Specializing in postcards and antique photographs

Friday, May 28, 2010

William Jennings Bryan Cabinet Photo - 1896 (?)

We've listed a Cabinet Photo of William Jennings Bryan & family.  It's actually a montage of sorts of him, his wife and children.

William Jennings Bryan ran for President 3 times, 1896, 1900 and I think 1908, loosing each time.  Based on pictures we've seen of him online, and the apparent ages of his youngest children in this photo, we think this is from the 1896 period.  It was most likely promotional material for the 1896 presidential campaign. 

If that's the case, then there were probably a lot of these printed.  But it's the only one we've seen, and certainly the only one we've got. 

Besides being famous for not winning Presidential elections, he was considered one of the best orators of his day.  In 1925 Bryan argued for the prosecution in the "Scopes Trial", in which Tennessee biology teacher John Scopes was charged with violating state law by teaching evolution.   Bryan won the case but the verdict was overturned on a later appeal.  A week after the trial was over, Bryan died in his sleep.

So, an honest to goodness period cabinet photo of a honest to goodness famous person.  Cool.  

Click on the title to go to the listing if you're interested.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Some more repsonses to eBay's rate changes

We mostly sell vintage postcards and photographs, primarily on eBay.

Our sales have remained steady (up to now) since eBay's March 30th changes, and that apparently puts us ahead of a lot of other sellers.   We're selling at roughly the same rate after the change as before. 

However, eBay's lowest fee structure in history has caused the fees we pay eBay to increase by about $75.00 a month minimum, (imagine that) so we're making that much less than we did.  Because of our level of selling we were pretty much forced to upgrade our store subscription; also they did away with the store inventory format and are calling everything fixed price.  And while it's true the fixed price fee for a "premium" store is much less than before, it is still higher than the old Store Inventory Format, which is how we used to list our non-auction store inventory.   We pay eBay more money in fees, with no extra benefit that we can see.

So we've decided on a few other things to do - I have no idea if it will work or not.  Everything is a work in progress

1st - we've tried some other venues in addition to eBay that haven't worked for us, so we're pulling out of those sites, and relisting the better inventory on eBay again

2nd - we continue to investigate other selling venues; right now we're giving Bonanzle every chance to work for us, but so far it has been disappointing. 

3rd - we've kicked around the idea of creating our own store website, but we aren't really sure if that will work or not.  We can do it, we have the ability, but all the considerations involved, plus driving traffic to it, seems a daunting task.  It still may happen, and if it does it probably will be in conjunction with selling on eBay. 

4th - to cut down on fees, we're starting to sell more "lots" of cards.  We've always sold lots, from lots of 2 to as much as 300.  It's a good way to move inventory, but generally they bring in much less per card than selling them individually.  But, if a card is a good card, but hasn't sold & it's been around for awhile, there's a good chance we'll include it in some sort of logical grouping and list as part of a lot.  We're doing this to cut down on listing fees, and hopefully move some inventory.

5th - we're going through our listings, correcting mistakes, and paying special attention to titles and keywords.  Some seem to work better than others.

So we have to attack this on two sides.  We have to drive sales somehow, and we have to get our fees a bit more under control. Right now they are too high.  The trick to controlling fees though, is to do it in such a way that sales are not negatively impacted.  It's a neat tick.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just a little audit

Spent some time going thru all the our eBay listings, looking for dupes (can easily happen if you hit the sell similar button instead of relist) or anything else out of the ordinary.  This is what I call a "light" audit, though with almost 2500 listings, anything like this takes a little time.

A heavy and time consuming audit would be to go to every listing and find it's corresponding physical inventory item.    And then do the reverse, go to every inventory item and find it's corresponding listing.   They are two very different things.

Its what us sellers do sometimes.

It's been a long, long time since I've not been able to find a postcard - but on one occasion in the past 4 years we've sold an item which we no longer had.  That is a sick feeling. 

So we do things like this every now and then.  We're only human, we can make mistakes, but we try hard to minimize things like that.

Click here to go to our store, and check out our listings.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Snapshot of a Girl Standing on a Swing

This a snapshot of a girl in a school uniform standing on a swing.  The style looks 1920s-30s era.  There is no identifying information on it anywhere.  Just a girl in a uniform, playfully posing on a swing to have her picture taken.

Click on the title to go to the listing, if you're interested.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Addie Kinabrew Morton of Cleburne Texas, Cabinet Photo

We have this photo for sale in our eBay store, and we believe it is of Addie Kinabrew Morton - that is the name written in pencil on the back of the photo.   Photographer information is also stamped on the back - "J. A. Lindgren, Photographer, Cleburne, Texas".  The Photo is about 4 1/2 X 6 1/2 inches.

