Tony Lama 'royal hornback caiman' cowboy boots, $10.

Something I've noticed about boots is that the ones made from exotic animal skins - like alligator, crocodile, lizard, ostrich, caiman, python and elephant - generally sell at a premium to those boots made from the skin of regular ol' barnyard animals. Keep this fact in mind.

The boots in this entry are on the upper end of the Tony Lama boot line, and you can buy them brand new online for about the week's pay of the average American worker. It's always a good idea to do a bit of research about what stuff costs to buy new, because it's this data that your eBay buyers will often be looking at as they decide on how much to bid on what you're selling.

In the Gallery entry about the Tony Lama cow leather wingtip boots, I talk about how regular cow leather boots are your 'sweet spot' when it comes to cowboy boots. Now that you're here at this entry, I'd like to refine that a bit and talk about the 'sweet spot' you have when it comes to the more exotic skins you're going to see. Again, this is no hard and fast rule, but it's something to keep in mind.

From what I've seen, the gnarlier and lumpier the skin of the animal used to make the boot, the more the boot usually costs to make. Gator, crocodile and caiman boots generally do well on eBay, but it's the boots that are made from the more raised and pronounced parts of the animal's skin (the 'scutes,' as they're called) that will generally cost substantially more than their less textured counterparts. This may be because gnarly, lumpy skin is harder for the bootmaker to work with, or maybe because there's only a small amount of this choice skin on each animal. But if you do a bit of research, as I hope you will, I bet you'll come to this same conclusion.

Something very important to mention here is that although the boots in our example here have been used, all the leather above the soles is in really great shape. Look, you can take any pair of boots to a shoe repair store and have them re-soled in perfect, beautiful new soles for almost nothing. The soles aren't where the money is! On exotic skin boots like these, the money is in the skin and the workmanship that lies above the sole. So I say, go ahead and buy that perfect pair of crocodile boots with the worn out soles, and then have them re-soled, or let the buyer do it. Either way, as long as the 'crocodile' part is in great shape, you're very likely in for a nice profit.

Never forget that there are lots of people searching eBay for items just like these expensive caiman skin cowboy boots, hoping they can get a better deal than buying new. Thankfully, I was able to help out one appreciative buyer! This pair of Tony Lama royal hornback caiman boots sold on eBay for $250.

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