Where Do Smart People Sell Collectibles These Days?

When you have interesting collectibles in your house that you no longer have room for, what do you do with them? Reader pop top has acquired a collection of mint-condition Cabbage Patch Kids from the ’80s. Okay, she won’t be able to retire on them, but they must be worth at least a few bucks each. Years ago, the question of where to sell them was simple: eBay was the best and biggest marketplace for collectibles. But horror stories of frozen funds and scammy buyers now abound, and she wants to ask the Consumerist hive mind: where is the best place to unload some cuddly dolls?

My step-mom recently cleaned out the attic in her house and found her father’s old collection of Cabbage Patch Dolls (he does not want these dolls, we checked). This collection includes mint-condition Coleco dolls (the mass-produced ones) as well as several hand-painted originals from the “Babyland General Hospital” period. She doesn’t want to deal with them and wants to give them to me– instead of just trashing them– because she knows they are worth some money.

I’d like to sell them online because: 1) I don’t have to room to store them even if I wanted to keep them, and 2) I’m hoping to make some money that I can use to pay off my last little bit of debt and hopefully have enough left over to start an emergency savings fund. I do plan on donating a few to a local charity that I volunteer at so they can make some money off of them as well.

Being a long-time Consumerist reader, I know that eBay has gone down the tubes over the last few years and it’s gotten very, very easy to get screwed over as a buyer. I was wondering if the wonderful commenters on this site could either recommend me a good, non-scammy alternative, or could suggest how to set up the sales on eBay in such a way that it’ll minimize my chances of being taken by a scummy buyer.

Work your magic, Hive Mind!


Edit Your Comment

  1. clippy2.1 says:

    I think there are safe ways to sell on ebay, even with scammers. You could also try CL, since it’s free to list, and the worst that’ll happen is having to respond to/delete some emails

  2. Thorzdad says:

    It certainly isn’t Craigslist, either. Any time I try to sell something on CL, the overwhelming majority of replies (if I get any) are scammers. And their community forums are seemingly populated by nothing other than trolls and bots.

    • dolemite says:

      Yeah…80% of Craigslist responses are scammers and bots, and the other 20% are idiots. Like, you are selling something that you paid $200 for 3 months ago, and you are asking $100, and people are like “will you take $20?” Umm….no?

      • Almighty Peanut says:

        you mean they’re like “$20 cash money right now”. as if saying “cash money” will make it seem more appealing.

        • ICherub says:

          That one always gets me. As if “cash money” has magical meaning. How do you think I expect to be paid, in wheat?

      • Knyte says:

        Must be the area. I have used Portland OR Craigslist for years to both buy and sell goods of all kinds, and 95%+ of my transactions have gone smoothly, quickly, and honestly.

        If selling, I occasionally get the “can I pay you in money orders, and have you ship it to Nurubu?” e-mails, but I just ignore them.

    • StopGougingMeThere! says:

      Craigslist is the internet version of a garage sale. There’s always people looking to buy something for nothing and the spammers are like those people that ask to use your bathroom and then rob your house. It does work great for higher ticket items like cars (I’ve bought and sold probably a dozen vehicles over the year all with great result), parts, and household appliances. But collectibles definitely not as it doesn’t reach a very broad audience.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        I’ve found Craigslist also works well for video games, although it can take some patience. My wife and I have had selling appliances and in unloading unwanted furniture. It doesn’t spring to mind for collectables, but I’d find little harm in listing there. The audience is limited, but you have the benefit of face to face transactions.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      Consider using services outside the Internet… That specialize in complete collections of items such as dolls. Sotheby’s is *probably too high end, but though I do not know the specific companies, I do know they are out there.

      *But that doesn’t mean you can’t call someone and ask. Perhaps they can refer you to a smaller agency that does dolls.

      • Jawaka says:

        Meh, any time you deal with a reseller they’re only going to pay to the point where they can still make a profit when they turn it over themseves.

        Bite the bullet, cut out the middleman and sell it directly on eBay. I’ve been selling for years and while you may have a problem once in a while, if you protect yourself by limiting the areas that you’re willing to ship, use signature confirmation for high value sales and purchase insurance you’ll be fine.

