DrT's Consignment Information Page
Please Note: Starting at 1/1/2014 I have increased my commission fees. I had to do this to keep up with increasing fees by ebay and paypal. Ebay now charges a flat 10% not only on the closing fees but on closing fees plus shipping (!!) plus listing fees, plus paypal fees. This comes to about 15%. The difference for smaller valued items is small but for larger valued items it is large. Most people who sell in commission charge 50% flat rate and some people charge 50% after they subtract ebay & paypal fees. Some sellers do not sell anything under $25. I charge 50% for anything that sells for $10 or less and my fees drop as the closing price rises. I also pay the ebay and paypal fees myself. I believe this is a good value. I continue to do my best to get as much as I can for you, by splitting items into smaller lots using good judgment, advertising in various interest groups, writing good descriptions and pictures, and maintaining high ebay selling standards (that give me better exposure) and good feedback (which attracts more buyers.)
Do you have stereoscopic/photographic items for sale? Consider having me sell these items for you, either in ebay or through email/mailing lists or in various stereoscopic conventions/gatherings.
While you can try to sell these yourself, most likely I can get more money TO YOU, even after I keep my standard commission fees because my auctions (or sales) tend to close higher than the average auctions, thanks to my reputation & knowledge in the stereo photography field and my clear descriptions and good photographs. (If you do not believe this, just read some the stories below...)
Here is a list of services I provide in my consignment sales:
Cleaning items. I make sure the items are cleaned and presented in the best possible way.
Minor repairs. I can perform minor repairs in stereoscopic items like stereo slide viewers, cameras (especially the Stereo Realist cameras which I fully service), projectors. I test the stereo items and sell then with warranty. This increases the resale value.
Research. I research items which are not familiar to me. I normally do not research prices for items to be auctioned because I believe in starting the auctions low and letting the auction dictate the "market value". I will put reserves if the customer requests them.
Photography. I use my digital camera and image processing programs to make sure that the item(s) for sale are presented in the best possible way. I have received a lot of compliments for my sales-related photography. People often ask for my secret. The secret is that there is no secret. I use common sense and good equipment/programs.
Advertisement. I advertise auctions/sales in various email lists to give each sale the maximum amount of exposure. I also notify customers who might be looking for similar items.
Ebay descriptions. I write my own HTML code, incorporating pictures and text. My ebay descriptions are informative and result in higher bids, from buyers who feel confident about the item being sold and the reputation of the seller.
Collecting payment. I accept most forms of payment, including paypal and personal checks. This flexibility comes at a certain cost to me (paypal commission) but, again, it results in higher sale prices.
Shipping goods to buyers and follow-up. Ι ship the goods promptly. If there is a problem (rarely) I will negotiate with the seller to resolve it. You do not need to worry about it. It is my job to finalize the sale. I also ship internationally which increases final prices (many US sellers do not ship internationally, to avoid paying higher commission fees, hassle with forms, and higher risk.)
Your only job is to get the items to me. I will take care of the rest. After the payment is cleared, I keep my commission and transfer the funds to you.
You cannot believe how often I hear this comment from my consignees:
" Your pictures and descriptions looked so good, I was tempted to buy back my own items !!! "
Here are my commission rates:
via ebay out of ebay Examples Price Realized in ebay (per item!) My commission General Formula First $10 50% 40%
$2.50 (50%) A*0.5 $10-$100 40% 30% $50 $21 (42%) 5+(A-10)*0.4 $100-$1000 35% 25% $500 $181 (36%) 41+(A-100)*0.35 Over $1000 25% 15% $5,000 $1356 (27%) 356+(A-1000)*0.25
Ebay or Out of Ebay?
