Your Audubon Prints on eBayģ
Youíve decided to sell your
Audubon print or prints on eBay. Youíve read my article Selling Your
Audubon Prints (especially the Selling on eBay section) on this website.
Youíve exhausted all other possibilities of finding a buyer and nobody
wants to buy the prints you own (this should be a clue). You donít
have the time to leave your prints on consignment with a dealer for a
really good price. OK, then you just want to get rid of the prints you
have, as quickly as possible, and youíll take whatever you can get for
them. Then, eBay is for you.
Do you know exactly what edition
of Audubon prints you have? Do you even know if they are originals,
quality facsimiles, or cheap reproductions? If not, read my articles, Is
Your Audubon Print An Original and Modern Audubon Birds of America D.E.F.
Editions, on this website to help find out what Audubon print you have.
If you cannot find your Audubon print in either of the above articles,
then it is most likely that you have one of the 25 million or more cheap
reproductions that were mostly given away beginning in the 1930s, and
continuing today. People take apart illustrated Audubon books, published
since the 1930s, and try and sell the pictures out of these books as
originals or vintage prints. Also, well over 20 million cheap Audubon
reproduction prints were produced and given away as premiums by banks,
insurance companies and other businesses during the 1930s-1960s. Just
because your print says Havell in the lower right corner, with a date in
the 1800s, does not make it an original, or even a high quality
Lastly, in recent years there
have been thousands and thousands of Audubon prints produced as cheap
posters or ďfine artĒ items sold mostly in decorator and home/garden
type magazines. They may make nice decorative items on your wall, but
their resale market value is only about what the used frame is worth.
So, if you have Audubon pictures out of a 20th century book,
cheap give away reproductions from the 1930s-1960s, or just modern day
Audubon decorator prints, I wish you luck in selling them on eBay. There
are scores of these cheap reproductions auctioned on eBay each week.
Most donít ever sell, but occasionally some seller scams an unknowing
buyer into buying one for a few dollars. To me, not one of them is worth
even $1.00 apiece.
Now, if your prints are better
than those described above, and you still want/need to sell them on
eBay, read on. Iíll assume you have identified what editions your
prints are from. But, do you know the market value of each and every
Audubon print you intend to sell? Forget about what you paid for them.
Now, youíve decided to sell them on eBayís secondary auction market
for whatever you can get for them (within reason? maybe?). It is
extremely important to know the market value of anything you are trying
to sell. It is also extremely important to know the eBay market if you
are going to be successful selling your Audubon prints there. As far as
the market value of your Audubon prints, I can sell you well researched
Price Guides, for $14.00 or less, of most Audubon edition prints at www.audubonprices.com.
Later in this article, I will tell you about the eBay market in relation
to Audubon prints, and what you can expect to get for your prints.
Audubon Prints Sell On eBay Ė
Most all of the high quality
modern DEF Audubon prints, described in the above article, are sold on
eBay. Amsterdams and Abbevilles are probably found most often on eBay.
Quite a good number of Loates and Leipzig prints appear on eBay from
time to time. Iíve even seen some Princeton Audubons and Institute de
France prints for sale on eBay. I think that some day in the future we
will see some of the newer Oppenheimer Editions and Audubon Centennial
Edition prints on eBay.
If you have original Audubon
prints, the octavo birds and quads are probably the most frequently sold
originals on eBay. First Editions, as well as later editions, are
regularly for sale. I think you would find that the First Edition octavo
bird prints are the most popular item on eBay. Original Audubon Havell,
Bien and Imperial Folio Quad prints are occasionally seen on eBay. Most
of the Havells are trimmed, and virtually all of the prints from these
three later editions are in generally poor condition. If you have
original Audubon Havells, Biens or Imperial Folio prints, or trimmed
Havells, that are in poor condition and no dealer wants to buy them,
then GO AHEAD and sell them on eBay and get what you can. If your
Havells, Biens and Imperial Folio prints are in pretty good shape, I
have another idea for you towards the end of this article.
Framed Prints o eBay Ė
First, DO NOT sell framed Audubon
prints on eBay. You will never get a good price for them. I would NEVER
bid on a framed Audubon print on eBay. Itís too risky. Mat and frame
packages hide flaws and damage. Prints that have been framed for more
than around 10 years will certainly have some hidden damage or flaws
under the mat. While the picture in the frame may look good to you, it
has probably faded over time. Also, the old frame will probably have
chips and scratches. Would even one in 50 buyers want your old frame and
mat, and be willing to pay the high shipping charges to ship frame and
glass? DO NOT spend money to put your print in a new archival frame and
mat. A buyer will still have to like your choice of mat and frame, and
will still be suspicious of what you are hiding under the new mat.