  3. The Cupcake Nazi says:

    Ugh…there’s iOffer, perhaps. There’s always Craigslist, if you can do the research to figure out their value beforehand. There’s certainly a market here and some of these may very well be worth quite a bit of money, but you need to find the right niche outlet…

  4. StopGougingMeThere! says:

    Call American Pickers?!? I can’t think of a better place to sell them than eBay and the only thing I can add is to accurately describe the item including any dings and dents on the BOX as collectors are really anal about that stuff. Contrary to some of the horror stories eBay is still a decent place to buy/sell certain items and the whole holding of money thing doesn’t happen to everyone. I recently sold 10 ungraded coins and while I had 1 non-payer (which simply meant I had to wait 5-7 days before I could relist it) the transactions went smoothly and Paypal let me get my money out right away even though I hadn’t sold anything in years (though I do buy about 10 items a year using Paypal so maybe that helped).

    • BBBB says:

      Selling on ebay is like running a business – you do your best to minimize risk and assume there will be an occasional problem.
      A brick and mortar store has shrinkage (theft and breakage), bad checks or counterfeit bills, unexpected business expenses (repairs, maintenance, extra cleaning, vandalism, bank errors, triple net bills, etc. Ebay has scams, payment reversals, lost packages, shipping damage, bank errors, etc.

      If you involve someone else to help you sell, they usually want between a third and half of the proceeds and possibly you pay their expenses as well. You also should get in writing who is responsible for shrinkage (theft and breakage), bad checks or counterfeit bills, vandalism, bank errors, etc.

      Ebay and paypal fees are a lot less.

      To minimize risk, do your research, describe everything well, and follow the rules carefully. Use a separate account linked to paypal so you can move the money out of reach after you receive it. Spread the sales out so if something happens (like the account being frozen, only a portion of the auctions are affected.

      Most of all, expect that there will be a few problem auctions and do the best you can.

  5. MonkeyMonk says:

    She could always sell them on Etsy. I hear they’ve relaxed their standards. :) Plus, they should even qualify under their vintage category.

  6. Here to ruin your groove says:

    Specialty collectable forums with sale/trade sections are about it.

    • pop top says:

      I never considered that, but I’m sure there are CPK-specific forums somewhere. Thank you!

    • Geekybiker says:

      This. Forums dedicated to your collectible are about the only place other than ebay that you’ll get real money for collectibles.

    • Jawaka says:

      I disagree. You’re still going to have to ship an item to a stranger. You’re still probably going to have to deal with PayPal. All of the negatives still exist plus now you’re limiting your exposure. You may as well just list your item on eBay to get access to the most people and just link to your auction on these specialty sites.

  7. microcars says:

    It is not that “eBay has gone down the tubes”, it is that what was once seen as a rare, hard to obtain “collectible” can now be had simply by looking online.
    I can’t begin to tell you how many “rare” and “valuable” collectible items my family thought they had because they “had never seen another one” or they read some old price guide about how valuable they were….before eBay.

    If you want to sell anything, anyplace at any time, you run the risk of encountering a deadbeat or scam artist. If you don’t want to deal with eBay directly, use some eBay drop place that will list the stuff for you for a percentage. Problem solved.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      I don’t think the OP is talking about the value of the items, they are talking about the chance of being screwed by eBay/PayPal. Which is unacceptably high. Using a third party to sell isn’t going to reduce those chances.

      • pop top says:

        That’s exactly what I’m talking about, thank you.

      • microcars says:

        how does using a third party NOT reduce the chances of fraud from “a scummy buyer”?
        your contract is with them, not the actual buyer.

        You can’t reduce your risk level to zero. A third party could rip you off too.
        You could have a yard sale and someone could just grab the dolls and run away, or give you counterfit cash. Then what?

    • longfeltwant says:

      Oh, eBay certainly went down the tubes, but it was well before a few years ago. It was awesome at the beginning (95, 96, 97, 98) then it started to slip (99, 2000, maybe 2001) but it has been terrible for at least a decade.

      It is no longer appropriate for individuals to sell individual items. Now, it is appropriate only for large resellers to unload large lots of commodity or well-known branded goods one at a time. That’s nice if you need a specific item with a SKU and a bar code, but it’s no good if you want to, say, sell a Cabbage Patch Doll.

      Sellers can’t even leave negative feedback for problem buyers. The fees are crazypants. The listing options are byzantine and you are forced (long since) to use PayPal for payments.

      • NickJames says:

        I blame paypal more than ebay, ebays fees are expected but then having paypal take a chunk aswell just puts a hole in the sale. Paypal is just a mess to work with and has one of the worst customer support services I have ever seen.

