Welcome back to the Profiles & Premiums Newsletter!
We're presenting a brand new profile from Susan M. Kelly this issue, this time Susan takes a look at Robert Montgomery. In addition there are five brand new Photo ID Guides for you to have a look at, plus another which has been updated. Yep, I'm busy!
If you want to get right to these features please see the top menu at the left (where it reads In This Issue)-- if you want to read about what's going on, then please, read on:
The Store: I've added a neat new feature to my off-eBay store which makes the search a little smarter. Actually there are now three ways to search --
-- With the newest function when you type in a star's name in the search box near the top left of any page (directly under the logo), you're immediately greeted with a list of all items in the store featuring that star. You can type M-A-R-Y and receive a list of Mary Anderson, Mary Miles Minter, Mary Pickford, Mary etc., etc., etc. items. But if you then continue typing a space, then P, and all Mary Pickford items are there for your quick perusal. Just select an item from this text list, click it, click "Go", and you'll find yourself on the item page.
Or, if you want a search page showing all of the Mary Pickford items from the list, just type in Pickford's name, click "Go," and you're presented with a gallery-style list containing all of the items that were listed in the original text-only list.
Finally, if you're looking a little deeper for Mary Pickford items, click "Advanced Search", select the options you wish, and return an even larger list which may, for instance, contain magazines with Mary Pickford articles.
The new "smart search" is only so smart, as it only retrieves items whose titles begin with the words you typed -- thus I've edited all movie cards, supplements, etc. so that the titles begin with the most popular stars name. I really hope this is a helpful feature for the customer.
Shipping: By now you've probably realized you're paying a little more for items shipped by the USPS, or if you're outside the U.S. being presented with shipping options you may have never heard of before.
It's not so bad. Some of the increases seem unreasonable, but I've found that there's usually an alternative of some sort which will not only work around the new higher rate, but in my case often create rates cheaper than I've ever offered before.
A couple of examples, one international and one domestic, about changes I made which may help point you in the right direction if you sell, or present you with new options if you're buying.
For international buyers USPS has eliminated surface shipping, turned standard Air-Letter shipments into First Class International, and changed Global Priority Mail to Priority Mail International.
One item they did away with, which I used a lot, was the smaller Global Priority Flat-Rate envelope. While the large Flat-Rate envelope used to cost $9.50 to anywhere in the world (less to Canada), this smaller Flat-Rate envelope was only $5.25. I used it to offer shipment of an unlimited number or cards/postcards for the same $5.25 rate, without ever having to weigh anything out in advance. They did away with the smaller envelope leaving only the single Priority Mail International Flat-Rate of $11.00. That's ridiculous for cards, so now I offer First Class International for those items and have actually become $2-$3 cheaper than I used to be to most parts of the world.
In the U.S., where the changes are mostly rate-based and therefore simpler, I've begun weighing out lighter magazines in order to offer first-class shipping on all issues weighing under 13 ounces. It doesn't apply to all, or even most issues, but instead of raising every rate by a minimum of 55 cents (Priority has gone from $4.05 to $4.60), on newer listings of smaller issues I can often charge $1.50 less than I charged before the rate hike.
They're making us get creative!
eBay: So, how do you like the new feedback system? As someone who hates change, I'm not a big fan, but can see myself coming to live with it.
If you do it right it takes you a bit longer to leave feedback, which will have the obvious result of some buyers skipping the process altogether.
The first day I said to myself that I was going to skip the new process myself, but then I felt bad and went in and did the ratings. I usually leave identical comments for sellers when I've bought multiple items from them, so my first time through I forget to cut & paste my comment because I got so busy clicking on those darn stars, but I guess I'll get used to that eventually.
Then I decided that I was going to rate everyone 5 stars, after all, if they were any worse then I wouldn't be leaving them positive feedback -- no, that didn't seem right either. So far though I have left mostly 5 stars across the board, but that's only because I've received excellent service.
I recently had an example where i went a little lower.
I had found a really good deal on some magazines listed with the "Buy it Now" option. They were shipped quick, packed well, and my shipping rate was combined at a very fair price. But one of the issues had its cover totally ripped off, and another had much more damage to one of the spines than I would have expected.
I left the seller two positive feedbacks, but in the area calling for the accuracy of the item descriptions, I only gave 3 stars this time. I took a look at his feedback afterwards and saw this had minimal if any effect. Oh well though, I did get to anonymously voice my slight dissatisfaction without really doing any damage to the seller's business. After all, I did still get a good deal.
As a seller I can see this new system possibly cutting back on complaints -- rather than bothering to write my seller as I may have in the past, I just hit him with 3 stars rather than 5. Of course, being a seller who receives very little complaint, if I look at the new system from this angle it appears as something to reduce aggravation for lesser sellers. So, never mind my example, if you get something you're not happy with, you should still write the seller who sent it.
By the way, speaking of feedback, I just cleared 5500 on my things-and-other-stuff ID, but what I thought was pretty cool was that I'm closing in on 10,000 total positive feedbacks (including multiple feedbacks from the same buyer). I should have that sometime this week, and I'm a lot more proud of it than I thought I'd be! Thanks again for all of your past purchases and positive feedbacks!
On to our features:
Photo ID Guide:
Writing Tablets (New)
Several images of recently acquired Movie Star Writing Tablets along with what limited research I could compile. An exciting overlooked area of collecting that I see as ripe for exploitation by cagey buyers.
Here's the brand new Movie Star Writing Tablets Photo ID Guide...
Photo ID Guide:
1915 BF2 Felt Pennants (Updated)
No new images here, but at the bottom of the page I've added a checklist that includes all examples that I've seen, a list totalling 45 different early film stars.
Various Newspaper Supplements (New)
4 Brand New Photo ID Guides:
1915 Chicago Sunday Tribune Supplements
Robert Montgomery Profile by Susan M. Kelly
Born into a life of privilege, Robert Montgomery approached Hollywood with a businessman's sense and a gentleman's style. He would carve out a niche for himself over four decades with dedication, hard work, and class and he left behind a living legacy in the person of his equally famous daughter, Elizabeth Montgomery.
Henry Montgomery, Jr. came into the world on May 21, 1904 in Beacon, NY. His father, Henry Sr., was the president of the New York Rubber Co. and the family was quite well off. When his father died, young Henry found that the family fortune had been depleted and so he took a series of jobs to make ends meet...
Susan M. Kelly is a freelance writer who lives and works in Dunellen, New Jersey.
Another issue all done. If you got this far I apologize again for being a couple of days late, but I had a really bad experience this past week which I gave brief mention to over on my blog.
Somehow someone accessed my bank info and cleaned out one of my accounts, so I spent a good portion of the middle of the week in and out of the bank and on the phone with the banks. Horrible feeling, no fun at all, and now I find myself checking my bank account online at every available opportunity (that's how I originally discovered the withdrawal).
Apparently this happened to 4 or 5 other people at my branch, which makes me feel better and worse all at once. And this comes on the heels of clearing up a recent identity theft problem I found on my Credit Report, which from what I've been told is completely unrelated.
All I can say is be careful, but then be sure to monitor your reports as well. It doesn't seem to matter how careful you are, these things still happen, but if you can jump on them quick the problems won't mount quite as high.
And on a much cheerier note, June will bring the next installment of The Silent Collection by Tammy Stone, right now I'll be as surprised as you as to who we'll be covering! I'll try to do some more Photo ID Guides, but I put in so many this issue that I'm not sure I'll be able to find items to cover! At the very least we'll have some updates though.
Talk to you in June ...