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Hot Items on eBay: Ephemera

Whilst preparing a review of Dave Guindon’s Hot Item Finder software for our latest newsletter, we used it to carry out some research in the Collectibles > Paper category, and thought we would share some of the more interesting results with you. Many of them are items that could turn up at an estate sale or offline auction and some might even be found at flea markets or car boot sales.

We searched both the US and UK eBay sites for completed items that had attracted 20 or more bids. This brought up 33 items from and 15 items from Here is a screenshot of some of the results on the US site.

Hot Item Finder Results: Collectibles > Paper
For some inexplicable reason, the selling prices haven’t shown up as they should have done in many of the listings so we had to click on the links to see how much they sold for. I have contacted creator Dave Guindon’s  support desk on several occasions regarding this problem but unfortunately have so far had no response. Not good!

Diary of a Victorian Teenager

The item that we consider to be the most interesting was not the one with the most bids, nor did it sell for the highest price, fetching just $130.25. It was an 1869 diary written by a 17-year-old girl, along with an original family photograph.  The insight into this young lady’s life and thoughts must have made incredibly fascinating reading.

eBay Hot Item - Diary of a Victorian TeenagereBay Hot Item - Diary of a Victorian Teenager

The Hottest Hot Item

The item that sold for the highest price and attracted 78 bids (almost double the number of its nearest rival)  was the original Lucasfilm “Cease and Desist” letter sent to Wicked Lasers in response to their 1W Arctic 445nm Laser.  It sold for $3,850.00. Although this is a unique, one of a kind item, there is always a chance (albeit a slim chance) that something equally rare and sought after could be hiding in a box of assorted movie memorabilia in your local saleroom.

Victorian Scraps

A Victorian scrap album that was listed on both the US and UK eBay sites attracted 23 bids and sold for $1,412.39 (£908.00).

eBay Hot Item - Victorian Scrap Album
eBay Hot Item - Victorian Scrap Album

This type of item could quite possibly be found at an estate sale or offline auction and with the revived interest in scrapbooking, vintage scraps are always worth looking out for.

1950s Pin-Ups

There were several vintage pin-up calendars amongst the eBay hot items, two of which featured Marilyn Monroe. One was a 1955 calendar –  with envelope – which got 34 bids and sold for $102.60, and the other, which pre-dated her first appearance in Playboy Magazine was a 1953 advertising calendar which attracted 21 bids and reached $204.16.

The other pin-up calendars were a 1954 Esquire Magazine calendar (25 bids, $288.00/£184.37), a 1952 calendar entitled “Bill Randall’s Date Book (22 bids, $152.00/£96.02) and a 1948 pin-up girl risque artist drawn colour printed advertising calendar (23 bids, $45.00).

Those results suggest that 1950s pin-up calendars are worth looking out for, and as they were a common feature in many male dominated workplaces back in those days when political correctness was unheard of, it’s likely that there are still a good many of them around.

Collectible Playing Cards

Playing cards were another product that was well represented in this hot items report with a combined total of nine auctions from the two eBay sites. The highest priced was a sealed, limited edition deck of Ellusionist Arcane Playing Cards which was listed on both sites and sold for $318.88/£205.00 with 29 bids. Next highest was 2 sets of c1930s Art Deco playing cards designed by artist Einar Nerman and listed on the eBay UK site, which attracted 25 bids and sold for £141.27 (approx $220.55).

A deck of USPCC Bicycle playing cards c1917 in a snap-sealed red box (plus an empty damaged blue box) sold for $200.00 with 26 bids and a Thomas de la Rue double pack of whist playing cards c1865 got 22 bids and sold for $162.36/£104.00.

In the lower price range were a mixed lot of over 120 partial decks of cards from 1930s to 1970s which sold for $96.00/£61.46 with 21 bids, a set of 6 new, sealed Red Dead Redemption playing cards (20 bids, $49.00), a sealed double deck of Giordano Cats cards (23 bids, $42.60), 2 Decks of brown Bee playing cards from WYNN casino (30 bids $41.00), and Lady Gaga Poker Face brand new promotional  playing cards (21 bids $18.50).

Those results indicate that playing cards are a popular collectors’ item, and the Red Dead Redemption and Lady Gaga cards show that it is not just vintage packs that are in demand.