Kinabrew is one of those names that can be spelled more than one way - I've seen Kinnabrew, Kinnebrew & Kennebrew, which are all probably different spellings of the same name.   There seem to be plenty of Kinabrews about though, and plenty of them still seem to be from Cleburne. 

Anyway, this is Addie.  We estimate this Cabinet Photo to be from the 1870s or so, and her hair style and clothing seem pretty typical.  She's holding two small purses, which is a little unusual, perhaps, but not much.  And she's wearing a dark dress with a huge amount of lace.

Click on the title to go to our listing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Thought on Feedback

I frequently peruse the eBay discussions boards, rarely posting anything, but seeing what everyone else has to say.  My favorites are "Seller Central", "PayPal" & "Feedback".  It is interesting to read about some of the problems people run into, and some of the solutions suggested.  I've learned quite a bit, but you also have to take a lot of things with a grain of salt too.  On Seller Central, for example, there is thread after thread about how sales are down after eBay made their big changes on March 30.  Well, our sales are up since March 30, and we continue to sell at a bit better rate than normal for us.  I don't particularly like the changes because it costs us money in higher fees, but it hasn't bothered our sales, at least up to this point.  BTW, only in the eBay world can "the lowest fees ever" cost us about $75.00 a month more than previously.

On to feedback, though.  One thing I find interesting on the Feedback board is that people are still arguing over who should leave feedback first.  There seem to be two armed camps all over America who feel strongly about this subject.  Buyers say sellers should leave it as soon as they receive the money for the item - after all at that point the buyer has met their obligation.   Many sellers say, hold on there, pardner, (not partner, but pardner - all sellers are from the south or southwest, apparently), not so fast.  In their minds, the transaction is not complete until the buyer receives and is happy with the item they bought.  The only way a seller will know that is through communication and/or feeback from the buyer after the buyer receives the item.

As far as I'm concerned, the whole discussion is irrelevant, a complete waste of time.   Although thru the ages, I've actually been on both sides of the issue.  The rules changed, so my position changed.

Ok.  The IN-sane people on eBay are probably evenly distributed among sellers and buyers.  Since I am predominately a seller, I'm more worried about the IN-sane buyers, and I've ran into a few. 

When I first started on eBay, sellers could leave neutral and negative feedback for buyers, but since 2008 (I think), sellers can't leave anything other than positive for buyers.  Up until that point, I generally waited until I received feedback before leaving it.  It was my major protection against an IN-sane buyer.  I have never left retalitory feedback, and probably never would, because feedback says as much about the person leaving it as it says about the person it's left for.  But the IN-sane buyer does not know that - the IN-sane buyer asumes I think like they do, and so was more likely not to leave any feedback than they were to leave unfair feedback.

Now however, that little defense is gone.  Sellers can only leave positive for buyers & buyers know it, so what does it matter?  I now leave positive feedback when I ship out the item.  If the buyer leaves feedback for me, great, if not, I'm not going to worry about it.  It's completely voluntary, something else that a lot of people don't seem to understand.

A lot of people act like collecting feedback is the object of selling or buying on eBay.  That's just weird.

These boards sometimes identify IN-sane eBay types, both seller and buyers.   For example, there is a buyer out there who has bought maybe a couple dozen items in the last two years, and has left negatives for every one of them.  He came to light on the boards because a seller posted that he'd received negative feedback the same day he mailed the item - in other words the buyer hadn't received it yet.  I looked at the buyer's feedback page, and sure enough, he's left negatives for everyone he's ever bought from.  Either he has the worst luck in the world, or he is classically IN-sane.   Either way, I blocked him, just in case.   There was another buyer who leaves an extremely high rate of negative and neutrals - and some of the comments seemed to be about things completely out of the seller's control, like post office transit times.  IN-sane.

Insanity isn't limited to buyers though, not by a long shot.  But they're the ones I worry about.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Can't Make 'em Understand

I can't make Entrecard understand what my problem is.  Or more likely, I can't get them to read and respond to the problem I describe in the emails I send them.   So, this blog is basically non-functional as far as EC is concerned.   I can't link it to my other one, I can't get to an EC dashboard that represents this blog's activity, but I am assured my account is active.  I could probably send them an off color limerick & they write me back telling me my account is now active.  It accepts drops, so it is indeed active - but that's all it can do.

So, I give up.  This blog will keep going, but EC-wise, I won't be dropping, and I can do nothing about approving ads etc.  I don't know if I'll remove the widget or not.

Look for more eBay related stuff in the future.