How to sell collectibles online for a BIG profit!

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Back in the day it was possible to make tens of thousands of dollars (and more!) in the collectibles market. Today, it’s a whole new online selling world.

Beanie Babies are no longer a viable retirement plan and only those who know “the secret” see real profits when selling collectibles on eBay.

Recently, a client brought me a few Emmett Kelly Jr. figurines to sell on eBay. Though clowns creep some people out, I’m using her items as the case study for this tutorial.

Can collectibles still bring in the cash

When the economy tanked in 2007 – 2008, so did the collectibles market – for the average buyer/seller. However, there are still many of us who continued to turn profits. How did we manage to make money in a downturn?

Are you ready for the secret to be revealed?


Yes. I know. I harp about research. But without it, you are missing a huge opportunity to find the real money in a market that many mistakenly think is dead.

Believe me, there is always somebody willing to pay top dollar for what they want. Keep reading to find out how you can use eBay marketplace research to sell collectibles for big cash!

Find the right information, find the cash

The very first thing I tell clients who want me to consign their collectibles is that it doesn’t matter what they paid for an item. It only matters what the current market value is on eBay.

Over the years, I’ve seen many different Emmett Kelly clowns for sale on eBay. The market is all over the place. Prices go up and down.

When selling collectibles, begin by snooping around on eBay. See what other’s have for sale. The most valuable clown figurines currently on eBay are the bronze type like this one:

 This statue sold the highest price recently for $299.00 on July 31, 2016, eBay item #311661461197.

$300! Awesome! Or is it?

Don’t be a clown. Use WorthPoint for your eBay research.

Using my favorite research tool: WorthPoint. After doing a search for the basic name “Emmett Kelly” the first thing I noticed was these were not great sellers with only a 10.71% sell through rate in the last 90 days out of 8,665 listings.

terapeak search emmett kelly

The highest priced item that sold: Emmett Kelly Painting By Sue Poeteete LIMITED EDITION numbered And Signed. It sold as a “Buy-It-Now” listing for $300.00.

To be successful with selling items like these, we need to increase the odds for success. Which means it’s important to explore all types of options and look at the most successful listings, paying attention to:

  • Keywords in Title
  • Categories placed
  • Shipping offered

Paying attention to the little things and learning from the completed listings will be the best guide for selling these on eBay.

Stop clowning around. Be an eBay SEO Ninja.

With so many listings it can be challenging to narrow down and find our exact item. Times like these call for eBay SEO skills so we understand how to get creative in our keyword searches.

For example, I couldn’t locate an exact on one of the figurines after trying several combinations of keywords I had one work using only : Emmett Kelly Appearing and Tah-dah : 

I was very pleased to see this search had a 37.5% sell-through rate and the highest price had a buy-it-now asking price of $59.99 which sold, accepting a best-offer price of $51.00.

  • The title read: Flambro Emmett Kelly Jr Clown Figurine NOW APPEARING Signed
  • It was listed in the eBay category:
    Collectibles>Decorative Collectibles>Decorative Collectible Brands>Flambro.
  • They used calculated shipping.

Step two

The next step is to take a look at current listings to help decide on a fair asking price. There are actually 5 current listings:

  1. $66.45 – Free Shipping – No box
  2. $63.75 – Calculated Shipping with box.
  3. $69.00 – Flat rate shipping $19.95 with box
  4. $79.95 – Flat shipping $17.95 with box and base missing
  5. $110.00 – Free Shipping – No box

Based on all this research I’ve decided to create our listing $99.89 free shipping:

emmitt kelly figurine

Item ID: 391540281557

I also included “make offer” so no we will wait! Check back and I will post updates once it sells.

The next one I have is a 70th Birthday Commemorative  edition titled “Let him eat cake!”  The good news is I found many of them listed live on the site and on completed listings. The bad news is not any of them sold. Why? Because people were trying to sell them for very high asking prices with the key words “Emmett Kelly 70th”

August 6th, 2016 a seller had one listed in the box for $199.99 with free shipping. They listed it twice since then and marked it down to $150.00 and started charging $15.95 for USA, flat rate shipping.

I must say this is a smart seller trying to increase the selling odds because they’ve also added a second category to their listings :
Collectibles>Decorative Collectibles>Figurines>Clowns, Circuses.

Although they’ve not sold it yet they do keep trying to get a high price for it. This can be a good idea with items like this and then dropping the price over time.  We can all learn from other eBay sellers successes and failures. It’s nice to have “high hopes” sometimes.

At the end of the day, it’s a roll of the dice with items like this. Needing that “one” special person to come along that is looking for the item at the same time it’s listed.  As they say it can be “luck of the draw” so we have to decide if we are willing to “wait” and let it sit in inventory and possibly pay a listing fee every 30 days.

I did a new search on WorthPoint using only the words “Let Him Eat Cake” and I did find one sold at auction for $50.00 with only 1 bid.  The next lowest priced listing had an asking price $89.95 as a buy-it-now and it did not sell.

This type of research helps us decide which direction to go with our items. The current market value on figures is not very high compared to that “rare” painting in the original search that sold for $300.00.

WorthPoint #1 Must Have Tool

It could be these items will perk back up in the market value over the years but only time will tell. This is when we make the decision of either listing it, sitting on it or donate it. For me, I’ll roll the dice and include a “make-an-offer” to see if that “special collector” may come along.

I decided to add the word “Bakery” in my title because I was thinking this would be a great addition to the decor of any bakeries.  I also added to categories and priced it between the lowest asking price of $89.99 and $150.00. Those prices include the box and were the most comparable to the one I have. My listing starts as a buy-it-now with make an offer at $124.99.

emmett kelly jr clown on ebay

Item ID: 401176472364

The final Emmett Kelly Jr. item I had to list was titled “The Ringmaster” and this one had even worse selling odds than the others so, to get more creative I added a second category to my listing that we’ve not tried yet : Collectibles>Historical Memorabilia>Fairs, Parks & Architecture>Circus & Carnival>Circus Art. My asking price is about the average of the others listed $49.99 and I included make-an-offer. This time I decided to go with a flat price on shipping of $12.00.

listing emmett kelly on ebay

Item ID: 391542097097

No “clowning” around, the highest priced clown figurine I found that actually sold on eBay was titled : Giuseppe Armani Florence Clown Figurine and it sold for $499.99 at the asking price! Sold on July 9th, 2016. eBay item #381681910283.

Unfortunately, at this time, the market value for Emmitt Kelly clown collectibles is not as high as my consignment client had hoped for. But for those that love the thrill of the circus and enjoy the smile that a sad clown can put on a face, these figures are the perfect fit and the right buyer will come along!

What are your “Clown thoughts” on this topic? I’d like to hear if you would list or not list items like this and why?

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