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Use eBay to Buy and Sell Memories and Interests

Follow your personal interests all the way to eBay

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Use eBay to Buy and Sell Memories and Interests

Feeling nostalgic about the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver? Want a pair of mittens to commemorate the event? Well they're sold out... except on eBay.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images
The Olympic games don't happen every year. The Year of the Tiger only comes every dozen years. Your recent vacation to Paris may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Your previous tour of the Soviet Union is an experience that no one will ever have again, in any lifetime. That's okay, though, you still have time to buy your Vancouver mittens, your 2010 year of the tiger coins, your Paris light switch cover and Eiffel Tower mug, or your Soviet belt buckle and watch.

Veteran eBay buyers and sellers know that eBay is probably the greatest marketplace on earth for the buying and selling of memories-or, as such goods are more commonly known-of memorabilia. In fact, memorabilia sales (and the closely related trade in collectibles) drove a measurable portion of eBay's early growth.

For Buyers

If you like to fill your life with objects that meaningfully relate to activities you enjoy, stars you follow, places you've been, and things you'd like to see, or if you're a person who likes to give gifts this way, eBay can be one of the most fulfilling shopping experiences you'll ever have. eBay isn't just a place to do your Black Friday holiday shopping or save money on video games and game accessories.

If you've never done any of this kind of shopping on eBay before, you may be dubious or even have a bunch of questions you'd like answered before you try. Here are some tidbits that you may find helpful if you're ready for a memorabilia shopping experiment on eBay.

  • Combine your interests and/or needs in searches. It can be overwhelming to search for "Paris" or "Olympics" and find thousands or even hundreds of thousands of items on sale. So marry an interest like Africa with something you need, like an end table. The resulting search for African tables reduces an unmanageable set of hundreds of thousands of results to just a few dozen, helping you to indulge your interests and meet your needs together.

  • Don't automatically rule out international sellers. Much of the best memorabilia for international places and events is going to come-surprise-from international sources. Don't automatically rule out international shipping. It may seem scary, but goods bought from China, from Russia, from Europe, or from Africa routinely arrive for eBay shoppers without trouble. Remember, as always, to use feedback about past results as your guide.

  • Remember to account for shipping and other costs. Depending on distances, locations, and item sizes, shipping costs can add up quickly, so be sure to make note of the shipping costs specified in the listing before you bid or buy. Also remember that if you're buying in a non-native currency, you're likely going to pay exchange fees. Do also remember to account for any customs fees or similar import fees that apply in your area.

  • Be careful about investment-minded buying. For some buyers, interest in memorabilia isn't only sentimental, but is financial as well. If this is you, be careful about fakes and counterfeits and be careful about making major investment purchases on eBay, where it can be difficult if not impossible to examine an item for yourself before purchasing, particularly if it is arriving from distant locales.

  • Remember common misspellings. Language barriers and other kinds of language inaccuracies and foibles are often at work in listings for these kinds of goods. If you're shopping for something particularly unique or difficult to spell, or that is likely to come from overseas, try searching for common misspellings, phonetic misspellings, or other likely mistakes as well.
With a little luck and interest (and often very little money), eBay can offer shoppers some of the best and most unique memorabilia buying opportunities anywhere, often years or even decades after the fact-items that can add individuality and style to your own life or that make great gifts for family and friends with special interests.
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