        • Altman says:

          Ebay wholly owns and operates Paypal. So blame Ebay.

          • jasonq says:

            Well, yeah. But PayPal was a clusterfark long before eBay ever got their hands on it.

          • vegas says:

            EXACTLY, if you dont like ebay, and really dont like Paypal, I cant imagine your world now that you just found out that for MANY years Ebay bought and owns Paypal………so you arent taking just the tip in the &ss from two different places, your getting the shaft and all from one crooked organization.

      • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

        It has been a long time since I sold on eBay. I take it you can’t accept payment by money order anymore?

    • HeyApples says:

      Yes, Ebay has gone down the tubes. When I started using it in ’99, seller fees were roughly 1.5% of the closing price. That has progressively gone up to 3%, 5%, 7%, and now 9%.

      And while the fees have gone up, the value of a listing has gone down and the risks have gone up.

  8. Here to ruin your groove says:

    Specialty collectable forums with sale/trade sections are about it.

  9. Tfisher says:

    I know you said you’d like to sell online, but a pawn shop or consignment store may be your least scammy option.

    • MrEvil says:

      Most Pawn Shops won’t touch collectibles with a 10′ pole (unless its a firearm). Pawn Shops want goods that are easily re-marketed and can be turned around in a short amount of time. Otherwise they take up valuable shelf space in their shop. The Pawn Stars are the exception, not the rule when it comes to Pawn Brokers.

      If you really don’t want to deal with eBay a consignment gallery is about your only option.

  10. Citizen says:

    You could try Ruby Lane, I have never used them but people that have said they are not that bad.

    • Spaceman Bill Leah says:

      I second this. My mom collects Fisher Price Little People stuff and I have purchased several items from there with great success.

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    “Where Do Smart People Sell Collectibles These Days?”

    Smart people are not selling their collectibles now, they are holding onto them until the economy gets better and people are more confident about spending more on collectibles because they have more money in the bank.

    • jimbo831 says:


      Now is about the worst time to sell collectibles. Hang on to them for a couple years. I bet they double in value at least. When the economy is in the tank, nobody is buying collectibles.

    • pop top says:

      I thought about that too but as was mentioned in the OP, there is nowhere to store these things. There are probably three dozen dolls that I know of, maybe more. My step-mom wants them out of her attic because my dad and she are preparing to move this summer and would prefer to not have to pack stuff they don’t even want.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        You’re dealing with things others have mentioned, market saturation and poor economy. While you may not want to use ebay you can see that there’s not a huge demand for them–lots of listings and no bids. I’m sure taking care of them was done with the best of intentions (my college roommate lamented that the bulk of her inheritance had just been used to buy trashcans full of beanie babies), but you have to come to grips with the fact not all investments pan out, especially if you want to get rid of them. Have a garage sale in front of your house, sometimes older people who don’t have internet access and a social security check will wander by.


    • HomerSimpson says:

      No, SMART people never even started with mass produced “collectibles” that won’t be worth jack squat down the road. Yeah, that “mint in box” toy you got…just think how many other people are thinking the same exact thing (“BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG BUCKS MAN! MINT IN BOX! BOOOOOOONUS!!!!”)

      • pop top says:

        Too bad that I wasn’t alive when these dolls were bought so I could’ve told my step-grandfather not to buy them because in a few decades people on the Internet would be jackasses about it.

  12. jimbo831 says:

    Take it to the Pawn Stars!

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      Because they don’t rip people off… (at least the ones you see on the show).
      Pawn shops are one step above paycheck loan places.

      • kobresia says:

        They’re not abusing customers, they just are a quick-sale place– they give you cash right now, with minimal hassle. They’re putting their money on a line for used stuff they hope they can resell for enough profit to cover their expenses and effort and make it all worth their while.

        ALL businesses in the retail resale business (including the American Pickers guys) are like that. There are very few items worth paying even half of anticipated retail value on, the only things that get businesses interested enough to pay more than half of anticipated retail price are the items that are almost certainly going to be sold within days or a couple weeks and not tying-up or losing money. Having a bunch of money tied-up in stuff that isn’t selling fast is just dumb and bad business, that’s why they pay so little for stuff that they may be sitting on the shelves for months because it’s too niche.

        I say this as someone who used to buy quite a bit of stuff with resale in mind from various sources, especially auctions. Pawn shops are a tiny step up from as-is/where-is auctions, it’s dumb for anyone to think they’re going to get a good return by selling anything to a pawn shop.

