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Julia Wilkinson AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

Julia Wilkinson is Editor of the AuctionBytes Blog and is author of the "eBay Price Guide," "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks," "My Life at AOL" and numerous ebooks about selling online. You can also find her writing on Yard Salers.
Tue Jan 8 2013 11:16:46

Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay

By: Julia Wilkinson
Sponsored Link
Ever been surprised by an item that sold well on eBay, when you thought it was a dud? Today's guest poster, Gloria McClain, has. (Many of you in the selling community know Gloria as "Glorsstore"; her eBay listings can be found here; her email is sales@glorsstore.com). What sold that surprised you, or what anomalies have you witnessed on eBay or other sites? Post a comment and tell us!

While cleaning out grandma's house, don't just look in the attic for things to sell online. If grandma was a true stockpiler and loved to save everything, you just might find treasures in what you usually think of as trash. There's gold in them thar...toilet paper rolls?

Yes, empty toilet paper rolls - the cardboard that's left when the toilet paper has met its demise. A lot of 160 recently sold for $53 on eBay.

Another surprise item is men's used Hawaiian shirts... The larger the shirt, the more anxious bidders. Brand names such as Tommy Bahama and Jimmy Buffet/Margaritaville do especially well.

Poodle Skirts Hop Off the Shelves

One of my best-sellers for the past 10 years never ceases to amaze: 50s retro poodle skirts. Every October, think sock hops and Halloween. I have to close down my listings since I can't keep up with the orders. (Since my skirts are custom-made, I can't make them in advance.)



Broken Electrical Items

Have an old electrical item that you just can't get to work? Try listing it on eBay! There is someone, somewhere, who's handy that can either get it to work, or will use the parts to fix another item. A good example is a non-working camera. Caution: be sure to mention within the item specifics and description that the item does not work, or is for parts only.

Gems in the Junk Drawer

Do a search for 'junk drawer' on eBay, and you'll find there are currently 2,661 listings that include those exact words in the title. Do a search for recently closed listings and you'll see that several that include jewelry findings and parts have recently gone for four figures.

Not every item does well on the Internet, and as they say in commercials, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Which items have you found sell surprisingly well? Post a comment here!



Comments (19) | Permalink
Readers Comments

Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
This user has validated their user name. by: Ina
       
Tue Jan 8 14:07:19 2013
I find the most surprising thing that sells well on eBay to be empty toilet paper rolls!
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
       
Tue Jan 8 23:17:09 2013
I looked at some of the empty toilet paper rolls and it seems they are being used for crafting..hmm. I have plenty of broken or older electronics about the house...maybe I should think of selling that! :)
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: esnipe This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed Jan 9 03:56:53 2013
I was skeptical about the empty toilet paper rolls claim, so I went for hard data (sad to see what my life has come to) via Search Completed Listings. Though many didn't sell, some did. Examples:

On January 2, 40 empty toilet paper rolls sold for $11.99, plus a healthy $7.20 for shipping.

On the same day, that same seller managed to get $14.99 for 50 empty paper towel rolls, and an astonishing $12.89 for shipping.

On New Years Eve, they apparently got $16.99 + $10.33 for ''economy shipping'' for 80 rolls. Prodigies.

All these, mind you, with pictures that showed the rolls often with toilet paper still clinging to them.

A less fortunate seller managed only $1.04 plus a meager but perhaps more honest $2.63 shipping for 38 empty toilet paper rolls on January 4th. There is no justice.
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jan 9 09:52:05 2013
I have sold broken electronics, and never had a problem.  However, I have seen other sellers complain that Paypal reversed the charges after the buyer complained the item wasn't working, even though the listing clearly states the unit was DOA, Parts Only, Not Working.  
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       
Wed Jan 9 09:58:01 2013
I was searching in eBay "empty toilet paper rolls". If people are using it for crafting. It is a scarce stuff. Only found 14.  
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: billslistings This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jan 9 09:58:56 2013
Grandma's undies from the 50's.
Search ''50's panties''
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Wed Jan 9 10:14:41 2013
It is due to Pinterest I believe that the toilet paper and towel rolls are selling so well. There are LOTS of Pins to do remarkable crafts to hang on the wall with them, although why someone doesn't collect their own is beyond me!
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
       
Wed Jan 9 10:51:26 2013
Thank you all for your research and deep thoughts into toilet paper rolls. ;) Esnipe, I agree...Oh the humanity! Not sure I want to speculate on why they don't save their own...lol. Maybe inspiration just hits and they just *have* to have a bunch of rolls for that craft project NOW!

