Automobillia: Valvoline Thermometer

Valvoline Thermometer

UPDATE 8/14/15 – I’ll let this go for $375 shipped. Email me if interested.

FROM 8/11/15 – If you follow the site, then this thermometer probably looks familiar to you. It was part of a large automobilia collection we featured the other day. We mentioned that the owners were interested in selling some items, but when we contacted them again they expressed concern about having to deal with multiple buyers. They wanted to sell the whole lot to one person instead so we are now working on buying the whole collection! We plan on keeping a few items and selling off the rest. It’s exciting to manage the sale of such a large collection, but hopefully we don’t loose our pants on this deal! To kick off our new adventure, we have this cool Valvoline thermometer. It’s one of those items that not only looks good, but is functional. We weren’t able to find any that had sold recently, but there is one like it listed for $725 on eBay right now. That makes our looks like a bargain at $600 $475 $375! Find it here on eBay and be sure to follow our account because we’ll be listing new pieces everyday!


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  1. William H

    Well, may father will be surprised that he has a $600 thermometer on the wall in his shop. Wonder what the matching clock he has sitting next to it is worth. Both are working.

    Are y’all planning to build an online catalog of all the items or just one at a time?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I’m not sure if it’s really worth $600, but we will see. Right now our plan is just to list one item at a time and see how it goes.

  2. jim s

    this looks like a interesting project. should be fun to watch it play out. if you are looking for boxes to ship the items in your local bicycle shops may be a good place to get free used boxes. try for wheel, frame and bike boxes.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good idea Jim. It should be interesting to see how this plays out. Hopefully we can sell some of it.

  3. Bobsmyuncle

    I really urge you to do your research. There must be books on the subject or experts out there perhaps on the web to consult with.

    You are riding a double edged sword by ‘guessing’ and eBay is a TERRIBLE indicator especially using asking prices.

    You dont want to take a wash but you don’t want to sully your name and the reputation of your site by over charging someone either.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good advice Bobsmyuncle. We are going to take it slowly and see how things go. I’m sure a few experts will chime in shortly and let us know if we are way off base here. Thanks.

    • JW454

      I completely agree. Using the asking prices of Ebay ads isn’t very through research for an item’s value. For example, what if there had been two of them, exactly like yours, in similar condition listed, and the other one was priced at $100.00? Where would you have priced yours?

      In any case, good luck with your endeavors.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Yes, I understand that, but without results from other ones that have sold, it is hard to determine a value. I changed the auction so people can make an offer.

  4. Fred

    Best way to determine value is to click on “advanced” tab and go to “sold” items. Couldn’t find a recently sold one on Ebay, but did find one that an auction house sold- for $253. Ebay auctions with a fixed asking price are usually just looking for a sucker.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for sharing that. Looks like I need to attend some live auctions because some of those prices are a lot lower than the same things go for on eBay.

      • Jason

        “some of those prices are a lot lower than the same things go for on eBay”

        That’s because so many Ebay “sales” are fakes with shill bidders.

  5. Mark E

    I have always thought that setting a reserve price on Ebay is a chicken $hit way of doing things personally, if you pardon my French.

    My friend, who used to sell LOTS of stuff on fleabay had a good procedure that I’ve always used: You list the starting bid at the minimum amount you’re willing to accept for the item. That way there’s no reserve price nonsense and, more likely as not, if you’re high, buyers will make you an offer if they’re really interested.

    Keep us informed of other things you’re listing! Your fan base is also a base of potential buyers! ^_^

    • Doug Towsley

      I will have to respectfully disagree about reserves and FeeBay. I have had ebay accounts since 1999. I have sold for myself, my shop, Other shops, an industrial machinery business, several other shops that dealt in cars and motorcycles and numerous estates/liquidations. Also soon for a non profit car and motorcycle museum. I also served on the ebay motors development team as an advisor after the disaster of the mid 2000’s category changes. (I have also visited the ebay campus and had lunch in the ebay cafe) I am very frustrated with FeeBay as many others are too. Was never a perfect platform but up until Donohoe and his disruptive innovation BullS**T came along I felt that at least they tried to be responsive and improve things. Now,,, well, now its not such a great place. Especially for sellers. If all you ever do is purchase items you are very likely unaware of 90% of the serious issues there are. Thats why its hard to get people to understand.
      But as to reserves… it depends on the auction, what category and what you are selling. Also factor in sellers promotions, category changes, and fee structures as well as are you selling in Stores, fixed price auctions with the “Best offer” or a real world auction.
      It also depends on if selling a vehicle or if selling a part or knick knack. Take a look at Fee structures and whether you meet the small seller or commercial sellers thresholds.
      What most people fail to understand is if you are in stores and selling large volumes (I know people locally running over 3,000 items at once) with fixed price you can list at insane prices and not pay any penalty at all. Just keep listing until sold. You can get lucky as with 3000 auctions of overpriced junk, some fools every week will put coin in your pocket. This skews the real sales. And someone might get the idea their Oil company sign is worth a fortune when maybe it is, maybe its not. Read up on the terms for selling a car or motorcycle. Reserve price auctions make a lot of sense. Before you guys criticize sellers on Feebay spend some time on the ebay community forums for sellers and read about some of these real world issues. I could go on and on, but sellers are getting screwed. Abusive not as described, return policys including returns ON The sellers dime for up to 180 days for as simple as “Found it cheaper elsewhere” Feedback retaliation,Bidding manipulation,, on and on.
      But one last comment about reserves. I sometimes use a reserve, and when numbskulls email about “I want to know what your reserve is before i bid so i can decide if i want to bother” I always answer as my friend from India says… “You should bid what your heart tells you too”. And no,. i never reveal a reserve. rant mode off.

