somewhere between $300 and $400). The other person limited themselves to US only, so I got the international market (it was won by a gent from the UK - hiya, Paul!)
I have decided that the number of sales from the Store does in fact increase when I have something tempting up for auction, so I think I will keep auctioning off big ticket items one at a time to draw business in. This past weekend sales were brisk, while last weekend (when I didn't have one up) I actually had a 24-hour period with no sales whatsoever!
Another update: my Philippine scam artist tried to feed be some bull$#it story. Here's his quote: "Hey there. Sorry for me not being able to complete our transaction. I'm unable to transact using paypal because I have been suspended for no apparent reason! I called paypal and told them about thisand they told me I have reached $5,000 worth of orders. The thing is, the only purchases i have madeusing this shitty system are the card that i have ordered from you and Nike 2nd hand shoes. Damn thispaypal. And all the while they're claiming that this damn system is 100% safe!" Never mind the fact that another seller had the same problem with him for two other cards. Never mind the fact that he (under another eBay ID) tried to scam me out of another card.
Anyway, I got my Final Value Fee back for the Alpha Mox Pearl, and tomorrow I should be able to get the one back for the Library of Alexandria (I could get the Mox back earlier because he responded to that Dispute, but he never responded to the one I opened for the Library, so I have to wait until the 8th day after it was opened).
Well, that's the latest and greatest. Tomorrow hopefully I'll be able to photograph the cards from Josh's collection that still need it, and then by this time next week I'll have them up in the Store as well.
Final Note: My Biotech courses go all right. Instrumentation is so far VERY easy (I've done all this stuff in my undergraduate job and even taught some of it myself), Nucleic Acid Methods is easy lab (again, all done before) but tough lecture (LOTS of memorizing - I HATE memorizing). I got 29/30 on our first quiz, but the first Exam (1 week later, without getting the quiz back first) kicked my ass. Cell Culture is interesting (lecture is VERY cool) but the lab is tedious. I've already decided that a future in Cell Culture is NOT for me. Actually, I'm nowadays thinking that a job doing instrumentation, or better yet, scientific Technical Writing would be great for me.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Of course I still have some cards from Lot 3 and some from my friend Josh to get up, but I'm not letting that get me down right now. The fact remains that all of Alan's cards are finally, finally (and, did I mention, FINALLY) up. Woo-hoo!
Two other bizarre points to share:
- for a brief period of time today I actually had $0.00 in sales for the past 24 hours. VERY depressing. Friday nights and Saturday days are usually my best sales times. I don't know what's gone wrong!
- I believe I may have a copy-cat (or it's one of those cases of synergy that happen in life and it's just one big coincidence). There's another Store on eBay now which seems to have been opened back at the end of August (at the earliest) called "Mary's Magic and Miscellany." Seems VERY similar to my Store's name, don't you think? I will have to admit, though - hers had great alliteration.
Anywho, time to get back to my Happy Dance.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
When I clicked on "Upload All", they all went up fine, except for Hibernation. When I clicked on the alert icon for this item, it said that it appeared I was offering a method of payment not acceptable to eBay.
I didn't change the payment options on this file at all! It was identical to the others. This made no sense. I tried clicking a few things off then back on to see if that fixed it. Nope. I deleted that file and made a new one for Hibernation. Still no luck. Finally I tried to list the thing directly at the eBay web site, instead of through Turbolister. When I got to the final page, I got the same message.
Okay - think, Don. Where are the two places that payment options are listed? In the Payment Options section (which was the same for all of these items tonight) or in the Item Description. What was different in the Description? The first two paragraphs - where I list the card's name (with my sometimes snarky adjective) in the first paragraph and the card's text in the second.
Okay, so one of those two paragraphs is probably causing the issue. I delete the second paragraph. Same message.
I return the second paragraph and delete the first. Message goes away.
OKAY - this means that the snarky adjective must be the culprit (since the card's title shows up in the second paragraph as well - plus I have a version of Hibernation from Urza's Saga already up with no problem).
The adjective? "Green-zapping". I now know (thanks to Google) that GreenZap is another web-based money-transfer something-or-other. In other words, competition of PayPal. Since PayPal is an eBay company - well, of course they don't want you using GreenZap! And my snarky adjective was just close enough that their alarms went off.
I'm not sure what bothers me the most about this - that it took me so blasted long to figure out and fix the problem (the listing now says "Green-hosing" instead), or that eBay is so Big Brotherish that they actually can analyze the text of my item description and find objectionable material that quickly. Rather frightening, really!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Okay, I already documented my problems with the audiobooks this morning. Here's what else has gone wrong:
- The "cursed" Collector's Edition only went for $588, significantly less than either of the two times when the winning bidder failed to pay. At least this time the buyer has actually paid for the item.
- Only 24 of the 51 audiobooks up for auction sold, for less than $30 total by the time fees are taken out. Not such a great week there. And I still have to go through and edit the remaining 27 audiobooks to add the number of cassettes and run times.
