The other day, while changing some desiccant packets in my dry box, I realized that my Nikon 7×35 binoculars hadn’t been used recently. When I first got them I was happy with the crisp image, but after a while, I wanted to get a larger pair, such as 7×50 or 10×50.
There’s no good reason to keep a pair that you’ll never use. I decided to sell my 7×35 on an auction website to help cover the cost of the larger pair.
I’ve bought and sold around 30 pairs of binoculars through auction websites and have learned some good tips on getting good deals without any hassles. Some people won’t sell their binoculars on auction sites because they think it’s troublesome and easier to go to a pawn shop. Unfortunately, your binoculars value will often be underestimated, meaning you won’t get what they’re worth.
In this post, I’ll talk about some tips for selling used binoculars by showing how I sold mine on Yahoo Auction (the most well-known auction website in Japan).
In the States and many other countries, eBay is more popular. Though there are some differences, these auction sites are very similar and these tips will work on both.
Taking photos of binoculars
First, you need to take some nice photos of your binoculars from various angles. On auction sites, I often see pictures that are out of focus. Don’t make this mistake.
Some unscrupulous sellers try to take nice photos in order to make their items look better than they actually are. It’s important for you to provide honest pictures to avoid any misunderstanding between you and any potential buyer.
If your binoculars have a dent on the body, take a close-up of it. Also, it would be best if you wrote whether or not it had an adverse effect on the image in the “Item description”.
I have never had a complaint from buyers because I’ve given detailed and honest information beforehand.
Fortunately, the 7×35 pair which I bought for 80 dollars on an auction website was still in good condition. I took close-ups of the lenses to show that there was nothing wrong with them.
I suggest that you use a large sheet of paper as a background.
If you are a frequent seller, PVC sheets can be very helpful. I use either a black or white sheet depending on the situation.
Guidelines for pricing
If you have no idea about the price range of your used binoculars, you can check the “completed” listings for similar items sold on eBay. Items that have already sold should give you a rough idea about how much your pair is worth.
Generally speaking, if your binoculars are in good condition, a used pair can be sold for one-third of the original retail price. Binoculars with serious problems, such as fungal growth, internal-fogging, or a cracked prism, are considered “junk” and may stay unsold forever.
Binoculars from top makers, such as Zeiss, Swarovski, and Leica, in good condition, can fetch a price of 1,000 dollars or more, about half the price of when they were new.
A warranty, even if it is expired, and any accessories can boost the value, so don’t forget to take photos of everything.
I personally prefer to start the price at 1 cent to attract people’s attention. I often see pairs unsold for a long time because their starting price is too high.
I suggest you set the starting price at $1, especially if you are confident in the quality of your binoculars.
For this pair, I chose “Auction-style” and decided to leave the price up to the buyers. I expected my binoculars would be sold for around 50 dollars and set the “Buy It Now price” at 75 dollars, including shipping costs.
I set the “Duration” for five days so that the last day will be on a Friday night. In my experience, many people join auctions on Friday nights.
Some sellers don’t know the importance of a good description. The following are some bad examples:
Even a little fungus or fogging will have a negative effect on contrast.
Even if you don’t know much about binoculars, it is important to give details on not only the good points but the bad points as well.
In short, you need to give potential buyers a good and honest description.
For example; “These 7×35 have good optical alignment and the lenses and prisms are in good condition. The eye-relief, however, is too short for eyeglass wearers.”
Unless I mention the eye-relief, an eyeglass wearer might buy the pair without realizing that the eye-relief was too short and end up returning the item.
Imagine that you are a buyer; what would you want to know about the Binoculars? Putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes is essential.
My item description is as follows:
“This is a pair of Porro Prism 7×35 Binoculars. Please refrain from placing a bid if you are an eyeglass wearer because the eye-relief is not long enough.”
“Although this pair is old, they don’t have any fungus or fogging on the lenses and produce a clear image. All movable parts work well, such as the focusing knob and diopter rings.”
“The bluish coatings are as good as middle-quality pairs presently sold. The exit pupil is 5mm, which produces a bright image at twilight.”
“The objective lens housing can be removed, which makes it possible to blow away dust on the inside of the lenses. It comes with objective lens caps, ocular lens caps, and a soft case.”
“I decided to sell this pair to help offset the expense for another, larger pair.”
What buyers are interested in most is whether they can get a good view through the binoculars. You should describe the condition of the lenses in as much detail as possible.
After preparing your listing with a detailed description, click “List item.”
Now we wait
After filling out the form and uploading the data, all you have to do now is wait.
If someone asks a question, you’ll want to answer it as soon as possible. Everyone can read these interactions, so be careful about what you say.
Soon after I uploaded the data, someone placed a bid for 1 cent. I was pretty sure the price would go up to around 50 dollars by the time the auction ended.
The next morning, the price had gone up to 3,700 yen (around 33 dollars)! After lunch, I got a message from Yahoo Auction that someone had used the “Buy It Now” feature and my binoculars had been sold for 8,000 yen!
At first, I was happy, but I began to wonder; was my “Buy It Now” price too low? Anyway, it’s too late now.
I got the buyer’s information from Yahoo Auction and immediately prepared to ship the pair. I repurposed a cardboard box and some packing cushions from a jar of honey that had recently been delivered to pack up the binoculars.
Three days later, I got the money as well as a good rating (4 out of 4). Good credibility makes it easier for you to sell in the future.
The income and expenditure
The net profit from this transaction was 6,410 JPY ($61), which was a little higher than I had anticipated. I bought this pair for $80 about 7 years ago, so I only paid $19 for seven years of use.
I’ll buy a 10×50 or 7×50 pair on an Internet auction sometime soon, which will be the topic of my next article.
If you have a pair of binoculars which haven’t been used for a long time, why not sell them on an auction website? Even though it’s easier to sell them at a pawn shop, in most cases you can get more money through an auction.
eBay is widely used in many countries and the biggest auction website in the world. Yahoo Auction is more popular In Japan, which is where I sold the Nikon 7×35 pair mentioned above.
Using internet auctions is not difficult, but the following advice will help you fetch a higher price with fewer headaches:
Nice pictures of the binoculars from various angles will give buyers an honest impression. They are most eager to know the condition of the lenses.
Researching completed sales can help you decide the price of your item. Used binoculars are generally traded at one-third the price of new ones. I suggest you open the bidding at $1 to attract more bidders if you are confident in the quality of your pair.
When you are filling out the “Item description,” don’t hesitate to explain all of the good (and bad) points in detail.
Having an honest selling policy will bring you good ratings, which makes it easier for you to buy and sell in the future.
Selling and buying binoculars through auctions can be fun. So, I suggest you check to see if there is a pair you haven’t used recently and consider putting them up for auction.