Archive for the ‘ebay’ Category

What’s it worth: Empire film magazine

April 23, 2020
Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 15.14.23.png

Empire magazine: this lot fetched £120 for 35 issues.  That averages out at £3.40 a copy

I’ve put a lot of guidance on Ebay selling in this blog and also on Magforum’s Collecting Magazines page. But every seller is different and it’s difficult making judgements. Isla has emailed me with this query, which is a good opportunity to set out the main points:

I recently discovered that my Dad has a large collection of Empire magazines in the loft. There are almost all of the issues from 1989 (first issue) until about 2007 maybe later (it’s hard to tell as I haven’t been able to get them all out from the cupboard). Most of them are discoloured (like yellow/brown pages), I spotted at least one unfortunate coffee cup stain, a lot have minor rips and creases from where they’ve been read and some of the free posters have been removed (only a few issues have free posters). There are several collectors edition issues. I have read all of your information about selling but after looking at other listings on Ebay, I still can’t tell if they would be of enough value to be bothered to sell (I am quite happy keeping them to read/cut up). Do you think that they could be worth anything?

It’s always difficult to judge what sort of money makes it worth someone’s while getting up to speed on eBay. So, let’s look at this from the bottom up with the questions that come to my mind.

Is there a market in Empire magazine?

A quick search on eBay (Empire magazine -bbc for UK only) suggests there is, with 5,155 lots up for sale at present. But that’s also a lot of competition. Of these, about 2,100 are tagged with dates:

  • 450 are marked as being from the 1990s;
  • 851 from the 2000s;
  • 834 from the 2010s.

Generally, older issues fetch more, but my experience suggests that subscriber-only collectors’ editions and special issues, such as the Star Wars issue of Empire from June 2005 with a breathing Darth Vader, are more valuable. Posters and special gifts make a difference too.

In terms of selling though, the asking price on live listings may not be a good guide. Many dealers put up hundreds of lots at high prices and are prepared to wait a long time for a sale. They just put it up on a buy-it-now and wait for months and generally have an eBay, or even a real, shop. In general, the cheaper your asking price, the quicker something will sell. So, next question…

What do copies of Empire actually sell for?

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 19.05.31To discover this, first of all use the left-hand menu on eBay to select only lots that have ended (completed). This gives 3,482 results.

We can then select only items that have sold (see the partial screen grab shown on the left).  In this case, we get 854. This gives us a rough and ready ratio of about one in every four lots selling (if you look at the detail, it’s a crude measure because many listings are only up for a few days ands then get put up again when they don’t sell, but let’s not complicate things here). That’s not a bad figure, a calculation I did a while back on Country Life came out at just 13%.

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 15.13.43Now, we can list these by ‘Highest price + p&p’ in a dropdown menu near the top right of the eBay page. (Again, see the partial screen grab shown on the left.)

The highest price was for a magazine item about the British empire, so we can ignore that – though we might want to tweak our search by adding ‘-british’ to take out such items (though it would also remove listings that used British in their listing). This cuts the total to 801.

We can see that a bulk lot sold on the 5th of February for £120 plus £25 postage. This was for 35 issues dating back to 1993, 1994 and 1995. That averages out at £3.40 a copy. Note, though, that these are listed as VGC – very good condition. It seems unlikely that many of Isla’s copies are that good. As she says:

Most of them are discoloured (like yellow/brown pages), I spotted at least one unfortunate coffee cup stain, a lot have minor rips and creases

The February seller, funkymonkey62, stresses the condition, describing them as ‘All in very good condition’ and ‘Pre-owned but in excellent condition’ within the listing. Funkymonkey62 also has a solid record of 1,283 sales, with 117 of the last 118 items having positive feedback.

What can Isla expect for her discoloured magazines?

Isla could put up the complete three years of issues, but would have to be honest about the condition. Photos help here, so people can make their own judgement. The discolouration is likely to have come from exposure to sunlight or damp. At least the magazines are complete, no pages ripped out or photos cut out.

The postage cost is likely to be the same, and the asking price: half the VGC price? That’s £1.70 each or £61 for the 36 issues plus postage.

