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Tips for Selling Bows on eBay

Awhile back in 2015 I posted about buying antique longbows and recurves.

In 2016 I purchased several more bows via eBay. Some more antiques, including a wooden compound bow, a Bear Grizzly Static, and an Archery Craft Toronto flatbow.

One of the things I noticed while browsing bows is that some sellers do a really horrible job at taking photos of the bow, describing it, and it consequently discourages people from bidding on a bow due to lack of information / lack of quality photos.

Thus, here are some tips for anyone looking to sell a bow on eBay (or other websites).

#1. Accurately describe the bow.
  • Year of manufacture.
  • Manufacturer
  • Model type + any numbers.
  • What condition the bow is in. eg. "Shoots like new, just a few scratches."
 #2. If you don't know, admit that you don't know.

Even better if you do some research and say something like "I think it from the early 1970s, but I cannot be certain."  At least then you are being honest while still providing the potential buyer with needed information. If they want to narrow it down with their own research, that is up to them.

#3. Photos, Photos and High Resolution Photos

Don't forget to show the bow's vital stats.
If you plan to sell a bow on eBay you really need lots of photos. The more the merrier.

  • High resolution.
  • Use something that makes a good background so it easier to see details.
  • Front and back of both tips.
  • Front and back of both limbs.
  • Front, back, and 2 side views of the riser.
  • 4 views of the entire bow from different angles, including one which shows the bow's stats.

16 photos total. Minimum.

On eBay 16 photos is basically the bare minimum if you want a good price. Bows that don't have all the above and/or poor resolution don't sell for much because people refuse to bid on bows where they cannot see the details.

#4. Describe any problems with the bow.

Be honest and list any cracks, major scratches or problems with the bow (eg. Twisted limbs). People get points for honesty and even a bow with problems can still be sold to a collector who just wants it for wall decor.

If you hide any faults with the bow the buyer may demand their money back and return it, so it is best to be honest from the beginning. Otherwise you could end up losing money on shipping and not actually sell the bow.

#5. Do NOT add extra keywords. That only annoys people.

Some people on eBay describe a bow by adding extra keywords like recurve, compound, hunting, longbow, etc to describe a horrible bow that they are just trying to get attention for. It is super annoying when you as a buyer is looking for a particular topic and some jerkoff has flooded the search results with cheap bows made in China that don't even accurately describe the bows they are selling.

Super annoying.

#6. Mention anything else you are including with the bow as a "package deal".

So if it is coming with arrows, a sight, bowstring, spare bowstring, any extra goodies make a list of everything that is coming with it.


#7. Find out the shipping costs for all parts of the region you are willing to ship to.

So for example, if you are only shipping to people within North America, confirm the cost of shipping your bow within that region. Then list the cost on eBay. If the cost varies, mention that the cost may vary based on location, but include a range to range estimate of the cost.

Note - If the shipping cost is ridiculous, many people will refuse to bid at all. So shop around for a good courier which offers a decent rate. Browse eBay to sell what other sellers are using for couriers and this will give you a better idea of who has the best prices for shipping.

#8. Set a reasonable starting first bid price.

eBay is an auction website after all. You need people to bid on an item by being interested in its potential price. The more people who get interested, the more likely they are to have a bidding war.

The price of a particular item, if there are multiple bidders, can skyrocket suddenly in the last half hour. Especially the last minute as many bidders will try to outbid each other and swoop in during the last minute to claim an item.

But that will never happen if the original minimum bid is too high. Too high = no bidders = your item doesn't get sold.

A good way to guess a good starting bid is compare what other archers will say they bought a bow for at a garage sale. If they bought a bow similar to yours at a garage sale for $60, then that is a good starting price for bidding.

#9. There is always the Buy It Now and Best Offer options.

Another thing eBay has is an option for sellers to list a Buy It Now price.

Eg. $200 or best offer.

That means people can still bid on the item, but it has a maximum price. If someone really wants it badly, they can click Buy It Now and just pay the full price.

Or if the seller selects a particular setting which allows for Best Offers, buyers can submit a best offer price, which the seller can then choose to accept or reject.

This way if you want to guarantee your bow gets sold for a minimum price, you can list your ideal price and if anyone gives you a good offer that you like then you can choose to sell it for the lesser amount.

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