I generally prefer to sell in ebay for a number of reasons: 1) Wider exposure, 2) No price expectations (market oriented prices), 3) "Open" details (the consignee can see exactly how I sell things, what the final selling price is and how it was obtained.) If you prefer, I will sell out of ebay, but most of the people I know (or who participate in "sell" mailing lists), have been into stereo for a while and looking for bargains so they are usually not willing to pay market prices. I usually post the item for sale in ebay and then notify any customers or mailing lists about the availability of this item. That's the best of both worlds in my opinion. Plus, now with "Buy It Now" options in ebay, one can sell at fixed prices in ebay (see below).
How about reserves or minimum prices?
My "best" auctions started at $0.01 with no reserve. I have a theory: Low opening bids or no reserves in auctions attract more bids and a large number of bids brings higher closing prices. I normally use a reserve only when I know what something is worth and I do not want to sell for less or when I would rather keep something than sell it under a certain price. I do not use reserves to force an unrealistically high selling price. If you would like me to use a reserve, I will of course do it, but under this condition: If the item does not sell after the second listing, then you will have to pay all ebay listing fees. As long as you pay for the listing fees, I don't mind listing an item for as long as you wish.
New Strategy: I recently started adding "Buy it Now" options in certain items. These are items that I know well and maybe I have been disappointed by low selling prices in the past. "Buy it Now" is an attractive option for the buyer who does not want to bother waiting and getting into biding wars with other buyers. He/she just sees the price, decides it its fair, and buys it.
Her are a few of the success stories, which also illustrates the way I work:
Success Story # 1 (2000)
In 2000 I was asked to sell a collection of mostly vintage photographic equipment (Leica, etc). This customer had received an offer to sell the collection to KEH for $2,500 but she knew that the Leica cameras were not working well and she was afraid that KEH will return everything instead of buying them. I had the Leica cameras repaired and then auctioned all the items over several months, in about 150 auctions. The total amount realized was $12,000 and my costumer received $9,000.
Success Story # 2 (2003) - Long story but worth reading IMO
On March of 2003 I was contacted by a lady here in Cleveland Ohio. Her father had passed away and had left a large collection of photographic equipment, including some stereo items. Someone gave her my name as an expert in selling stereo items. I visited her house to see the collection. The stereo items were in a corner of a room and consisted of a few boxed stereoview sets and a couple of stereoscopes. While looking around I found two Baja cases with stereo slides from the 1950s. Also, a TDC Stereo Projector but it was missing the slide carrier and the power cord.
She told me: "I would be happy if I could get $500 for that stuff". I did a quick mental calculation and estimated the items to worth about $1,000. I assured here that she will get $500 and told her that the best way to sell these is through ebay because some of the stereoview sets were unusual. She made a list of the items I took with me, a total of 10 items.
I started by auctioning the Java and Ceylon boxed sets. These are small sets of 24 and 36 pictures. They are listed in John Waldsmith's book for $150 to $200. The Java set closed at $511. The Ceylon set closed at $423. These were record-breaking selling prices!
I left one boxed set to sell later... This was a World War I set of 100 views. This was the least valuable set in my mind. When the time came to sell this, I was debating whether to list the titles all 100 views (very time-consuming task, lots of typing!) or just put it for sale without such a large description. Finally, I decided to list all view titles, as I had done in all previous stereoview sales. And, of course, I had plenty of scans to go with the descriptions. I put it up for auction and I watched the bids go up. When it was at $250 I was sure that this was the final bid but I was a bit surprised that it came a bit early. And then it went to $400, $600, $800 Final closing bid: $984. What is going on here????
The seller had a great feedback record. I emailed with the sale details, and he replied with an explanation of the high bid: "That bid was certainly at the high end of what I wanted to pay! You did yourself a great service by listing the card numbers and titles. Instead of a run-of-the-mill 100-card set of Keystone WWI stereoviews, you were actually selling parts of 2 sets. The first 50 cards are fairly common from the 100-card 1917-18 set but the last 50 or so cards are very rare. They appear to come from a previously unknown version of the 1919 set. Bob Boyd's book doesn't have 14 of these cards listed in any Keystone set and another 29 of the cards are fairly scarce since they were only released during a very short period of time."
