eBay's Roll in Sports Card Investing

eBay's Roll in Sports Card Investing

Card investing and eBay has changed the card collecting market a lot since eBay first started in 1995. Suddenly the market opened up in a significant way. Collectors could find their grail card with just a few clicks of the mouse and have it delivered to their home.

How eBay Changed Baseball Card Collecting


eBay saved time and effort for collectors; you no longer had to hunt card shows every weekend to find your chase

cards, but with the convenience, there were also many other changes. Prices started to fluctuate quicker because the community could see spikes in interest in real-time.

It also changed card shows and card shops. They were no longer the only places you could go to get your favorite cards. They had to start bringing in more signings and other events to stay relevant in the industry.

There was also an influx of forgeries and low-grade cards sold to make quick money. These problems meant that buyers had to be more diligent when they were looking for their favorite cards.

Using eBay As Price Guide

Ebay Pricing

Before eBay, collectors set prices for cards using price guide books and magazines like Beckett. Using eBay as a price guide has become more popular because you can see real-time market changes.

Collectors often say that a card is only worth what someone will spend on it. eBay lets you search for sales in the market. They tell you the exact price that a card has recently sold for in an auction. These sales can give you a great idea of what the market is doing right now.

For example, Becket might list the price of a journeyman middle rotation pitcher at a conservative value. If he goes out and pitches a no-hitter, his popularity might spike, and people might start paying more for his card. eBay adjusts to this price change immediately and reflects that change.

Watch Out For Inflation

Ebay's bidding contributes to card price increases. Seeing these increases can be helpful, but they can also be misleading. In my above example, the pitcher's price would go up for a while right after the no-hitter because the hype inflated the price.

If his next start gives up six runs in three innings, the hype will die off, and the price will return to its past rate. However, if he throws a one-hitter, his card might see another bump as speculators try to jump on early.

These trends can be fun to play with, but they are dangerous for long term investing. There is so much room for a change you may find yourself buying a card much higher than you can turn around and sell it.

Card Grade

PSA Graded Cards

A card's grade will affect the price of the card immensely. The grade can be based on a ton of factors, and when you are looking for card prices, it is crucial to know the grade of your card. You have to compare the same grades to get a real price.

If the card's grade has been certified by a company, the card's price will also go up. Independent graders like Beckett Grading Service or Professional Sports Authenticator are third parties that guarantee a card's grade. They have been trusted authorities on card grades for years.

Using eBay to Locate Cards

Using eBay to locate cards is one of the best uses for the platform. You had to go on hunts for specific cards in the past, but now with a few clicks, you can buy almost any card.

Often the convenience comes at a price. Sometimes a card will sell for a little more on eBay because the seller knows that it is easier for you to find the card here. Often, when you consider what it costs to go to shows, the travel and time, the premium price isn't all that bad.

eBay can also give you an idea of how easy it is to find a card. If you search for your card and only get a few results, it indicates that it would be tough to find in a store or show. If a lot of places offer the card, it may not be as rare as you think.

How to Search for a Card

When you want to find a specific card, it helps to search for the player's name, the year of the card you want, and the company. The more information you give, the more likely you will find results for the card you want.

If you know that you want a specific player but don't know all the facts, or you want to browse a few, you can try looking for the player's name. You might get a lot of results for signed pictures and other memorabilia. Adding the term card to the player's name may help.

Is It Safe to Buy Cards on eBay?

eBay is a safe place to purchase cards. There is a wonderful community of buyers and sellers on the site that enjoy spreading the fun of the hobby. You can get a lot of great deals and see cards that are hard to find.

You do have to take some things into account to stay safe. There are ways to tell the reputation of the people you are buying from and if you can trust them.

What to Look for in a Seller

ebay Seller Feedback

eBay has been around for a long time now. Most sellers have a lot of history. Very few people have a flawless record, but it is essential to look at their sales reviews. Read the good and the bad, and see how the seller handled the problems.

If the person has little or no history, you may be a little warry. Some new sellers are just getting started, so they may still be ok. With these sellers, you want to look for realistic deals. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Final Thoughts

Card investing and eBay goes together very well. It is easy and fun to buy cards on eBay. You can find rare cards and great deals. You can enjoy a vibrant collecting community and get your favorite cards.  

Feb 10th 2021 Staff Writers

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