Ilsa has far more than that, of course.

almost all of the issues from 1989 (first issue) until about 2007

Let’s assume she has every issue from June 1989 to the end of 2006, and that there were 12 issues a year. That’s 7 issues plus 17 full years, or 211 copies. So, if they all sold for £1.70 each, the grand total would be £358. However, there’s another question…

Are all copies worth the same?

The answer, of course, is No, even assuming they are in the same condition. First issues and older issues tend to fetch more because they are less likely to have survived. And the eBay results give evidence here, with another two high-earning sales.

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 17.51.29In the first example, the winner of two bidders in an auction paid £43 plus £8 postage for copies of the first ten issues: an average of £4.30 each. This was almost a quarter more per copy than funkymonkey62 achieved for their VGC copies. The condition description was ‘in bookcase for the past 30 years – spine getting the only bit of daylight. No fading, excellent colour’. This is a better form of description because it’s more objective, allowing some one to make their own judgement, whereas ‘VGC’ is more subjective.

Another listing contradicts this though: issues 1-56 in unique bindings sold for just £50 – less than £1 each. The condition was described: ‘Kept in excellent condition due to custom binding. (My Dad collects railway magazines and had them bound so I wouldn’t turn them all into posters!).’ But this was a ‘collection only’ offer, greatly limiting the potential buyers. And the seller probably underpriced them – remember funkymonkey62’s £120 buy-it-now for £35 issues. But if the seller wanted to get a bulky item out of the house quickly, it worked for them.

Is it better to split up a collection?

If you want to spend the time getting to learn eBay and are prepared to do the research and live close to a Post Office, you can certainly earn more, particularly if there are unopened posters and supplements.

The tactic here is to find use eBay searches to identify the best issues, sell those separately, and then sell the rest in bigger lots, probably by year (but check on the most efficient postal bands).

As an example, four copies of Empire‘s Fantastic Beasts special edition have sold for between £28 and £48 (issue 330, Dec 2016). The standard newsstand issue fetches £2-£5. It’s a similar story for Empire‘s Mandalorian Baby Yoda subscriber edition from April 2020 – £20-£40, and other recent Star Wars specials. Individual copies of the first issue have sold for between £6.41 (auction) and £22.99 inclusive (a buy-it-now).

So, what should Isla do?

Only Isla can decide on her priorities and the balance between time spent and money earned. In her shoes, assuming she wants the cash, I would suggest:

  1. Pick out the issues that fetch the most from the sold issues selection on eBay.
  2. Pick out the best issues by condition.
  3. Experiment with these one at a time using buy-it-now listings to judge the best selling price.
  4. Sell the rest in chunks, but again experiment with doing it by year or perhaps theme: Star Wars, Marvel heroes, etc.

Any tips for the listings?

  1. My research into Country Life suggests that building up eBay expertise pays off. The conclusion was: ‘people who fill out data fields for a listing are three times as likely to sell their magazine‘.
  2. Put a lot of pictures and details in the listings. Mention the films and actors covered in the big articles and who’s on the cover or in any posters, or whole page pictures.
  3. Make the descriptions objective. Describe the copy (all pages complete, no creasing to cover, clean, demo a no-smoking home), rather than judge (excellent condition). Above all, be open and honest; refer to the photos in the description.
  4. Before you put up an issue, check out the competition. If you want to sell quickly, price low; be prepared to wait if you aim high. Watch out for news or new films relevant to the issue you’re selling – topicality can raise prices.
  5. Make the best use of the limited character you have in the main description – think about what words people use for searching. Leave out filler words such as ‘a’ and ‘the’.
  6. Look at the sold listings for tips on descriptions. Compare these with those that don’t sell, so you can work out what works.

 

 

 

How to sell cycling and triathlon magazines

March 18, 2018
Triathlon magazine cover from April 2018

220 Triathlon magazine cover from April 2018. Published by Immediate Media (Bauer)

Jeff writes:

Hi, I have a ton of Triathlon (2000-2015) and Cycling (2000 to the present day). They are about to go in the recycling because I need the space. Do you have any ideas or know anybody interested?