        Just saying– you can pick two of three attributes in selling stuff: Speed, Return, Hassle.

        A speedy, low-hassle sale is not going to provide a good return. (pawn shops, auctions)
        A high-return sale on short-order is going to be a huge headache. (garage sale/swap meet/outdoor market, enjoy manning the stall all weekend!)
        A high-return, easy sale is probably going to take a lot of patience. (consignment shop, indoor flea market booth)

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      But seriously, you could try and find a collectible toy guy like the dude on the show (who originally had the room full of Transformers).

  13. yankinwaoz says:

    eBay is fine as long as you use common sense. Yes, there are scams. Most of the scams as a seller are people wanting to overpay and have you send them the balance in cash. Just don’t bother.

    My ex-boss retired two years ago. And he now makes some money selling collectibles on eBay. He goes to garage and estate sales around the county and finds things that he think might sell. We are in SoCal, but most of his customers turn out to be in Europe. He told me that he found it odd that most of the Beatles stuff he finds ends up being sold to German customers. Who knew.

    I’ve never had any problem selling old items on eBay (mostly electronics). I’ve had some things that never sold that I thought would be wanted. And I’ve had some things get sold that I never expected anyone would ever want. I’ve also sold a lot of old stuff on Craigslist. Again, I’ve never had any problems.

    My point is: Just use common sense and you will be fine. Don’t be so paranoid. Take good detailed photos of what you are selling. Be honest in your descriptions. If you are selling locally on Craigslist, then meet your buyer at Starbucks, not at home.

    • pop top says:

      “Don’t be so paranoid.”

      Yes, I’ll try not to be paranoid about potentially dealing with a company that has thousands of complaints about its shady practices over the last decade and is known to take money away (as well as freeze Paypal accounts) from sellers because of scammy buyers. Thank you for your amazing advice.

      • Here to ruin your groove says:

        If you decide to sell on eBay, here are a few things to make things easier:
        1. US only (if you are in the US of course).
        2. Ship only to verified addresses.
        3. Get the insurance and delivery confirmation (always) for $$$ items.

        eBay has never screwed me. Paypal has frozen my funds before in ridiculous fashion, but eventually it was sorted out. There really isn’t any competition. eBay is still huge despite competitors popping up here and there.

        However, like I posted earlier you can hit up sites like http://thesoftfaceplace.com/ and whatever else pops up on google for Cabbage Patch Doll collectors and sell there. But really, it’s just as potentially scammy (if not more so) than eBay. And you’ll probably still have to deal with Paypal.

        If it were me and these dolls were really worth it (check Completed Auction prices to get a feel), eBay they would go.

        • pop top says:

          That’s great advice about the shipping. I’ve never sold anything online, and I only ship presents to family, so I’m not really aware of what to do/not to do when doing online auctions. Thanks again.

          • Here to ruin your groove says:

            Since you haven’t sold anything on eBay before, I wouldn’t even sell these yourself. Your low/zero seller feedback will have buyers wondering if YOU are the scammer. It will affect the selling price in most cases. Ask a friend who has some decent feedback on eBay to sell for you if you go this route.

            • pop top says:

              Hmm, I never thought about that, it makes sense though. I guess I’ll try the B&M store idea first and then maybe check with my friends to see if any of them have a good eBay account. Thanks again!

    • Willow16 says:

      The problem with ebay is that the buyer is always right. All a buyer has to do is say that the item never arrived (even with delivery confirmation) or arrived damaged or arrived with an empty box and their money is returned and the seller is out both the item and the money paid for the item.

      • jeffpiatt says:

        ebay did fix that flaw now an buyer has to give an return tracking number to get an refund. for seller protection you have to ship with an traceable service so for international shipping you have to ship express and priority mail or UPS. for expensive items ship using UPS. they added an hold for new sellers paypal locks your funds unit ll 3 days after the package arrives with tracking 7 days if marked shipped or 21 days if you do nothing.
        eBay wen in an big direction to build it’s buyer cred and decided to shaft sellers on feedback because buyers were being scared of being “blackmailed with negative feedback”
        Why are sellers allowed to leave only positive Feedback for buyers?
        Sellers used to be able to leave negative Feedback for buyers. Unfortunately, we found that when buyers had bad experiences with sellers, they were often reluctant to leave neutral or negative Feedback out of fear that the seller would retaliate by leaving negative Feedback for them. And when buyers did receive unfair negative Feedback, they usually decreased their shopping on eBay. Overall, it became clear that the fear of retaliatory negative Feedback made it more difficult for good sellers to distinguish themselves from not-so-good sellers, and made the Feedback system as a whole less reliable.

