Thai Buddhist Amulets: Monk, Buddha, Phallus Figurines and Tiger Teeth

Thai Buddhist Amulets: Monk, Buddha, Phallus figures and Tiger Teeth

I’ve been testing eBay for many years now…  I’ve dabbled in selling creatine powder in bulk, fat burner tablets and other things that sold well for a time before the whole world decided to get on eBay. I think eBay is not what it was, the competition has become FIERCE. It’s a perfect example of a market economy – supply and demand. It’s pretty cut throat. You could be selling your trinket online and making a fat profit and then the next week someone comes online selling the same thing, with free bonuses and they undercut you by selling below YOUR cost and you’re SOL (shite out of luck).

My brother and I did really well with the supplements idea for a few weeks. We gave it up as too much work processing the payments and boxing up the items, but it was something that we could have made a go of had we the desire. We both had full-time jobs and the extra work was stressing us out.  I think during one auction we made (cleared) $400 USD. In just 11 days we had around $1600 usd clear from the auctions.

That’s a lot of fat burners being packaged up though.  Just wasn’t worth it to us.

Now however, that would be WORTH IT!  Sometimes I check out eBay to see what from Thailand is selling consistently and at a decent mark up.

I can’t find ANYTHING.  When I first arrived 2.4 years ago I put some Buddhist amulets up online and sold 5 for $130 clear which wasn’t so bad. BUT, I spent a lot on the other ads for amulets – that didn’t sell. I still cleared over $100 including costs to buy the amulets in Chong Mek near Laos, but overall just not worth it.

Yesterday I came across a guy that had a huge collection of original Buddhist Buddhas, Monks, Elephants, and other amulets at his little stand downtown. He had prices clearly marked on the glass boxes that he displayed them in. One box was 70 baht per amulet. Another was 100. Another was 150. The necklaces ranged from 30 baht to 200 baht. He had ample amounts of gold plated cases, old antique silver cases and lots of brass, gold, rock, ceramic, bone and wooden amulets.

The guy had it all.  I thought, man, there must be a way to market this on EBay and make some cash. (Update: My wife started a small Thai amulet site selling Buddhist and Buddha amulets online and with payment option through Paypal.com.

I just fired up EBay and looked. There are some amulets selling but it’s not “gangbusters”. The only thing that might be worth it in the short term is to buy the guy’s entire collection – or a good portion for 30,000 baht ($750 usd) and offer it on eBay for $1500 or something.  There would be hundreds of amulets, chains, etc.  Someone could start a whole online store with that or even an antique store on a street in New York City with that.  But, that’s about the only way it would work on eBay unless one were in it for the long-term.  I know there are people looking for these kinds of instant start-up businesses where they can purchase whole inventories of things to sell – because 5 years ago I was looking for just that. If I would have seen an ad for a couple hundred Buddhist amulets for sale for $1500 I would have had my bid in immediately.

Last night as I looked for linen for the bed in this mansion (apartment) I found a store that sells the Thai cushions for a good price. You know the triangle almost pyramid cushions that have fold out cushions attached and actually form a bed if you unravel it all? The lady had one of these for 1200 baht. That’s only $30 something usd. In the US I’ve seen these for $117 in a Miami store that sold products from India and Thailand.  If I got them for 700 baht each and shipped a whole container of them, then that might work.

I love to try different online ventures and see if they make $. I’ve built web sites in the past that were profitable and then sold them when I became bored. You may have read one of my other blog posts in which I mentioned that I have ADD – attention deficit disorder. I skip from one thing to the next, never dedicating 100% energy in any one place.  So, online business ventures are perfect… play around a bit, see if I can make some cash… move on.

One thing that sells consistently on eBay from Thailand is TIGER TEETH. Not sure why except that some witches in the states or some Cubans that believe in “Sante Ria” are probably using them for their magical voodoo concoctions. Bones and teeth sell well. I’m not sure that it’s legal though to sell tiger teeth.  A guy named “Ben” in Bangkok that did the endangered species in east Asia book would know, but I can’t remember his last name. I met him in Ubon once through a mutual friend. Great book if you can figure out what the hell I’m talking about…

Oh, and the phallus things.  There are wooden, bronze, tin, pewter, silver, bone, teeth and everything else that looks like a big penis that antique places here have and that sell readily on eBay. I guess I could dedicate a small part of the site to phallus like objects for sale from Thailand…

I’m not so sure I want to sell penis things though. I’m not sure I want to be seen in this relatively small Thai town buying hordes of penis things either. Imagine that, I become known as the farang who buys whatever penis thing you’re selling. I can hear them talking…

“Farang hum ma loeiiii”  – penis foreigner coming, they’d be saying as I approached.  Not so cool. Thai people love to gossip – just give them a reason.

All my life I’ve lived believing that “too much penis in a room is no good.”  I’d better not fill my small apartment with penis amulets…

I’d just better steer clear of this idea…

Anyone have any good ideas for eBay that you are either doing or trying or have been successful with in the past?  I’ve sold many notebook computers and digital video and still cameras on eBay and I love it as a way to market ANYTHING I want to sell.  Being in Thailand there must be things that we can put on the market, but so far I’ve not found a real consistent moneymaker.  Thai Buddhist amulets like monks and Buddha might be OK for long-term, but short-term I think I just don’t have the patience.

GEMS from Chantaburi or Kanchanaburi or somewhere like that – sell VERY well. Unfortunately I don’t know a damn thing about gems. If you do, you need to get into that eBay business because they consistently sell VERY well.  If you don’t know anything about eBay then you’d need to partner up with someone that does. Me for instance.  If I knew about gemstones I’d be in that eBay market already for 5 years as I saw back then that they were selling so well.

Anyone have any other ideas for viable products to sell on eBay from Thailand?

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.