About Me

Monday, August 2, 2010

Anatomy of a Large Ebay Sale

And by large I mean, witht he exception of a 3000 card Ginter common sp lot, 300 or so jersey and auto graph cards.

As many of you know I was a wax busting fool in late 08 and almost all of 09. I have no regrets about the money I spent or the cards I got. I pulled quite a few cool ones, but have realized that unless you are set collecting or flipping the entire case at the time you are opening it, you end up with so many cards that you couldn't care less about and frankly aren't worth crap to you.

For example, I busted a case of 2008 Ginter. I pulled some nice cards like a Thome Rip that had a Ryan Howard Red auto, a Lisa Leslie SP relic, and some other stuff that I wanted to keep. Oh and the /15 Big Papi Box Topper auto. I paid $560 for the case and with those few cards I wanted to keep in addition to a complete 1-350 set I was happy. The downside is that I had a bunch of bat relics, which I dislike for the most part and single color jerseys, along with ian Kinsler autos. So how to sell?

I didn't want to list each card separately or have 100 packages to send out after so I cut them into, what I considered to be, natural lots. all of the autos I didn't want went into one lot, all the relics into another. So 35 cards with two lots.

As for the other cards, all of my heroes baseball and football autos I had went into lots by sport and year. So I had a lot of 2008 Heroes baseball autos and jerseys. I kept my Gwynn autos and jerseys. All of my 2008 heroes football and 2009 football jerseyes and autos went into two lots separated by year. I kept my eli manning /25, my ocho cinco patch auto /5, my Peterson plate, etc. I really slimmed down my collection.

Overall I ended up with 29 lots. Frankly some of the cards were .50 autos or jerseys to me so I didn't care what I got out of them to a point. I did sell two big cards. A lebron 2007-08 SPX STICKER auto and an Andrew Bogut Game Used Letter. Actually game used not manu. Why did I do this? Simple, I wanted to have some lots that might draw people in and then they would decide to go after some of my other lots to save on shipping.

I listed each lot at .01 with no reserve and let them go from there. If you aren't willing to do that then you either don't really want to sell the cards or the cards really aren't worth what you think they are or hope they are. All 29 lots sold for $1300 with a ton of action on the last day. I posted scans of the cards but was a bit vague on my listings because people become interested about the vagueness and then maybe think they are getting a deal from a lazy or unknowledgeable seller. It worked to a degree.

Some of the lots went for less than I thought they would but no big deal. It took my 4 hours to list 29 lots. I put multiple scans up and was pretty good on shipping. I didn't make any money on the shipping. I set all of my auctions to run 7 days, started them on sunday evening and thus they ended on sunday evening. Many people paid in the first 2 days although a week later I still have 3 people that haven't paid. I sent invoices to everyone right away.

As far as shipping goes, I got everything packed up in about 2 hours. I used 400 count card boxes, toploaders, team bags on most, wrapped them in plastic safeway bags and packing peanuts for the most part. I wanted no chance of damage in shipping. Plus I think the buyers appreciate the obvious effort I used in shipping the cards.

A few things I learned:

1. Use lots unless you have a lot of time to list and want to pay more fees and have to ship a ton more packages. Shipping is by far the most frustrating part of the selling for me.

2. Shipping. Charge enough for shipping. I spent .50 on each card box but they are easy to tape shut and don't get crushed. Shipping runs in two catagories. If its over a pound make sure you charge enough to send it priority. If its under a pound first class is cheap and fast. UPS is way too expensive for everything. If you have a heavy lot, use flat rate boxes because the non flat rate will cost you much more for a smaller box.. If the lot is over $250 make sure you get signature confirmation. If its over a pound and you didn't charge enough for priority then you have to send it Parcel Post i.e. pony express because it takes a long time.

3. Pick a day, I chose two days after the sale ended, to ship the bulk of your sales. Too soon and you have to make too many trips to the post office and too many days after and your buyers start emailing you about where their cards.

4. Don't cheap out on shipping because you think people won't buy with the shipping charge. Four cards and fewer $3-$4. 10-15 and you will need to charge 7-9 and big lots will be $14-$16 and use a flat rate priority box.

5. Set low expectations. Don't ever say anything is nr mt or mt unless it's graded. I just tell people its in good or ex mt so they wont get mad about small imperfections. IF there are major issues always note them.

6. Related to Number 5, don't oversell the card. Wow, Look, Hot just makes you look like you are 15. If it isn't a 1/1 don't mark it as a 1/1, people will think you are an idiot and are less likely to buy, at least I am. "Ebay 1/1's" are stupid.

7. Answer questions quickly

8. Understand the time committment to the venture, its a lot but if you have your choice of doing 15 lots 1 week and another 15 the next week, do all of them at the same time.

9. Keep in mind the time of the month, some people wont bid 5 days from payday but they feel rich after the 1st when they got paid.



Duane said...

now i have a formula to follow if i ever do sell anything....great write up.

gritz76 said...

This will help me when hockey season arrives!

Derek said...

I'm a recent finder of your blog and must say I really enjoy it. So thanks for that. I do have a question for you. I have thousands of early 90's cards. They aren't worth much if anything individually I'm sure. I need to pick up a beckett and see if anything I have is worth value. My question is, is there any way to make any money of a very large collection such as that?

stusigpi said...


You might have some stuff in there, but to make money you can do a couple different things. Give them to charity and take a huge tax write off or you can find dealers that buy large accumulations monster boxes at a time.

Derek said...

Thanks for the info!

Mark said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this up and share it!