- The absolute worst, though needs a few paragraphs for itself:
I'm the victim of an apparent scam artist in the Philippines. I got really excited when a buyer purchased the Alpha Mox Pearl for $550, and even more excited when they immediately paid with PayPal - with $50 for shipping for some reason. WOW! I left positive feedback, printed my packing slip...then another order from the Philippines - this time for the Library of Alexandria (one of the commission items for Alan) for $250. I sent an invoice, saying that there would be no additional shipping, as I could include the two cards together. Only later, after there was no forthcoming payment, did it occur to me that maybe the two Philippine purchases weren't actually the same buyer! D'oh! I checked, and sure enough, it was a new user, with 0 feedback. Now I started to get nervous. Large purchases from new users smell fishy.
Later my fears were shown to be founded. PayPal emails me saying that the $600 was apparently fraudulent. It was taken back from my account. Then I double checked and discovered that although the two items were purchased by different user names, they both showed the same shipping address.
I then noticed the "first" buyer (the one who "paid" $600) had other feedback as well. It looks like s/he "bought" two high-priced cards from another seller. I quickly emailed that seller to let him know what had happened to me, in case PayPal somehow missed his payment. Hopefully he hasn't already sent the cards.
Which brings up a point that scares me - if this hadn't happened on a Sunday, there's a very real possibility that I would have packaged up and mailed off that $550 card before PayPal got back to me about the fraudulent funds. And I would have been out a lot of money! Oh, so sorry!
And there doesn't seem to be a way to get my Final Value Fee back on these items until the requisite amount of time has passed for them to be listed as unpaid. Hopefully since PayPal is an eBay company, the two talk with each other and this user will get their accounts shut down and that will expedite matters.
I'm off to get the Boys to bed, then return to my dungeon to edit 27 audiobook listings and package up a dozen or so shipments to take to the post office tomorrow.
Maybe tomorrow will be a better day?!
The problem is that as a non-audiobook listener, I just didn't really know what all information would be useful. I included title, author, reader, and whether or not it was abridged. It never occurred to me to add number of cassettes/CDs and run time.
Well, anyway, since this was the second person to actually say anything, chances are good there are a larger number of people who have been irked by the lack of this info and have NOT commented, and in fact maybe not even bought because of it.
SO, this morning I have been going through all 81 listings, adding that information. And in so doing, I came across some problems:
- There were actually 12 audiobooks I thought were up in the Store, but weren't. I did a little digging (not too difficult with the meticulous notes I'm keeping on audiobooks to make sure I get the right amount of money to my Dad) and discovered that these were put up for auction one week, didn't sell, and I forgot to relist them in the Store. This happened back at the end of May. So for 4 months now no-one could have bought them even if they wanted to! Anyway, they are up now. One of them I discovered had the wrong title/author/reader info even, so even if it had been up, it wouldn't have been correct!
- Many of the listings hadn't yet been edited to include international shipping options, so I was able to fix that at the same time.
- I couldn't edit any item up for auction which has a bid on it. I knew I wouldn't be able to change the description, but I thought I'd be able to add to it. No dice. So, those 14 items (out of the 51 I have up for auction this week) remain unchanged - but, hey, they're selling - so maybe it's not that big a problem there.
- Any of the ones up for auction that DON'T sell will have to be edited AGAIN when I relist them in the Store. Massive pain in the buttocks.
I have developed a new policy on audiobooks in the Store due to the increased Store Listing Fees at eBay. My new policy with the audiobooks is simple - any listing that would end during the week and automatically relist gets put up for auction instead. All auctions now start at $0.99. My Dad told me when I started this that he'd be happy if he got $5 apiece for these. I've sold so many now at well above that price that I think he (and I) can afford to let a few go for less. Besides, just because the bidding starts at $0.99 doesn't mean that it won't go up from there!
Anywho, I now have to go make flashcards to memorize the structures of adenine and his siblings so I can memorize them in time for my Nucleic Acid Methods test Tuesday night. Ugh!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
As of this writing the bidding is up to $255. Hopefully it will go for a good deal more than that! The auction ends on Sunday (October 1, 2006) and I'll report back on the final bid.
In other news, I've been extremely busy. My Biotech courses (Instrumentation in the Biotech Lab, Cell Culture & Cell Function, and Nucleic Acid Methods) keep me very busy in general, and unavailable to do store business while I'm in class Monday night, and Tuesday and Thursday mornings and nights. It's somewhat frustrating to not be as available as I have been - but realistically, if/when I return to work full time, the store is going to get even less attention.
I have started working on the "Lot 3" cards, and have gotten several added to the store from the Mercadian Masques, Nemesis, Prophecy, Invasion, Planeshift, Apocalypse, Odyssey, Torment, Judgment, Onslaught, Legions, Scourge and Mirrodin sets. Hopefully I'll have some more in today from the Darksteel, Fifth Dawn, Champions of Kamigawa, Betrayers of Kamigawa, Saviors of Kamigawa and Ravnica: City of Guilds sets.
I have been promoted to the Silver level of PowerSeller, as the sales from Alan's cards (both the commission items and "Lot 4") have boosted my sales phenomenally (about $12,000 in raw sales the last 30 days). Of course I don't see all of this - a lot goes to Alan, as well as to eBay and PayPal (my eBay fees, listing and Final Value, for August totaled over $660 and PayPal took another $340 - over $1000 in fees!).
