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Where Is the Best Place to Sell Vintage and Collectibles?

Sunday flea market.

I’ve been a reseller for nearly all of my adult life, and I’m always asked by my family and friends which website would be the best to sell their vintage and or collectible items. For most of the past 20 plus years I would have just said “Well, eBay of course”, but that has changed in the past few years as more and more platforms have sprung up, offering far more options to sell your belongings online than ever before.

Depending on what you are trying to sell, there may be not just one but numerous websites available, giving a potential reseller options that weren’t available just a couple years ago. Even more opportunities exist in varied niche markets which now offer their own specialized websites that only sell very specific items, such as Discogs.com for records, or Delcampe.net for postage stamps. These days it would be nearly impossible to answer that same question without knowing what someone wanted to sell.

If you wanted to sell vintage paper and postcards, for example, you have many options such as eBay, Etsy, Hippostcards, Rubylane, and one most people wouldn’t think of – Amazon. Believe it or not, Amazon has a thriving collectibles market with many categories including advertising, political, historical, and entertainment, just to name a few. But you need to keep in mind that each site has its own advantages and disadvantages. No two sites are alike in both customers, and traffic, so you should choose wisely.

Just like in the brick-and-mortar world of retail America, location is everything. Choosing the wrong site could cost you not just time, but money as well.

One of the most important factors in choosing a site to sell on is the amount of traffic it attracts. If you want the chance of selling your items for the highest return on your investment possible, then you want it to be seen by the largest amount of people possible.

In the United States, Amazon ranks number one, with eBay taking second place in overall traffic, and volume in the reseller field. This makes them the top two choices for many people to sell a vast array of their items. Though traffic is a key factor, you must also consider other factors, such as the amount of the overall site traffic that would be interested in your specific items or wares.

If you are trying to sell a vintage postcard, you wouldn’t want to list them on Poshmark, which is a fairly well known and growing site offering mostly clothing.

Mercari, which is another reselling platform with a steady following, would also be impractical, since there wouldn’t be enough site traffic for a vintage postcard to warrant listing it on the platform.

Overall eBay would rank first choice for most postcard resellers. The second and third choices are bit tougher to decide on, which would keenly depend on the specific types of postcards you are selling. There are many large sellers on Amazon with tens of thousands of postcards up for sale at any given time, who do very well on this platform. Still other resellers find Etsy or Hippostcards to be their second-best choice. For many others, including my business, we cross list the very same postcards on all four sites to maximize our sales through a third-party application. Keep in mind that this option can cost you separate listing fees for each site you list on, so choose this option wisely.

For other items such as vintage records, which are an area we are heavily invested in, there are three main choices for most people: Amazon, Discogs, and eBay. Records, however, are a unique area since there are many formats and genres of music available.

Over the years we have found that we do best when selling some of our earlier Jazz & Swing 78 RPMs on Amazon, while R & B, Rock, and Country 78’s do far better on eBay. Higher value and uncommon Soul, R & B, Rock, and Country 45 RPMs and LPs tend to sell far better on eBay, for us. Most of our common or lesser value records seem to sell far better on Discogs.

Choosing the right site may also come down to the quantity of items you have to sell. While it may not be necessary for most resellers to branch out to multiple sites, those with large amounts of inventory may do better doing so.

For those with limited amounts of inventory, they may be best suited to list on just one site, such as eBay or Amazon.

The amount of time it takes to learn the rules and how a specific site works may make the financial returns not worth their effort, for those smaller sellers. If you only have a handful of records to sell, it would be a waste of time and money trying to learn Discogs, or even Amazon, for the casual or part-time reseller. But full-time record sellers will do far better knowing the ins and outs of each site, and using them accordingly.

One more option for those truly scarce and valuable items would be to send them off to an independent auction house, such as Christie’s, Heritage, or Sotheby’s. Heritage Auctions prides itself on being the “World’s Largest Collectibles Auctioneer,” and we have found their service to be impeccable. We have never been disappointed with them.

Christie’s and Sotheby’s are very highly rated also, but we haven’t personally used them ourselves. At the end of the day, eBay may still be the simplest and most practical site for those wanting to sell vintage and collectible items. It offers the widest range of vintage and collectible categories, including most specialized niche markets. But by no means should it be considered the only choice on which to sell.

Don Heiden on InstagramDon Heiden on Youtube
Don Heiden
Don Heiden
Don Heiden is a 30-year veteran of online reselling going back to the days of Yahoo Auctions. He runs The Auction Professor YouTube channel
posting videos and content about various reselling platforms and topics, and he is a member of the eBay and Amazon affiliate program where he may earn a commission when linking to products on those sites. He can also be found on most social networks under the same name, including Instagram. He is also a published professional artist which includes works produced for The Walt Disney Company. He holds an Associate Degree in Database Design, Construction, and Network Administration. He also holds a Bachelor Degree and Master Degree of Research & Communications from The University of Toledo.

