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Meeting buyer expectations when you sell collectibles

When you list a collectible on eBay, remember that the buyer is counting on your photos and item description to decide whether to bid on or buy the item. Because of this, it's important that your listing is complete and accurate. This isn't just good business, it's eBay's policy. Make sure your listing follows these guidelines. If it doesn't, it may be removed, and you may be subject to a range of other actions, including restrictions of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.

Guidelines for creating a complete and accurate listing

When you're creating your listing, think about it from the buyer's point of view. If you were the buyer, what information would you want to know before bidding or buying? What kinds of pictures of the item would you want to see? In what category would you expect to find the item?

Here are some guidelines that you should always follow. For more information, also be sure to review our page on improving performance with better item descriptions.

 Things to do

Things to do

  • Carefully research your item before listing it on eBay

    • It can be difficult to tell an authentic item from a reproduction. Make sure the item is from a reputable source. This will increase the chances that the item is legitimate.

    • If you have questions about your item, you can post them on the discussion boards, where you'll find some of our most experienced sellers. You can even post pictures of the item there.

    • Check to see if there are any user guides about your item.

    • Consider having your item evaluated by an authentication service.

  • Choose the right category

    • A buyer should be able to click on any category and see only items that belong in that category.

    • Pay attention to categories that have specific time frames, and be sure to select a category that fits your item. For example, you can only sell items in the Civil War (1861-65) > Original Period Items category if they date from between 1861-1865 and directly relate to the Civil War.

  •  Show your buyer exactly what they're buying 

    • If you're listing an item in the Collectibles category, you can add up to 12 photos for free. Take advantage by including multiple photos of your item that show the fine details and different angles.

  • Fully describe your item

    • A buyer reading your listing should know what the item is, who made it, what it's made of, and its current condition. The more information you can provide, the more successful your listing will be.

    • Always completely describe any reworking, modifications, or touchups made to the item. These things could greatly affect the item's value.

  • Be aware of and follow all laws and regulations regarding the sale of your item

Things not to do 

Things not to do

  • Don't place your item in a category intended for authentic items if you aren't sure your item is authentic, or if you're listing a reproduction

    • Instead, list your item in a Reproduction or Fantasy category. These categories are generally available throughout Collectibles.

    • For more information, see our search and browse manipulation policy

  • Avoid violations of our search and browse manipulation policy

    • Only describe the item you are listing. Don't use brands, terms, or eras (such as "Civil War") that don't apply to what you're selling.

  • Don't use misleading photos

    • Always include clear photos of the actual item.

    • Don't use only stock photos in your listing. Be sure to use photos of the actual item—this is what buyers want to see.

    • Avoid blurry or dark photos.

  • Don't use misleading information

    • Don't guess what your item is. Make sure you've done your research and, write accurate descriptions.

    • Don't be vague or unclear when you write your item description. Try to anticipate and answer all the questions a buyer might have.

    • Don't make false claims. Double-check your information before listing your item.

Guidelines for specific categories

Some categories have specific guidelines, and you can avoid common mistakes if you become familiar with them. In the section below you can see the guidelines for some of our collectibles categories. Check to see if one of the categories you sell in is listed here.

You can use the term "antique" to describe the age of an item. Whether you can accurately describe an item as an antique largely depends on what you're selling and how old it is. However, a new item should never being listed in an antique category.
Some antiques categories on eBay are reserved for items that date from a specific time period, but many are not. Make sure you are following accepted standards in the collectibles community. A great place to find information about these community standards is on the Antiques discussion board, where you'll find some of our most experienced antiques sellers.
  • You can only sell items in the Civil War (1861-65) > Original Period Items category if they date from between 1861-1865 and directly relate to the Civil War.

  • Other related items that date from before or after 1861-1865 can be listed in the Other Civil War-Related Items category.

  • Civil War reenactment and reproduction items can only be listed in the Reenactment & Reproductions category.

    See our artifacts, fossils, and relics guidelines for more information.

If you're listing jewelry, be sure to describe it accurately. Be sure to clearly state in your item description if your item includes simulated stones, plated metal, or any treatments. Also, keep in mind that only authentic diamonds can be called "diamonds".
If you're selling jewelry that is new but in the style of antique, vintage, or Victorian jewelry, be sure it is listed in an appropriate category, such as Jewelry & Watches > Vintage & Antique Jewelry > New, Vintage Reproductions. Be sure to clearly state "antique style" or "vintage style" in the title and description of the item.
If you're listing arts, crafts or jewelry made by a Native American from 1935 to today, you need to include both the artist's registered name and tribal affiliation in the item description.

If you're listing a political reproduction or fantasy item, it needs to be clearly described as such in both the title and description. These items also need to be clearly marked with the date of manufacture and listed in the Collectibles > Historical Memorabilia > Political > US > Reproduction & Fantasy Items category.

See our reproduction political memorabilia policy for more information.

Why was my listing removed?

When a listing is vague or appears to misrepresent an item, we may remove it and ask you to review the rules above. After reviewing the information on this page, you may find that, with some revisions, you can relist your item. Keep in mind that in, addition to the information above, you should be familiar with all our rules for sellers before you relist your item.

Members should report listings that misrepresent an item and could cause a bad buyer experience. We review these reports, and when we see any rules or policies not being followed, we will remove the listing.

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