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Looking to sell a few items from my collection, to make room for new ones I will get more enjoyment out of. Some items have boxes, and some do not. What are some tips I should remember when going through the selling process? Also, what can be done about the items without boxes that I want to sell?

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Lots of good pictures!!! That's all the potential buyer has to make a judgement on if they want to buy what you have. Try and show and describe any and all issues that the item might have and point it out. Also be open to offers. We all feel what we're selling is worth what we're asking. Sometimes that's the case and other times it's not. Don't be offended if someone gives you an offer that you think is too low, remember they're looking for the best deal and so are you.


I have bought nothing but used equipment since I started.  For me I prefer boxes, but have bought many without, just willing to pay a little less.  For some that is a no go.

Assuming you are selling online.  Make sure to take good pictures, if I can't see good pictures of the item, I won't even bother to think about buying it.  That includes a good picture of the bottom.  Be honest about ANY issues with the item.  Do your research and price it reasonably, there aren't that many "suckers" out there, with the ability to look up prices on the internet.

When packing, do the best job you can, especially for items without a box.  If it is expensive, make sure it is insured.

Best of luck!

For items without a box, I wrap it first with green stretch wrap to hold everything in place and then bubble wrap the item. Don’t skimp on bubble wrap - you want to pack item so it doesn’t move in the mailing box. I often add folded cardboard to the interior corners of shipping box to avert crushing. Leftover styrofoam good for this too. Just cut a square block to fit the corner.

Build cost of your box and packing materials into price. Stuff gets expensive.

On the other hand, do the buyer a favor and use discount sites for shipping labels like PirateShip. If you just take the package to the post office or a UPS store the price is easily 25-40% higher. Likewise ground shipping is much more affordable than priority and the days to deliver aren’t much different if in same time zones.

i don’t keep boxes for rolling stock and buy without a box all the time. Shouldn’t inhibit your sales if it is something desirable. Pictures do help.

All the above information is great. I have found that usps is the most inexpensive way to ship. Make sure in your packing it does right so the item doesn’t move around. Personally I don’t sell on Fleabay anymore because of their ridiculous fees and some of the buyers. When you price your shipping you can go online and find out almost exactly how much the charges will be. Price it right so you don’t lose money. You will get people complain about the cost but that’s just what it costs and there’s nothing you can do. Last, look at the Facebook sites for your listings, it’s a good place to sell and get ideas on prices. Good luck.

When shipping O scale trains (especially locomotives) I always make a little foam or cardboard box and bubble wrap coat around the couplers before I wrap the whole item. Whatever you do, try to make sure the train won't put pressure on the coupler during shipping. Consider the box may sit in any orientation during the shipping process. I have seen a lot of locomotive couplers bend upwards when shipped without their boxes.
Also, USPS has this box called the "shoebox" which you can order and have shipped to you for free in sets of 25. Two shoe boxes end-to-end can fit almost any individual piece of rolling stock or locomotive -even in the purple box.

Clearly disclosing the condition is #1.  Not having the box is generally OK - might have to price at a few bucks less.

A great packing material is disposable incontinence bed pads - about $1 each in bulk on Amazon.  They offer good padding, conforms to the item, won't scratch the item, and won't put marks on it like bubble wrap can.  Don't wrap the item directly in bubble wrap - use tissue paper first.

How to sell depends on your objective, timeframe, and patience.  Some local shops take consignments.  If you sell to a dealer or reseller, you'll get far less money but your investment of time and effort will be minimal.  You can list here on the forum.  IMO, most for-sale listings on the forum have unrealistically high prices, but well-priced items should sell quickly.  The major auction houses get good prices with minimal hassle, but it might take a few months.

@ogauge1217 posted:

As another option besides online, would any of you consider selling to a local hobby store?

Keep in mind that a hobby store will probably pay you less (and sometimes a lot less) than half of what you can get selling to other hobbyists, but will be the fastest and least amount of work on your part.  Another avenue would be train auction houses, but the down side there is that it can be a gamble on how much you will get for your stuff.  Yet another option is to get a table at train shows, if you are lucky enough to have them in your area or at least within easy driving distance.


@ogauge1217 posted:

This is all great information, thank you for the replies. As another option besides online, would any of you consider selling to a local hobby store?

You could sell to a LHS (you will get less, but it is way easier than actually selling and packing yourself).  I consigned some HO items that I no longer wanted to a LHS, but it took almost 3 years before it all sold.  BTW I let the owner decide on the pricing, you gotta trust the LHS owner.

Remember, insuring an item doesn’t mean you will be readily paid for loss or damage. You will need documentation of the item’s value, and you must meet the shipper’s guidelines for adequate packaging for a damage claim. If you sell and ship an expensive item that arrives damaged, you will be expected to provide documentation of the item’s worth, and if it has appreciated in value above original list price, you may not see that increased value reflected in the refund, unless you can provide documentation thereof. Same criteria apply to a lost item.

Last edited by Mark V. Spadaro

If it is Pennsylvania Railroad, you don't have to put the road name on the listing.  <-- Sarcasm.

In the description and/or title, try to include as much information.

- What is it (GP40, 2-8-0, tank car, cherubs urinating in a fountain)?

- What company made it?

- What is the part number (so someone can search on it).

- What if any command control does it have?

- What road name?

- If its MTH, what is the odometer reading? And try include pictures of the wheels, gives buyer an idea of how much use.

- Again, if its MTH, is it Premier, Railking, Rugged Rails. (Although the 20- or 30- usually gives it away).

How many times have a seen a posting and its missing some/most of the most basic info. Some day I want to sell something on OGR as "Trains" to see if anybody gets the joke.

And then if you are taking pictures with your cell phone, realize some times its better to pull back away from the object so the camera can focus, then edit the pictures afterwards.

If you plan on selling on eBay, make the first picture of the whole item in front of the box. Take a picture of the label on the box.

Lots of good suggestions so far. I will add that honesty about condition and a willingness to answer questions goes a long way. If you aren't willing to answer questions, state that in your listing. I have had a few potential sellers that I didn't do business with because they didn't want to answer questions and one was very rude about questions.

If you won't quote shipping, state that as well. I won't buy anything that I don't know the shipping price. I have been burned with high shipping before and I won't go down that road again.

Bundling like items together as you see fit isn't always a good option. I recently bought some MPC box cars that were bundled by the seller. All of the cars in the bundles I bought were cars I wanted and didn't already have. The seller had other cars I wanted, but they were bundled with cars I already have or didn't want, so I passed on those.

I have sold items to a hobby shop many years ago. You aren't going to get anything close to what you want for them from a hobby shop. They have to make a profit and there is depreciation to take into account.

If you post items for sale on the forum, don't include your email address or phone number in the post - it's just an invitation to scammers.  Be sure to include the contact info in your profile so that other members can contact you, and watch your spam folder in email so that you don't miss any messages.

(Brief rant:  I'm amazed at the number of people who still do these things.  And yes, I know that most of our info is already available to scammers, but why make their job easier?) 

When a member contacts you, check their join date and look at some of their posts to see if they are a serious hobbyist.  None of these techniques are foolproof for avoiding scammers, but they greatly improve your odds.

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