All the Proof You Need that One Man’s (or Kid’s) Junk is Another Man’s Treasure!

Although the Hot Item Finder search brought up many other interesting products, this post would drag on too long if we looked at them all so maybe we’ll come back to it at a later date. In the meantime, we’ll end with a question for any baby boomers who may be reading. What did you do with your old sweet/candy wrappers when you were a teenager?

eBay Hot Item - Krazy Kricket Bubble Gum Wrapper

Who knew?! But now that you do know, you can teach your grandchildren not to make the same mistakes that you made :-)



  1. Hi Lynn

    Thanks for sharing your results with this software rather than just plugging it. You’ve certainly added value.

    I’ve posted a link to this page on for you (makes a change from Twitter!)
    Martyn Boaden recently posted..What Was Your Biggest Challenge When You Started Your Internet Marketing Online Business

  2. Dave Whittle says:

    Hi Lynn,

    EBay is a mystery to me although my son is very active there.

    I’m sitting here now thinking of all the valuable things I just gave away but I must say
    EBay didn’t exist most of that time.

    Ebay certainly proves the old saying of “one person’s rubbish/trash is another person’s treasure”
    Very interesting post.

    All the best,

    Dave Whittle recently posted..Resale Rights Products Explained

  3. Hi Lynn,

    I didn’t ever think that all these “unusual” stuff could be sold for that much. I am sure that every house has “a hot item” that could sell for but unfortunately most people just through it away! Something that is “garbage” for you, it mind be “gold” for someone else.

    Take care,
    Andreas Spyrou @ Free Affiliate Marketing Tips recently posted..The Biggest Affiliate Marketing Mistake – Mistake 6

  4. Brian Alcock says:

    Hi Lynn,

    First time visitor to your blog and what a great resource for online auction info.

    It never fails to surprise me some of the things that sell on ebay. As others have said before me Lynn, if only I hadn’t thrown out my old tat over the years…oh dear. Still I suppose it’s off to the car boots for me now!

    Great to meet you on this challenge Lynn.


    Brian Alcock recently posted..So You Failed…So What!!

  5. Hi Lynn,

    Yes it’s amazing what you can find on ebay these days. I’m going to have to take a look at that hot oitem findser for sure, because with Christmas coming up I want o start looking for items to sell on ebay.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Take Care,
    Steve recently posted..BoilerMaker 15K Roadrace July 11- 2010

  6. Wow very interesting. Normally you dont think of the unusual things that could sell.
    Amy Steelman-Prueter recently posted..Are you up for the Challenge

  7. Lynn says:

    Hi Daniel

    Thanks for dropping by, I hope the Challenge is going well for you. Be careful, you can easily get carried away perusing the eBay listings and before you know it half the day has gone!

    Warm Regards

  8. Lynn says:

    Hi Mike

    I think we could all do with more hours in the day, there’s nothing like the internet for making the time fly by! It’s difficult to make money with mainstream CDs on eBay or Amazon, too much competition bringing the prices down but if you’ve got something that’s been deleted and demand exceeds supply you could be quids in!

    Warm Regards

  9. Lynn says:

    Hi Martyn

    It’s nice of you to drop by. I’ll be sharing more Hot Item Finder results in future posts, it really is a good piece of software and hopefully it will give some blog visitors some useful ideas.

    Warm Regards

  10. Lynn says:

    Hi Dave

    I hope your son is doing well on eBay, maybe you should be picking his brains and giving it a go yourself ;-)

    As you say, the stuff we threw away before eBay or the internet existed doesn’t bear thinking about. But no excuses now!

    Warm Regards

  11. Lynn says:

    Hi Andreas

    Thank you for dropping by. You are probably correct in saying that there’s probably a ‘hot item’ stashed away somewhere in every house. One man’s garbage is indeed another man’s gold.

    Good luck with the Challenge.

    Kind Regards

  12. Lynn says:

    Hi Brian

    Thanks for dropping by, I hope the blog challenge is going well for you.

    Summer is almost over so you’ll have to get your skates on if you’re going to catch the back end of the car boot season :-)

    Warm Regards

  13. Lynn says:

    Hi Steve

    Summer isn’t quite over yet (although I’m not so sure considering how the weather has been this past couple of days) but you are quite right that now is the time to start thinking about the Christmas selling season.