I've had several repeat customers of late, which is wonderful! Not only does this mean more sales, which is cool in and of itself, but it also means that these people have been pleased enough with the items I sell and the service they receive to come back to the store. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :-)
Cool feedback of late: A gent in Australia (thanks, Shane!) write, in a series of Feedbacks (I'll use ... between individual entries): "This...guy...is...absolutely...totally...Awesome!...Delivery to Oz in 3 days! Unbelievable!...THIS GUY ROCKS!" I love it when I get complimented on delivery times, especially since once I mail it, it's completely out of my control! But, I am at the post office every single week day, and most Saturdays as well, so I guess I do get things out quicker than the average seller.
Well, enough patting myself on the back for one morning. It's off to shower and then (you guessed it) to the post office!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The third one is the one that's odd.
The third set I put up for auction about a month ago. The winning bid was again ~$650. However, a few hours later I received email from the winning bidder saying that he didn't read the description carefully enough, and he didn't realize that the set had been opened. Could he back out of the sale? He offered to pay the difference between his winning bid and the next highest bidder's high bid, if they wanted to still buy it. That didn't work out, but I offered that I could cancel him out if he paid for the listing fees, and I would just list it for sale again.
Well, he has not yet paid the agreed-upon $3 to cover listing fees, but I did relist the set. This time the winning bid was $800! So, much better. BUT, the winning bidder has not yet paid, about 1.5 weeks later! Not so much as a single email of explanation. I've initiated an unpaid bidder process, and the winning bidder finally wrote, asking me to wait a couple of days. I never mind waiting, if I know that I'm waiting. That was a couple of days ago and still no payment. I'm worried I'll have to file for a Final Value Fee refund, and list the thing a third time.
Very, very odd!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I had the deadline hanging over my head of the Store Inventory Listing Fee price hike at eBay, so I was busting my butt trying to get all of Alan's cards up in the store before that happened.
I almost managed it, getting all of the expansion cards in, the last of them about 11:30 p.m. the last day (I probably had a few more hours, as I think eBay's "day" doesn't start until midnight PST, since they're based in CA).
Then I crashed.
I gave myself the next day off completely from card cataloguing. I still processed orders, of course, but as I had been up 'till close to midnight every night for the preceding 2-3 weeks, was ignoring my family (my sons have NEVER seen so much Clifford, Bob the Builder and such)...it was time for a break from almost all things Store related.
I still have cards from Revised, Fourth Edition and Fifth Edition to get up from Alan. Plus there's the "Lot 3" cards to go as well. I get a few more up each day, but I am not going to go too crazy (for example, I have decided to just fold the Lot 3 cards into existing listings when possible to save on listing fees, so I won't be able to 100% accurately track sales). Although I do have another deadline now - my classes at Montgomery College start on this coming Thursday.
Sales have been brisk - Alan's stuff is DEFINITELY bringing in more business. Here's a few anecdotes to give you an idea of the stuff to happen lately:
- A gentleman from Spain (hello, Oscar) put together a large (3 invoice, ~$100) order over the course of two or three days.
- Another gent from France (hello, Nicolas) ordered a mere four cards. But given that three of them were from the "Power 9", his order totaled over $1600! For some reason his PayPal account is acting up, and he's having to pay me in stages. But the last payment should (hopefully) come in tonight, and then I can send him his cards. He (wisely, IMHO) chose to insure this particular package.
- A former Spanish customer "warned" me that he has referred my Store to a friend and will be letting his friend put together an order via his account. My customers are great!
- Speaking of great, I FINALLY got a comment from someone about my card descriptions in my listings! Said he: "I just wanted to mention great job on the lay out of your card sales. You put forth a lot more effort then some other sellers. (card desc when you cant read it)" I'm glad they proved useful for at least one person! Some sellers have the exact same text in every listing, something along the lines of "Your are buying the card in the item title, in the condition mentioned" - how lame is that?!?! If I did only that I'd have finished off Alan's stuff and Lot 3 all WELL before the deadline. But that's not cricket!
- Speaking of comments - I'm still waiting for someone to say they appreciate my sometimes snarky adjectives before the card titles in the first line of each listing. I actually put a lot of thought into those sometimes! My favorites are for the Crystal Rod, Iron Star, Ivory Cup, Throne of Bone, and Wooden Sphere which collectively are known by players as the "lucky charms". I describe each as being "magically delicious". I'm rather proud of that one :-)
Okay, that gives you a couple of snapshots to bring you up to speed. As for the Lot updates, Lot 1 still has about $2 to go to start making a profit. Lot 2 is in the black at ~$20. And Lot 4 (Alan's cards), I have made somewhere around 300% profit on at this point, and still going strong. Lot 3 has still does not have any individually listed cards, so there's no official Lot 3 sales as yet.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Some of the latest: all three Fine condition Revised Taigas for $22.50 each to a gentleman in Belgium; two sets of 5-issue limited series Jonah Hex comic books for $20 each; James' return yesterday to buy the complete Antiquities set for $500.
But the oddest thing to happen lately was a discovery I made when I was playing with the Traffic Reports that I can get for my Store. I can see how many visitors the store has had, which items are the most often viewed, what domains are referring people to the store (mostly eBay itself, of course) and what search terms most often end up with people coming to the store.
