Recently I’ve regained interest in baseball cards. I had a Yard Sale last weekend (which was very successful) and I had my baseball/Pokemon/harry potter cards up for sale which I’ve collected. I sold a binder of baseball cards and a binder of Pokemon cards, and it wasn’t until after the sale that I regretted it. They were pieces of my childhood, and the Pokemon cards especially defined my childhood. But what’s done is done, and I can always buy some more on eBay and try to rebuild my collection.
As per the baseball cards however, I still have a ton left, and will hold on to them (though most of them are worthless 80′s cards because of the baseball card bubble).
I looked on eBay a few days ago and found that there are tons of lots of baseball cards up for grabs, but the ones that are the best values are the vintage cards. Cards from the 80′s and 90′s are worthless, but anything from the 70′s and back could be worth something. I started researching baseball cards on eBay, and other sites to see if it was possible to invest in baseball cards. It certainly is, as long as you know what you are doing. Going to Target or your local store and buying a pack of cards is a waste of money. Your chances or making a profit are slim to none, and even if you get an autograph or jersey card, sometime they are barely even worth the price you paid for the unopened pack.
So I’ve probably spent about $200 so far on eBay. The items I’ve purchased range from lots of vintage cards to Jackie Robinson memorabilia to modern day autograph/insert/jersey cards.
You may be thinking, goodness, this kid wants to get back into baseball cards and so he spends $200 on eBay? Baseball cards aren’t even popular anymore!
But like you always should, I did my research and I know what I’m getting into. I spent the past few days looking at completed auctions on eBay to see what certain cards were going for. I made sure that when I looked at an interesting lot of cards up for grabs, I looked at each card I could see and look up the going price for just that card alone. When I did that for as many cards as possible for that lot and added up the total (minus shipping and fees), I would have the estimated value of the lot if each card was sold individually. Then I would determine how much profit I thought would be reasonable based on the cards and the time and effort I would have to put into reselling them, and come up with a max price I would pay for the lot. The most important thing is to NOT go over this number. Although bidding is fun, you will end up wasting time and money and may just break even if you aren’t careful. In any regard I personally find it more exciting to scout different auctions on eBay and search for the best deal, not just bidding on the first one that seems good.
Now I have certainly bought a lot of cards, but none of them have been shipped to may yet- many of them will be arriving this week and into next week. Worst cases scenario, if all my cards spontaneously burst into flames, I’m out $200. But I will have gained experience, and learned a lesson. Otherwise, if I find selling them isn’t worth it, I will have a nice collection of baseball cards to keep/show off/hope they increase in value. But for the most part, based on my research, I will be able to turn a modest profit doing something interesting and fun.
As per reselling them, I could obviously resell them on eBay. The advantage to this is that many collectors scout eBay, so they will snatch up higher value cards. The disadvantage is that they know when a card is worth a lot less, even if it appears rare (such as a jersey or auto card). My plan to take advantage of this is to resell the higher value cards (worth > $10) on eBay, and then keep the lower value cards and sell them at yard sales, on Craigslist, or just keep in case the player suddenly becomes really popular. There are also a couple card shops and consignment shops nearby that might take them and sell them for me. This way instead of getting $1 per card for the auto/jersey cards of lesser known player, I might be able to fetch $5-$10 minus the shop’s percentage.
I also mentioned I picked up some Jackie Robinson memorabilia. Remember how I said it was possible to invest in baseball cards? For example, I am thinking about picking up a couple of Derek Jeter rookie cards. They are very expensive (some are nearly $100) but he is most certainly going to make the Hall of Fame and the prices of those cards will skyrocket. This morning I watched a trailer for the upcoming movie “42″ due out in April. It is basically the life story of Jackie Robinson and looks like it’s going to be a fantastic movie. Not only is the trailer super high quality, but the movie will have some big stars, including Harrison Ford. This means that the movie will have baseball fans and non-baseball fans interested. Upon watching the trailer, I thought it might be smart to invest in some Jackie Robinson items, with the hopes that value will increase around the time of the movie release. More interest in Jackie Robinson means higher prices, and this movie looks like it’s going to garner some huge interest in Jackie Robinson. Most importantly, the trailer is just a few days old, so prices for Robinson items haven’t gone up yet, meaning I got decent deals. I bought a 1955 Jackie Robinson baseball card in good condition for $60. I bought a 1950 magazine featuring Jackie on the front for $15 and I paid $11 for a mint condition original Jackie Robinson business card. I may not hit it big with any of these items, but I’m hoping that I can double my money.
I’m not sure how many of you are interested in baseball cards, but if you aren’t this same tactic could be put to use for any multitude of items. There are a ton of general ideas here that can bring you profit if you resell/invest smartly. Here’s a more general outline of what I’ve said that can be applied to different products/interests:
(1) Buy in bulk and sell for profit. The larger the quantity, the cheaper the price per item, and therefore higher profit margins. However, if you invest in a risky product, higher quantity will give you more risk. Nevertheless, “no risk, no reward”.
(2) Read the news, study trends (google.com/trends works wonders) and research when an item will have the highest amount of interest. Inversely, find when it will have the least. Buy the product during this time. Optimizing these times will make you the most money, but it will also take more time and research. Seasonal items are a great, simple example – buy Halloween costumes after halloween and through the rest of the year, and then sell them in September and October.
(3) Invest in something that interests you. For example, baseball cards are something I am interested in at the moment. For as long as I have fun and can make a decent amount of money relative to amount of time I spend, I will continue flipping cards for profit. However, I have other interests that will be more profitable, so I will reserve time for those as well. The key here is to enjoy what you are doing. Don’t try and flip surfboards if you are afraid of the water; don’t try and flip cars if you don’t know how to work on cars.
(4) Consider if it’s practical. Baseball cards are easy to sell in terms of process- they are small and can easily fit in an envelope. I might need to insure more expensive cards, but otherwise it will take relatively little time to ship out cards. This is great because I still have school to worry about and I especially hate spending lots of time and money shipping larger items. That said, if you can get a bunch of perfectly sized boxes and perfect the shipping process down to a science (which is entirely possible), go for it! Just don’t start trying to sell surfboards on eBay if you’ve never shipped anything before in your life. It will be a nightmare.
(5) I thought it would be really nice to have 5 tips, but I managed to pack it into four. Therefore, leave a comment down below if you have an idea or suggestion for tip #5!