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Buying and Selling: Becoming a Scope Yenta

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#26 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:02 AM

Terra, a lot of buyers aren't formal "collectors" such as yourself.



I most often buy a scope because I want to look through it at the night sky. In the long term, whether I keep it depends on whether it "works" for me, ergonomically, at the eyepiece, transporting it.

Jon

#27 Chuck Hards

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:59 AM

Confession time; if I had the budget I'd be a telescope collector too. I really had to do some fast, creative accounting to pick up my Cave 10" Custom Deluxe earlier this year- and had to sell my existing Cave Deluxe mount to partially fund it. :bawling:

I've collected plastic model kits of WWI airplanes in 1/72 scale since about 1968. Unbuilt mostly, though I do build them from time-to-time. About five years ago I had over 1,200 kits in the collection but sold a lot to buy my daughter a car when she got her license. The collection now stands at about 480 kits. Enough to fill half a small room!
But telescope collecting requires deeper pockets so I have to be a lot more selective. I was really lucky to get the Cave. I also have a 60mm Penncrest refractor in wooden box, in great shape, pretty much complete. Hope to get a photo of that all set-up before the weather turns frigid this fall. Those two are my only classic scopes, but I do have the Jaegers mount as well as the little partial Edmund mount.
I'm not immune to the bug! ;)

#28 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:21 PM

If you don't approach it as a money-making operation, you will certainly lose money, even if your motivations are pure of heart and you think you're just finding new homes for orphans.

I've got a 4-digit, 100% eBay feedback rating, split about 50/50 between buying and selling (not just astro stuff, but a diverse assortment) over nearly 15 years. Not a business but strictly oriented toward my hobbies and those of my late mother. Packaging & shipping takes a LOT of time as well as money for materials. Even putting together a decent on-line listing takes time. Buyers rarely appreciate a careful packaging job, from my experience, and don't understand that even if you pack something in plate steel, the carrier can find a way to damage it and the contents. Few want to spring for insurance, and even complain about shipping costs- blaming the seller- even when less than what it actually cost to ship. Some people can't be satisfied unless an item is absolutely free and they get it immediately. And even then they'd find something to complain about.

There are great, understanding buyers out there to be sure, but they are the minority.

Good luck Joe, I hope you can make it work!


Thanks, Chuck; that's good advice. Again, I never thought this would create a food-on-the-table income; I only hoped I might cover at least most of my costs. I would hope that nastiness of customers would be mostly alleviated by selling on Cloudy Nights Classifieds, in the hope of finding buyers who understand the wares, but the cost and hassle of shipping would surely remain a problem.

The more I read everyone's thoughts, the less I think the project would work, except perhaps in some cases where I happened to buy a more valuable scope for little money. Trouble is, if the scope were that good, I'd want to keep it! Reversing this, I've seen some scopes advertised that would have interested me, except that the seller said, "Must pick up; I can't ship."

I'll not consider this idea dead-in-the-water. I'll see what scopes appear for sale, and consider what I can do with them. I like the idea of having classic scopes pass through my life and on to other astronomers, rather than into dumpsters.

#29 Chuck Hards

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:25 PM

I think that if you realize that you might have to hold onto some scopes for a long period of time, until the right buyer comes along, you can still make a little scratch. I just wouldn't expect a fast turnaround on most of them all of the time. You may thus find yourself with a bit of an inventory in need of storage space, and the money it ties-up while waiting for buyers.

#30 starman876

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 01:23 PM

Or you could just fill up an unused area of the house like some of us have with vintage telescopes. Soon you will have a narrow path to walk through. Then comes the TV cameras wanting to make a show about your hoarding problems :lol:

#31 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 02:58 PM

I think that if you realize that you might have to hold onto some scopes for a long period of time, until the right buyer comes along, you can still make a little scratch. I just wouldn't expect a fast turnaround on most of them all of the time. You may thus find yourself with a bit of an inventory in need of storage space, and the money it ties-up while waiting for buyers.


Wise counsel, practical and undoubtedly true. This may not be an impossible project, just not a fast one. Keeping inventory would be one way to time-limit how long a scope stays in the house! However long it takes to sell. In the mean time, I'd have a full toy chest. A good outcome!

#32 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 02:59 PM

Or you could just fill up an unused area of the house like some of us have with vintage telescopes. Soon you will have a narrow path to walk through. Then comes the TV cameras wanting to make a show about your hoarding problems :lol:


Exactly the issue I have sworn would never torment Lady Cepleur!

#33 orion61

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:10 PM

Or you could just fill up an unused area of the house like some of us have with vintage telescopes. Soon you will have a narrow path to walk through. Then comes the TV cameras wanting to make a show about your hoarding problems :lol:


Exactly the issue I have sworn would never torment Lady Cepleur!

Think about it What do you think I have been trying to do..
I have a warehouse available for storage and experience working on virtually every major type scope..
except Schiefspieglers.
Let me know if you need a silent partener..
Larry

#34 DarkStar1984

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:02 PM

I don't knoew Joe. I think that it is a viable project and would be a great service!

#35 starman876

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:28 PM

Not being married makes it easier. Also, the girlfriend having her own house also simplifies things. I do think I would be doing this if she was living with me. The man cave rules for now.

#36 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 07:10 PM

I have a warehouse available for storage and experience working on virtually every major type scope..
except Schiefspieglers... Let me know if you need a silent partner.



No question, Larry, you would be the perfect fit if anyone fit! I always know that if I find a scope needing work, you can fix it. Your glorious rehab of Margarita, the salt-encrusted C8, proved that! The hitch is that most of the scopes I'd find would be in that grey area where they are good enough to save, yet, in good condition, would sell only at a modest price. Adding an additional shipping charge for warehouse space may make the scopes too expensive. Double-teaming would be smart for the minority of scopes that I might buy cheaply, yet would sell more robustly upon your repair. Your idea of slow-but-safe, inexpensive shipping through USPS Parcel Post would always help keep the prices right, too.

I'd bet if you winged a few Schiefspieglers, you'd find your skills applied just as well to them as to all other scopes.






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