This guest post came through our Article Submission Program. Thoughts and opinions are those of the author.
Hi everybody, my name is Karmy and I’m back for part 2 to my article. If you haven’t checked out my first article yet, which is titled “Flipping low dollar cards on eBay”. Be sure to go and look at that article first before reading any further on this one.
I currently sell more wrestling card singles than anybody else on eBay.
Wrestling cards are unlike other sports cards. I know a lot of people consider cards that were printed in 1987-1993, the junk era. But wrestling cards are a totally different story. Wrestling cards from those years were not mass-produced and are harder to find. Take, for example, the first pack of cards I ever opened was the 1990 WWF Classic. You can look on eBay for a box of that and you won’t find very many. I still remember paying 50 cents per pack. There were 36 packs in a box so $18 for a box back in 1990. You would be lucky to find a box of 1990 WWF Classic for that price today. These boxes currently sell anywhere from $40-$50 on eBay.
2020 will be my 30th year overall with sports and gaming cards. At one point in 2012, I had about 2.5 million cards in baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, benchwarmers, vintage baseball(1972 and older), vintage football, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering and Yugioh. I’ve had over 25,000 sales transactions since I started selling on eBay in 2012. I will continue where I left off from the previous article with some tips on what you need to do on eBay.
12. A lot of shelves will be needed for all your cards. Don’t get the cheap plastic shelves. These will break over time. Just like organizing your cards, the shelves need to be organized. Have the shelves organized by sport, brand, set and year. Example, if you have a 5 tier shelf. Top shelf has baseball cards from 2010 Topps, the next shelf on bottom will be 2011 Topps. Keep doing this until you get to the bottom shelf with 2014 Topps cards. Depending on how big the shelves are, most 4 tier shelves can hold anywhere from 40,000-77,000 cards depending on what type of card storage boxes you use.
13. You’re going to need a lot of large card boxes to store your cards and put them on the shelf. They come in 1600 count, 3200, 5000, and card houses that hold 9600. You’ll need to decide which box size is best for you. Try using all 4 and then decide which are better. I only use 1600 and 3200 count boxes because they are much easier to move around when needed and they fit on the shelves much better than the other box sizes, but that’s just me. I usually don’t bother with single row boxes unless I’m bringing cards with me when I’m going somewhere. Some people like to use the 9 pocket pages but most card sellers never use these as these cost too much money to purchase and it doesn’t hold very many cards.
14. Do not take out a loan to buy any equipment or cards. The interest rates will kill all your profits. Only use money that is yours. If you don’t have enough money to buy a collection, then you need to turn down the deal and walk away. There will be plenty of opportunities to buy cards in the future. If you don’t have enough money for certain equipment or shelves, then start saving up for it.
15. You’ll need to learn how to tell a fake card from a real card. Just because 2 of the same card has slightly different colors doesn’t mean one is fake. Most card sellers use a magnifying lens to see the dot pattern on a card. I’m actually able to see the dot pattern without a lens, but if your eyes aren’t as good, then do get yourself some magnifying lens. Fake cards are usually high dollar cards. People don’t make fake common cards. Most of the time, you can tell a card is fake due to the quality of the picture. A fake card will usually have a more fuzzy and not so clear picture. I have attached 2 pictures here where the grey is a little different. The card on the left, the grey on top is a little lighter than the one on the right. A common mistake many new or uneducated collectors do is look at this and think one is real and the other is fake, but that isn’t the case. Both cards are real. The same rule applies to gaming cards such as Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Yugioh.
What I found easiest for me is I get a common card from the same set and compare it with the card in question. I have here a 1969 Topps Mickey Mantle and I compare the picture quality with a common card from that set. The picture quality should match as it does here. Both cards are real. If it’s not a match, then it is fake. For gaming cards, you can always look at the back of the card which is mostly the same in every set. Fakes show up in gaming cards at a much higher rate than sports cards.
16. I know a lot of people would rather sell high dollar cards. High dollar cards of $100 or more are hard to come by at good prices. Even if you do come across a high dollar card like that, they are harder to sell. One of the biggest dangers with high dollar cards is your card could be targeted by a scammer/robber. It doesn’t matter if you are selling online or meeting someone in person. A scammer/robber will look to steal your card by any means necessary. If you’re selling it on eBay, they could claim that you sent them an empty envelope with nothing in it or they do a chargeback on their credit card as unauthorized. When selling it to somebody in person, he could try to steal the card from you when your not looking, trick you, or take a gun out and take it from you. Theft is unavoidable in the card business. When you become a card seller, this will happen to you sooner or later.
