How to make money selling vintage ads from your old magazines


If you happen to be the owner of a large collection of vintage magazines—whether through inheritance or intention—don’t rush to the recycling center. It turns out that the ads inside these magazines can be worth quite a bit of money when sold individually.

In fact, a quick scan on eBay shows that it’s completely acceptable to list a single ad for $20. Got a stack of vintage magazines lying around? They could contain enough ads to net you hundreds of dollars per issue.

Top-Performing Vintage Ads

It seems as though ads that contain celebrities—whether they’re singers, athletes or fashion models—seem to do well when selling online. Classic brands such as Coca-Cola seem to perform well online, too.

Michael Franco, who sells lots of stuff online and runs the blog Pick 4 Profit, says that advertisements featuring old cars, planes and trains do well, along with tobacco, soda, alcohol and food ads. Sports are also a sure bet, as well as guns and specific types of furniture, such as mid-century modern furniture.

It’s also important to note—the older the ad, the more likely it is to sell for a high price.

For example, this pair of vintage adverts from 1906 and 1907 sold for $67 on eBay.


This 1930s Barbasol advertisement recently sold for $12.95, which may not sound like a lot, but it is just one page from a magazine!


This Bo Jackson magazine ad recently sold for $9.99.


This is a rare circumstance, but this vintage ad sold for $7,500 because it was signed by Debbie Reynolds.


However, even pages that aren’t autographed by celebrities are worth quite a bit of money, especially if the presentation is nice.

This framed print is available for $49.95 on eBay now.


Size might have something to do with pricing also, as this vintage print is on sale for $80.


The vintage ad selling world can be difficult to navigate, but if you’re willing to give it a go, here are some things you should consider:

How To Sell Your Wares

You can sell your ads individually at flea markets or online on eBay. Or if you’d like to take care of your entire collection at once, you could try getting a lump sum for all of your magazines at an antique shop. This final option isn’t necessarily as lucrative, as you’d have to pay the antique shop commission, but it does cut out a lot of the legwork.

Flickr | smulligannn

How To Price Single Ads

Now comes the tricky part. How much do you charge for each ad? There are a few things to consider:

  • How noteworthy is the ad?
  • How old is the ad?
  • What condition is it in?
  • How are your competitors pricing?

Once you’ve considered these factors, you can set your price. From there, it’s a little bit of trial and error. If your original listing price doesn’t seem to bring in interest, decide how much you’d be willing to let it go for before setting a lower price point and trying again.

If you’re selling online, you can also try editing other parts of your listing before lowering the price. Is your product description enticing? Is the listing’s title catchy? You can find some tips from fellow eBay-ers here.

How To Display Your Ads

No matter what platform you’re using to sell the ads, display is important. For instance, if you’re selling online, make sure you take high quality photos of the product. If you’re selling in person, it’s worth putting the ads in a frame that the buyer can take with them. Taking them to an antique shop? Protective clear sheets might make the transport easier.

Flickr | Nesster

How Much Time Will This Take?

As with anything that could potentially make you money, this is going to require some work. Taking the time to carefully select which ads to sell, doing your research before setting a price and making sure the ads are displayed in the best way possible will require some effort—but there’s a good chance it could pay off in the end.

[h/t: The Penny Hoarder]

About the Author

Augusta Statz

Augusta Statz holds a B.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She's an avid writer with a genuine sense of curiosity. She feels the best way to absorb the world around you is through fashion, art and food, so that’s what she spends most of her time writing about. More.

More to explore