Month: June 2014

Is it Knowledge, Luck, Reputation?

Morgan's doll

In looking at the photo, I could only think, who would buy that doll? It looked like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of OZ with the straw pulled out from him. I would have definitely taken a pass on it. But my husband’s friend, Morgan, an eBay Gold Star Plus Powerseller, purchased the doll for about 50 cents. What happened next was unimaginable.

Morgan, is actually the person who gave me the idea to sell antiques and collectibles on eBay. After hearing about his success, he was an inspiration for what could be. He usually starts his auctions at $ .99 and bidding quickly drives up the final sell price of his merchandise. What happened with the doll, however, would haunt my dreams at night and take over my thoughts during the day. I became obsessed. Why?

Quickly, a bidding war began and the price for the doll quickly rose to a thousand dollars. What is this doll? Did Morgan know about dolls? I had to find out more. It was a bisque bebe Jumeau doll. Specifically, “Bebe Jumeau antique dolls are coveted the world over. Jumeau bebes (child dolls) are known for their expressive eyes and beautiful bisque, and Jumeau French Fashion dolls are the perfect expression of their time and place. Jumeau dolls can sell for many thousands of dollars today, and demand for the dolls is quite high. The dolls were made in the second half of the 19th century during the heyday of French dollmaking by two generations of the Jumeau family.” (About.com)

But this doll is in pieces!?!

The final selling price for Bebe Jumeau was $16,600. Shocked and awed by the sale, my thoughts were racing. Where does he find the merchandise? How does he know so much? Is this the luckiest guy or what? How can I do this myself?

I decided to use Morgan as a role model to see if his formula could work for me. Having found a couple of Zippo lighters at a reasonable price for resale, an experiment was in order. Knowing that Morgan frequently sells Zippo lighters, I created a “test” auction following his time-proven strategies. Unfortunately, after 5 days at auction for $ .99, and not one bid, I conceded it would not work for me. I gave up, offered to give the lighters to Morgan knowing that he would get a good priced for them. He said, no thanks, just list the items and forget about them until they sell. He offered conciliatory words that he is a power seller with a stellar reputation.

I guess I am where he was at one time, new, unproven, novice. However, his words made me realize that even if I had purchased the Bebe Jumeau, it would have sold for far less. I have a beginner’s track record and need to be patient as my business and reputation grows. Hopefully, with knowledge, reputation, patience, and a lot of luck, I will one day have my own Bebe Jumeau. And Morgan, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

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