Across the Pond – Vinylmation Guide to Ebay.co.uk

across the pond logoI previously wrote a column about buying items from eBay Internationally but in this column, I’m going to bring focus purely on buying Vinylmation’s on the UK version of eBay.

There are a number of differences between buying from someone in the United States, Canada, Japan or anywhere else, with the main difference being the selection of items available.  There can be anything from 150 to 500 items available to bid/buy at any one time on eBay.co.uk, probably just 10% of the selection of eBay.com.  Because of this, items are often over priced with a few sellers trying to sell items at silly prices and they do this because some collectors will only buy from people in the UK and the sellers will just keep re-listing the item with the hope that someone will buy a £8 figure for £40.  As there are some sellers who are just trying to profit from other collectors

As with eBay in other countries, some sellers are selling items like a business while others are just merely selling off their extras or unwanted items.  It’s the later group where you might be able to pick up some cheap or rare, as in someone recently was thinning out their  collection so a load of hard to find Park 2’s and 5’s popped up, starting a bidding war with British collectors trying to get some fantastic deals and hard to get items.  And in this case, many international collectors in the US for example, won’t be watching these items so it tends to just come down to the UK collectors bidding.

It’s not just the expensive items that fill up eBay.co.uk, it also has many cheaper items from retired series that maybe aren’t quite as valuable but still a fantastic price.

Much like with any purchase, you should take into account the total price of the item plus postage as a 99p vinyl might not be such a deal if its £5 postage.  However it now costs at least £2.20 (2nd class) to post a vinyl within the UK so including paypal fees and eBay fees, its pretty fair to expect to pay anything between £2.50 and £3.50 for a single vinyl.  It’s also worth checking out if the seller has other items for sale to see if you can combine the postage rates.

When a new series is released in the UK, lots start appearing on eBay simply as people try to sell their vinyls at cost price plus shipping just to buy another blox or one that they need.  This is usually the case with collectors who don’t belong to forums or facebook groups and have no other way of getting rid of their duplicates.  This is a great way for anyone to pick up items they need at cost price without the risk of getting more doubles, especially when you’ve nearly finished a set.

Thankfully, when just buying from eBay.co.uk as apposed to international sellers, the risk of scrappers (quality control rejects) are greatly reduced however there are some sellers who buy from Hong Kong cheaply and try to sell them on either because they realised they made a mistake or for profit, so if there is any doubt, check the sellers feedback for any known scrappers or purchases from Hong Kong.  Also be on the look out for Frankenstein versions of vinyls as I have seen heads of one vinyl attached to bodies of another as well as sellers selling job lots with scrappers slid into the package to boost the price.  So don’t assume every vinyl on eBay.co.uk is 100% genuine.

However since we don’t get hardly any scrappers on eBay.co.uk, searches are much easier than on .com as a simple search such as Vinylmation or Vinylmation -pin -pins works fine.  I’d suggest using the sort fields lowest price plus postage or items ending now to pick up the cheaper bargains.

Another very helpful tip for both buyers and sellers, is when eBay run a free listings weekend,  the site usually gets flooded with brand new vinyls by collectors and sellers.  Its very easy to see when a free listing weekend has happened as there can be up to 200 new items appear over a few days.

One thing to remember though with eBay, is while vinyls are sold in the UK for £8 in stores/online, prices differ depending on where the seller brought the items.  As if the seller brought them in the US, they work out less than £8 each whereas if they brought them while on holiday in Disneyland Paris, they would pay over £10 each for a vinyl, so its best not to assume a vinyl at £9 or £10 is at that price to make a profit, they could still be making a loss on them.   Or they have to cost in customs/shipping fees from DisneyStore.com if they ordered some extras to sell, so it’s not always clear cut over what is over priced however £19 for a Star Wars Lando or £50 for a NYC Statue of Minnie Tin would be considered vastly over priced compared to their counterparts on eBay.com including shipping.

A new trend is when people return from holidays in the states and have picked up lots of “Outlet” vinyls cheaply and are selling them off when they get home at full price.  So you can often pick up a few bargains this way too, especially with the 9’’s that aren’t as easy to get hold of.

Generally eBay.co.uk is a great resource for British and European collectors as many items aren’t available in the UK,  bargains can be obtained, rare items found and spare traders converted to cash to buy more, but as with any eBay purchase, do a little bit of research before bidding and make sure you keep within your budget.

Got any tips of your own?  Comment below: