Monday, November 25, 2013

eBay Economics of Selling Baseball Cards - Speculation

I'll have a full post on the 2013 Mike Schmidt cards I've acquired this year, but this card started me speculating about eBay economics.

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A and G Back #143 Mike Schmidt

The opening auction price on this card was $0.01, that's right, 1 cent. I was the only bidder so I won it for 1 cent plus a dollar for postage.

The seller sent it in a regular white envelope by first class postage. The actual postage was $0.66. So that leaves $0.35 for the seller. The card must have cost him something. I bought a hobby box of Allen and Ginter on eBay for $0.45/card, presumably he paid less than this. Lets say he was able to get the card somehow for 20 cents. That leaves 15 cents profit. eBay gets some of that.

The envelope cost something, although he didn't spend much on packaging. The card was in a penny sleeve with an old 1988 Leaf card for backing. He taped this to a piece of random cardboard, cut to fit the envelope.

The envelope has a postage sticker from a post office some 30 minutes away from where he lives. Hopefully he didn't make a special trip just for this card. The seller has 15 feedbacks on eBay so he's not a volume dealer.

I've sold some stuff on eBay but it's been years. One of the reasons I stopped was that it hardly seemed worth the effort.


deal said...

yeah that is a tough way to make a living. But it is a good way to get a nice card. well done.

Cards from the Quarry said...

Here in my area, the mailman will pick up stuff when he delivers the mail everyday, so that cuts out a little of the expense. I have never sold cards, but I used to sell video games. I know my biggest goal was to sell multiple games to the same person. I would assume a card seller would love the same thing. However, you are correct that sellers make very little selling single cards.

cynicalbuddha said...

That seller actually lost money selling that card for one penny. I've found that if can't get at least .99 for a card it's not worth selling on ebay. Figure it this way. He made $1.01 with the sale and postage. Ebay now takes a portion of the final sale price and a piece of the postage so ebay probably got about a dime. I'm assuming you payed though paypal. Paypal takes .35 per transaction and then a percentage depending on price so lets say paypal got .40. You said he spent .66 on postage plus lets add a a nickel for the penny sleeve and envelope. Lets not include gas and assume he had to go to the post office anyways the that auction cost the seller about .20 cents and that doesn't even factor in what it cost him for the card. I've sold quite a bit on ebay and like I said found that the least you can sell a card for and make money is about a buck. There is no point in selling for less, and it's sad, but you also need to charge $2.50 for shipping. So the card or cards have to be worth whatever they sell for and the shipping, but that shipping includes postage $1.69 if you use ebay postage which comes with free tracking and upload to the auction so the buyer can and you can make sure it gets there, a bubble mailer, I usually buy mailers in bulk so I can get the cost down to about .35 per mailer, top loader and penny sleeve and a team bag to seal it all up, maybe a piece of cardboard, plus ebay and paypal fees. At $2.50 shipping there's no extra money to be made there either. As you can see I've crunched the numbers a couple times for myself.

Laurens said...

Seller might have busted a case and had bigger hits - what people may end up buying for a cent and postage is just leftover.