If you have a framed Audubon
print to sell, open the frame and take out the top mat and back mat.
Thoroughly examine and measure the print. Note all flaws and damage. I
have an article, Definitions of Print Flaws and Damage, on this website
which will help you describe the condition of your print. Photograph
your print out of the frames so buyers can see the whole print. You can
still slip the print and mat back in the frame, if you still want to
sell it, and take a 2nd picture with the print in the frame.
However, these pictures usually turn out poorly because of flash
reflections from the glass.
eBay Listing Ė
BE HONEST AND THOROUGH in
describing what you have for sale on eBay. Look at other Audubon eBay
auctions to get an idea of what is included in their listings. CIRQLAR
and rareprintsgallery.com are two of the best eBay sellers of Audubon
prints. Look at their listings and photos for ideas. HOWEVER, DO NOT
COPY THEIR LISTINGS OR ANYONE ELSEíS. They are copyrighted.
DO NOT copy or use excerpts or
material from any of my articles or other publications. THEY ARE ALL
COPYRIGHTED. I watch eBay listings and have caught several people
recently using my copyrighted material. Generally, I give permission to
people who ask in advance, to use my copyrighted material provided they give
proper credit. Finally, read my article, Buying Audubon Prints on eBay,
With Recommendations - 07/14/06, on this website to find out what you
are realistically up against and find out some more things NOT to do
when selling on eBay.
Take good bright pictures for
your eBay auction sale. Too many pictures on eBay are small and dark,
and do not show the condition or details of the print. Look at the
pictures of the above 2 mentioned eBay sellers. Find a place with lots
of indirect sunlight or lots of bright interior lighting, and then take
your flash picture. Photograph your print (or a print out of its frame)
against a dark colored background. It is important for buyers to be able
to see the entire print and its edges. If you feel it necessary, take
additional close up photos of the image and/or text credits.
Your Audubon Prints To Sell On eBay Ė
You must decide on an opening bid
price that will attract bidders, and not drive them away. With all
inexperienced eBay sellers there is a strong desire to set the opening
bid price at either what you paid for the item or what you are willing
to let it go for. FORGET THAT TYPE OF THINKING! This is eBay, and you
canít find any dealer to buy your prints, and you just want to get rid
of them for whatever you can get. DO NOT set some wishful reserve amount
such as in the above two examples. You may notice that the two top
Audubon eBay sellers that I mentioned above start virtually all their
auctions at $9.95! Their prints may wind up selling for $20-$50 or
$200-$500 or $1000 or more, AND THEY SELL EVERY PRINT AND ACCEPT WHAT
OK, I am assuming you know the
retail market value of the prints you want to sell on eBay, either from
my Price Guides at www.audubonprices.com
or other research. Use the low end of any retail price ranges as
your starting point. I have been tracking Audubon prints on eBay for
nearly 6 years. I can tell you with certainty that over 90% of all
Audubon prints sold on eBay realize prices that are 50% OR LESS than
retail market price. Those few prints that sell for more than 50% of
retail market value are mostly upper tier prints or the occasional print
that is wanted by two or more people, and they run up the price. Donít
count on that happening too often.
YOU NEVER WANT YOUR AUCTION
LISTING TO END WITH NO BIDS AND NO SALE. Therefore to attract bidders
and almost insure a sale, SET YOUR OPENING BID PRICE AT NO MORE THAN 25%
OF RETAIL MARKET VALUE, AND SET NO RESERVE!
Sell your prints on eBay between
October and April, if you can. There are more eBay buyers around from
fall to spring. Chances are that you wonít get the best price if you
sell in the summer.
The cold sad truth is that if you
bought your prints at retail within the last 5 years, with very very few
exceptions, you will most certainly lose money. Even if you bought your
prints on eBay within the last 5 years, youíll be lucky to break even.