Some suggestions:

Ebay is the obvious place. Put them up as several bundles grouped by year. The going rate in bulk for the monthly 220 Triathlon seems to be about £1 a copy + post/free pickup. Cycling Weekly is bit less. They probably fit nicely in A4 photocopy paper boxes. Make sure the box weight and size is within a postal price band.

Contact one of the traders on my Collecting Magazines page, or identify an eBay trader who specialises in cycling magazines.

Cycling Weekly magazine cover from 10 August 2017

Cycling Weekly magazine cover from 10 August 2017. Published by Time Inc UK

Or give them to an impecunious teenager with the time to list them on Ebay. They have a one in four selling rate in the past 3 months. The ideal price seems to be £4.99 each for Triathlon, inc postage (£1 cheaper for Cycling). Selling price range has been 99p+post to £8.50 inclusive for a single copy. There are also lots of people around who do such selling for others and share the proceeds. Ask around.

Post a note and put the word around at the sports centre where you train. Ask the staff as well.

Give them to a charity shop. They collect them at depots and sell them on Ebay.

These blog entries give tips on selling also:

Car magazine collectors
What’s a magazine worth? -1
What’s a magazine worth? -2


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design


 

 

£149 for an Argos catalogue

February 14, 2018
Argos catalogue No 6 from autumn 1976 sold on eBay for £149

Argos catalogue No 6 from 1976 sold on eBay for £149

How did I miss this? An Argos catalogue from 1976. And it sold for a whacking £149 before Christmas.

As the eBay seller, Halcyontoys, noted:

From the mists of time comes this original and highly collectable Argos catalogue. Released for the autumn/winter 1976/77 season, it runs to 200 pages and is a fascinating ‘window’ into the lifestyles and technologies prevalent at the time.

From record decks to teas-maids and Evel Knievel toys – they’re all here in garish 1970s colour!

The catalogue has some age-related signs of wear, mainly handling/stress marks to the cover and some discolourisation to the back page. However, it remains in good condition and all 198 internal pages are present and correct with no annotations or creasing.

A very enjoyable, rare and historic publication.

Read and weep all ye who missed it.

The cameras spread from Argos catalogue No 6 from 1976 sold on eBay for £149

The cameras spread from Argos catalogue No 6

 


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 

 


 

 

One for Madonna fans

February 13, 2018
Madonna strip cartoon of her life 1986

Madonna strip cartoon of her life: The Story So Far

Hotspot-5 has 156 Madonna issues up on ebay at prices ranging from £4.95 to £24.95.

One of the earliest issues dates back to January 1986. It’s issue 2 of Look-In, the weekly TV magazine for teenagers, which carried a cartoon strip of Madonna’s life called ‘The Story So Far’.

In response to queries, I’ve done several Madonna posts, including identifying the first Madonna magazine cover (and it’s not Smash Hits or i-D).

Madonna front cover Esquire magazine 1994

Madonna on the cover of Esquire magazine in September 1994, dressed up to meet Norman Mailer!

Hotspot-5’s Madonna issues.

 


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 

 


 

Radio Times and the dark recesses of the web

March 31, 2017
The Radio Times has been around since 1923

The Radio Times celebrated its 70th anniversary in 1993

One of the Radio Times gurus contacted me after seeing my post about tracking down copies of magazines. He makes some interesting points about the post, which used the example of tracing a copy of the Radio Times that carried  an article about a 1974 play, Penda’s Fen:

A link to your blog post was given on a Facebook page that I dip into and I was immediately hooked as I noticed the graphic of the first issue masthead at the top. An interesting post, but one thing most miss with Genome is the facility to see the listing result in context within the day’s listings for that channel:

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/1974-03-21#at-21.25

Scroll right up to the top of that page, and there, on the right, are the details of the issue and page numbers for the listing, making life very easy if you are then planning to look for a copy of the magazine that contains the information, either to buy or in a library:

Appears in
Issue 2627
14 March 1974
Page 43

Lynda Kelly’s website, RadioTimesBackNumbers.com, has thumbnails of all the editions she has for sale, but she does have unlisted stock, so it is always worth giving her a call to check. Even if she no longer has a copy, but once did, the thumbnail may be lurking on the web, so a quick search on Waybackmachine or just Google with the right publication date or schedule range may grab it from the dark recesses of the web.