  6. Doug M

    Excellent points by Doug T and Mark E. Emphasis on using the sold listings filter to determining your prices. I’ve been selling on eBay since ’04. IMHO it is a great avenue to sell. Just accept that the fees are the overhead if you had a brick and mortar store and you won’t get po’d at eBay.

  7. Stuart

    I’ve been through both eBay and craigslist on a variety of shop signs and other categories. One thing that will help you tremendously is if authenticity can be validated across the spectrum of what you are going to trade in. There are passable knock offs of this piece out there. If your validation is in place you will do much, much better People don’t pay for fakes.

  8. Ed MacVaugh

    Always put lots of pictures and details on your ads. I have never seen one of these in person that I recall (though I have haunted garages since the 1950s, so they must have been there), so I don’t know if that thing is 6 inches across, or two feet.

    Your listing doesn’t tell me either, nor does it show it in relation to something whose size I can determine.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good point Ed. Someone just asked the same exact question through eBay actually. If you are curious, it is 12 inches across.

  9. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    After seeing what eBay was going to take in fees, I have pulled the listing and will sell it to anyone here for $400 shipped. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks.

  10. jim s

    i think you need to relist this on ebay at a price that nets you what you need/want. maybe use the worldwide, with you just paying shipping to your nearest ebay reshipping center in the USA, if that option is offered on this item. then just wait for someone to bit, sometime it takes a while on signs. put them all up or use up whatever free listing ebay will give you.

  11. Doug Towsley

    Fees are overhead just like a brick and mortar store no doubt about it, however eBays fees and paypal as well are rather high for what they are offering.
    The real rub however is you are faced with all kinds of risk that you alone assume when listing with eBay you never would have if sold at a swap meet or even brick and mortar storefront.
    While anyone can dispute a credit card transaction, the burden is fairly high for the buyer in a normal purchase. FeeBay has gone crazy for buyers,. and buyers can file a Not as described case and sellers almost always lose. Your account is frozen, the funds are frozen, and or even withdrawn from your account without your consent. Buyers can return the item up to 180 days from purchase for ANY reason they choose. Including found it cheaper elsewhere.

    not fun at all,. For those who want to peddle some stuff before the holidays to buy their kids some shiny new baubles, many end up with an unpleasant surprise down the road. (Whatcha gonna do if they claim its a counterfeit?)
    Liability for Claims under PayPal Purchase Protection. If you are a Seller and PayPal makes a final decision that you lose a Claim filed directly with PayPal, you will be required to reimburse PayPal for your liability. Where you receive payment from a PayPal Account holder in another country and we determine under the PayPal Buyer Protection Policy of that country that the funds received should be returned or reversed, you will be subject to that country’s PayPal Buyer Protection Policy and required to reimburse PayPal for your liability (before receiving payment from a PayPal Account holder in another country, you should review the relevant PayPal Buyer Protection Policies accessible via the “Legal” or “Legal Agreements” footer on most PayPal site pages).Your liability will include the full purchase price of the item plus the original shipping cost (and in some cases you may not receive the item back). You will not receive a refund of your PayPal fees. PayPal Seller protection may cover your liability—see Section 11 (Protection for Sellers) below.

    If a buyer files a Significantly Not as Described (SNAD) Claim for an item they purchased from you, you will generally be required to accept the item back and refund the buyer the full purchase price plus original shipping costs. You will not receive a refund of your PayPal fees. Further, if you lose a SNAD Claim because we, in our sole discretion, reasonably believe the item you sold is counterfeit, you will be required to provide a full refund to the buyer and you will not receive the item back (it will be destroyed). PayPal Seller protection will not cover your liability.
    The only real Defect at eBay is the one who wrote the policy

  12. Doug Towsley

    A nice poem to to recite before listing or buying on feebay with the holidays coming up.

    Well money is tight and I want to give little Lou and Cindy a great
    Christmas. They deserve it. I will buy all kinds of decorations,
    Holiday movies, holiday clothing and about 10 times the toys I
    normally would. Those darn kids only really like a couple of the gifts
    they get but they do love to open them Christmas morning. By a week
    later most are forgotten and they will have picked out their
    favorites. SO one night in January when they are asleep the toys they
    really don’t care for, clothing and all the decorations will go back.
    It won’t cost me anything to give these children the best Christmas
    ever. Christmas is about memories, and I plan on making some with
    ebay’s help.

    Twas the night after New Years and all through the house

    not a creature was stirring not even a louse

    the returns were all stacked by the computer with care

    in the knowledge that ole ebay’s refunds would soon be there

    We shopped all through November and spent much more than we had

    but bills will wait til January so no reason to be sad

    the mailman came every day but this isn’t costing us a dime

    We got to use everything for quite a long time

    Cindy got a toy that was broken into two

    and 4 of the games have been beaten by Lou

    The movies we’ve seen a dozen times or more

    They don’t allow us to do this at our local store

    Ma and her torn dress and slightly broken shoe

    me and my suit that used to be blue

    The Christmas china, there is only one broken plate

    and where is the vintage sugar bowls mate

    The Customer rep said its ok, it is a business cost

    And not to worry nothing at ebay is going to be lost

    I enjoyed the holiday season and feel so gay

    I plan on doing all my shopping next year on ebay

  13. Woodie Man

    Wow! FleaBay is taking a whooping!

  14. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Looks like I overpaid for the stuff I did buy from this collection. Oh well. Anyone want this thermometer for $375?

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