If you inherited or were given your prints, you will make whatever money
the eBay market will pay for the prints you have. If you have held your
prints, purchased at retail, for 10 years or more (though I canít
imagine someone holding prints that long that a dealer would not be
interested in), I think youíll make a little money selling them on
Three of my Price Guides have
detailed records of eBay sales for each print in those specific
editions. Here are some examples from those Price Guides, my records and
recent observations. Original Audubon 1st edition octavo bird
prints always sell well on eBay. The least popular lower tier prints
sell in the $25-$50 range on eBay. First edition upper tier
prints sell for what a dealer might pay you or more. In fact, several
dealers buy these prints on eBay and turn around and sell them in their
Original Audubon octavo quad
prints have come down a bit in price over the last 2 years. The least
popular mice, rat, etc. lower tier prints have sold on eBay in the
$10-$50 price range. The most popular upper tier quadruped prints sell
from $200 up to sometimes $500, though the lower price area is currently
more likely. Both of the above editions are covered in detail in my
Amsterdam print prices dropped
sharply within the last 2 years, especially the upper tier prints. The
least popular lower tier prints sell in the $10-$40 range. It is now
unusual to find an upper tier Amsterdam print selling on eBay for much
more than $500. I have a Price Guide for this edition with complete
details. The Abbevilles closely parallel the Amsterdams in price. You
can read my FREE article, The Audubon Abbeville Edition and Print
Prices, for more information.
Sadly, many people paid hundreds
and even thousands of dollars for M. Bernard Loates prints prior to
1998. One Internet seller is still retailing these prints at $644 each.
On eBay, the vast majority of the 29 different prints sell for around
$50 or less. The few that might be considered upper tier prints might
sell for up to $100 to maybe $200 or more. The 40 different Leipzig
Edition prints do turn up on eBay from time to time. The lower tier
prints sell in the $25-$50 range. The upper tier prints have sold for
mostly $100-$300, though a few have sold between $400-$500.
Princeton-Audubon prints when
sold on eBay generally realize about 50%, or a little less, of their
current retail price (these prints are still being sold by the publisher
and associated dealers). Finally, a few of the 3 different hand colored
Institute de France Edition prints have sold on eBay in the $500-$1000
range. However, this was more than a year ago when the retail prices
were higher. Now, a new dealer has bought the entire supply, and is
remarketing them at lower retail prices, and none have recently turned
up on eBay.
I mentioned earlier that if you
have original Audubon Havell, Bien or Imperial Folio prints that are in
poor condition, I would sell them on eBay for what you could get. Again,
these would be prints that no dealer wanted to buy. It is also possible
that you might not find a buyer for a trimmed Havell in very good
condition that has been in its frame for years and years. These might be
prints youíll have to sell on eBay.
Earlier, I also mentioned a
possible solution for selling Havell, Bien and Imperial Folio prints,
that are in pretty good condition or better, and that no dealer wants to
buy. I am still puzzled that you could not find a buyer, because I know
many dealers that are always looking to buy these prints. Anyway, look
into eBay LIVE. Over a 2-3 month period, do a search for ďAudubonĒ
at eBay LIVE. Note the auction houses that are selling Audubon prints,
and the edition of the prints they have listed. You are looking for
medium to large auction houses that have their own galleries where the
auctions are actually held. Each auction house may have only 1 or 2
auctions a year that would be suitable for your Audubon prints to be in.
But, different auction houses will hold their auctions at scattered
times, so there should always be a suitable upcoming auction. All but
the actual eBay LIVE part of this is covered in more detail in my
Selling Your Audubon Prints article. If you donít want to go the
regular auction house route, then maybe an auction house that goes on
eBay LIVE is for you and your Havell, Bien and Imperial Folio prints.
I havenít paid all that much attention to eBay LIVE until recently. Two very good auction houses that I have seen there are Swann and Neal Auctions. As this is written, I notice that Neal Auctions even has a few Amsterdam prints on eBay LIVE in an upcoming auction. It will be interesting to see how they do. I would avoid auctioneers like GoAntiques and Universal LIVE, who seem to sell a lot of framed reproductions.
In Conclusion -
I don't believe that eBay is the place for the average Audubon collector to make money. Successful Audubon eBay sellers buy large quantities or complete sets/volumes of Audubon prints at bargain prices. They then sell off the individual prints on eBay and make money. If you have a similar situation, or have inherited same, you too can make money selling Audubon prints on eBay. Depending on the prints, if you have held Audubon prints for perhaps 10 years or more, you should at least break even selling on eBay, and maybe make some money. Otherwise, you should think of eBay as a place of last resort to sell your unwanted Audubon prints for whatever cash you can get.
Copyright © 2008 by Ron Flynn
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED