Bullet and Shell Civil War Projectiles Forum

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: pipedreamer65 on June 27, 2019, 02:29:37 PM

Title: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: pipedreamer65 on June 27, 2019, 02:29:37 PM
Is it me or have others noted the downfall of many relic websites?  It seems that many old favorites are gone, no longer updated, or updated so infrequently that there is little use to visit them.  I'm rarely a show visitor, Richmond Fall show and once in a blue moon, Charleston, but how are the shows doing?  I don't think the popularity of relic collecting is ebbing, since some of the prices I still pay for stuff is definitely not coming down.  Ebay has lots of stuff on it, so much that some of it I feel like I already own since I see it listed over and over again.  Dave Taylor doing auctions now on live auctioneers... 

So, what gives??
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: redbob on June 27, 2019, 04:39:59 PM
I believe that Harry Ridgeway has pretty much retired and he'll be missed both for his relics and his honesty.
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: pipedreamer65 on June 28, 2019, 11:14:40 PM
Haha, thanks for the reply, this place dying to it seems
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: redbob on June 29, 2019, 12:48:04 PM
It has been pretty quiet around here for a while.
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: emike123 on June 29, 2019, 03:39:17 PM
It takes a boatload of effort and most of the people selling are one man bands.  We here are fortunate to have two people doing it, admittedly in their small amount of spare time, and still its very difficult to keep up.  The stuff generally sells whether itís on a website or not, and acquiring it, photographing, listing, selling and packing it is a time consuming pain in the neck when it is much easier to just haul it to shows we are going to anyway as buyers and more easily get rid of it there.

Of course, Carl and I are hobbyists and arenít trying to (or succeeding at) making real money off it.  Much of what we have to sell is from small groups or collections we buy to keep a piece or two for our own collections and sell the extra or to help others out by giving them an outlet to sell something they are ready to move on from.  The Fagan bullet recently sold is an example of a forum member selling something to another forum member through the website and we got $0.  I am not boo hoo'ing as we probably could've gotten a piece of the proceeds, but that's not our real objective here,

Like others Carl and I have day jobs that we depend on for our livelihood and other things like family commitments that compete for our time.  Except for a couple big dealers with not highly compensated but nonetheless dedicated employees, I donít know how anyone makes money doing it.  I think about any low level job would pay better on an hourly basis. 

So basically itís a labor of love and so for internet sites to thrive, Iíll quote Dionne Warwick, ďWhat the world needs now is love, sweet love.  It's the only thing that there's just too little of.Ē
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: Dave the plumber on June 29, 2019, 08:46:08 PM
I agree with Mike, 100%.   I don't sell on a website, I just use ebay. It is a pain in the butt photoing, listing and shipping. Definitely a break even venture at best.....    I check Mike and Carl's site everyday, Shiloh relics and Larry Hicklin's Mid Tennessee relics. Those seem to be the most active listing.        Shows are fun to do, see everyone, but a lot of work packing the truck, driving to wherever, and setting up, standing on concrete for 3 days, knocking down and hauling 1000 lb's plus of iron back and forth.  But I still do it, and enjoy it !!
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: CarlS on June 30, 2019, 01:39:08 AM
Well said Mike and Dave.  From my perspective the market is still very good.  I just attended today a good size Civil War relic auction that was well attended with vigorous bidding.  There were a number of dealers there and quite a few collectors just having a good time finding new treasures.  Everything sold with spirited bids.  I don't recall much of anything sold with a single bid.

Regarding our site not being busy with posting of new listings that one is on me.  I have a good bit of inventory but seem to find it hard to make the time to post.  Even at that, my sales have been good due to people who call and ask or I recall someone who wanted something in particular or sales at shows.  I've not seen any downturn of show sales and in fact my last few shows were excellent.  The slow show is the exception and certainly not the rule.

The hard part in all of this for people who sell is getting good merchandise to offer.  Since it is not something we manufacture (or at least the honest ones!) we are at the mercy of what we can find.   
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: redbob on June 30, 2019, 08:38:30 AM
I'm personally glad that you two are still here and don't you just hate it when work gets in the way of a good time? And while I may check out ebay, I'm still a little leery of buying off of it.
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: pipedreamer65 on June 30, 2019, 08:10:23 PM
I was only making note that Redbob had replied and no one else.  Not a reflection of the sales side of this site at all. My poor attempt at humor.  You guys update more than most. 
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: redbob on June 30, 2019, 09:25:34 PM
I'm one of those people that peruse the sites daily and I'll state that this one is about my favorite. Also, I wouldn't hesitate to buy from a forum member on ebay if I knew that they were one. ;D
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: speedenforcer on July 02, 2019, 09:29:45 PM
My 2 cents worth. The internet has hurt the shows somewhat. Ebay, although dangerous if you don't know exactly what to look for and a picture just don't do it sometimes a sleeper can come to light. Happened to me. I bough a small 9th plate no frills Federal private with his kepi. Under magnification he was a member of the 5th New Hampshire Volunteers, A popular and hard fighting regiment. For what I have seen more trades/sales at the shows are on Friday and Sunday between the dealers. I help my Very good friend on his web site and was thinking about starting my own as a hobby myself but not so sure. Quite frankly I do not have the time to travel looking for inventory. But I may give it a whirl for small ticket items. Its nothing Ill get rich over but will be fun none the less. Like what was already stated its a labor of love. Not to mention until its sold its in your collection. LOL which is kind of cool. Another thing that has hurt in my opinion, supply and demand. Not that many filling the older generations shoes when it come to collecting. Yes there are some but not enough to keep the prices up, which is good for a collector. If you are a collector and not a dealer now is the time for the common stuff. Now Rare Confederate items (uniforms, Rare plates, Identified items) will always command a premium. Again my 2 cents worth.
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: Garret on July 04, 2019, 09:30:15 PM
So does anyone know if Harry R is officially retired?   

One of my favorite dealers that ran a website was Barry Banks Civil War Outpost.   You could always count on getting good Georgia relics from his site.   
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: emike123 on July 05, 2019, 02:16:21 PM
Harry is not entirely gone from the relic business, but he and Trish are retired and split their time between VA and FL.  I kid him that he has gone from being the "RelicMan" to being the "RelicVan" because most of his stock is portable now.  This means his heavy artillery days are by and large over, but he is still going to some shows.  I am expecting we'll see him (& his helper guy, "Guy") at the Richmond Show in a couple weeks.
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: redbob on July 05, 2019, 06:21:57 PM
I hope that he has better luck with his vehicles than you seem to have with yours.
Title: Re: Internet Relic Shopping
Post by: Daveslem on July 23, 2019, 05:12:17 PM
I first started collecting in 2001. Back then there were a lot of online dealers and eBAY was still good except for the occasional "Yankee Slayers" badge or the ever present "Dorsey Pender" ID disks. It was fun to look at items I couldn't afford. It was like looking at the Sears' toy catalogue when I was a kid. Barry Banks had page after page of relics. Terry Hammonds had fantastic and rare bullets, buttons, etc.  Lawrence Christopher always had unique items and funny descriptions to go with them. For me, at least, those were the good old days. The CWC listserve was a good place to learn about collecting, too.

I was so hooked on looking at relics I would copy all the pictures to look at later at work on my laptop. (no internet access at work, then). One day Lawrence posted on his website that his computer crashed and he had lost all of his inventory's images. Of course I had them. Saved him days of having to take pics of everything. His "revival sales" were epic. Seems like they always needed a new tent. He was a pretty cool dude.