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Make Money Tearing Up Old Books and Magazines and Selling Them on eBay

Vintage books and magazines were packed with prints and advertisements and other paper items which are not only interesting, but very collectable, and profitable, too. So many things derived from these old publications are hot sellers on eBay including: prints, advertisements, knitting and other craftwork patterns, recipes, how to articles, historical articles, music scores, stories and other out of copyright material ... etc., etc, etc.

Let me introduce you to just a few of these easy to find items.


Old prints are valuable collectors pieces and there's a good income to be made simply from packaging prints neatly and categorizing them according to theme, eBay's best sellers being: animals, sports (especially golf and horse racing), royalty, music hall artists, topographical (named locations) and children.


Advertisements were often hugely ornate, colored or black and white, photographic or artist-drawn. Whatever shape they take, framed and unframed, mounted and unmounted advertisements are very popular on eBay where only recently an advertisement placed by a slave trader in The Memphis Daily Avalanche in 1859 fetched $200.


"Clippings", sometimes called "Cuttings" as both names suggest, are simply items cut from books and other printed publications. They can be large or small, or even comprise entire sections of a book linked to a specific theme. They can fetch high prices on eBay as did a 1909 article about the magician Houdini that went for $200 in May 2005 and clippings of Rudolph Valentino fetched $305 at around the same time.

Gifts and Advertising Novelties from Early Publications

Early publications often contained useful free gifts for readers, some of which are profitable collectors' items today. The most common free gifts were advertising inserts and sometimes advertising blotters, rulers, children's painting books and maps. Maps are particularly prolific in older books and are amongst eBay's highest priced items, such as the 1873 Beers Atlas of Maps of Long Island New York which recently fetch over $2,000 and a Mitchell's Map of Missouri and Arkansas found folded inside a tatty old book from 1937 that reached $1702.


Some early publications, larger ones, had double center page spreads that make great posters and prints. They can fetch bids of $20 and more. As for all publications, learn to specialize, and look for special interest magazines, targeting a specific audience, say dog lovers, train enthusiasts, classic cars, and so on. This way you gain experience about specific subjects and the person to buy from on eBay.

Fancy Dress

Another very easy project where all you have to do is look for copyright-free patterns and designs which you can combine into books or sell individually. They are all great sellers on eBay especially for traditional fancy dress anniversaries such as Halloween.


The secret here is to look for copyright-free cartoons which you can copy and mount or frame as they are or revamp to suit today's market. As for other copyright-free material, although there is no law against lifting and using cartoons, it is arguably immoral and unethical to claim the work as your own.

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