        • Jane_Gage says:

          “We”-you work for ebay? It seems with the fees ebay takes it could provide some customer service. I recall buying a fully articulated cat skeleton (for my classroom, but my home is also filled with human and animal remains) and got an empty box with one chicken bone in it. I had the emails with headers where the seller said, “haha, I was just selling you a box with a photograph of a skeleton on it, I never said it was inside!” contrary to the listing. Maybe everyone can’t be helped, but when I realized nobody was even bothering to try and remove malicious feedback retaliation I used ebay a lot less.

          • Amp says:

            Re: “we” – Looks more like they were copy-pasting a relevant point from the FAQ, I think.

            • Jane_Gage says:

              Oops, you’re right. Color me stupid. : /

            • ArizonaGeek says:

              My wife and I have been visiting thrift stores for the last couple of years. Mainly we started because we had an eclectic wedding and needed different types of plates, silverware and cups. While at these thrift stores we would find odd or weird stuff and some of the plates and silver we were finding were really old, like we’ve found plates going back to the 1600s.

              After we got married last year we decided to start selling our wedding stuff on Ebay. Well, we made a lot of our money back but got us thinking there are many other deals out there so for the last year every other Saturday we hit yard sales and Goodwill stores all over Arizona and look for crap to sell on Ebay. We don’t really do it for the money, we make a decent living but it gives us a chance to hang out together all day and you get this thrill finding valuables for a buck! And we really enjoy it. So if it makes a few bucks so be it.

              For instance, we found a print by some famous painter from the 70s, bought it framed for $6. The frame was from the 70s or early 80s and it was ugly so we removed the print from the frame and stuck it on Ebay. It sold within 48 hours for $80. We have made about $4k in the last year and have had a pretty good track record. We don’t keep a lot of money in our Paypal account and we are pretty diligent about making sure we describe everything to the best we can and take lots of pictures, if you do those really you shouldn’t have too many issues.

              Where a lot of sellers have problems is when they are selling things the fraudsters want. Electronics. Now, we’ve sold some electronics and even some higher end stuff but we have had absolutely no problems. There are a few things I would recommend though if you are going to start selling on Ebay. First open a store. Your fees are cheaper and you get quite a few benefits that regular sellers do not, like the ability to upload many more pictures.

              I would recommend not setting your items as an auction but a “buy it now” and then let it just repeat. It only cost you a one time listing fee (and sometimes those are waved, like this week!) and it will just sit until someone buys it. We sell a lot of weird stuff and it just takes the one person the one time to be needing that item so it may sit for a while. We have about 50 listings going now and there are a few (maybe 4 or 5) that have been on for 2 or 3 months I think we have 1 or 2 that have been on for maybe 6 months. They sit on a shelf in our garage so they aren’t costing me anything to sit there. The oldest ones are plates and we only paid 50 cents or a dollar each for them.

              Like anything, you have some good and some bad. For every bad story you hear about Ebay there are millions of transactions that are working perfect. If the OP wants to sell to the widest audience, then Ebay is it. There really is nothing else. They could try to find some collectible sites specific to the item they are trying to sell but there are just as many shady people there as well. Believe me I know. I collected Hot Wheels for 20 years and sold off my collection over the last 5 years. And on those sites you have absolutely NO recourse if you get screwed. At least Ebay and Paypal have someone, someway, to appeal to even if it is harder to get a hold of someone you at least have something. If you get screwed on a collector site, YOU have to do all the work. You need to file police reports where you live as well as where the item was sold, and because you’re probably only talking a few bucks to less than a couple hundred, almost nothing is ever done. Even if someone were arrested, now you have to hire a lawyer and sue them to get your money back it is a mess.

              Ebay rocks.

        • Invader Zim says:

          thats why a buyer bought a laptop from me and then a month later emailed me saying that he felt he paid a hundred dollars too much and that if I didn’t give it to him he would leave me a bad feedback, thus ruining my perfect feedback of 512.
          I reported him along with his emails to eBay and guess what happened …nothing.
          I didn’t pay him his ransom and he left a bogus bad feedback. I haven’t been back since.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      I had over 2,000 eBay transactions mostly for electronics and 19th century collectibles (glassware, etc) and stopped using eBay years ago after getting screwed too many times by buyers and eBay was not helpful in the least. Then there are the nutso fees they started collecting. It stopped being fun and just wasn’t worth it anymore.