When I was checking out the referring domains I noticed that the first and second most were the usual eBay.com and eBay.ca (the Canadian eBay). But #3 puzzled me. It was from magictraders.com - a site dedicated to the sale and trade of Magic cards. I did a little digging and found out that the referral was coming from a Forum discussion where the gent who won the Mox Ruby from me was asking peoples' opinions of whether he got a good deal or not (I'll let you read the discussion yourself if you're interested). He included a link to the item itself, and (as of this writing), 180 people have clicked on that and seen the Mox in question. Now, how many (if any) of them went on to purchase cards form me, I have no idea. But it was really kind of odd to be getting traffic from such an unexpected source.
On the Lot front, "Lot 4" (Alan's cards) have gone into the black finally, and anything I sell from here on is profit. Good deal. "Lot 1" and "Lot 2" still have some work to do. And, of course, since I haven't even looked at "Lot 3" since the cards came in, that one has a LONG way to go!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Final tally was somewhere on the order of 260 cards for around $400. It took six invoices to get the whole order together. A lot of the cards were from Alan's collection, and many were from the cards I'm selling for him on commission.
And to make things even crazier, James then went on, after I shipped out his cards to him this morning, to win an auction for 70 cards this afternoon. AND after I had that all packaged up (upon his telling me he was not buying any more), he came back tonight and bought EVEN MORE! This is my kind of customer!
On the Alan front, I am a mere $2 shy of recouping the money I invested in buying his collection - and the really big ticket items haven't even sold yet! Also, the commission items have thus far brought in $1400+ (for me - over $2800 total). Definitely the best investment I have made in quite some time. Thank you, Alan!
I have gotten Alan's cards up through Fallen Empires in the Store now - and have started on Ice Age. Still 10 more expansions to go after that, plus the Unlimited, Revised, 4th and 5th edition cards. I'm not sure I'll be able to get everything up before the August 22 store listing fee price increase!
Well, I'm off to read a little and go to bed early tonight - I'm way to tired to work on Store stuff any more today. But tomorrow it's back to the grindstone!
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The (in my opinion poor shape) Mox Ruby ended up selling for $209.16. Not bad at all!
Also today the Legends complete set sold for $1100 and one of the two Antiquities complete sets sold for $500. And a Mana Drain from Legends went for $120.
All in all, a very good day. Actually, my last 24-hour total sales is $1949.91 right now. It's really rather incredible. Getting Alan's collection was perhaps one of the smartest business moves I've ever made. Thank you, Alan!
Work-wise, I have gotten Alan's cards from the Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends and The Dark sets up. That leaves only Chronicles (not much there), Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Homelands, Alliances, Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight, Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus, Urza's Saga and Urza's Legacy. Oh, and the cards from the basic sets, Unlimited, Revised, Fourth Edition and Fifth Edition.
And I haven't even looked at Lot 3 yet!
WOW I still have a lot of work to do! And I'm taking 10 credits at Montgomery College this fall, so I'd better get my act together!
Monday, August 07, 2006
Alan's collection is VERY extensive. His cards added to mine more than double the stock that I had in my Store, and a lot of it is REALLY good stuff.
I took the first couple of days to get the stuff up that I'm selling on commission. Many of those have sold over the last week - in fact I'm now an honest-to-goodness Power Seller in my own right, having sold over $1800 worth of items in the last 7 days alone!
One of the items which I got when I bought the bulk of his collection was a Mox Ruby which was not in really great shape. I was not at all sure what to ask for it, so I decided to take Josh's advice from a month or so ago and "let the eBayers decide" what it was worth. I listed it for auction starting at $9.99 and sat back. I accidentally made the auction a 3-day instead of the 7-day I had intended, and did not notice until it had a bid, so I couldn't change it.
As of this writing, it's been bid up to $152.50.
The auction ends early tomorrow afternoon, and I'll report then on the final price.
Oh, speaking of final prices, the Collector's Edition I had up for auction ended at $631.12 - short of the $800 that a similar set had gone for just a few days earlier, but not too shabby. There's still another copy in the Store (asking price $900) and one more which I will auction off later.
Oh, and Lot 2 has almost paid for itself, with a good number of cards still to go.
More later, when I have time (maybe in a month?).
Monday, July 31, 2006
I have also gone through and confirmed that the sets of Antiquities, The Dark and Legends are complete. He's got 2 complete sets of the first two, even! And, frankly, these are some of the most Mint cards I've seen in quite some time. Alan made the sets when the Expansions came out - he bought multiple boxes of each Expansion, and made the sets as he opened the packs. These cards have never been in decks, never been shuffled, barely been touched, even. I even felt guilty going through them myself!
I need to take some photos of the better cards to include with the listing, tomorrow, then they'll be up as well. There are other sets to go through as well. Hopefully I can get them all cleared and up tomorrow. Some of the sets may not be complete, however, and I'll need to look into acquiring the missing cards first. Hopefully not too many fall into that category.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
I wasn't sure I wanted to (or should) shell out his asking price all at once (while fair, it was a lot). But I knew I sure as heck didn't want to keep meticulous careful notes on thousands of cards, which would be necessary if I went the commission route.
