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How to sell hobby items by mail
You can, if you are ambitious, start a Mail Order Business
selling collectibles to hobbyists by mail. To begin, you must
first find a hobby that appeals to you. Next, you must spend
several weeks researching that hobby. You must learn what
collectors want and how much they are willing to pay for it. You
should also know what other dealers are willing to pay for the
merchandise which they sell. And you must be willing to pay the
Perhaps you already know exactly what you want to sell. If
you have been collecting old Valentines, then start a Mail Order
business buying and selling old Valentines. Or stamps. Or comic
books. The first rule of Mail Order Selling is to sell what you
yourself would buy.
To give you an idea of what collectors buy and sell by mail,
here is a partial list of today's collectibles!
Phonograph Records Street Car Tokens Boat Photographs
Cigar Labels Fruit Jar Labels Advertising Cards
License Plates Old Magazines Dog Pictures
Beer Labels Gun Catalogs Movie Magazines
Circus Posters Paper Currency Autographs
Music Boxes Cartoon Books Dolls
Salt/Pepper Shakers Theater Programs Hunting Licenses
Greeting Cards Political Buttons Valentines
Old Pencils Baseball Cards Cookbooks
Atlases Children's Books Beatles Items
Military Medals Stock Certificates Stamps
Sheet Music Indian Relics Old Toys
Doll Clothes Railroad Books Menus
Gems, Minerals Fishing Licenses Maps
Belt Buckles Cigar Boxes Thimbles
Airplane Photos Comic Books Train Photos
FBI Posters Old Calendars Newspapers
Automobile Manuals Postcards Diaries
Antique Barbed Wire Arrowheads Coins
Old Jewelry Railroad Passes Buttons
I would like to suggest that you send for sample copies of
two magazines. They are read avidly by hobby dealers and hobby
THE COLLECTORS NEWS
Grundy Center, IA 50638
THE ANTIQUE TRADER WEEKLY
Dubuque, IA 52001
Each of these publications contain around 70 or 80 pages of
ads from dealers and collectors. Almost every hobby publication,
large or small, if listed within its pages.
Once you have selected your field, start a file. Keep
copies of all the ads selling your kind of merchandise. Also keep
ads showing the dealers buying prices. If price lists are offered
in ads, send for them and STUDY them. MAKE YOURSELF AN EXPERT IN
Try to locate any publication that deals with your field.
Often, you can locate small mimeographed publications and
newsletters which will give you all kinds of useful information.
Your next step is to look for merchandise in your own
community. Here are some suggestions:
1. Start by attending flea markets and antique shows. Don't be
afraid to make inquiries of dealers. They often have what they
consider "junk" stashed away, assuming that it isn't of much
value to anyone. I once discovered a fabulous stamp collection
2. Browse around through Thrift Shops.
3. Study the garage sale ads in your local newspaper. Visit
any that sound promising. (Sometimes, it pays to telephone, they
may be able to direct you to others who have exactly what you
4. Place "Wanted to Buy" ads in your local Swapper's News, or
your local newspaper. Be sure to list your phone number.
It is amazing what you can find in your local community if
you work at it. However, if you can't find enough merchandise
locally, run ads in the Collector's Magazines listed above. Their
rates are very, very low. And you will soon discover that they
are widely read!
Once you have accumulated a decent stock of merchandise,
you are ready to begin selling it. If there are publications
specializing in your field, by all means advertise there. You
have a ready-made audience! Also run ads in the big hobby
Type up a list of what you have and have an Instant
Printer make a hundred or so copies for you. Hobbyists don't
mind typewritten, laser printer, or xerox copies - it's half the
fun of collecting. Then run your ad. Your ad can merely offer
your list to interested collectors free (or for a SASE, to weed
out coupon clippers). Or you can offer to make a sale straight
from the ad. If you do the latter, stick in your price list with
the merchandise. It will be read...eagerly!
Here are a few sample ads run by hobby dealers for your
* "Railroad Timetables, 1940's
Four Different - $4.00 postpaid."
* "Old Children's Books and Texts.
#10 SASE for List."
* "85,000 Comic Books, Movie Magazines,
Funnies, etc., 1900-1957. Catalog
* "Original Movie Posters, Pressbooks,
Stills, 1919-1975. Catalog - $.50
* "Sleigh Bells! SASE for list."
Just in case you are not familiar with the phrase, "SASE"
means "Self-addressed, stamped envelope". As you progress, you
will learn continually. Most hobby dealers will tell you that
they learn more from the collectors who buy from them than they
could ever learn from any other source.
Below are some other hobby publications that may interest
you. (At the time this article was written, these publications
were available. However, we can not guarantee that they are
still in publication. There are several things you can do before
sending a letter or money to them. You can check your local
library in the Index of Periodicals or a local book store may be
able to verify current addresses for them. Good luck). You can
write to these publications and request a sample copy. However,
it would be a good idea to include postage when requesting copies
from the publisher.
1006 S. MICHIGAN AVE.
CHICAGO, IL 60605
LYNN'S WEEKLY STAMP NEWS
SIDNEY, OH 45365
THE AUTOGRAPH NEWS
7540 S. MEMORIAL PARKWAY
HUNTSVILLE, AL 35802
DOLL CASTLE NEWS
WASHINGTON, NJ 07882
WESTERN STAMP COLLECTOR
ALBANY, OR 97321
731 BLUE BELL STREET
FT. COLLINS, CO
COIN & STAMP TRADING NEWS
SANTA ROSA, CA 95406
CANADIAN HOBBY SHOPPER
HALIFAX SOUTH, NS
CANADA B3J 3J1
153 WAVERLY PLACE
NEW YORK, NY 10014
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