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Buying on eBay and Timing

Posted by houstoncollector on September 29, 2009

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I can come to no other conclusion than this: Buying singles of a product right after it launches is tantamount to insanity. At launch, it’s very much a seller’s market, where you can sell even the most mediocre cards for huge values, both because there’s not a lot of volume on eBay, and also because Beckett hasn’t priced it. As time goes on, the prices on most singles (not counting the higher end items) will continue to drop until you can get even short-numbered inserts, rookies, and autographs for a couple of dollars or so.

Here’s a few examples, to drive this point home.

2009 Topps Chrome Matt Stafford Refractor: Sold for $15.50 + shipping.
2009 Topps Chrome Mark Sanchez Xfractor: Sold for $40.99 + shipping.
2009 Topps Chrome Mark Sanchez RC:  Sold for $16.39 + shipping.

So let’s compare these to 2008 Topps Chrome Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco cards, obviously the best QBs of last year’s draft.

2008 Topps Chrome Matt Ryan RC:  Sold for $2.28 + shipping
2008 Topps Chrome Matt Ryan Xfractor:  Sold for $12.50 + shipping.
2008 Topps Chrome Joe Flacco Refractor: Sold for $5.59 + shipping.

Want more?  How about 2009 Upper Deck Ballpark vs. 2008 Upper Deck Ballpark.

2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection 6-Swatch /25 (Tim Lincecum, Ozzie Smith, Ken Griffey, Jr, Josh Beckett, Reggie Jackson and Randy Johnson).  All swatches are single-color, featuring 2 HOF players, and 2 probable future HOF players, and one current huge star.  Sold for $89 + shipping.
2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection 8-Swatch Not-Numbered (Ken Griffey, Jr, Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixiera, Vladimir Guerrero, Cal Ripken, Jr, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz).   All swatches single color, including 2 bat pieces, one HOF player, 2 definite future HOFers and possibly up to three more, depending.  Sold for $40 + shipping.

So why do we do it?  Why are eBay buyers such suckers for brand new products?  Is it because they’re brand new, is it as P.T. Barnum once said, that there’s a sucker born every minute?  Is it that our attention span is so short that we only really care about it when it’s brand new and shiny?  I don’t know.  The only thing I do know is that as a seller ,I want to sell as soon as the product comes out, and as a collector, I want to buy when it’s as cheap as possible.

Anyone else have any ideas?


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