17. Have a good connection with several other card sellers. You’ll need to attend card shows and establish a great business relationship with some of these card sellers. You will need to keep in mind that not everybody is a good connection to have. Talk to everybody at the show and see if you can establish a business relationship with a few of them. If there are sellers from a different state, they could be more helpful to you than those that are in your state.
18. Some people like to make a database to keep track of what they have in stock. This will be all up to you if you choose to have a database. I don’t use a database as this will add a lot more work. My inventory changes every week so it would mean I have to update my database every week. Keeping a database will double the amount of work for you.
19. Your gonna need to be able to type fast and spell words accurately. There is software that can teach you to type. The last time I checked, I was at 117 words per minute back in 2003. You don’t need to be as fast as me, just fast enough.
20. Don’t open hobby boxes to get cards. This is a gamble and I’d say 90% of the time, you lose money. When you open a box of cards and list everything you pulled, you will sell approximately 25% of those cards. The best way to get cards is to buy people’s large collections and piece it out. If you must open boxes to get the newer cards to sell, then I suggest opening retail boxes. When a new wrestling set comes out, I open about 3-4 retail or blaster boxes the first week the set comes out, or I buy complete master sets. When the box price comes down after 6-12 months, then I get a case or 2. Because these are retail, it’s harder to get autographs. I don’t care about the autos and concentrate on getting more cards for less money. A retail box usually has the same number of cards as a hobby box. If you are good at math, then you can calculate if a retail box can make you money or not. I usually pay around $10-$15 for a retail box. If a box has 24 packs and 7 cards per pack. That gives you 168 cards total. About 25% of them will sell which is 42 cards. You sell those 42 cards for about $60, half of that money goes towards fees and the cost of the box which leaves you with $30 profit from each box. The cost of the box is $15 plus $9 in eBay and Paypal Final Value Fees, plus eBay store or insertion fee. If you pull a relic or auto in that retail box, it just makes your profit that much sweeter. The hobby box at $70 however will usually give you 164 cards due to the relic card being thick. You sell the relic for let’s say $5 for a minor star and the auto for $10 if it’s a player that not many people care about. Add that $60 and you have $75 in cards on that $70 box. After fees, you lost about $30 on that box. That 25% selling rate could go up to 40% or down to 20% on certain sets. Even with it going down, I would still have room to make a profit. This tip would only apply to sets that came out during the last 4 years. For older sets that aren’t considered vintage, it can go down to about 15% or less..
I have pulled big hits out of retail and blaster boxes. The biggest hit I’ve pulled from blaster boxes is the Asuka kiss auto card which I sold for $175. From retail boxes, I pulled a 1/1 red auto of Afa which I sold for $60. What do I do with the cards that I can’t sell? If I have a lot of doubles of a card that doesn’t sell. I will include some of them in orders that are over $10 or something like that.
21. A lot of packages end up never being delivered due to poor packaging. If you print any shipping labels with a regular printer instead of a thermal printer. You need to make sure that the label is properly taped on with clear packing tape. Don’t use scotch tape, it’s not strong enough. Use the packing tape and cover the address to protect it. If the label smears when it gets wet from rain, it’s not being delivered because the mail carrier can’t read the address. It can’t be returned to you because your return address is smeared too.
Some good practices when selling on eBay.
1. The most important thing about eBay. You can’t use somebody else’s picture or description in your listing. This can get you in legal trouble if you come across the wrong person. The person that you stole the picture from can file a VERO claim with eBay which can result in your account being suspended, or terminated. It doesn’t end there for some, this person can sue you for copyright infringement. Don’t risk it happening to you. Use your own images.
2. Being top rated is something that a lot of eBay sellers look at and think that this is something you need to have in order to be successful. That isn’t the case for everybody. For me, I fell into that trap and shipped everything with tracking to get that top-rated discount. But sales were very bad when I did that with low dollar cards. When I didn’t worry about being top-rated and shipped a majority of my cards in a PWE with no tracking, my sales went up 8x in one day. I do come across a person (about 1 in every 1,000 shipments) that say they didn’t get the card. With that ratio, it wasn’t much of a loss when I refund that person his money. I do keep track of all of the people that do this so if it happens a 2nd time, they get blocked. If it’s somebody that has purchased many cards from me and has been mostly good. Then I give them the benefit of the doubt and not block them. Which would you want more? More sales or a 10% discount on your eBay fees? In my case back in 2012, I would’ve only saved $10 in eBay fees as top-rated with sales at $100, but my sales went up to $800 when I stopped worrying about that top-rated discount.