    Good luck, I hope you make a killing :-)

    Warm Regards

  14. Lynn says:

    Hi Amy

    Thanks for dropping by.

    It’s the unusual things that have the least competition on eBay and other marketplaces so often get good prices.

    Warm Regards

  15. Hi Lynn
    Your post shows the value of looking under every rock for the diamond. The internet helps connect all those people who want playing cards and antiques with “you”. The software sounds like a great tool to find the niche. I’d like to have one of those for IM.
    See ya.

  16. Hi Lynn, an excellent research article! You sure know your way around eBay. I’ve always liked Dave Guindon’s products but I’m really surprised that he’s not on top of his support desk especially after a product launch. Maybe he forgot to take his laptop on vacation. ;-) Best of luck ahead Lynn, Steve D.

  17. Hi Lynn

    Thanks for sharing your insight about the product and also taking us through some great examples of products that could be worthless for someone and priceless to another person.

    I agree that every person would have some or the other things years old that would be the price of gold.

    What did I do with my candy wrappers … don’t remember other than throwing them away as was more interested in the candy then :-)


  18. Rob Corrigan says:

    Hi Lynn,

    it really is amazing what people will collect, even old post cards and books, this area has a lot of potential and could be well worth it for someone with only a lttle knowledge of the subject, they could make an entire bbusiness from this!

    Great post
    Rob Corrigan recently posted..What Is The Cheapest Way To Start A Business Part 2

  19. Mike Fleming says:

    Hi Lynn,
    I have used some of Dave’s products in the past but lost them on my other computer when it crashed I had Camtasia studio screen capture software, Hot Item finder and Feedback analyzer and wish I could recover them as they sure would be handy now.
    Like you say that unique unusual one of a kind items do sell well on eBay.
    Enjoy the challenge.
    Mike Fleming recently posted..100 Blog Comments Challenge

  20. Michelle says:

    Hi Lynn,

    What a great site, it’s my first visit and if it hadn’t been for the 100 blog comment challenge I may not have found your site and that would of been my loss.

    I don’t think I’m ever just going to throw anything away again without first trying it on ebay.

    Enjoy the challenge

  21. Lynn says:

    Hi Michelle

    Thanks for stopping by, I hope you are enjoying the Challenge :-)

    It’s always worth checking the completed listings on eBay before you throw anything away, better safe than sorry ;-)

    Warm Regards

  22. Lynn says:

    Hi Mike

    If you could find the email receipts you got when you bought Dave’s products he will send you the download link, he did that for me when my computer died and took my original Hot Item Finder with it – but that was back in the day when he responded to support queries!

    Warm Regards

  23. Lynn says:

    Hi Rob

    Old postcards and books are both great categories to get into on eBay because not only are they very collectible, but they are so easy to pack and post. Avril Harper has a great postcards business going on eBay but she really knows her stuff.

    Warm Regards

  24. Lynn says:

    Hi Abizer

    Thanks for dropping by. I’ll be sharing more results that Hot Item Finder throws up in future posts, there’s just no limit to the weird and wonderful things that fetch good money on eBay.

    Warm Regards

  25. Lynn says:

    Hi Steve

    I too am surprised that I’ve had no response from Dave Guindon’s support desk, I’ve had no problem contacting him in the past. I don’t know about him forgetting to take his laptop on vacation, I’m beginning to think he’s gone on vacation and forgotten to come back :-)

    Warm Regards

  26. Lynn says:

    Hi Alex

    Thanks for stopping by. As you say, the internet is a great way for sellers and buyers to connect, it’s certainly made it easier for collectors of obscure items to find what they’re looking for.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed the 100 Blog Comments Challenge, the end of the month is almost upon us but I haven’t managed to get round all of them yet. I’d best get a move on :-)

    Warm Regards

  27. John Edler says:

    Hi Lynn,

    Thank you for sharing that with us all.

    Isn’t analysis great? And isn’t it surprising that there’s a tool for doing just about everything – if you look hard enough.

    Great post

    Author of ‘Sticky Memory’

  28. Lynn says:

    Hi John

    Thank you for dropping by to leave a comment. As you say, there’s a tool for just about everything. If only someone had come up with a tool to help us get round all the blogs in the Challenge at lightening speed! Only a day and a half left to complete it and I’ve still got almost a third of them still to visit so I’m off to get my cyberskates on :-)

    Warm Regards

  29. Hiya Lynn

    Ohhhhh how I love little software tools that make tasks easier for me!

