How To Sell A Fishing Reel on eBay, or Why You Should Do A Basic Clean of Your Fishing Reels
An Essay for Dealers, Flea Marketers, and Anyone Looking to Get the Most Money Out of Their Fishing Reels
Earlier this week I showed you how to clean a fishing reel. Today, I'm going to explain to you WHY you should clean your fishing reels, even if you buy them only to resell.
There is nothing wrong with buying reels to resell them -- I (and every reel collector on earth) would have very few reels in their collections were it not for dealers. Most collectors sell some reels in order to finance the purchasing of others. I guess what I'm saying is that the majority of people who buy fishing reels are also sellers of fishing reels.
Which is why everyone should learn how to do a basic cleaning of their reels BEFORE they sell them. Trust me, you'll maximize your profits, and have happier customers to boot.
I mentioned the new ORCA book Cleaning, Restoring and Repairing Antique Fishing Reels in my post on Tuesday. If you haven't, CLICK THIS LINK and read up on the book, and perhaps buy a copy for yourself or a friend.
A quick proviso: I donated a chapter in this book on using a Vibrasonic machine to clean reels. Neither myself, nor any other writer or ORCA member, makes any money from this book. The profits are donated directly to the non-profit Old Reel Collector's Association.
This is the bible for reel cleaning, and it will walk you through the most basic cleaning techniques, which I went over in my post, to the most advanced. It is full of great information, and that information will bring you much more money if you are selling fishing reels for any reason. Selling reels that have undergone basic cleaning will increase the final price sold for your reels in some cases by 1000%. Here is an example.
I purchased the following lot of seven fishing reels from a very nice seller on eBay (who shall remain nameless). For these seven reels I paid $25.45 including shipping. One of the reels was an incomplete parts reels (which is, of course, useful to have around) so we will discount that one. This means I paid $4.24 a piece for the six reels.
The seller did nothing wrong with the listing. It was listed in the proper category, had numerous photos that were large and clear, and a sound description explaining what they were offering for sale. The shipping was not outrageous and there was no reserve. The seller had a perfect selling record. All in all, they did everything correct in selling these reels.
Except cleaning them.
Take a look at some of the pictures from the auction:
Now, take a look at the exact same reels after a very basic clean up:
You can see the difference for yourself. Two of the reels are downright rare (the Oceanic 300 is the only one that was not disassembled, it only received a surface polish), and the other four despite wear ended up looking much, much better.
The total amount of time spent disassembling, cleaning, polishing, and reassembling these reels was 2 hours -- and that includes the one hour spent on just the German Silver 250-yard Oceanic, as outlined in the article on Tuesday. I also cleaned these one reel at a time; had I taken the time to do them all at once, soaking them at the same time, I am sure the amount of time needed would have been cut to less than 90 minutes total. For all six reels.
Do you have 90 minutes? I cleaned these reels while watching sports on TV and talking to my friend on a speaker phone. The act of cleaning them in now way detracted from my enjoyment of either.
Had the original seller spent 90 minutes cleaning these reels, what do you think they could have gotten for them on eBay? I would suggest that a fair assessment is that these six reels (plus the parts reel) would sell for quadruple what they went for -- $100 including shipping. And that's selling at a lot discount; listed individually? A 250-yard Oceanic German Silver sold six months ago for nearly $100 by itself. Say conservatively the two Capitols (one being an unusual size with a great amber knob) bring $25, the Ohio and Eureka and parts reel another $25, the Oceanic 250 at $75 and the Oceanic 300 at $60. That's $185 -- or 6.5X what they brought uncleaned. For ninety minutes of your time.
The point is not that the seller did anything wrong. The point is that if you are interested in making the most money you can from selling reels -- and really, who isn't? -- then you should learn how to properly and quickly clean a fishing reel. Doing so will bring you far greater Return on Investment (ROI) and put a lot of extra money in your pocket.
And the best way I know to learn how to do is by buying the ORCA book mentioned above.
One final note. Just like you can make a lot of extra money properly cleaning a reel before you sell it, you can destroy the value of a reel by cleaning it incorrectly. The article "An Appeal for Restraint" in the aforementioned ORCA book gives the best guidelines I have ever seen on when and how much to clean a valuable reel -- yet another reason you need to own the book.
-- Dr. Todd