The moral of the story: Always list all the contents and details of every auction because you never know.... That's what I always do. It takes time, but it results in higher bids.
After selling several smaller stereoview lots, I then moved to the 1950s stereo slides. I could have sold the two Baja cases with the slides in one lot for maybe $100. Instead, I took the slides out, organized them per topic and sold them separately and then sold the cases too. The total for these slides and cases came to $518. As an example, on lot of 117 stereo slides of Mexico from 1955 closed for $122.70.
Finally, I looked at the TDC projector. I was tempted to keep it myself for parts. But I noticed that it had 4" lenses (desirable). I decided to put the lenses for sale. They closed for $188! Then I took the projector apart and sold it as parts. The total sale amount from this "parts" TDC projector came to $367.
I was given a list of 10 items to sell in ebay with the hope of getting $500 for them. I ended up conducting 40 auctions which grossed $3,886. I gave my customer $2,737, that's quite a bit more than the $500 she expected. Everyone was happy at the end! :) This lady later gave me me all the photographic equipment (not 3d) to sell in ebay. Last time I visited she told me "God sent you"... She also said that she had someone else visit to appraise the collection. This person offered $500 for everything and said he was going to have a house sale one day and he also did not want anyone from the house to be around during the sale. I continued selling 2d items until 2007. Her commission payment from the sale of the 2d items is now over $5,000. (I still have a few things left)
More Recent Stories (2007)
In June and July of 2007 I sold some of my own stereoview sets. The prices I got were amazing! Examples:
SPAIN boxed stereoview set by U&U - Complete, $863
ENGLAND Stereoview set by HC White, $715
CONSTANTINOPLE Istanbul Turkey Stereoview set 52/52, $1,126 !!
GREECE boxed stereoview set by U & U - 98/100, $1,695 !!!
Finally, I left the best for the end. The 600 Trip Around the World Keystone Set, for which I had paid $400, some 10 years ago. Before I put it up for sale, I checked some closed sets. It looked like $1,000 was the going market price. I got: $3,439. I received emails from strangers, congratulating me for this amazing price, due, they said, to my extensive photos.
Sell directly or via DrT?
Someone posted in a yahoogroups 3d selling group, the sale of 2 lenses (PENTAX SMC FA IF 135mm f2.8 autofocus) for $350 for the pair. I bought these lenses and put them in ebay back in February in two auctions, one after the other, starting at $0.01 and no reserve. Lens #1 closed for $516, Lens #2 closed for $465. Result: I paid $360 (with shipping), and got $981. If this person had commissioned me to sell the lenses, he would have received $713 instead of $350.
Sell to a dealer directly or go to ebay (via DrT)?
I was contacted by Erlys to sell her Olympus 2d equipment. She was very pleased with the sale of her 3d equipment last year and she asked if I wanted to sell her Olympus cameras and lenses. She had already received an offer from a camera dealer to buy the lot for $400, provided that the camera & lenses were in good condition (in other words, $400 is the most he is paying). I accepted the challenge to sell the Olympus stuff in ebay and get her more than $400.
Result: I conducted 34 auctions, grossed $1,597, and gave Erlys $1,062. Again, a lot more than the $400 she was offered.
Sell in ebay yourself or let DrT handle the sale?
My friend Joe from our stereo club has switched 100% to digital and he wanted to sell his FED (which was modified for full frame - 8p) and mounting equipment. He put everything in ebay, in one auction, starting at $150. 5 days into the auction, there were no bids.
I saw Joe at a camera show, while the auction was still going on. He was selling his camera for $250 and the mounting equipment for $50. I negotiated a sale and bought these two, plus a Vivitar Flash (priced $35), plus a Loreo stereo attachment for Canon digital cameras (priced $50). I gave Joe $300 (his asking price for the entire lot). He sold me the items and ended the auction.
