Selling Your Baseball Cards on eBay
Why Wouldn't I Sell My Cards Online Myself?This is a common question that we are asked when purchasing a collection. There is one main answer to this question: Selling items on eBay is much more difficult than one would think.
It is not commonly known that most of the items sold on eBay are sold by Professional Sellers - not the individual trying to unload a few items.
Online sellers are required to invest many hours to conduct a successful eBay Auction. The seller must set up an account, purchase auction software, inventory the cards, list the cards, grade the cards, scan the cards, arrange payment options, pay commissions to eBay, collect the funds, package and mail the cards out to different places. Even then it is necessary to deal with returns and refunds for the hard to please customers. Selling on eBay is a lot of work!
Dean's Cards (and most other sellers) have a professional, trained staff to handle this process. We have found that selling on eBay has become so labor intensive and expensive, due to the ever increasing fees. We sold cards on eBay years ago, but discontinued the practice because of the huge time and expense.
There are quite a few steps to sell cards online.
Few people realize that a Card Dealer has to perform 21 steps to Buy and then Sell a Baseball Card. The steps are: 1) Read the e-mail from the Seller, 2) Qualify the Collection, 3) Respond to the Seller, 4) Receive the Collection, 5) Appraise the Cards, 6) e-mail our Offer, 7) Send the Check, 8) Sort the Cards, 9) Stuff into Plastic Sleeves, 10) Grade each Card, 11) Enter each Card into Database, 12) Scan many of the cards, 13) File them into Inventory, 14) Store Them, 15) Sell Them, 16) Fill the Order, 17) Verify the Order is Correct, 18) Process the Payment, 19) Package the Order, 20) Add Postage, and then 21) Mail the Cards. This assumes that the customer is satisfied and the order does not require any follow-up activity.
If we mess up on any one of these steps - we must go back and correct it. We have a staff of a dozen experienced employees and we still have some cards that we have bought five years ago that are not yet listed online! Our labor cost is a huge part of our expense.
There are many subtle nuisances to Selling Cards Online that are not addressed here and some skills that are required that literally take years of experience. For example, there is available literature on Card Grading, including our article on How We Grade Vintage Cards , but the simple truth is that Card Grading is a skill that takes months to learn and years to perfect. Most novices do not know what to look for and tend to "over grade" their cards. Vintage card collectors are a very picky group!
When the work of selling items online is finally completed, the seller seldom makes as much money as he or she would have made if they sold the collection directly to Dean's Cards. The auction process on eBay for the first time (even with a small collection) could literally take months of a person's time to complete. A large collection could easily take years to liquidate.
Moral of the story:
Selling on eBay can be a lot of work.
Selling on eBay can be a lot of work.
The next problem in selling items on eBay for the seller is that most collectors only buy cards from sellers with established track records. Serious collectors will seldom purchase cards from anyone with less than a thousand positive feedback references. To do so is a major risk for the buyer. Even with very good scans, it is often impossible to determine the true condition of a card. The buyer must rely on the seller's reputation and promise to refund the money if he or she is not satisfied.
The few times that we have purchased cards from collectors without established track records - the results were very disappointing. The cards were sometimes inexpensive, but I was usually dissatisfied in the quality of the cards that were sent to me. If the seller does not have at least 1000 positive feedback references, most bidders will shy away from that seller. As a result, fewer people bid on those items and the money that seller receives in bids will usually be a small fraction of the cards worth.
By Dean Hanley