78s - Selling 78rpm records effectively

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78 records

Golden Rules of Selling

1 - don't list junk. It's a waste of your own time. You might as well box it up and take it down the nearest charity shop. Be expedient! Even though eBay charges nothing for lots listen under 99 pence you are just totally wasting your time. Take a look at "completed items" and see how many don't sell. Consider pragmatically how many of your own items won't sell. Not "might sell" but seriously consider "won't sell". Don't list stuff as "rare" - experienced buyers will determine that for themselves if you auction the items. Stop imagining everything you are selling is a pile of gold. It ain't!

2 - consider listing stuff at a fixed price. Unlike several years ago there are now so many total chancers dumping mountains of old 78s into eBay the big regular buyers would need more than even 10 days to find your records. Then compound that with the "clicked watch-item but stupidly forgot-to-bid" syndrome and it all turns into zero sales and a total time-waste very quickly. Fixed-price goods, priced to sell, listed for 30 days is the best option in 2009. Don't bother with good-til-cancelled : your best items will get sold / cherry-picked and you'll just be paying repeatedly for listing the dross remainders.

3 - photographs. Everyone on the planet has seen an HMV label with the famous dog logo. Regular buyers have seen all this stuff before a million times. Think : what you are actually showing in your photo? What do you want to show? What do you need to show? Take a photo of the label up close in bright natural daylight without the flash on your camera. This give the best most naturalistic results. It is how you look at records yourself in reality - we don't see everything in our daily lives under the weird glare of a camera flash do we? Er, no we do not!

A good photo taken in bright natural daylight looks like the picture shown below. In eBay it shows up large at the bottom of the listing and the record serial number etc can all be clearly read.

4 - item description. As you can bung all the relevant data into the main listing is it really worth wasting your precious character-limit describing this or that record by spelling out at length the record brand and serial number? Er no, it is not. Nobody seriously searches for "HMV" in the 78s section thinking "I'd like to buy an HMV record" in classic Little Britain style. A good clear photo of the label up close (re-read "photography" section above) can show all this data without you typing a single tap. Use the space to give the artiste and the main title (and if you've space : the flip side title). Use your loaf! Lay off the giant text, screeds of cut-n-pasted waffle, coloured lettering and underline in your listing or you may need to book a session with Dr Freud to see what's going on with you. It makes reading listings (and this goes for any listing in any category) a time-consuming nightmare for regulars who go through dozens of records at a time. Be short, be sweet, say just what's needed and be honest. Put the necessary info at the top before any waffle terms you feel compelled to recite.

5 - pack it sensibly. The important things to remember with 78s is a) they are fragile and b) heavy. Imagine you are packing a piece of glass and you can't go wrong. LP mailers will fail. You need to make the packaging around the disc rigid and hold the disc rigid. I pack the discs with 10" squares of cardboard top and bottom, tape around the lot then bubble wrap around this rigid cardboard/78 sandwich. Then the discs go in a cardboard box with scrunched newspaper packing so that if the box is dropped the impact is absorbed and not transferred to the discs. Despite this even if you send discs wrapped in a metre thickness of eiderdown  feathers there will always be some breakage sooner or later. 78s buyers can be fussy old anoraks and don't forget it. Like all enthusiasts some people are totally wrapped up in all this and it is every moment of their waking life. The material is vintage and they may have been looking for a particular disc for decades so they can get very difficult if a breakage occurs or if an item is not exactly how they dreamed it might be. Build in to your business model x-per cent to cover the occassional unavoidable unforseeable breakage and also factor in time that may have to be wasted having to deal with difficult anoraks - it will happen so it is a forseeable risk worth planning ahead for. Make people take recorded/ insured always to cover yourself too.

6- Good luck!

Happy bidding and happy selling!

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