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Selling your stuff in an online auction
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Searching for metal Incredible Hulk lunchboxes, you notice that prices are much higher for ones made from 1978 to 1984 than for newer ones. The matching thermos adds value, too. Most have a starting bid of $10, what seems to be a reserve price of $20 and a top bid of $40.

If you weren't able to find similar items, you may have a rare gem. Take it to a shop that specializes in similar items, and have it appraised. Be wary of the shopkeeper who tells you the item isn't worth much and offers to take it off your hands.

You decide to set your starting price at $9.99 and your reserve price at $20. Based on those prices, your fees so far will be 30 cents for listing and 50 cents for reserve.

You'll need to figure out shipping and insurance costs as well. Checking at you see the shipping price for priority mail will be $4.30 (including delivery confirmation for 45 cents), and insurance will be about $1.50, depending on the final bid.

Choose your identity
You shouldn't have to pay to register at the auction site. But you will have to give your credit card and bank account information. If you would rather not do this, eBay offers ID Verification for $5. This service uses Equifax to verify your identity. Equifax verifies who you are but does not run a credit check.

You will need to pick a nickname to identify yourself. Try to choose something practical or inviting. For example, PlaygroundPsycho would not be a good choice. HulkFan would be better.

How you want your money -- aside from large and often
Your choices are wire transfer, cash, check, money order, credit card or specific site payments -- like's Amazon Payments, and eBay's PayPal.

If you choose cash or wire transfer, no one will bid. These nontraceable payment methods offer no protection to the bidder and make you seem shady.

Checks may bounce and you can't force the rubber bidder to pay the fee your bank will charge you.

Money orders are fine for you, but the seller may resent paying a fee to get one.

You're not a business so you don't have access to a credit card machine.

You choose to accept PayPal because it protects you against bouncing checks and bidders who pay by credit card then falsely claim you never sent the item. The money will be deposited into your PayPal account, minus the fees for service which is 2.9 percent of the final price plus a $0.30 transaction fee.

Labeling the lunchbox
At this point you'll click on the option to sell an item. You're given a choice in formats. You're a beginner, so you pick the most basic format, which will walk you through building your page.

Next: "Pictures are imperative."
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Seller checklist for online auctions
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