Options for Sellers of Fishing Tackle

For potential sellers of fine fishing tackle, we thought we would like express our thoughts on the various selling options each of you have in the current marketplace.

First, auction houses here in the US and abroad continue to provide mixed and unpredictable results. The proprietors running these auctions are passionate about business and fishing tackle just as we are. They work hard in their businesses. We consider many of them friends and sometimes partners in this competitive market. But let's face it, a one or two day auction draws only a small percentage of the world's potential buying population of fine fishing tackle. If sellers need a fast avenue to cash, regardless of price results, the auction format makes sense. However, certain dealers like us will also offer to buy your collection upfront in the event of needing quick cash. Most importantly, we also offer consignment services where, given some patience on your part, much more money ends up in your pocket ultimately, which should be every seller's goal. Especially recently, we consider auctions a great place to take advantage of what we consider to be wholesale buying prices. 

Allow us to give a glaring example:
We recently purchased a popular limited edition bamboo rod at auction for a $1,600 hammer price. The consignor/seller in this case received approximately $1,300 from this sale. We sold this same rod for $4,000 on our website months later. If the seller had consigned the rod to us, 
he/she would have ended up with $3,000+ instead of $1,300!

The fact is that much of the buying audience at auctions are wholesale buyers versus the worldwide retail buyers that are willing to pay top dollar for tackle items. In recent years, the auction format has lost much of its appeal due to many reasons. Chief among these reasons are a) some are no longer offering physical inspection of auction items prior to the auction, b) 
risk factors inherent in the auction process, such as the increasingly prevalent practice of shill bidding, and c) trust factors have arisen due to buyers being disappointed upon receipt of the items. Items have been improperly disclosed and/or important defects have been omitted. Many times the auctioneer lacks the knowledge or simply the time to carefully inspect an item prior to writing the listing description. Of course we are aware there are many satisfied buyers from auctions, but the number of disappointed buyers recently has been quite alarming. What exacerbates this issue is the fact that certain auction houses will not accept returns and even go so far as to threaten to take legal action against individuals who publicly express their disappointment. This is obviously the exception rather than the norm. 

Secondly, let's talk eBay. While occasionally sellers will get one of those crazy auction endings where two inebriated (or otherwise passionate) bidders throw out large bids at the very end, typically sellers are disappointed with ending auction prices, especially recently.

The most important consideration here is, again, the low participation factor in any given auction. While there are certain domestic and international buyers that watch and bid on eBay auctions, the vast majority of buyers VFT serves around the world have never even given a thought to buying from an eBay auction. So you are effectively removing a large number of big players from the market by using eBay to sell your fine items. The result is most generally a much lower eBay sales price than the results VFT routinely turns out. 

The population of buyers is simply not that great in a compressed 3-7 day auction on eBay. The percentage of potential buyers of a given item is so small relative to having the item available on our website for a period of say, 30 days. In addition, it's widely known now that a solid business reputation, quality photography, and honest descriptions help sell items for higher dollar values. Buyers know what they are getting from us, unlike buyers visiting eBay who are dealing with sellers they don't know and don't trust. The leap of faith it takes for a buyer to bid $2,000 for a $2,000 rod on eBay is very risky, unlike the VFT website where buyers trust us and trust they are getting a $2,000 rod and not a messed up rod worth $1,200 if they were forced to turn around and sell it. All of these factors add up to the conclusion that eBay is a very poor option in most cases for sales of fine fishing tackle. Paying a dealer a slightly higher percentage to deliver higher ending selling prices makes total sense and the consignment fee becomes a moot point.

In addition to the foregoing, the anonymous buyers you must deal with are at times ruthless and take advantage of the Paypal buyer protection program they are afforded. They receive their purchase in the mail and find something "wrong" with it. They open up a dispute case and basically force the seller to negotiate to either lower the price or accept a return. This may be the exception, but it still remains a risk with selling on eBay. The Paypal buyer protection program is heavily weighted toward buyers as it should be, but some abuse that luxury nonetheless.

A by-product of the rise of sites like ours, who offer honest dealing, is that the trash which circulates within the trade is now disposed of through the online auctions. Many serious collectors have been stung so often they no longer even look.....and we've all seen that extremely dodgy looking piece of kit which just appears time after time at certain auctions; or skips from one to the next. 

Lastly, as many of you are aware, there are other individual "fishing tackle dealers" serving this wonderful market. "Your mileage will vary" applies here, so there's no need for a comparison. Most of us work together and have friendly relationships, so this is not a cutthroat community of selfish dealers, but yet a like-minded group of guys that enjoy serving this market.

What matters for buyers?

  • First and foremost, a known reputation of the seller and the key element of trust
  • Easy to navigate website with clear, detailed and revealing photos
  • The ability to keep up with the website's latest updates
  • Satisfaction guarantee (without hassle or restocking fees!)
  • Real-time inquiry capability
  • Ability of dealer to answer questions regarding the item, the maker, or the provenance of the item in a timely manner
  • Availability of a variety of payment methods so that deals can be conducted without the need for inquiries
  • Timely shipping and tracking features
  • New product notifications
  • Friendly honest attention to their questions and due diligence through the examination and description process

What matters for sellers?

  • Again, trust and reputation of the dealer
  • Getting top dollar for fine tackle items
  • Fair and reasonable fee structure for the dealer, based on circumstances
  • Comfort of insurance coverage for consigned items
  • Timely processing of photographs and listing items on the website
  • Short as possible timing of sales -- items must be optimally priced for buyer and seller in order to sell quickly
  • Timely payments to consignors once your item sells
  • Upfront consignment inventory schedule and real-time transaction reporting
  • Our database and following by the most serious collectors in the world


How does our consignment business work at Vintage Fly Tackle?  First off, if you would like to sell your collection outright, we can make you a fair and immediate cash offer. Just let us know. If consignment is your preferred option, you consign an item or a collection to us by shipping the item to our location, we inspect the item, take many quality photographs for our buyers, and occasionally invest some time in giving the item a routine cleaning. Certain repair services are available for a fee, and we always disclose such repairs.

We then list the item on our website after coming to agreement with you on a range of potential asking prices. When the item sells, we pack the item carefully and mail the item to the buyer. When the three day buyer inspection period lapses, we then cut you a check for your net proceeds. Our standard consignment fee is 20%. We ask for exclusive rights to market your consignment items for a minimum of 120 days.

If you are interested in consigning your fishing tackle items, please don't hesitate to contact us.