When I got there last night, he proposed a compromise which I found nothing short of brilliant. He sold me the bulk of his collection for a certain amount (I won't disclose, but let's say I should have no problem making my money back and then some...in fact I've told him that if I end up making a LOT more than that - like 4x or more - I'd give him some more because I don't want to take advantage of a friend). And the rest of his cards, which represent complete sets of things, (like the 3 copies of the complete Collector's Edition, two of which are already up for auction or in the Store) I will sell for him at 50% commission. This means I'll only have to keep very careful track of ~100 items, which I don't find unreasonable.
So, anyway, this brings me to the title of my post today. One of the cards in the bulk of his collection is a Mox Pearl (one of the 9 most highly sought after cards in Magic, called collectively the "Power 9"). Not only is it a Mox Pearl, though - it's an ALPHA Mox Pearl.
Okay, okay. For some of you that was impressive. Others are left saying "wha, huh?"
Let me explain. Magic: the Gathering started with a print run which accidentally left out three cards, and had some other minor errors. This run is now known as the "Alpha Limited Edition" (or Alpha for short). Wizards of the Coast (the company that makes Magic) almost immediately fixed that problem and started a second run ("Beta").
This makes the Alpha cards quite, quite rare, and basically the oldest Magic cards in existence. Probably by itself it the Alpha Mox Pearl will bring in $400+.
I have a lot of work ahead of me - Alan had a LOT of cards. But I look forward to seeing what he owned (what I now own) and what the sales will bring.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The same gentleman in Arlington, VA who sold me Lot 2 had a lot of 1700+ cards up on eBay, including lots of good rares which should do well in the Store. Initially I bid only $50 for the lot and was winning it at $10.50 for a while. Yesterday I got outbid, and then that person got outbid...
After some thought and further research on the expected sales values of the listed cards I decided I was willing to go up to $100. So, with barely 1 minute left today on the auction I bid $100. The high bidder had only bid $99, so away I walked with what will now be referred to as "Lot 3". The seller is going to be unavailable this weekend and most of next week, so instead of heading over to Arlington to meet with him, I've shelled out $20 (plus $3 for insurance) to have them shipped via USPS Priority Mail. He hopes to ship tomorrow morning, so I should receive them on Monday.
As for Lots 1 and 2, here's the current update. I have now taken into account the listing fees for these Lots (although I've not yet factored in the Final Value Fees, so the figures are still off a tad):
Lot 1: -16.63 (we're getting there)
Lot 2: -20.70 (not bad considering I paid $99 to begin with)
I'm still confident that a profit will be had...eventually.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Yesterday I started up my email to find 61 "eBay Store Item Sold" messages. WOW! A guy in Italy (howdy, Guido!) had put together quite an order. As I started to put together his two invoices (remember, eBay will only allow 40 on one invoice for some reason) I noticed that some of the "items" were actually multiple card orders, so the order was for more that 61 cards.
Then I noticed, as I prepared the second invoice, that it was for more than 61 items.
A quick check back to the email revealed three new messages - and more coming in as I watched! Oy! He wasn't done yet!
A few hours later (I am NOT making this up) his order was complete. A total of 198 "items" had sold with a total of ~270 cards, for around $108! Yippeee!
Now I am printing out packing slips (it took 5 invoices for this order) and getting ready to go pull his cards. Fun, fun, fun! Many of the cards are from Lot 2, so I will have to update you on that later.
In other news, I finished identifying all my non-English cards, and got some German cards up in the Store yesterday. I hope to get the rest of the German ones and some Italian ones up later today.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Monday I spent most of the day (thanks to my wonderful mother who watched my son for me so I could) taking ~670 photographs of all of the non-English Magic cards that I own. I got them through various sources - most of them from family who went to Europe and bought a couple packs for me years ago, and a gift subscription a friend (thanks, Derrick!) gave me to The Duelist, the official Magic magazine at the time, which included one pack of every expansion of Magic that came out that year in every language published.
Besides English, Magic is published in Italian, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. The German I had no trouble with - I took German in school, and my wife speaks it with the Boys, so I know enough to identify them easily. French and Italian I know enough to sort out fairly easily. But Spanish vs. Portuguese really gave me a hard time at first - eventually, with the help of the tilde (~) (over n's in Spanish, but a's in Portuguese) and Alta Vista's Babel Fish online translator, I was able to sort them out.
But the Asian languages? Now THEY gave me trouble. I was able to sort them into three piles, basically, after some study. My older son was in Chinese immersion for Kindergarten last year, and actually helped me ID which pile was Chinese. Then my Mom on Monday confirmed for me which one was Korean. Obviously the odd one out is Japanese.
I've spent the last three days using the online Magic search engine I found before to identify the cards' English names, and rarities. Thankfully the Advanced search allows a search by artist, so I was able to, for example, look for any Green cards in Tempest by Brian Snoddy and then just match the picture and I know the card.
WHEW! And, of course, I'm not done yet. I still have to process the photos I took (I wanted to wait until I had identified the cards, since I need to know what to call the .jpg file) and then type up descriptions. I believe some of the photos will end up not being used, as I will most likely end up offering many (most?) of the common cards as lots, which means new photos need to be taken.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
BUT this changed when eBay announced a 2-day sale on their listings for 7/20 and 7/21. Auction and Fixed Price items only $0.20 apiece. SO, I listed 20 audiobooks to auction on Thursday as 3-day auctions (ending later today) and another 20 on Friday as 7-day auctions.
