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Are eBay auction comps legit?

Last week, I spent a lot of time checking comps and repricing cards for upcoming shows. I have noticed a common difference between auctions and BIN sales.

At the end of the day, a card is only worth what someone will pay.

This article is definitely not meant to be a rant or complaint compilation. My purpose here is help vendors and sellers be a little more confident in themselves and their cards and also help buyers understand that sellers are not being unreasonable for ignoring certain comps. "How much do you think this is worth?" is a question we get a lot. We do what most of you do - go straight to eBay to check comps.

When you think about the broad spectrum of collectors across the world, you have an enormous marketplace. When you go to a show, there is a very small, infinitely small, section of that marketplace. I have a Lebron James Bowman Rookie PSA 8. I was just at the Midwest Monster show in Indiana - a fairly large show, and I really only had two people inquire about that card. On eBay, there have been six sales of this card In the last week. How many people worldwide are interested in this card? Hundreds? Thousands?

A Buy It Now listing is there for the world to see for as long as it takes to sell. Mine has been up on eBay for about a month and has 57 views and 5 watchers. That seems pretty low to me, but it is what it is. There are a lot bigger fish out there with this card available for sale. I am sure many have them in their showcases without putting them on eBay. There are 1,161 PSA 8s of this Lebron Rookie. There are 38 listed on eBay. 34 are fixed listings ranging from $280-$1600. 4 are on auction. Before we even talk about the nuts and bolts of an auction, should those 4 auctions set the market for the other 1,157, no matter what?

There are so many variables. Look at these auction results. One was from Probstein and one was from pc_sportscards - both reputable eBay sellers. (Edit): The Probstein auction was for the Bowman Chrome version and the other was for paper, like I have. Could the fact that both of these auctions were ending on the same day be a factor as to a drop from the previous two $370 comps just days before the auction ended at $230?

Know that I am not a hater on auctions in any way - we have auctions running every single week, including right now. However, there is a right way to do auctions and a wrong way to do auctions. When they end, the comps are out there, and that has a big influence on the hobby. I am not claiming that I am the greatest eBay lister or any such notion, but I put time and effort into making sure our listings look clean and appealing. No offense to the other guy, but if you had to buy strictly off of listing, picture, and eBay experience, which would you choose?

The auction on the right ended at 3:30pm PST this past Saturday. I imagine that is not a time where most Laker collectors (or any collectors) are surfing eBay to add to their Lebron stash. Pictures matter. Titles matter. Feedback matters. Brand matters. TIMING MATTERS. A big problem with auctions is that, from what I am seeing lately, it is rare that auctioneers are going 5/5 with those concepts.

I mentioned earlier that 6 of these cards have sold in the last week. I think we can agree that Lebron has not really done anything in the last seven days to make his stock go up or down. Here were the sales:

$220 Auction (listed above)

$245 Buy It Now (Best Offer Accepted)

$321 Buy It Now

$220 Buy It Now (Best Offer Accepted)

$230 pc_sportscards Auction

In September, the sales looked like this:

$370 Buy It Now (Best Offer Accepted)

$370 Buy It Now (Best Offer Accepted)

$380 Auction

$235 Buy It Now (Best Offer Accepted)

$375 Buy It Now (Best Offer Accepted)

$290 Auction

$350 Buy It Now

$415 Buy It Now

$300 Buy It Now

$285 Buy It Now

$280 Buy It Now

$226 Auction

$222 Auction

$375 Auction

$242 Auction

$270 Buy It Now (Best Offer Accepted)

$335 Auction

In September, the average BIN sale was for $325. The average auction sale was for $295. We get to October and see an auction end at $230 and the comp swings. In my opinion, that auction, for whatever reason, sold lower than the card is truly worth. This really hurt the value of this card. I always want to price true to comps on my table at shows. I had it priced at $350 last weekend to reflect the last two comps in September. What do you think I should price my Lebron at now? Is $220 (most recent comp) really the true value?

Let me know in the comments - I would truly love to hear your thoughts!

The truth is that you get to pick the value of your card. If comps are at $100 but you like that card more than you like $100, then raise that price! The hobby is supposed to be fun for you too. When you need to sell, do some research on comps before you simply commit to matching the most recent sale.

Again, I didn't type up this article to rant, but to start a conversation that helps both the buyer and the seller. I love all of you!

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