    • airren says:

      OK, you feel this way now because nothing outwardly bad has happened to you… yet. I used to feel that way too until last year Paypal/Ebay totally screwed me for no reason of my own. After over ten years of thinking Paypal/Ebay was fine if you’re careful, they’ve managed to turn me completely around. I can’t recommend them to anyone now… because you will be *ucked… eventually.

  14. sponica says:

    Find a brick and mortar consignment shop that specializes in dolls or toys…it might take a little more effort but it might be better than ebay. Although I sold a CPK on Ebay and I will tell you, the shipping costs on those little buggers are VERY high…

    • pop top says:

      The few consignment shops in my area are clothing- and furniture-specific, but I could always call and ask if I can’t find anything else to do with them. Thanks.

      • RedOryx says:

        On the *very* small off chance that you live near Northeast Ohio, I would recommend Big Fun in Cleveland. I’m not sure how it works with collectibles, but they do sell them.

  15. OMG_BECKY says:

    “eBay has gone down the tubes over the last few years and it’s gotten very, very easy to get screwed over as a buyer.”

    Huh? I think she meant SELLER! Buyers hold ALL the power on eBay.

    • pop top says:

      Yeah, I did mean seller and not buyer, whoops. This being Consumerist, I’m sure your comment won’t be the only one about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad typo.

  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’ve got some vintage iron lions head cabinet door handles I want to sell. Any suggestions?

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      $2. You pay shipping. I’ll send you my address. Will pay after I inspect them.

  17. mrvw says:

    with the older, hand-painted ones you could take them to a local antique shop. I don’t know what you would get, but at least you would get cash.

  18. mbz32190 says:

    Where can I sell my valuable Beanie Baby collection??!?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      That is an oxymoron as there is no such thing as a valuable beanie babies collection.

      There are 50,000 different Beanie Babies retired and current and although I couldn’t find a production number I wouldn’t be surprised if there were hundreds of millions if not billions of them made.

  19. Jules Noctambule says:

    Are there any toy fairs in the area? Where I live there are several a year held at the fairgrounds; I’ve never been but they appear well-attended based on how limited the parking becomes for the weekend market there.

    • microcars says:

      “Toy Fairs” are now basically conventions for toy collectors. While attended well by the public, the retail prices are insane as they don’t really expect to sell anything. Most of the trading goes on between the toy collectors there.
      I have a couple of friends that used to do toy collecting and trading for 20 years, now they just go to the Toy Fairs to visit their old trading buddies.
      The cost of renting a table/stall is pretty high too.
      Plus you better be prepared to accept credit cards.

  20. Straspey says:

    Antiques Road Show – December, 2012

    “My step-mother recently cleaned out the attic in her house and found her father’s old collection of Cabbage Patch Dolls. This collection includes mint-condition Coleco dolls, as well as several hand-painted originals from the “Babyland General Hospital” period. My step mother seems to think they may hev some value in the collectibles market.”

    Expert – “Do you know how your step-mother’s father built his collection ?”

    “Apparently, this was during a period when these dolls were very much in demand and hard to come by. My step-grandfather knew a man who supposedly had a connection to a distributor, and it was through him that my step-grandfather was able to obtain his dolls.”

    Expert – “And do you happen to know how much he paid for them ?”

    “Not really. Although we do know that my step-grandfather agreed to pay his friend a special premium for the chance to buy directly; so he probably ended up paying more than retail – but the result is this wonderful, complete collection in pristine condition.”

    Expert – “Back during the period you mention, the Cabbage Patch dolls were in great demand, both by normal consumers, as well as collectors. As you might imagine, the demand far outweighed the supply, which, unfortunately, gave rise to a number of sources of high-quality fakes and knock-offs.

    One of the largest sources of these fake Cabbage Patch dolls was a factory somewhere in Asia, which was able to smuggle their inventory into the United States and sell it to unsuspecting consumers – a large portion of which were serious collectors like your step-grandfather.

    Unfortunately I have to tell you that, even though your collection has been well kept and is in perfect condition, these dolls are all fakes and have almost no value in the collector’s market. I would say that the best thing you could do is try to sell them at a yard store, or on consignment at a thrift shop – where you might get a hundred dollars for them. I’m sorry.”