Already three of the ones ending Friday have bids, and one ending later today has been bid up from an initial $7.50 to $12. Not bad at all. And it only cost $4 for each batch to list them, so there's a pretty good return. Additionally, one of the books from the Store sold for $20, and it's possible that one of the auction books led the person to my Store.
The Big Bad News of late is that later in August eBay is changing their Store fees. What now costs $0.02 to list in the Store will go up to $0.05 - a rather substantial increase. And the Store Item Final Value Fees will also be increasing. All in all, it's going to be a great deal less cost-effective to have a large Store inventory like I have.
So, I also listed a whole lot of my own stuff for auction or fixed price this week, taking advantage of the $0.20 sale. So far none of the auction items have bids. I did, however, relist the 10 Fixed Price Magic cards that didn't sell last week, and three of them have sold. Go figure.
Next time I'll have a Lot 1 and Lot 2 update as well as the results of all the auctions and stuff this week.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
First off, the attempt to have comic book auctions that end on Friday night was a complete disaster. Absolutely none of them sold. Was it the day of the week? Or did I not list comics people were interested in? Impossible to know the reason for sure, of course, but I think that I will avoid Friday night endings from now on.
Next up the fixed price Magic cards. None of them sold either, but I believe that they did help drive some traffic to the Store, so for that purpose they were worthwhile. I have relisted the 10 items this week, but changed it so that they end on Sunday night instead of Tuesday night. That might increase the number of them that sell, as they will appear higher on search lists during those crucial weekend sales days.
As for the Lots, I have sold cards from both so far. Lot 1 still has $21.25 to go to break even, and Lot 2 still has $82.10 to break even. These figures do not include the fees to list the items (or the Final Value Fees of the sold items), but it also does not include cards that have sold but payment has not yet arrived. I still believe I will make a profit on both of these Lots, but it will obviously take a while.
No further word from the seller who had filed an Item Not Received complaint with eBay. Hopefully that means that my evidence of delivery was enough to quiet that. I'm hoping it was a simple case of forgetting that they had gotten the card, and now they're embarrassed.
Finally, a bit of an oddity - for some reason I had very poor sales over the weekend (my typical busy time), yet in the past 24 hours I have sold three sets of comics for $42 total to three different people (including one in Portugal!). I have no idea what is suddenly driving traffic to my Comic Book section (I have none up for Fixed Price or Auction right now), but I'm glad for it!
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Amazing Spider-Man 36 CGC 9.4 White Pages 9/11 story; Akira 1 Katsuhiro Otomo CGC 9.4 White Pages; Superman/Batman 8 1st Print CGC 9.6 First Supergirl
I had some trouble decided on the price of these three. There are few comps out there to use to gauge what to charge. Most of the other Amazing Spider-Man #36 issues graded 9.4, for example, are signed by either the author (J. Michael Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame) or the artist (John Romita Jr.). That, of course, increases their value - but by how much? The only CGC graded copies of Akira #1 on eBay right now are rated 9.6, not 9.4 - again this increases the value, but by how much? And most of the copies of Superman/Batman #8 that are CGC rated on eBay right now are second or third printings, which decreases their value.
I finally settled on prices ($80, $100 and $60, respectively). It cost me over $60 to have these graded, so I hope that I can get that money back at the very least. We shall see. I'll of course keep you posted.
Another issue which I had not anticipated - the cases that these comics are now sealed in are larger than any box I currently have. I'm not sure how I'm going to ship these things when they're bought!
Friday, July 14, 2006
Anyway, the point to this is that today a customer from back in May opened a dispute claiming that their item was never received. I shipped that item back on 5/24. Using the USPS website tracking function, I find that the package was delivered on May 30.
SO, either the USPS website is somehow wrong, the package was delivered and stolen, the customer has forgotten that it arrived, or the customer is just for some reason out to get me. Thankfully, I have a tracking number and the USPS site on my side in this dispute, should it go any further (I provided all this info to the customer and hopefully it will not go any further than this). If I had simply taken the package to the Post Office and not gotten the tracking number, I'd have nothing but a receipt saying I shipped something to Independence, LA on May 24. This way I have a little bit more ammo as it were.
So, very glad to have spent that particular $0.14!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I'm trying a couple of experiments this week. First off, I have several comic book auctions up which will end on Friday night. I don't know if that will be a good idea or not. We'll see. Second, I am not putting any Magic cards on auction. Instead I have moved several over to Fixed Price (basically the same idea as a Store item, as it has a Buy It Now price, but it will show up in searches more prominently). I put up 10 cards which will hopefully prove to be popular in searches, and may lead to more traffic to the store. Again, we'll see.
Lot update: I have sold three cards from "Lot 2" for a total of $9.25 so far. Only $89.75 still to go to break even :-) Nothing sold yet from "Lot 1".
Sunday, July 09, 2006
The way I type up items is that I enter the descriptive information: title, set and rarity for the item title; what the card does and its condition for the text description. Then I research the card on eBay to see what other people are offering them up for. I then price mine such that they aren't the cheapest available, but are a bit below what seems to be the average.