    I am amazed at how people can create such products, it really does baffle me but I am glad they do.

    Ebay is such a fabulous place to make money and find great bargains too.

    I used to sell ebooks on ebay a while ago, and the amount of traffic I received was unreal, no one should underestimate the power of ebay.

    Cool article, I always like when someone demonstrates a piece of software rather than simply shoving an affiliate link in my face.

    Sally :)
    Sally @ Blog Hopping Queen recently posted..Writing Testimonials Benefit You Too

  30. Howdy Ma’am,

    Good info on Ebay and it kinda makes me wish I wasn’t banned from that site.

    Alright, I’m not one hundred percent sure I’m banned but I haven’t heard anything to the contrary so it could be true.

    Just like everything else in my life…

    Have a grand day, Lynn.

    Barry the BadBidding Blogger recently posted..Want A Clean Mind Change It More Often Than Your Underware

  31. Rick Byrd says:


    Thanks for sharing the information!

    I have actually never used eBay as a seller or a buyer. I know, it is hard to believe.

    I really like using tools that can help to analyze whatever business we may be in. This tool is no exception. It seems the only downside is the tool not showing the sell price and the lack of customer support (this could be a bigger issue but hopefully not).

    Good luck to you!

    – Rick
    Rick Byrd recently posted..Business Ethics – Is There Such a Thing

  32. Justin Case says:

    Thanks for Sharing Lynn,

    Ebay is great place to make a lot of money, and lose a lot of it also. Been doing it for years, but still get taken every now and then.

    I have used Dave’s tools in the past also and they are very good.

    Nice to meet you.

    Justin Case recently posted..Best Choice – Hot &amp Sexy Robin Hood Halloween Costumes

  33. Hi Lynn,

    Wow! That tool sounds awesome if you really wanted to pursue selling in niche markets on ebay or any other auction sites for that matter.

    I do hope you get the support issue sorted out. Not good on hearing you have bought some software and you are having problems and not getting a response.

    I am about to start selling on ebay again as soon as I finish up with the challenge. I have a credit card that needs to be paid off plus 2 sheds and a spare room of stuff!!

    I think I am going to have some fun with this one!

    Hope everything has been going well for you with the challenge. Fingers crossed everyone gets to comment on everyone’s blogs. It is up to the contributors now as to how successful we all are.

    See you back here soon. I will be back in a few days to check on how the comments are going.

    Happy Ebaying! :lol:


    Jacinta :D
    Jacinta Dean @ Creating A Business Online recently posted..The 100 Blog Comment Challenge Update!

  34. Hi Lynn,

    You know, people will buy the most odd things… then they will sell them on eBay wondering “why the heck did I buy THAT?” Then someone else will bid on it and voila, there is a sale. This seems to be a good tool to find those odd items that just might be a hot market – even if your supplier is your basement or attic LOL I can definitely see using this tool to scout out new, hot, interesting markets!

    Thanks for sharing,

    via 100 Comment Challenge
    Gwen Tanner@Product Creation Blog recently posted..10 Free Tools for Your Product Creation Toolkit

  35. Wow Lynn,

    I didn’t know that eBay has such advance features and even professional software to help you search for items too. This makes it so much more of a treasure hunt. I don’t know much about the ebay business but here, I’m glad I was able to learn something about finding valuable items and even product hunting there. Thanks for sharing with us these items.

    See you beyond the 100th comment!
    Thu Nguyen@BloggingFor recently posted..The Complete Helium Report REVIEW by Bob Younce of The Writing Journey

  36. Lynn says:

    Hi Thu

    Thanks for stopping by on your 100 Blog Comment journey. I haven’t completed it yet, still got a few to go (although I have been to yours ;-) ), I’m already a day late so I’d best get a move on!

    Warm Regards

  37. Lynn says:

    Hi Gwen

    Nice of you to drop by :-)

    Yes, Hit Item Finder is a useful tool for searching out the niches that you’d never otherwise think of. I love it.