Interesting re: Pinterest angle.

Bill, I think it's too early in the morning for me to investigate the 50s undies - it brought an unfortunate visual of Queen Elizabeth's undies (er..knickers) selling a while back! ;)
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: greenmountainsgirl This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jan 9 13:56:23 2013
And to think all I do with my empties is recycle them! Really, if you can recycle cardboard where you live, you can recycle toilet paper rolls...
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: BackInBlack This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jan 9 16:03:13 2013
Along with toilet paper rolls are other crafting items like Altoids (the curiously strong mint!) tins.  These are used for crafting, small parts storage, and even small electronics projects. A friend of mine made a battery back-up for his cell phone in one!  Search it - they sell better in lots, of course.
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: EKE This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jan 9 18:35:50 2013
Okay, this is surprisingly disgusting to me. You know, right, that while on the potty ... uh, doing what comes naturally ... people touch all kinds of places where it is unsanitary to touch and then leave the room without washing with soap and water. Like wiping, then reaching for more tissue? Well, to me that says, ''Bacteria, Germs, Transmission of Disease.''

Good grief, people are that lazy that they buy other people's dirty, used tissue rolls? Call me old fashioned, but I think Ebay should ban sales of used tissue rolls. There is no standard in the selling of this type of product that has been previously ''handled'' by users and you know nothing about their private cleanliness habits.

Gross.
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: comet This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jan 9 22:00:33 2013
@EKE--

Thank you for pointing that out!  

And to think all this time I have been tossing the used rolls--I pull them OFF the roller BEFORE they are completely empty and THEN clean the last few sheets off with CLEAN HANDS---to the guinea pigs;  the degu; the birds;  and various other creatures in need of amusements or homes.  

And to think that the last time I went to SAMS CLUB to buy--you guessed it!!!!--TP---there were large quantities of new ROLL - LESS TP.  Yep--no cardboard rolls.  Imagine if THAT catches on--how much will these rolls be worth THEN!!!!!

Almost as much as Twinkies and Cabbage Patch Dolls and Beanie Babies.  You DID plan to pay for YOUR retirement with your Beanie Baby stash,  didn't you?
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: Cowbell This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Jan 9 22:31:29 2013
That's a bit OCD, Eke. Thinking eBay should ban something just because you think it's "gross" is a bit extreme. TP rolls are not going to cause and epidemic. If you don't like it, don't buy them. I feel the same way about used shoes(ick)but I don't think they should be banned.
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Jan 10 00:10:27 2013
Put in the Title FOR PARTS ONLY. Many buyers do not read descriptions. They read the title and look at the photos. Save yourself a lot of trouble by getting the defect listed in the Title.  
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: EssexEstateServices This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Jan 10 09:17:39 2013
LOL. . toilet rools also make good fire starters if stuffed with dryer lint!! Ummmm ... maybe I should start packing up dryer lint in 5 gallon bags.

 
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
       
Thu Jan 10 12:44:06 2013
My goodness, people! LOL! I never thought the tp rolls would generate so much discussion! Next we'll be seeing them on Jay Leno's segment about weird things seen on eBay. ;)

Anything else that surprised you? I must say I don't get surprised often. One thing I can think of: five identical Tommy Hilfiger bright yellow NWT polo shirts which I thought were quite unattractive; the yellow was just too bright. But people in South America and Europe seemed to love them, and they all sold. Wish I could find another stash! ;)
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: Deech This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Jan 10 17:30:53 2013
I've been pleasantly surprised by how well some VHS tapes sell. I recently sold four James Bond tapes for $154. Like anything, obviously, the key is researching what buyers want. I've also had a ton of luck with Umbro brand soccer shorts. I've paid as little as $2 a pair locally and resold for upwards of $50. These might be obvious to others, but I was surprised.
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: billslistings This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Jan 10 23:36:26 2013
I'm telling ya, the BIG money is in 50's panties
Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay   Surprising Things that Sell Well on eBay
by: Lee This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Jan 21 11:29:02 2013
Finding vintage stuff around an old house is surprizingly good. Since i can't find vintage dresses for free i shop on ebay and sometimes at  retro vintage dresses  


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