    “Oh–oh–fakes ? Well — that’s okay, my step-grandfather never knew and at least it gave him pleasure to collect them anyway.”

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Wow, that really sucks. His “friend” just completely suckered him.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      I recently read a story on FARK where a guy had spent $40k+ on collectible coins but the coins were not U.S. Treasury sponsored but the ones from Franklin Mint. This guy thought that he had built up a nice retirement too. In the end his coins were worthless.

  21. crispyduck13 says:

    I’d agree with whoever suggested collector’s forums. They all have a sale/wtb section. Other than that I’ve had good experiences as a buyer at Rubylane. Got some sweet antique jewelry, very easy process.

    • pop top says:

      I have never heard of Ruby Lane before, but I will check it out. Thank you for the suggestion.

  22. winstonthorne says:

    Use eBay, and:

    1. Insist on immediate payment (you can set this up at the time of listing)
    2. Include shipping in the sell price (“free shipping”) so people can’t argue with the next couple of points
    3. Ship it via a trackable method (UPS or FedEx) with a BUTTLOAD of insurance
    4. DO NOT sell internationally.
    5. Ship ONLY to the confirmed PayPal address (make this clear in your listing language that you will not ship anywhere else).
    6. Once your funds clear, pull them out IMMEDIATELY.

    • pop top says:


    • techstar25 says:

      Additionally on ebay:
      Check ebay’s completed auctions to get an idea of what they are worth, then try fixed price selling (priced at the high end of the spectrum) and give it a month or two. You’ll get a few bites. If you get bored of waiting after a couple of months, then put them up as auctions.

      Keep in mind that for every ONE horror story, there are ONE MILLION perfectly good transactions on ebay. Yes, ONE MILLION. Frankly, you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning walking to your mailbox than you do getting ripped off on ebay.

      • gglockner says:

        “Frankly, you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning walking to your mailbox than you do getting ripped off on ebay.”

        I would say that ebay buyers try to scam me about 10% of the time, but I only had one problem with an Amazon buyer who was dissatisfied with the condition of a used toy.

        The previous advice is outstanding. The only thing I would add is that for fragile items, make sure to double-box them, with adequate packing material insulating both boxes. I once had a damage claim refused by UPS because I failed to do this, and I had to eat the cost of the damaged item.

  23. donjumpsuit says:

    Unfortunally Ebay is it. I am not so sure eBay is the problem, moreover Paypal (which eBay purchased) is more of the problem.
    My only piece of advice is to list the entire collection for a sort of set price. Use the internet and eBay to get some sort of framework of the pricing, and then sell the entire collection. Be sure to hand pick out the most expensive few dolls and then package the rest. You don’t want to be nickle and diming out each doll depending on the size of the collection. Some crazy will pull the trigger and buy the whole thing thinking it’s a deal or a quick way to be a collector. Consider remaining naive about it and just saying you have 50 dolls without taking precise pictures of every one, and maybe someone will take the chance that you don’t know what you have. In any event, make certain to set reserves so you aren’t giving anything away for free. Keep the number of auction days down to a minimum since most activity happens within minutes of closing. Buy it now prices are ok, if you feel they are reasonable.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      The shipping on all those dolls would be a nightmare.

      • sponica says:

        the shipping price on ONE doll is a nightmare…it’s awkwardly shaped and the only box I could find had ginormous dimensions. shipping it regular mail from NH to CA was 20ish bucks. priority would have cost 50 bucks.

  24. Clyde Barrow says:

    smart people? lol. That’s a pathetic attempt at brown-nosing.

  25. ole1845 says:

    Ebay is still the best place to sell. Yes, the fees are high, but there’s no other place where you can reach a global audience for your items. Use eBay to get a feel for the price of your items. There are 10s of thousands of Cabbage Patch Kids on there. You might be surprised at how little you can actually get.

  26. TheBigWhiteWolf says:

    I think I’d contact the folks at Babyland General Hospital and get their thoughts. They might be able to point you in the right direction.