Well, when it came to research Flooded Strand I found that this card is, for some reason, extremely popular. My price ended up being $15 for the blasted thing! Very pleasing to find that there was such a valuable card in the lot that I was unaware of. The puzzling thing is that I cannot tell why it's so popular! It seems to me to not be such an incredibly useful card. The only thing I can think of is that someone must have used this card in a deck to win a tournament or something similar. If a card is a key card in a winning deck like that, it suddenly gains a massive popularity world-wide as people scramble to recreate or improve on that winning deck.
Anyway, the point to this post here is that last night I completed the listings for "Lot 2" (as I've been calling it) and got them all up in the store. Suddenly "the Sundry" has a lot more categories available, as most of these cards were from sets that I didn't previously own any cards in.
Now I need to tackle "Lot 1" - that set of mostly common cards I won a while back. The problem? Our digital camera has started acting up, and I am unable to take photos at the moment. I ended up scanning the last few cards I wanted to get up today (a few Slivers that I took out of a deck), and the scans are just too grainy. I have abandoned that as a viable option. So, now I either hope our camera starts behaving itself, or look into buying a cheap digital with no bells & whistles (since I don't need anything fancy for my purposes). SIGH.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
When I researched this item I found only two similar listings on eBay - one current auction which was only bid up to $1, and one which had sold for a final bid of around $18. Both of these were (from the picture) not "NIB" so I figured mine could probably go for higher. I considered asking $20, then decided to go for $25 and see if I'd get it.
Less than three hours later.
Now I have mixed emotions - equal parts elation that I sold it for $25 and dread that I probably could have gotten more. Ah, well - a good profit any which way. I called my Mom and told her the good news, and also told her to keep an eye out for any such items in the future (she's a glass dealer on eBay, so she's constantly at flea markets, thrift stores, antiques shoppes, etc. looking for a good deal). I'll resell them for her for a percentage :-)
The thing I'm most excited about is a couple of toys and some comic-related buttons that I've added to the inventory. These are things I've had lying around for some time now. A couple were presents to me, some I picked up as freebies, others I bought. Most have few or no competition on eBay that I can find. The buttons in particular I found no others up for sale. This makes it hard to set a price - what is reasonable?
I finally decided to ask a what seemed to me to be a higher-end price, figuring "what the heck?" - they may sell there! If I'm the only game in town, then they have to pay my price or not get them, right? Actually, my big fear is that it will turn out that my asking price is a bargain and I could have gotten much more for them!
The other REALLY big news is that a friend of mine (hi, Alan!) has asked me if I'd be interested in selling his Magic collection for him for a commission. WOW! He has LOTS of good cards, which would 1) bring in a lot of money, and 2) attract a lot of traffic to my store. What I'd like to do is give him a fair price and buy the collection from him outright, then I wouldn't have to keep such meticulous notes on what sells, etc. as I do my Dad's audiobook sales...but I don't know if I've got enough cash to make him a decent offer. We'll see.
Well, I'm off to add more cards from "Lot 2" so that I can get on to Lot 1. Speaking of which - it arrived on Monday. Almost all common cards, I'm afraid, which will make it difficult to turn a profit on the set. SIGH. Perhaps I am not meant to add stock to my store by buying lots off eBay. :-(
Thursday, June 29, 2006
But then I noticed this one up for sale today, and the seller lives in Vienna, VA - a (relatively) short subway ride away from here...and when I contacted him he was amenable to meeting me there so I could avoid the shipping charges....
So, I won a large batch of non-basic land cards for $99 (no one else bid on this lot), and went down tonight to pick it up. The seller was a very nice guy who is selling off large chunks of his overlarge collection to make room and appease his girlfriend. I can relate!
Some of the cards are not in as good a condition as I might have hoped - in fact the bigger ticket items are in the worst shape. That's disappointing...but I still believe that I can turn a profit on this one.
I will keep separate track of this lot's sales (as I will the first lot, which I don't have in hand yet) and see: 1) if I make a profit; 2) how much of a profit is made; 3) how long it takes to make said profit. I will, of course, keep you posted!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
That nice large(ish) order from Italy yesterday included three copies of the card Elvish Hunter from the Fallen Empires set. When I went to pull the cards I discovered I only had one copy of the card (not a BIG deal - they only sold for $0.15 each).
When I went to investigate how this could have happened, I discovered my mistake. You see, in Fallen Empires, Wizards of the Coast tried an experiment. To make the common cards of the set more "collectible", they included three or four different versions of each card in the set (same text, different artwork). When I inventoried my collection, accidentally lumped in the Elvish Scout card with the Elvish Hunter card - I managed to do it when I photographed them and again when I wrote up the descriptions - I thought nothing of the different pictures because this set had multiple artworks for each common card. I only had one copy of the Elvish Hunter and 5 copies of the same picture of the Elvish Scout - similar names, of course, didn't help.
So, anyway, I have offered the customer his choice of:
- two copies of the Elvish Scout shown in the picture;
- up to 4 cards totaling up to $0.50 (a little extra to make up for the mistake); or
- a partial refund of $0.50 (again, a little extra for the error).
Hopefully he will be understanding and not too ticked off at me. Oy! And now I need to create a new listing for the Elvish Scout on top of it all!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I have bought a large lot of Magic cards - 300+ - for $23 total.