3. If you are only selling one card, then you should only have a picture of 1 card and not multiple cards. Customers almost never read the description and will claim the picture to be misleading, making them think they are getting everything pictured.
4. If you are listing cards at $1 each, then the best offer is something that will not work. Per eBay rules, a minimum for a Buy it Now is 99 cents with free shipping. The only offer that a buyer can send to a $1 listing is 99 cents. Buyers won’t be able to send any offer less than that.
5. If you are selling a card lot, know that you won’t get the full value of those cards. An example, if you have 100 Peyton Manning cards that could sell for $1 each, don’t expect to sell the 100 card lot for $100. You won’t get anywhere close to that $100. Lots like these sell for 70%-90% less when sold as a lot as opposed to selling the cards individually.
6. When you sell a high dollar card or multiple cards for big money to one person, you need to ship the card with tracking. If it’s over $750, then you need signature confirmation. Depending on how high a price the card sells for, you will need to consider if you want to add insurance. If the card gets lost or stolen, the insurance will cover the card and you still have your money. The way I do it is when an order is over $10, I ship with tracking. If it’s over $100, I add insurance.
7. You will need to have an eBay store. Decide which store size is best for you. There are currently 5 different eBay stores. With Starter(100 Buy it Now listings), Basic (250 listings), Premium (1,000), Anchor (10,000), and Enterprise (100,000). Make sure that your selling limit is high enough for the store that you want. If you signed up for the Anchor store but only have a selling limit of 250. That’s not going to work. If you do want to be like me and sell mostly low dollar cards, then the Anchor store is the minimum needed here. The listing fees go down significantly when you get to Anchor. A lot of times, that lower insertion fee is enough to help turn a good profit consistently each month. It also means that you’re going to need a minimum of 7500 different listings.
8. One of the things that got me success is to do things differently than everybody else. Everybody concentrates on selling high dollar cards while I do the opposite with low dollar cards. Everybody is ripping hobby boxes to get the autographs, while I open retail and I don’t care about the hits. That’s just a few things that I do differently. Because I’ve been a buyer on eBay for so many years, I’ve noticed how hard it is to look for a card from the regular Topps set. With that being said, I made sure that I made it easier for my customers to find cards in my eBay store by only using the word Topps for the regular Topps set. For example, instead of putting in the title 2019 Topps Heritage, I use the title 2019 Heritage. It can be very frustrating for a customer to search thousands of listings but is unable to find the Topps card that he is looking for. Yes, it could hurt you in search but those that can find your listing will be more than happy with your effort in making things easier to find.
9. Look at your listing description from time to time and see if you need to make changes to them. If you make each listing description exactly the same with all your listings, you can do a bulk edit with find and replace. Otherwise, you’ll need to go in there and change each listing one by one. If you have thousands of listings like myself, that’s going to take a lot of time.
10. There is always a way to improve your sales. This is a selling tactic that your gonna need to learn on your own. Every card seller started at the bottom and worked his way up. If you want to be one of those people that worked his way up. Then you’ll need to always aim higher. It’s good to keep a record of what you did each month and year. I challenge myself to beat my sales from the previous year. Having that mentality to do better than what you did the previous year and doing something about it will help you get there. If you don’t do the work, it won’t happen. Just like in sports, nothing is given to you, everything is earned. 2019 was my 4th year in a row where my sales have increased from the previous year. This tells me I’m doing something right.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If there is something you would like me to answer or cover in the future, you can leave a comment. Maybe I can make youtube videos to cover what I’ve discussed? If there are enough people interested, I might do this. My eBay usernames are karmy2005 and karmy2018.
Great article Karmy! Do you do anything additional to sell sports cards or non-sports cards on eBay? Do you have any additional tips for inexperienced sellers within this community? Tell us in the Comments below
Ready to take your sports card investing to the next level? Join my Membership Program now for card picks, analytics, premium community access and much more!