Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I recently stumbled into a discussion about the prices some sellers are putting on their cards when they place them up on the ebay auction block.

Some people feel discouraged that a card (or cards) they are interested in are placed up for bids with an unrealistic number attached to them (be it a 'Buy It Now' option or a seller's accepting price on a 'Best Offer').

Some feel that the seller is essentially holding the card 'hostage' as he is aware that there are people definitely interested in his item.

To me, it's quite simple...

If you own a card and are looking to sell it, YOU have the right to price it whatever YOU want it to be.

If you feel like pricing it at what most people would consider unrealistic - so be it. If you won't accept anything less than a certain amount - so be it. If you refuse to barter - so be it.

It's your card.

'Fair Market Value' can be a subjective term (especially with the higher end cards and those that are scarce). I might think it's 'worth' $200 while you might feel that $400 is on the low end. Neither one of us is wrong in my opinion. It's perspective.

And if you aren't willing to look at the other person's perspective, you're going to have a tougher time buying cards.

Book values have always been a guide - that's it. End of discussion. BV's are nothing more than opinions. If you want to follow the 'book' to the letter, so be it. But realize that not everybody does. And that doesn't always mean lower prices.

Past auction results help, but again that can change drastically from one item to the next. If a card is new to the market, it might go for more than say a couple months down the road.

Comparing one item to another that is similar is something that in my opinion should be done with even more caution. At times, that's like comparing apples to oranges.

At the end of the day, if there's a card out there that you want...you need to be willing to pay the price the seller is looking for. Simple as that.

If you aren't willing to pay that price, then the question becomes - how patient are you? Unfortunately, those who complain about prices have very little patience in my opinion.

What are your thoughts when you see a card you'd like but the asking price is 'ridiculous'?


  1. Great post... and I think you're right. I'm currently in the market for a Kurt Suzuki bobble head. I've been hunting one of these down for almost a year and I can't find one at a reasonable price.

    Every time these pop up on eBay... seller's list these (IMO) crazy prices... like $60+, when they sell for $30 to $35.

    However... it's their bobblehead. They can price it at $1000. It doesn't mean someone's going to buy it.

    In my mind... these sellers fall into one of four categories:

    A. They're hoping someone doesn't do their research and buys it.

    B. They have too much invested in the item to let it go for less.

    C. They haven't researched the item and checked to see what other sell for.

    D. They use eBay like others use photobucket... to show off their possessions.

    But once again... it's their item and they can do whatever they want to with it.

  2. I agree with your four categories Fuji.

    In my opinion, there's also a fifth...

    E. They know that there are people out there who would love to own the item, so the seller is pricing it higher in hopes of getting that inflated price.

    That's the one I think gets people's feathers in a knot.

  3. With fees for listings, final values, and monthly subscriptions like they are, I don't think "D" is really an option anymore but the rest I agree with. I have had a hard time on there with my Garage Project because cards that should, at least in my mind, be anywhere from $10-20 only get bids for a buck or two. It's just the nature of the beast.

  4. Being a serious hockey card collector (I have close to 100,000 cards in my collection), I always get a good laugh when I see someone listing any of the following:

    1. A [truly] worthless single Pro-Set card of a no-name for $.99 (or more)...with $3 shipping (or more)...

    2. Whole lots of Junk Wax Era cards for $20 bucks...

    3. The term "Rare" associated with any Pro-Set or Junk Wax Era card(s)...

    I sell a lot of hockey cards on eBay and, for the most part, start everything for $.99 or $1.99. I figure the market will determine how much it will go for. I have sold way too many cards for $.99 that "book" for WAY more. I have also purchased many items in the same fashion. I like to consider eBay to be kinda like a garage sale for most stuff, people come there looking for a steal or a deal. Generally I find that many items sell for roughly 10-20% of the "book" value (at least the stuff I unload which is not high end stuff).

  5. Seeing those things give me a good chuckle as well. That said, it's their stuff and they can price it what they want.

    As a buyer, it's your job to 'do your homework'. If you end up buying a junk wax single for a buck with $3 shipping, then you really have no beef when you realize down the road that you could've essentially have had that card for a lot less.

    To each his own.