The Numbers: January 30-February 5, 2022

The Numbers: January 30-February 5, 2022

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Therehave been a lot of great conversations and info here lately, and it is helping my productivity. I listed about 20 more items last week than usual. I created at least 3 new listings every day (thanks to inspiration from posts by @retro-treasures-wv and @millionairedojo among others) and it didn’t feel like much, if any, extra time. I have hundreds, if not thousands of good, quality items to list, so it’s nice to see a small improvement in my process. Maybe this can become my new normal level of listing.

With that said, the Northeast is going to see some warmer weather this week and weekend. It’s been a cold winter, so mid-50s is going to feel like summer, and one of the best things about this life is the flexibility to take the time when I want it. No need to ask a boss. No guilt. Things will even sell while I am enjoying the weather and the time. It’s the best perk of building the pipeline.

1/30/2022 – 2/5/2022

Total items in store: 3362 (up from 3319)

Items sold: 60 (34 via best offer, 12 via seller initiated offer)

Gross sales: $3747.16 (up 33% from one year ago)

Net sales: $2754.78 (up 40% from one year ago)

Lowest price sold (net): $5.10 — Jean-Guy Gendron 1972 Year In Hockey autograph

I have all of my listed inventory on plastic shelving units and bookcases in one bedroom of my apartment, but I’m at that point in my eBay life with 3000+ items where all the extra stuff that’s needed to sell full-time — shipping supplies, death piles, inventory I’m not sure quite what to do with — has been migrating to the desk, then underneath the desk, then to the floor in front of the shelves. Every couple days I get it organized and then it gets messy again. Around the start of this year, I decided I needed to do something before I lived the scavenger’s nightmare and got swallowed up by my stuff.

One of the ways I decided to solve the problem, for now, was by getting more selective about what I would list, and much more aggressive about slashing prices on $15 and under inventory. This has led to a few $7 sales like this autographed card of a hockey player from the 1970s.

Most modern card sets feature current players and teams, but there are a few in each sport every year where the cards span players from throughout the years. I like these kinds of sets since they often sell quickly as long as it’s a decent player and the card has some rarity with a good serial number. This card didn’t have either of those factors, so it sat in my store for at least two years before it was finally purchased.

Ironically, the card traveled just a few towns away to its forever home. I must have spent something like $2 on this card three years ago. I built my store inventory on these $2 purchases to $7 sales. You need a lot of them to actually make money, though.

Highest price sold (net): $508.71 — Joe Burrow rookie card #10/10 graded 8.5

This is an amazing sale for me. I’m sure it’s in my top 5 highest sales all-time. I bought this card for $125 before the season. Prices usually drop when a sport is not in season, but that was a lucky auction win even then. Not one I really expected to win, but that’s how the card buying game goes sometimes. There are so many new sets and cards and auctions that it’s impossible for every card to sell for the “best” price every time.

The card did not receive a perfect grade, but the value in the card is in the type of set Panini Spectra (a thick, colorful and popular high-quality set), the rarity of the serial number #10/10 and the player on the card, Joe Burrow, who was the #1 draft pick quarterback a few years ago. He had a lot of growing pains his first two seasons, in fact his team was pretty terrible, but this year he and his team the Cincinnati Bengals have had a magical run in the playoffs. This card sold within about two minutes of the end of the last game they won which qualified them for the upcoming Super Bowl. In hindsight, I could have raised the price $200 and it still would have sold.

You are probably reading this thinking it’s nuts to spend $600 on a football card. And it’s not even autographed! But so many of the buyers and sellers of expensive cards use money in a different way than scavengers do. Cards are another asset that can go up or down based on a ton of different factors, and in a world where expensive Tom Brady cards are worth tens and hundreds of thousands, $600 for a scarce rookie of one of the up and coming quarterbacks could prove to be a huge bargain in a year…or three years…or ten. It’s very doubtful it will be worth significantly less unless something dramatic happens to alter the modern trading card market or Burrow gets injured or retires unexpectedly, and while those things are possible, there are hundreds and hundreds of expensive Joe Burrow cards selling every day. It’s not like this is his most expensive card. In fact, this is a pretty unremarkable sale of a star player’s rookie card in the modern card world, even though it’s an amazing sale for me.

I don’t have the stomach to hold onto any of these cards for too long, or the slightest notion what the card market will look like in ten years, so I will happily take my $350 profit, reinvest some to keep the pipeline going and put the rest away…at least for now.

My favorite sales this week were cards of more obscure players: numbered rookie card of the Bengals kicker Evan McPherson for $40 (to the UK) and a 15 year old rookie card of Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth for $40. Everyone wants the top cards of quarterbacks, running backs, receivers. Who would want a kicker? But some collectors do. Everyone has their own reasons for why they love the stuff they love.

I like selling these cards most of all. It reminds me of looking through boxes of cards at the local shop as a kid. It has been interesting to see these prices rise over the last few years, with a lot more people interested in buying and selling cards than before the pandemic. I would have sold these types of obscure players cards for $10 or $20 a few years ago. Timing is a factor in these sales as well — these buyers are paying peak prices because the players are about to match up in the Super Bowl. But it’s not just the top players and rarest cards who see their prices rise, it’s everyone and every type of card as long as the card’s got some unique factor to it.

The card market isn’t at the crazy place it was in the frenzy of the early pandemic, but I have the knowledge to know what’s a good deal and what’s not, and with that knowledge comes the potential for profit. Learning how to manage the timing of when to list has been something I always struggled with. So this week was a nice ego boost along with the nice payday. Always great to see those two things align.


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