I went home and prepared 4 auctions: 1) FED camera, 2) Mounting equipment, 3) Vivitar Flash, 4) Loreo stereo attachment.
In my auction, I stressed a couple of things that Joe did not mention, which, in my opinion were extremely important: 1) Joe has used this camera and has gotten award winning pictures! 2) His FED full frame images were successfully competing with my full frame pictures, taken with my $4,000 RBT S1 stereo camera! 3) He is selling the camera because he has switched to digital. I borrowed some of Joe's stereo slides to illustrated these points. Just to show you the difference in exposure between my auction and Joe's auction: Only 80 people viewed Joe's auction. 2,880 people viewed my auction (this is a record for me!)
Bottom Line: I bought Joe's items for $300 and sold them for: $428 (camera), $77 (Canon attachment), $42 (Vivitar flash), $79 (mounting equipment) - TOTAL $626.
Had Joe commissioned me to sell his stuff in ebay, instead of selling them to me for a fixed price, he would have received more money (over $400). (OK, I owe him a dinner or something)
Interesting Experiment (2014)
I heard a story about two ebay sellers having a $20 challenge competition. Each ebay seller went to a Good Will store with $20 and bought items to sell in ebay. They spent their $20, went back home, and put the items in ebay. The contest was who will make the most money for their $20 investment. In the end, one seller made $90 and the other $120. You can read about it here: http://www.theebayentrepreneur.com/2013/11/18/the-20-challenge/
I did the equivalent of this challenge myself as follows: I got an email from a well-known internet company that sells used photo equipment (KEH in Atlanta) about a sale in camera bags. I bought the bag they had on sale, plus I looked at their 3d equipment and bought a number of them. I spent a total of $80.25, which includes shipping. I then put ALL the items for sale in ebay.
There is a big difference between the guys going to Good Will and buying things, vs. me buying things from the internet. The items that I bought were available to anyone with access to the internet! So, they are priced more competitively than the items at Good Will that are for sale only in the store. I am competing with anyone with access to the internet, plus I have to pay shipping. But I still managed to do well as you will see. This is still on-going and here are the results so far:
KEH Order Paid Sold TENBA VECTOR SHOULDER BAG 1 KRYPTON GREEN (63 712092 $17.95 $39.95 STEREO REALIST SKY 1A (PR) filters 75796 $4.00 $14.95 STEREO REALIST HAZE (PR) filters 75803 $1.49 STEREO REALIST FLA SH (PR) filters 144964 $1.49 REALIST ST54 W/SERIES 5 RETAINING RING (PAIR) 322653 $12.00 $24.95 FRONT RUBBER (REVERE) lens cover 594283 $8.00 $10.45 FRONT RUBBER (WIRGEN) lens cover 75812 $5.00 $24.95 KODAK STEREO case 306703 $10.00 $9.95 REVERE STEREO case 126376 $0.29 REALIST instructions 75821 $0.99 REALIST CUSTOM instructions 146350 $3.00 $9.95 BOX REALIST STEREOSCOPIC VIEWER 192313 $3.00 $85.00 VIEW-MASTER LIGHT ATTACH F/BATT(STEREOSCOPE)B 75847 $1.99 $24.95 VIEW-MASTER LIGHT ATTACH F/BATT(STEREOSCOPE) 172395 $0.99 Shipping $10.06 $80.25 $245.10
The first item is the case that started the order. I bought it for $18 and sold it in ebay for $40. Some other items that did well: View-Master attachment I bought for $2 sold for $25. Realist skylight filters bought for $4, sold for $15. Realist shades, bought for $12, sold for $25.
Two surprises: The lens cover (Front Rubber) for Wirgen was actually for the Wollensak camera (much more desirable), I bought it for $5 and sold it for $25. The biggest surprise was the item marked "Box Realist Stereoscopic Viewer" that I bought for $3. I thought I was buying a box for this price, so I was surprised that I got a viewer in excellent condition with the box! I serviced the viewer and sold it for $85.