Some nice tips there.

Paypal is getting flakey at the weekends

October 31, 2016

Weird goings-on at Paypal for the second weekend on the run. Trying to pay for ebay items, it tells me ‘We don’t recognise the device you’re using’. They’re the same 2 devices I’ve been using for several years. And I’ve bought more than 1,000 items using Paypal.

I spent an age on the phone last weekend and then going through interminable security systems to get a screen grab to them. Of course, I got a ‘we’re experiencing unexpectedly high volume of phone calls’ message last weekend and I got one again yesterday morning.

Ebay help far easier to get hold of, but they know nothing. Just give me Paypal’s phone number, which I know only too well already.

So, I think there’s something going wrong with Paypal’s systems. Certainly, last week the problem sorted itself out without them doing anything.

In the meantime, what do people recommend as an alternative to Paypal for ebay payments?

Guess what? It all worked fine at midnight. Paypal definitely getting flakey at weekends.

 

Naked Katy and her Dalek tempt Dr Who fans

May 28, 2016
Girl Illustrated front cover with Dr Who girl Katy Manning naked with a Dalek

Girl Illustrated cover with nude Dr Who girl Katy Manning cuddling a Dalek for a photo shoot

A whopping £275 is the asking price on eBay for a copy of a 1977 issue of Australian magazine Girl Illustrated with Dr Who girl Katy Manning naked on the cover with a Dalek – ‘Exclusive TV’s Katy strips’.

That’s quite a jump from the £120 a copy of the same issue of Girl Illustrated fetched in 2008.

Funnily enough, the boots Katy Manning’s wearing – she was Jo Grant, Doctor Who’s companion, in the 1970s – were a present from Derek Nimmo! The photo shoot created a stink at the BBC but the broadcaster did later use the same idea and issued publicity photos of Kylie Minogue in a cheeky pose with a Dalek (though not nude).

But will a copy of Girl Illustrated sell at that price? With 10 watchers, who knows?

Finally, a question for Dr Who experts – is the Dalek in the photo shoot naked? Or is the Dalek the name of the alien encased in the robot shell?

Men’s magazines at Magforum


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 


 

Beautiful Britons magazine – 1950s glamour still sells

September 26, 2015

Beautiful Britons glamour magazine first issue cover from November 1955

The mid-1950s saw an explosion of men’s magazines after paper rationing was lifted. Many of them used a pocket format and one of the most popular was the monthly glamour magazine  Beautiful Britons.  Two copies of the first issue have sold on eBay recently, one for £29.99 and the other for a hefty £51.

Note the magazine’s motto: ‘The magazine of [EYE] appeal.’

Centre spread from the 1955 first issue of Beautiful Britons

Centre spread from the 1955 first issue of Beautiful Britons magazine

Although the colour was cover, all the pin-ups inside were printed mono. The picture above is from the centre spread. The bikini was a relatively new invention – at least in modern times – dating from 1946 when a French engineer came out with the world’s smallest swimsuit, named after the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll.

The magazine’s publisher – Town & Country, known as ‘Toco’ – already published Spick and Span, both pin-up glamour magazines launched in 1954, in the same format. Many of the pin-up photographs were of unknown models but actresses such as Shirley Ann Field and Joan Collins were a staple for such magazines. All three titles survived into the 1970s.

Initially, the models were not topless, but the market was changed by the advent of Kamera, published by photographer Harrison Marks and his wife, the model Pamela Green. Kamera included topless models. Marks and Green, who also modelled under the name Rita Landre, were involved in the making of Michael Powell’s  controversial 1960 film  Peeping Tom. The horror thriller centred on a photographer who murdered women with a device built into his camera.

