The old saying goes that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. The best marketplace for treasurable garbage is Ebay. And who isn’t looking for the best deal when it comes to said treasure? I have an old saying of my own: it’s great to learn from your mistakes but it’s even better if you can learn from someone else’s. Or in this case, profit from someone else’s.

I used to own a sports memorabilia store, and I purchased authenticated, signed merchandise on Ebay for resale in the store. I had a good idea what things wholesaled for and knew a good deal when I saw one. One time, I saw a deal on an Emmitt Smith signed mini helmet that was too good to be true. The auction was ending in less than 30 minutes and the item was going for well below what others of the same quality and authentication were. What was wrong with this one that turned people off? What was I missing? I was missing my mistake and more importantly, the mistake of the person who listed the item.

When I searched for the item I typed in “Emmit” and not the proper spelling of his name, “Emmitt.” This misspelling is what kept everyone who knew how to spell his name correctly or didn’t commit a typo while searching from seeing this auction, hence, the good deal. I won the auction and paid $75 less than what I was willing to pay for the item. Good deal. Not bad for a so-called mistake on my part. Did I learn from it? You’re damn right I did.

I went on to pay significantly less for: a Squire Stratocaster guitar (proper spelling: Squier) and a Derek Jeeter signed baseball (Jeter). I got a very nice deal on a Wayne Gretzkee (Gretzky) signed 8×10. All because I took advantage of others’ mistakes.

So, the next time you’re hunting for your next treasure, type in what might be a common misspelling and see if you can get a good deal. They are to be had. If you are listing an item, use the flipside of this tip. In the listing, put common misspellings in so that everyone finds the listing and not just those who spell the name correctly. Don’t list: an Emmitt Smith signed mini helmet. List instead: an Emmitt Emmit Smith signed mini helmet.

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