Selling Shot Glasses on eBay Item number: 1234567890    
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At some point, many collectors decide to sell off their duplicate glasses on eBay.  Here's some tips on how to do that with minimal pain and maximal gain.   As in most areas of this website, the following represents just one collector's experience and thoughts - if anyone would like to chime in, please contact the glassmaster to have their own views added to this page.

Before launching into the step-by-step guide, we should note that selling successfully actually requires considerable time and effort.  Getting a good price on a glass requires as much luck as cunning and sometimes the luck just isn't there.  Consider also that eBay is going to take a significant chunk of your sale in listing and closing fees.  So -- before putting a glass up for sale --  consider trying to work out a trade instead.  When you trade a glass, both collectors end up adding a glass to their collection.  Given that pre-pro glasses  are so rare, turning a duplicate glass into a new glass is much more satisfying than pocketing twenty or thirty bucks.  How do you find traders?  Advertise them here!  Contact the glassmaster for details.

Selling Glasses:
Step 1.   Set up a seller's account with eBay.
It's pretty easy and they'll walk you through the process.  They'll need a credit card number so that they can bill you for the listing and sales fees.  Listing fees are dependent on the auction starting price and how many bells and whistles you wish to add to the auction (such as a "buy-it-now" option, additional photographs, ten-day listings, just to name a few examples).  This is also a good time to think about how you require a successful bidder to pay for the auction. 

eBay rules now require that you to take electronic payments, meaning you are going to need a Paypal account. Now is a good time to set up an account with them. If you're willing to take checks and moneys orders also, you need to mention that in the listing.

Step 2.  Take a nice photograph of the glass.    This is probably THE most important step of the entire process.  Think about it - how many times have you put a few extra dollars on a glass because it looks so irresistible?   And how many times have you passed on a glass on eBay because the photo is blurry or too dark or taken from an impossible angle?  Some ideas about how to get a good photo of a shot glass are presented under "Collecting Shot Glasses" on this site, but the process boils down to i) wash the glass, ii) put it on a dark piece of card or cloth to serve as a neutral background, iii) put the camera on a tripod or rest it on a chair back or a pile of books or some other form of support, iv) try to keep reflections to a minimum.

Step 3.  Write a description.  There are a couple of things to think about here and it's best to do it before you log into you sellers account and create the listing.  Sit down with a pen and notepad or keyboard and screen and take a close look at the glass.  Are there any bruises or dings in the rim?  Are there any scratches?  How is the label - is it strong or weak?  Is it scuffed?   While one doesn't want to dwell on defects to the point where a potential buyer may turned off, there is a responsibility to note significant damage.  Take a measurement of the glass' height and perhaps also a measurement across the rim.   This is to let bidders know they're looking at a shot glass rather than a rocks glass, for example. 

Now for the second most important part of the process - selling the glass with words.  The photo of the glass hopefully should make potential buyers aware of exactly what it is they're bidding on, but your job here is help them find it in the first place and also to give them a reason to fight for it.

Consider for a moment your own experience of buying glasses on eBay.   Bidding on them is the easy part, winning them less so, but the real challenge is to find them in the first place. How do you locate them?  Usually the magic word to use in a search for pre-pro's is "etched", as in "etched shot glass", so be sure to include this somewhere in the description.   Consider also who you've been bidding against.  Usually it's the same motley crew who are fairly predictable in their buying habits.  The toughest competition is typically a specialist collector - someone who buys from one town or one distillery only, or someone who has the same name as appears on the glass.    So make it easy for such bidders to find - type out what the label says in full and then include anything else you can find out about the glass.  Consult HSG and OASG and the database here for background information on the glass and its originator.  Include anything you find in the description.

Step 4: Choose a title for the listing.   Think of a catchy title for the glass that consists of 48 characters or less.   It's generally a good idea to include "pre-pro", "etched",  and "shot glass" in the title, which leaves room for the city or distiller of origin.

Step 5:  Choose a listing category.  eBay is a massive site and it's easy for a glass to get lost unless careful thought is given to location.  This is becoming increasingly difficult because of the metastatic nature of eBay - its listing categories are continually dividing and enlarging and dividing again.  The obvious place to list a glass is under "shot glasses" (category 3273).  But you may also give thought to listing in a second category or alternative category depending on the type of glass. 

Step 6:  Log in and list.  Now comes the trickier and more frustrating part, even though it appears outwardly simply.  Listing a glass requires that you make a series of choices.  The more important ones are as follows:


Listing category - you should have this already taken care of, so you can skip many of the suggestions that eBay throws at you.



Choose a price at which to start the auction. 

There is no rule here.  Choosing a high starting price means that the listing will cost more up front and will increase the likelihood that the auction will close with no bidders.   It does guarantee that a certain price will be achieved, however, assuming that the glass sells. 

Starting a glass low means that there is a much greater chance of early bids and an ensuing bidding war, but there is also a risk that it will sell with only one bid and it the low starting price.



Are you selling with a reserve? 

If you paid $25 for a glass and want to be sure of getting the money back, then you may consider putting a $25 reserve on the glass.  I would advise against this because reserve auctions tend to frighten away bidders.  It's the fear of the unknown - not knowing how much one is going to spend before actually having a chance to compete for the glass. 

When I see a reserve, I automatically assume that the seller paid way too much for the glass and is trying to recoup their loss by passing it on to someone else at the same inflated price.


Choose listing enhancers, such as the "buy-it-now" option. 

My advice here is to keep it as simple as possible. Anything you add costs more and none of it is going to enhance the likelihood of selling the glass.  My pet peeve is with the varied backgrounds that are offered, all of which seem designed to make the listing more difficult to read. 

My other complaint is all the clutter that sellers introduce when they are using an external listing service.  Many collectors still search eBay from home using a dial-up link.   Even if the modem is a fast one, it can take more than a minute for all the background "effects" to load before a potential buyer gets to see a picture of the glass.  Life is just too short to wait for gif's of prancing kittens, waving flags and Technicolored text to download (except maybe unless it's a "label-under" glass), and most people will click the "back" button within a second or two. That's a potential selling opportunity that's been lost.  

So keep it simple, - please!!!

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