>>List of men’s magazines with profiles


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design


Needlecraft and the craft of the magazine

September 12, 2015

 

‘Mother Christmas’ cover for Needlewoman magazine from December 1925

‘Mother Christmas’ cover for Needlewoman magazine from December 1925

Needlecraft. Now there’s a topic I know next to nothing about. As children though, we sat around a table every Christmas with a tablecloth that had been decorated with colourful robins and holly by my maternal grandmother. She had been in one of the Dublin orphanages run by nuns where the girls were trained to make and repair linen for the city hotels and later worked as a seamstress for a tailor in Prescot, just outside Liverpool. Her fingers could do magic with a needle.

It was a world of tracing and transfers, often found free in magazines such as Needlewoman. Magazine formats like this were pioneered by Samuel Beeton – husband of cookery’s Mrs Beeton – with the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine from 1852. Beeton’s Book of Needlework was published in 1870 (though Isabella was just a brand name by then, having died five years earlier). The quality of work such magazines encouraged is superb, as I saw when leafing through copies of the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine at the V&A’s National Art Library when researching my forthcoming book on magazine design.

Needlewoman magazine was printed and published by Tillotsons in Mealhouse Lane in Bolton. The company also had an office at 23 Fleet Street in London, where it used an advertising agency, Sells Ltd. The magazine was probably an offshoot of the Bolton News group, certainly the paper was founded by the Tillotsons and based in Mealhouse Lane from 1860.

The illustration for the ‘Mother Christmas’ cover above is reminiscent of the work that would usually be seen on Vogue at the time, but is not credited. One of the projects inside, a fish-shaped bag, seems in contrast to Christmas theme cover, but provides a superb graphic spread with the same-size pattern (one half of the spread is shown here). This was the Art Deco era. How many of these bags were made up I wonder?

Needlewoman fish purse design from 1925

Needlewoman fish purse design from 1925

Needlewoman merged with Needlecraft Practical Journal to become Needlewoman and Needlecraft, which was published into the 1970s. Copies are regularly traded on eBay and at craft fairs. Craftylittlebugger is one of the many people inspired by such magazines, whose contents are finding a new lease of life. Her wartime copy of Needlecraft shows a ‘beautiful bit of bias binding’ that caught her attention. Her issue is just over A5 in size – half the page size of my 1925 issue because of wartime paper rationing – but, as Craftylittlebugger says, it ‘packs quite a punch’.

Magazines from Bolton are rare, but in the 1920s Lancashire was still at the heart of the cotton and spinning industry and there were big advertisers such as Clark’s whose marketing for ‘Anchor’ thread below would have been vital it keeping the magazine profitable. The Anchor thread brand is still going as part of the Coats group, which traces itself back 250 years to the Clark brothers and weavers in Paisley, Scotland. The wealth of Lancashire from the industrial revolution was on display this year at 2 Temple Place in the Cotton to Gold exhibition.

Colour advert for Clark's 'Anchor' thread on the back cover of Needlewoman

Colour advert for Clark’s ‘Anchor’ thread on the back cover of Needlewoman

These crafts have made a huge comeback, and magazine publishers have spotted the trend. Hachette found itself in a ‘crochet part work hell’ a few years ago when it misjudged demand for its Art of Crochet part work. Copies of the Art of Crochet now sell on eBay for up to £5 each and individual patterns for £1. The century-old Woman’s Weekly has produced a Vintage View spin-off carrying past articles and Pretty Nostalgic is now in its fourth year of publication and has built up an industry around itself.

One of the Needlewoman articles carries the quote: ‘The thing of beauty is a joy forever’. How true.

Marilyn Monroe magazines from 1953 on eBay

June 21, 2015

Picture Post from 1953 with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on the cover from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Picture Post from 1953 with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on the cover from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Among the 815,281 magazines presently listed on eBay in the UK are two classic illustrated weeklies with Marilyn Monroe covers. The first is Picture Post from 1953 with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on the cover from the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Illustrated magazine from 1953 with Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable on the cover, from the film How to Marry a Millionaire Illustrated magazine from 1953 with Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable on the cover, from the film How to Marry a Millionaire

Second is Illustrated magazine from 1953 with Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable on the cover, from the film How to Marry a Millionaire.

Both these weekly magazines are priced at £29.99 from the Advertising Archives as buy-it-now or best offer lots.

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design