    Kind Regards

  38. Lynn says:

    Hi Jacinta

    Thanks for finding the time to drop by during your very busy schedule, this Challenge has created so much extra work for you, I don’t know how you’ve found the time to keep up. I haven’t quite got round all the blogs yet but I hope to complete the Challenge today. It was a great idea of yours so thanks again :-)

    I’m glad to hear you are going to put your sheds full of ‘junk’ to good use, it sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy, and I hope it pays off your credit card and leaves you loads of cash left over!

    Warm Regards

  39. Lynn says:

    Hi Justin

    Thanks for dropping by, I hope you’ve enjoyed the 100 Comments Challenge. It’s been hard work but very rewarding.

    There is, of course, the potential to lose money on eBay but the more research you do, the more likely you are to come out on top.

    Warm Regards

  40. Lynn says:

    Hi Rick

    Thanks for dropping by. I can’t believe you’ve never tried eBay, you can get some great bargains as a buyer as well as making some useful extra cash as a seller. It’s never too late to give it a try!

    Hot Item Finder is not only useful for finding products to sell on eBay and other sites, it can also generate some good ideas for niche Adsense or affiliate sites. Although I still haven’t had any reply from Dave Guindon’s helpdesk I’m stil hopeful that the lack of support is a temporary glitch because I’ve never had problems getting a response from him in the past.

    I hope to see you on eBay in the near future ;-)

    Warm Regards

  41. Lynn says:

    Hi Barry

    Oh dear, what on earth did you do to get yourself banned from eBay, lol. Maybe you were just suspended, try logging in to your account and see what happens. Alternatively, you could try opening a new account with a different email address and preferably in someone else’s name (wife’s/offspring’s/sibling’s) – with their approval, of course!

    I hope you’ve enjoyed and benefited from the 100 Blog Comments Challenge.

    Warm Regards

  42. Lynn says:

    Hi Sally

    You are so right about the power of eBay, it’s no secret that many successful marketers grew their businesses by driving traffic from eBay to their own websites when they were starting out.

    I’ll be sharing lots more ideas generated by Hot Item Finder in future articles.

    Warm Regards

  43. I would never have imagined that old stuff sold for so much!! I have been to trash and treasure markets before but it was mostly old lawn mower parts, rusty bicycle chains and unwanted Tupperware. I guess it means I have to get out more if I want to locate these types of rare items.
    Michael Pedzotti@software tools for bloggers recently posted..Guess who is guest posting

  44. Bill Murney says:

    Hi Lynn

    As others have mentioned, it’s amazing what sells on eBay. I have only dabbled on eBay, mainly because I have yet to find a profitable niche market. If I ever do find one, then I will join all the other eBayers out there.


    Bill Murney recently posted..Technology

  45. Lynn

    Some useful insights here and tips on what is popular and may be able to be picked up easily and cheaply and turned into a tidy profit. I’ve got Dave’s software but haven’t yet used it to its full potential so thanks for the prompt!!

    Tom Harvey @ recently posted..Video Marketing – Anatomy Of A Successful Affiliate Campaign

  46. Lynn says:

    Hi Michael

    Thanks for paying us a visit :-)

    I can’t see there being much call for rusty bicycle chains on eBay and I’m not sure about old lawn mower parts (could be worth checking!) but I just had a quick look on eBay (UK) and found a set of 6 Vintage Cereal Bowls with Lids sold for £32.50 and a set of 4 Storage Dishes with Lids fetched £23.55, so don’t be too quick to dismiss the old Tupperware!

    Warm Regards

  47. Lynn says:

    Hi Bill

    Thanks for stopping by on your blog challenge journey :-)

    There are no end of profitable niche markets on eBay. Think about which categories interest you, and use eBay Pulse to dig down below the surface to find related products that you may not have considered. You could be pleasantly surprised.

    Warm Regards

  48. Lynn says:

    Hi Tom

    Hot Item Finder is doing no good gathering digital dust on your hard drive! Have a play around with it, you never know what lucrative niches you might come across. Mine was working fine until I downloaded the latest update, so if your version is not the current one it’s possible that it won’t have the problem that I’ve encountered with some of the prices not showing up.

    Warm Regards

  49. Hi Lynn,

    This was a wonderful and insightful post on Ebay . It good to read a post that teaches and suggest the right thing to do when it comes to using Ebay in marketing. I believe this is the kind of information that every person must put into consideration.

    Thanks for bringing this discussion into life. Hope more interesting discussion will follow. Keep up the hard work!

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