Guide to Successful Auction Sales

The voice of experience from John Kuvakas

What you need to succeed

Photos of the actual model plus box, if possible

  • People are more confident to bid on what they can see
  • Bids go higher the more information you provide

Good description

  • MIB means just as it came from the factory with all documentation. In FAQs is "How Do I Describe Condition of My Models".
  • Specify whether box is original including packing
  • An honest description will garner a good reputation
    • Does it need to be cleaned?
    • Is chrome shiny and lustrous?
    • Has it been on display and/or covered?
    • Listing factory colors is a plus
    • What is the edition size? Is it a numbered model?
    • Is there anything unique about your model? Was it a color trial?
    • Is it rarely seen at auction? Mention anything that makes your listing unique. Do not label ALL of your listings “RARE!” - folks are smarter than that.

State your shipping/packing charges.

  • Try to avoid arbitrary shipping, dependent on location. It makes bidders nervous if they don’t know the final price.
  • See what other auctions are charging and stay within those guidelines. Bidders will avoid your listing if they think you are trying to make money on the shipping. You’re actually better off losing a little bit on shipping and getting more bids for a higher end price.

Auction Tip

Bids go higher the more information you provide and the more accurate the photo

"The Zone Auction offers a huge database of MIB photos to insert into your listing if you have no photo."

How to price your item
to get top dollar

Know your market!

  • As hard as it is to admit, original boxes add to the value of your model. If you do not have the original box and/or packing, state that in your listing. If you are lacking the original box and/or documentation, expect to get 20%-30% less for your model.
  • Do not price your model above market, thinking bidders will flock to your listing because your model is so spectacular. Nothing kills an auction faster than an above market price. If a 1992 Flipmobile is selling for $35 in recent auctions, no one is going to pay you $40.
  • Pricing your model right at the market value will make your listing equally uninteresting. Bidders will say to themselves, “I can buy it anytime at that price.” And move on to other listings.

Price low enough to attract early bidders

  • The more action you generate in bidding, the higher your end bids will be. Watch the listings to verify this. More bidders mean more excitement over a listing. And you will end up with a larger group of bidders watching your auction through to the end. This will net you a higher selling price.
  • If you are really smart & brave…start your bidding at a VERY low price. If this makes you apprehensive, bear in mind the market will always determine the end price. Starting your listing off at, say…$10…will attract a lot of attention. It draws in bidders looking for a deal and demonstrates to the more realistic bidders that your listing is desirable. Examine the truly successful listings: very seldom will the early bidders become the winners. They drop out when the listing gets near market. But they accomplish the goal of attracting more bidders. Then the realistic bidders take over from there. Your wildest dreams will be realized when a low listing attracts two or three serious collectors that really want your model. They can drive bidding far above market value but this is difficult if you start too high. After the bidding is over

Auction Tip

The market will always determine the final price.

"To assist in your pricing strategy, take advantage of the Zone Price Archive as an invaluable resource."

After the bidding is over

Contact your buyer right away and thank him

  • Let your buyer know when you’ll be sending him his package

Pack the item carefully

  • Over pack to maintain a good reputation; consider it an investment. You can get free Priority Mail boxes from the USPS online. Use Styrofoam peanuts if possible. If not, use wadded up newspapers and use plenty. Either way, wrap the model in bubble wrap to protect it. Tape the box securely and label it clearly.

Ship as soon as you can!

  • Let the buyer know the item is on the way.
  • The Extra Mile: Consider using UPS, insuring your shipment, asking for signature. These steps will protect you and make the buyer confident you are interested in further business. Any UPS store will open an account for you and even pack your models. This can expedite your shipping time and minimize your effort. Many sellers just drop off their models at their package store and have the store take care of the shipping and labeling. This will cost extra but may be worth the additional expense to save you time and effort.

Success is when buyer is satisfied

  • If a buyer has a valid complaint, address it as soon as possible. Either make an adjustment or offer a refund. It’s far better to eat a little profit than it is to lose your reputation as a seller.

Auction Tip

When it comes to packing, go the extra mile

"The Diecast Zone Auctioneers are here to help if you run into a problem."