Closeout and US Government Auctions

Before buying closeout and surplus merchandise or participating in online wholesale auctions, please take the time to re-read the section on this type of merchandise in The Complete eBay Marketing System or The Wholesale Buying System.

Here are links to several closeout auctions on the web and the three largest US Government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise. If you are interested in learning about US Government auctions, please read our Government Auction Guide.

The categories available from closeout auction on the web include toys and games, tools, clothing & accessories, computers and peripherals, consumer electronics, office supplies and equipment and general merchandise. Typical lots can sell for anywhere from $500 up to $10,000. The average of items eBay users would buy are in the $500 – $2,000 range. That may sound like a lot of money, but these are lots that you can easily double or triple your investment if you buy right.

One caution, always check the shipping cost before bidding. I once bought a pallet of goods for $700 and the shipping ended up costing me over $800. Had I arranged the shipping myself, I would have paid less than $300.

The US Customs and Border Protection Group holds regular auctions for merchandise, vehicles, boats and jewelry -all of it seized goods from smugglers. They run both live and online auctions on a regular basis.

Global Liquidators is a surplus liquidator of clothing for department stores

If you are near, or traveling through Chicago, The Merchandise Center is located just minutes from O’Hare International Airport. It contains dozens of wholesale liquidation dealers all in one spot.

Countryside Closeouts is a business-to-business firm specializing in low-cost, high return retail products to dollar stores; eBay stores; convenience stores; thrift centers; discount stores; discount furniture stores; hardware stores and other businesses interested in selling quality products bought at aggressive, below wholesale prices.

International Dropship and Wholesale Corp. offers a wide selection of good quality surplus merchandise and they have a drop ship program for heavy items.

Mid America Liquidators is the official liquidation source for Costco. They primarily sell furniture, but they also get pallets of electronics, footwear, and other household items. There are no prices on the web site. You have to call them to set up an account. is a central source for closeout dealers. Over 100 closeout dealers are listed by product category.

Madison Avenue Closeouts specializes in name brand and designer labels of men’s and women’s fashions. For example, they recently had a lot of 10 Alfani men’s sport coats for $290 ($29 each) and Jones New York Ladies suits for under $27 each. The Alfani coats retail for $250.00 and the Jones NY suits usually go for over $300 retail. They often have lots by Liz Clairborne, Polo, Nautica, DKNY and so on. One word of caution. Madison Avenue sells two types of goods: Department store surplus and name brand catalog merchandise. They do not allow you to sell the name-brand catalog items on eBay, but many eBay sellers do this anyway. Just don’t tell them you are doing so.