What to sell on eBay: Vintage Department Store Catalogs

I want all this stuff even more now than I did as a kid.

An amazing thing happens to an object after about 20 or so years. It is not longer "outdated" or "antiquated"... it has magically transformed into the desirable category of "vintage".

While experts may argue as to what exactly makes an item "vintage", unless you are dealing with wine (where the term originates from), we are generally applying the label to items from 20 to 100 years old. So anything from the 1920 to the early 1990s can reasonably be considered vintage.

Anything more than 100 years old has been further elevated to the echelon of "antique". Now, some folks will bend these rules and call their 1940s gear "antique" and their 1st generation iPod "vintage". People will throw around all sorts of marketable adjectives, but that don't make it so.

And I know it may be painful to acknowledge that items from your childhood are vintage. Heck, it still hurts me to think the grunge music of my teenage years is now considered classic rock. Don't be hurt; Vintage is good. Vintage means dollars on otherwise useless items.

Exhibit A: The 1980 Aldens Christmas Catalog.

Honestly, until I grabbed this catalog from a recycling bin I had no idea what Aldens was. But a quick check at the contents and it was clear I was holding a fully illustrated color catalog of a defunct department store.

This thing is chock full o' pictures and descriptions of toys, dolls, clothing, housewares, audio equipment, lingerie(!), shoes, and kitchen stuff, jewelry, and everything else your 1980 heart desires.

Vintage catalogs from department stores can regularly fetch up to $30 or more on eBay. The secret trick to getting the big bids (or quick sales) is to take lots of great pictures of the cool items featured in the pages, and make a comprehensive list of all the categories of items. My Aldens catalog sold not to a vintage catalog collector, but a Star Wars nut.

Many advanced eBay shoppers know to search the words within the listings, not just the listing title alone, so be sure to put lots a great keywords in there. The vintage appeal within these old catalogs is quite wide, so it is worth it to take the time to fully describe all the contents.

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