Some items did not do well, like the Kodak case that I bought for $10 and sold for $10. Some items are still in ebay (I am asking fixed prices).
So, so far in this experiment, I paid $80 and collected $245 via ebay. To be fair, take 15% off the ebay net income for ebay/paypal fees. This leaves $208, or a profit of $128. Now, someone sold these items to KEH and made even less money. Wouldn't this person have been better off selling them to me to sell in ebay instead of selling them directly to KEH?
While I cannot guarantee that I will have a similar success, I can promise that I will try to get the most money for your items.
Please contact me if you have stereo items that you would like me to sell for you
Unsolicited Testimony from satisfied customers:
I was pleased with how the sale of my 2.8 Realist worked out (on eBay). I have a few items that I would like to sell, one way or the other. Your good reputation in the field makes it likely that even minus your commission rate, the net price to me would be higher than I could realize independently.
Your attention to detail in your auction presentations is exemplary, and one reason why they tend to realize higher than average prices.
I must say that your presentations are fabulous. I've looked around ebay and found your advertisements to be clearly superior. Congrats on a job well done.
The pictures of the [Stereo Realist Wide Angle] attachment look excellent. I do really appreciate your efforts on my behalf.
WOW! I'm impressed, you really did a great job with all the words and pictures. It should be a very interesting auction.
I am amazed at what people will pay for these old slides. All the work that you did in scanning and presenting the slides really paid off.
Just took a look at the eBay bidding. I see that bidding has closed at $660. No doubt about you! It must be the fact that you are so well known and are to be trusted. In any case, CONGRATULATIONS.
The quality of your eBay auction images of the Super Steeler reel you have for sale is amazing! How do you do it? Do you sell some tool/secret for making such digital images from an existing View-Master reel? If so, please let me know!
Wow George, you ought to get a medal for your presentations. For you, it is truly and art form. It looks GREAT.
One thing have never questioned is your commission. When I tell people about what I am doing with my Uncle's cameras, and they say that I'm paying a lot in commission, I tell them how much more your auctions produce than I could ever dream of. You definitely earn your commission!! Just another grateful customer.
Dear Dr. Themelis: I would like to express my appreciation for the manner in which you placed my photographic supplies and equipment on auction. The results were entirely satisfactory.
George, Wonderful. Mom is so happy that this has been taken care of. She really worried about this equipment going to waste. We both feel that it is in the best interest of stereo photography that the equipment be used and enjoyed, particularly the rare items with a real history. Thanks again!
It's a masterful presentation, George!
HI George, WOW! The ad looks so good I'm tempted to buy it myself. Thanks again, you always do a great job.
Dr T... well you do know your stuff. The presentation is tops and shows a representative peek at what my aunt and uncle took over40 years ago. I can't guess at what they will bring but will now wait and be happy when they sell that someone gets 3d slides that will like them and appreciate the views. I want you to know that I am pleased to have you do this. Continue on Dr T !!
Hi George, All things considered, we are very pleased with all the auctions so far. Keep up the good work, you are doing a magnificent job.
The commission is worth every penny. You should be running the government.
Your description of the Verascope complete with shutter tests and multiple photos was so compelling that I nearly bid on it myself :-)
As usual you have a gift of making almost anything worth buying. Everything looks wonderful, you truly are a master of E-bay selling.
Yes George, I saw them, and they were great. The descriptions were so good I almost bid on my own camera.
George, did I tell you that you're amazing! You described my items far better than I could. You're worth every cent!
Dear Dr. Themelis: I would like to express my appreciation for the manner in which you placed my photo-graphic supplies and equipment on auction. The results were entirely satisfactory. I joined PSA in 1973, so you see, my husband and I had many wonderful years in the stereo world. The friends that I made through my photography have lasted me for a life time. At ninety-five I still correspond with some friends via e-mail. Although I can no longer use a stereo camera I do enjoy my digital camera. Thank you again.
Updated: January 2014