The lot was up for auction with less than an hour left. The person seems to not know completely what they have (it seems they, like me, were into Magic years ago and, based on their description they have no clue about the more recent sets). So, there may be gems in there. Hopefully so. The lot had been bid up to $13.50, with shipping at $7.50. I figured I was willing to go to $30 total, or ~$0.10 per card. So, I waited until there was a minute left, bid $22.50 and waited. I won it for $15.50. Woo-hoo!
Now I wait for the cards to arrive and see if I came up with a royal flush or a lousy pair of twos (more metaphors! Yippee! Are you keeping count?).
I figure even if I come out with 300+ commons, the worst I'm out is ~$13 bucks, as I ought to be able to sell them for $0.05 each or so. But I'm not TOO concerned - this person sold a 400+ card lot a little bit ago and the person who left feedback seemed pleased with what they got.
If this turns out well, I will probably look into doing more of this. This is how you make money on Magic on eBay - you buy large lots from people who don't know what they have, or who are just trying to dump their cards, then pick the lots apart and sell the cards individually.
I will, of course, keep you posted here on the results!
Last week was the first time my Dad's audiobook auctions took a loss. Only one audiobook sold, for $3, and it cost $3.50 to list them all. What a bummer! Of course, to underscore the vagaries of eBay, the current batch had a bid on one of them for $9.99 within an hour of its being listed - go figure!
My Global Priority Mail boxes from the USPS finally arrived today. Now if anyone from outside the US buys comics from me, I can save some money on materials because the box is free!
Speaking of boxes, the last time I bought some for comic shipping over eBay they cost me ~$0.70 apiece, which was much more than the previous time I had purchased (that seller no longer has listings on eBay, I'm afraid). The boxes I bought have variable depth - they can be cut to be 6, 4, or 2 inches deep. I so far have not used anything but 2 inches, so I'm always cutting boxes, and wasting cardboard (not to mention money). The company I got the new boxes from, Uline, has a website and I checked them out. It turns out that 1) they have a box the same l/w, but only 2.75 inches deep for only ~$0.40 each, and 2) the boxes I bought I could have gotten for cheaper directly through them (I bought them through a middle-man on eBay). So, I ordered 100 of the 2.75 boxes, and will reserve what's left of the variable-depth ones for large orders (should I ever have any).
In other news, I had a customer buy a set of comics from me, then never pay! No email at all, no sign of life to speak of. I sent two friendly reminders, then filed an nonpaying bidder report with eBay. Today I filed for the final value fee credit, which gives the customer a strike, and left negative feedback for them. I hate to do it, but I've not much choice. Who buys something and then disappears?!?!
Also, I have dropped below 1950 items in the store - sales haven't been too horrible!
A potential customer from Germany wrote yesterday to ask how much shipping would be for 10 comics and 50 cards. Hopefully the quote ($21.50 for Global Priority) didn't chase him off!
ALERT! As I write this, someone in Italy is putting together a large(ish? - 27 cards for $4.35 so far) Magic order. VERY exciting...
Oh, and did I mention that I did indeed send off three comics to be graded by the CGC? I'll report when they arrive on how well they rated, and of course post links for the three items when they make it to the store.
Well, I think that's all the latest. More will follow - hopefully with not as large a gap as the last couple of times!
Friday, June 16, 2006
There's not been too terribly much to report, which is why I've not written. I did have an odd order today, however. A customer had emailed me yesterday asking how much postage would be for 75-100 cards, and asked if I had any other Unlimited lands besides the ones up in the store. I replied with the shipping quote (which I somehow screwed up and sent too small an amount - but I couldn't really back out on that since I sent it) and sent the links to my lands for sale (using the special code for the store referral credit).
This morning I awoke to 68 "eBay Store Item Sold" emails. Lovely!
Her total order came to 84 cards. But I noticed something odd. She ordered a single set of each land - then bought up the ones I had moved over to fixed price as a draw to the Store. She then bought a single copy from each of my single land items. Then I noticed that she bought two copies of some cards, but each of them were purchased one at a time.
It dawned on me that maybe she didn't understand that there was a "Quantity Available" field on these listings, and that she could order multiple copies of them if she wanted when she made a purchase. So, I emailed her back and let her know that (I was very careful to say "you may already know this, but..."). She wrote back very grateful for the information, and proceeded to buy 10 more sets of each of the lands as well as a few more cards she had apparently wanted multiples of. So, I did a good deed in teaching her something she didn't know about eBay, and got a larger sale in the bargain. Good for me!
As an additional upshot - her order is now large enough that I don't think I can any longer send it in a single puffy envelope, and will have to use a box, which means refiguring the shipping on it, so I can fix my mistake!
One other highlight - for a few days I actually exceeded the over $1000 in sales for the past 30 days mark. I'm back down to ~$900 now, but I was rather pleased at having hit this milestone. Maybe I can keep that Power Seller status for a while longer after all.
Speaking of which, the outfit which offered up that large lot of video games a while back now has up in the eBay reseller marketplace five large pallets full of store return consumer electronics - phones, game players, mp3 players, video game strategy guides, more...the shipping will be outrageous, I'm sure (and the buyer has to arrange that themselves) so I may not want to bother...but it is tempting. The last I checked the current bid was only like $3 for the whole shebang! The auctions end on the 19th so I'll keep an eye on them and ponder.
Well, that's all the news from Lake Wobegone (did I spell that right?). Hopefully it won't be so long 'till my next report...