11 Ways To Get A Model Railway Bargain on Ebay


eBay is one of those sites you either love, hate or tolerate, but if used correctly and with a little bit of cunning, it’s possible to bag some really good value bargains and also get a decent price when you flog your unwanted stuff. If you’re a seasoned eBayer you may probably already know these, but hopefully some will be of use to you.

So here goes with my 11 top tips!

  1. Buy at the right time – Look for auctions ending at odd times of the day such as early morning, before 8am if you’re an early-bird, or after 10pm if you’re a night owl. The earlier or later the better as this means there will be less people “bidding live”.
  2. Sort items in the search results for Nearest First or Collection Only – If a seller isn’t willing to post an item, you can often get some really good deals if you’ll collect items in person!
  3. Search for misspelt brand names such as “Hronby” and “Bachman” etc. – This can occasionally unearth the odd gem that less people will know about. It takes a bit of time, but it’s worth a shot.
  4. Don’t forget to check out the “Other Trains/Railway Models” category – Most sellers take the time to list their railway stuff under the correct scale’s category, but many sellers just go for the easy option and put their listings in the “Other Trains / Railway Models“.
  5. Don’t bid until the last few seconds of an auction. Bidding early can often push the price up early. Yes it’s nice to get the first bid in, it gives you that psychological edge over other bidders, but don’t go crazy. Put a bid on for the minimum, then wait until the very end to put in the final price you’re willing to pay!
  6. Make good use of your watch list! Keep a track of items you’re interested in and set your preferences to have ebay email you just before an auction ends to remind you to bid.
  7. Look for poorly listed items –  where the seller just couldn’t be bothered to list the items properly, but you can tell what you’re getting from the pictures. Again, lazy sellers often just use titles like “Model Trains>” and nothing else. If you’re careful & know what you’re looking for, the pictures can speak a 1000 words as they say and you can really come up trumps
  8. Search for “Job Lots” – This is a great way to bag yourself a great deal on bulk buy rather than purchasing items individually. Many sellers list huge amounts as a single lot. With a bit of cunning you often acquire £100′s worth of railway stuff for a fraction of the price it’s really worth, particularly if it just needs a good clean. You can always clean up the stuff you don’t want from the auction and re-list it to recoup your initial investment. Give these searches a try: Hornby Job Lot” “Bachmann Job Lot” “Model Railway Job Lot
  9. Shop when everyone else is busy! – If there’s a big, crowd pulling event on like a Football final, or the Olympics etc, go shopping on eBay when everyone else is glued to the TV!
  10. Ask for discounts on postage for multiple items – Most sellers offer a postage discount if you buy multiple items from them, so always request a combined total for all the items before you pay.  Jadlam Racing is one very established eBay seller that offers this.
  11. Buy a ready-made layout – If you’re new to the hobby and don’t want to slave away for months on end to build a layout, you can often pick up some really nice layouts for a fraction of the price the owner paid to build them! Again, apply the above techniques to your searches too and you could really save yourself a fortune!


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