  27. Scamazon says:

    Dont expect to make a lot of money as lot of collectibles are not worth as much as they used to be. Using eBay is ok if you use common sense, Researching completed items, set reserves, ect. It will cost you 20% in overall fees when all is said and done, if a problem arises, eBay and PayPal favor scamming sellers rather than Buyers with all of their bases covered. Accurate descriptions and setting buyer expectations to compensate for the bottom feeding dumpster eBay has become is key. One more concerning thing is that eBay does not let you charge to cover costs for shipping insurance so price shipping accordingly…

  28. SoCalGNX says:

    Craigslist is not always a good idea. There are too many Nigerian princes there. Ebay could be ok but its costly and if the buyer is a jerk for some reason, Ebay will side with them. If they are more than 20 years old (likely) they could go on Etsy as its become the dumping ground of mass produced junk like these.

  29. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Wouldn’t Pinterest works for this? Post some cute pictures, get your own website, & link back to your sales page. Payments via PayPal, Google checkout, Plimus, or Squareup.

  30. FirePuff says:

    I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a Cabbage Patch Doll version of Brick Link (where Lego collectors go). It might benefit to find groups that specialize in certain toys/items and see what they offer.

  31. vicissitude says:

    People here recommending eBay?! Are you serious! “IF you’re careful” someone wrote. It’s eBay and Paypal that are the predators, along with rogue buyers. Accounts closed for erroneous reasons, limited actions, or recourse by the seller. eBay links to your accounts, so if there is a dispute, they can pay the buyers, while you wait only to find out eBay has weeks, or months worth of delays on getting their reports wrong. Put it this way, you purchase products from a name brand you know has a ‘low return rate’ so you can enjoy ‘reliability’. eBay has a HIGH ‘screw the consumer / seller rate’ and IF you’re lucky enough not have it happen to you, great, but it WILL. In other words, eBay and Paypal has a very low reliability rate for all involved. (Not to mention eBay’s Paypal is out of their minds. They’re a bank btw, contrary to popular belief.) Using eBay / Paypal is a bad thing, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

  32. kobresia says:

    A consignment shop might be a good bet, or if you have a good quantity of stuff to sell, maybe look into renting a booth at an indoor flea market. Those sorts of places attract collectors and more generalized hoarders.

    If there’s a good outdoor market in which sellers can buy booth space on weekends during the summer months, that’s a good venue for reaching a lot of people who would buy crap they don’t really need, and booths with a narrow focus (such as that sell only t-shirts, only dolls, only log furniture, only Native-Americans-and-Wolves-themed crap, etc.) seem to attract quite a lot of the shoppers.

    eBay might be a reasonable place to sell if you’re patient and willing to deal with the hassles, fixed-price listings function somewhat like a virtual indoor flea market that reaches a broader audience.

    Craigslist, auctions, pawn shops, and so on are just a good way to get rid of stuff, you’re not going to make very much.

  33. Kevin says:

    The headline is misleading. Smart people don’t buy collectibles to begin with!

  34. goodfellow_puck says:

    I sell all my vintage collectibles at Bonanza.com. They send your items out to be searchable by Google, take Paypal, Google Checkout, money orders and checks, have no fees until you sell something, let you import your seller ratings from ebay, and are very seller oriented. I’ve sold with them for a couple years now and never had an issue. I’ve made quite a lot of money at less than half the fees.

  35. Coyoty says:

    Research the value of the item through sites like Kovels.com, Hakes.com, and other collectible value sites, or search the web for “cabbage patch value” or something like that. Search eBay’s closed auctions for similar items to see what people have actually paid for them as well as their starting prices, and price them in that ballpark, depending on their condition. Also check out Ruby Lane, as others have suggested. When I worked for a jeweler and sold collectibles online, Ruby Lane was one of our standard sites for selling items, as well as eBay.

  36. Rick Sphinx says:

    eBid, but it’s a joke. Put 1000 items in the eBid store, get about 1 order per month.

  37. One-Eyed Jack says:

    About 5-6 years ago I sold half my vintage Star Wars collection piece by piece on eBay and got about $1000 (not bad for stuff my dad and I collected from clearance aisles in the 70s and 80s).

    I still have pieces to sell. Anyone here have recent Star Wars sales experience? I’m wondering if that’s an area popular with scam purchasers.

    I was burned on a eBay cell phone sale about 3 years ago and I have’t sold since.

  38. bcsus83 says:

    I would suggest Googling for a collector club online forum. I admin for one for CPK dolls, actually. There are groups out there for pretty much everything, and you’ll get the most money from people who actually appreciate what you have, and if what you have is something that isn’t real sought after in the collector communities, the people in the groups can point you in the right direction of where to sell them and how to go about listing them (what details are important, etc.) to help you get the most money out of them. This goes for all actual collectibles, not just dolls, of course.