6 thoughts on “Where Is the Best Place to Sell Vintage and Collectibles?”

  1. Delcampe isn’t just for post stamps, they handle ALL collectibles and have more items in almost every category than eBay.

    1. As for the big auction sites, beware of hidden costs. I consigned a VERY rare European rock & roll poster to one of the 2 companies listed in the original post, in London, for their annual pop music catalog auction. Poster was appraised by them at $4,000 to $7,000. I had previously turned down $2,500 by a well known poster reseller. Poster sold for 1,200 GB Pounds. By the time the auction company deducted their MANY fees, I was left with a little over $600. THE AUCTION COMPANY MADE MORE THAN I DID!

    2. Except toys. Searched “Marvel Legends” and not a single listing. Searched “TransFormers”and found less than 20. Compared to, oh I don’t know, a quarter million between the both of them on eBay. What does “delcampe” translate to in English? “Nothing to see here, move along?”

  2. Indeed, eBay should not be the only choice for selling, but ebay’s development over the years represents missed opportunities. “If only” competitor sites had started up in the beginning, but that didn’t happen and eBay became the big gorilla, with thousands of potential bidders visiting the site. At this point, there is no way for David to compete with Goliath. A few have tried but the pebbles bounced off and the would-be Davids have pretty much fizzled – eBay is now a household word.

    It is a tough pill to swallow but one must list where the buying traffic is. One of the worst things is that sadly, with no competition, eBay is pretty much free to treat sellers any way it wants. Don’t like the rules? in many collecting areas, there is little choice about where else to go.

    Regarding Delcampe, indeed you nailed a huge problem but I want to take it a bit further – over time, individual sites have developed reputations for collecting areas; and a public perception that seems to stick, no matter if a site attempts to broaden its categories. This creates an uphill battle for anyone trying to sell there but in a less popular category – the buying public just doesn’t know about it. Who knew Amazon sells real antiques and collectibles? (not I), “Delcampe is that postcard place,” “Poshmark is the clothing place,” “Ruby Lane is that jewelry place” but “you can find anything on eBay.”

    Yes, I can list on another site, but picking the best one is perilous. In my collecting/selling area, too many sites offer “some” listings (hundreds vs. eBay’s thousands) but it is clear that sellers are not versed in the area because there are so many fakes, repos, and mistakes in descriptions – or, authentic items may be FAR overpriced by unknowledgeable sellers – all of which discourages shoppers from returning.

    Rather like the old adage, “If you don’t want to catch fleas, don’t lie down with the dogs,” I do not want to list in sites like that, because my store would get the same bad reputation among collectors who ARE knowledgeable, who don’t shop at those sites because there are too many fakes, repos and ignorant sellers. My goal is to find a website that will attract buyers who seek out stores operated by long-time sellers who guarantee accuracy and authenticity.

    Now, with search engines turning to “pay to play” demands from sites that host stores, it is beyond discouraging to begin to wonder if your host site of many years is focusing on other areas and sacrificing yours, when buying inclusion on Google and others (despite charging you the same fees as everyone else). Having my listings show up in search engine results is t-h-e top reason I subscribe to a web store instead of running my own site.

    And don’t even get me started on Facebook, a whole different planet than internet shopping venues, where small groups spring up like mushrooms and there is no way to hit them all with posts selling your items.

  3. I have been on eBay for 23 years and although I have HUGE misgivings about the site today I have felt it was essentially the only real game in town. But after selling on Facebook Marketplace I finally feel I have a viable alternative as I have had a lot of success lately.

  4. HipStamp would be a better choice for United States stamps and covers. Delcampe has a better international audience. HipStamp is light years ahead of eBay in stamp catalog search. I tried searching for United States #500 in the Scott Catalog. HipStamp efficiently returned a list with less than half irrelevant results. eBay returned a much larger list, mostly irrelevant. Search on Delcampe returned mostly irrelevant results, finding only six, of which five were misidentified. Some HipStamp and eBay results were also misidentified. Some of the misidentified stamps were on both sites. Because of poorly designed category trees, it is not possible to effectively narrow some stamp searches by time-period on eBay. Still, eBay attracts more views.

    Hast eCommerceBytes published any search quality comparisons? While many sellers complain about eBay search, it seems more specific than Amazon. Niche collectible sites that excel in efficiently finding what buyers want, help sellers automate listing unique items, and automate fulfillment could grow at the expense of eBay.

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