The Numbers: May 8-14, 2022

I had the opposite experience as many of you with a really busy week of sales. It is a good time to be selling sports cards as two leagues (NHL & NBA) are in playoffs and baseball season is in full swing. But I was busy across the board, even sold a few items in other categories even though the cards have become the vast majority of my listings. I think my good week was the combination of three factors.

1. This was my second full week of using promoted listings after trying it because of the promotion on fees that eBay offered at the end of April.

2. I created two markdown sales this week on Sunday and Monday and adjusted the offer prices I’d accept lower as well. So that led to some items moving just from a reduction in price. But sometimes that’s worth it.

3. I listed almost 50 items on Thursday and Friday when I usually create 3 to 5 new listings a day.

Every day from Wednesday to Saturday was really consistent sales for me. I have noticed a trend over the last month or two where early in the week (Sundays, Mondays, sometimes in Tuesday and Wednesday) there is less activity in general. Less sales, less offers.

I hope my busy sales continue this week. Maybe I will create another markdown sale this week. But I think there is a point of diminishing returns with markdowns, offers, and all the other selling tools. Sometimes you just have to list…and wait.

5/8/2022 – 5/14/2022

Total items in store: 2144 (up from 2096)

Items sold: 50 (35 via best offer, 7 via seller initiated offer)

Gross sales: $2912.68 (up 63% from one year ago)

Net sales: $1986.71 (up 64% from one year ago)

Quantity sold: 50 (up 16% from one year ago)

Average sales price: $58.25 (up 40% from one year ago)

Highest price sold (net): $170.13 — Christian Yelich 2013 black refractor rookie card ##/99 BGS 8.5

Christian Yelich was the star player as the Milwaukee Brewers rose in the standings, and this type of card (a numbered rookie refractor from a quality set) would have regularly sold for $500 and maybe higher when he was winning MVP awards in 2018 and 2019. Similar quality autographed Yelich rookie cards would have regularly sold for $1000 or more, and the rarest ones (serial numbers to 10 or less) could fetch $5000 and up.

But he’s had a tough go of things the last couple years, so his card prices dropped across the board. This is usually how I acquire my individual card inventory which sell for $100 and up. I buy it at $30 or $50 or $80 and wait for the right time to sell and the right buyer. I am sure there are ways to buy large lots and find these bargains that way. But Terapeak makes it easy to gauge the ups and downs of individual prices, and I find that research process really interesting and more lucrative.

This buyer was located in Milwaukee, so most likely a collector and fan of the Brewers. But the interesting thing with modern cards is that if Yelich resumes his star performance, the buyer can easily resell and make a nice profit. Cards being sold and resold, and browsing eBay to find the best deals or new listings for the player or set you collect, is such a part of the modern card world. There is a lot of logic behind what gets bought and sold, and for what prices, even with expensive cards like this.

But I think that a lot of card sellers get stuck on the possibility of what something could be worth in a few months or years, and hold on to individual cards too long. Or they just priced them too high to begin with. I’m sure for the collectors of a particular player or team, there’s an emotional element to how they value the individual cards and sets. Very different from me, where it’s all about Terapeak sales and my own knowledge of trends with pricing, individual cards and sets and, to a lesser extent, the players.

Lowest price sold (net): negative $20 — Max Meyer Panini Prizm autograph ##/50

As you can see from the listing, the card pictured does not match the title. I didn’t realize this until the item had been delivered and the buyer sent me a message. I sent them the card in the title, not the picture.

I haven’t made a mistake like this in over a year, but these types of mistakes are fairly common in the card world. Something is priced far too low and gets purchased in seconds. A picture is wrong or really sloppy. I get many of my buying deals from good timing, but some others the seller just makes a mistake. Many small time sellers will refund the buyer and cancel if an auction ends particularly low. I had that happen this week. The seller valued the extra $50 more than keeping their word and completing the sale. It’s annoying, but I remember what those days were like.

This is also a niche where tons of huge consignment sellers who list 5000+ auctions every week. Many of them make errors in their listings here and there. It’s inevitable at that kind of scale. So there are always more good deals to be found.

I’m somewhere between small and large seller, but I like to resolve problems fast. So I told my buyer they could keep the wrong card I sent them, and I’d send them the correct one first thing on Monday. I’m out a few bucks for the cost of what I paid for each card, a few bucks for shipping two packages, a few bucks for eBay fees and whatever profit I would have made on either card. But the buyer gets a freebie, so even with the extra wait time they’re happy.

In my earlier eBay days, I used to get upset at myself for making this kind of mistake. But it is truly just a part of selling on eBay. It happens to everyone. Returns, weird buyers, mistakes — they all happen to every seller once in a while.

I am really grateful to be in a position where I can lose $20 to avoid a potential headache. There’s really not a price you can put on being able to move on with your day and not beat yourself up or obsess over a problem which doesn’t have a perfect solution.

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