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3 Everyday Items That Sell High on eBay

  • Jun 15, 2016 | Avalara

The news loves to pick up the stories about rare thrift finds -- an item that someone paid a few dollars for and turns out to be worth hundreds, thousands, or even millions.

For eBay sellers, though, such stories are known to be once-in-a-lifetime (if ever) occurrences. The things that sell every day are usually not glamorous enough to attract the media.

But these mundane items can be your “bread and butter” if you are a regular eBay seller. The following are three household items that can be sold for good money on eBay.

1. Pens and pencils

Do you ever think about the pen you’re using when you grab it to jot down a quick note? Chances are you don’t, but there are people out there who do. Pen and pencil collectors aren’t afraid to spend when a pen they haven't seen before becomes available.

You might not have any big-ticket pens on hand, but it’s not hard to find vintage fountain pens or mechanical pencils. These can often be overlooked. Pens in sterling silver and gold can be particularly valuable additions to buyers' collections.

For example, old Paper Mate pens can sell for an easy $20-$50+ quickly. Vintage Sheaffer & Cross fountain pens are somewhat common, but the right models can be worth hundreds. Researching is easy using eBay, collector sites, or even the pen manufacturer sites -- you may even be able to send in a photo to get help identifying a particular model.

2. Flatware

Just as you probably don’t think about the pens you use daily, you might not give your fork a second thought. People will work hard to complete sets of beloved flatware, whether a favorite brand or pattern, or build sets from scratch when they can find pieces.

Again, as with the pens, there are also flatware sets made from sterling silver. Keep your eye out for marks and don’t pass up tarnished pieces without a close look.

Mid-century modern items are still in high demand, and the wooden handled MCM flatware attracts a lot of attention. A large lot of Ekco's Canoe Muffin line can sell in the hundreds. Even a lot with damaged wood handles can sell for more than $50 to those looking to create a set on a more modest budget.

3. Coffee mugs

Is this on your daily use list? If so, you might want to give your favorite coffee mug a more critical look -- it might be a mug that someone else is willing to pay a high price to add to their collection.

Starbucks, milk glass, and Jadeite are all popular in the mug category. The famous Starbucks Seattle City Mug routinely sells for more than $200. Snoopy milk-glass mugs can also command a premium, especially the Red Baron Snoopy mug. The best part? At a thrift store you might pay up to three dollars for a mug, but at estate or garage sales mugs can be found for a dollar or less.

Are you checking your desk now for your pens and coffee mugs, and your lunch box for your spoon? You very well could be using something people will pay good money for. And you never know when you might find a diamond in the rough in a box that everyone else has missed, just because they never learned about forks!

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