Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inventory Woes

Over the past few days, I decided to go through the laborious task of cataloging every baseball card I own into a Word document, and saving it on a flash drive. Since I've been back in the hobby, I've been buying and selling so much product that I really don't know what I have, exactly. It is time-consuming, to say the least, and it won't get any easier with my 2011 Bowman box coming today. Add another 192 or so cards to the list.

What I'm finding, though, is depressing - I have a lot of "junk". Junk as in many, many commons. I'm taking a guess that when I'm done with this project that I will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 cards. Not much by some standards, but enough. And a good majority of those are crap. Almost-complete sets of 1987 and 1988 Topps. 2007 and 2010 Topps Updates. 2008 SP Authentic. Even my vintage years are mostly commons.

I've tried selling cards as large lots, as "U-pick" lots, and as team lots, and nothing is working. It seems everybody is in the market for autographs, serial numbered, rainbows, etc. Which is fine, except that I'm stuck with a lot of flotsam that I can't move.

I have my 1974 Topps set that I'm working on that holds a special place, as it was the first year I really started collecting cards (I was 9). I have my Phillies cards, some going back as far as 1957. That's special because of my fan-dom. And I have my PC's to keep me interested. But the other stuff is just that - stuff.

I can't sell it (because it won't), but I can't just throw it all way, worthless as it is, I find throwing baseball cards away to be sacreligous.

Maybe it's just that I put too much value on the cards. I had my entire 1976 collection up on eBay a few weeks back, $29.99 for 176 cards, and got no takers. That's 17 cents per card - maybe that's too high a price, I don't know. There were a lot of Hall-of-Famers in that lot, too.

Nevertheless, I'm working my way through the inventory and will hopefully come up with a way to consolidate my collection to the things I really care about, without just dumping cards.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sniping Successes

A few weeks ago I discovered a free service geared towards eBay bidders called GavelSnipe. This site allows you to enter a max bid on an item you're watching, and it will execute a bid for you at a specified time, usually within the last few seconds of an auction. I hadn't had much success with this, until last night.

But first, I'll tell you my bidding theory. When I see a card that piques my interest on eBay, I will study the most recent completed sales (including shipping) of that card to determine an average sales price, and a pricing trend. That gives me a baseline from which to make my max bid. I make it a rule of mine to not bid more than the average sales price, unless the card is trending upward.

So, I had 3 active "snipes" out last night: first was a 2010 Bowman Sterling Gold refractor, numbered 44/50, of Phillies catching prospect Sebastian Valle. This card's average sales price was $9.45. Less the $2.00 shipping cost, my max bid would be $7.45 for the card. I won the snipe last night at $4.25 - not bad.

Next, I had a bid out on a 2010 Bowman Sterling dual auto of Team USA players Matt Barnes and Brad Miller, both projected #1 draft pick next month. Average sales price was $17.05, but the price was trending upward the past week. I put my max bid at $17.55, and won the snipe at a price of $7.05 - getting better!!

Finally, my last snipe was on a 2010 Bowman Platinum Blue Refractor Auto of Phillies prospect Matt Rizzotti, numbered 60/99. This one was more of a shot in the dark. There were no recent previous sales for the blue refractors, but a Rizzotti green refractor auto numbered to 199 sold recently for $11.55. After doing a bit of research on other greens vs. blues, I found that there was about a 1.25 markup on blue autos over greens. So I figured the bid on the Rizzotti blue would be about $14.50 - I won the card at $8.50 - also, not bad.

In total, I had 3 bids out for $39.50, and I won with a total outlay of $19.80, just about a 50% discount off of my max bids. What helped on the dual auto and the Rizzotti auto may have been that the auctions ended later in the evening on the East Coast. Also, the listing for the Rizzotti said it was a Green refractor auto, but the picture and inside description said it was a Blue - maybe that worked in my favor, I don't know.

Either way, I got 3 nice cards on the cheap to add to my PC's. In the case of the Barnes/Miller dual auto, it may present a good selling opportunity after the draft, depending on where they are picked. But overall, a good night for sniping.