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Selling Sports Cards on eBay: Where to Buy Sports Cards Cheap [Part Two]

The Old Prof. has a second installment on where to find sports cards for cheap. This time he discusses auctions and online using Kijiji and Craigslist

In a previous post, I offered advice about buying cards as sport cards shops. In this post, I want to review several other buying options: (1) Kijiji and Craigslist, (2) Card Shows, and (3) Thrift Shops, Flea Markets, In-person Auctions, and Garage Sales.

Kijiji and Craigslist

If you look at Kijiji and Craigslist, there seem to be four kinds of hockey card sellers. Some people seem to know very little about cards, and try to sell cheap cards for big money. Good luck. Some collectors list expensive specialty cards for good money. Some entrepreneurs have bought large lots of cards and are selling them. And, some once-upon-a-time collectors, for some reason or another, are cleaning out their garage and dumping an entire collection of cards.

I have found and purchased many good deals on either Kijiji or Craigslist. And, I encourage sellers to look around regularly to see what’s there. Often, you get boxes of unsorted cards, and there are often good cards in them. Some are picked clean and you get bulk you have to dump – probably at an in-person auction. Remember, in the sports card world these days, most cards don’t come close to what the Beckett Guides them for. And, sellers cannot afford to pay close to Beckett prices for cards. That said, if you see a listing you would like, I suggest telling the Kijiji or Craigslist seller that you are NOT a collector BUT that you buy and sell; and, even before you look at cards, be clear that you simply cannot pay close to Beckett price and make a profit. You don’t want to embarrass anyone or make someone angry with what they see as a lowball offer.

Card Shows

If you like to pour over boxes of cards, looking to cherry pick treasures, a sports card show is for you. I particularly like pulling a chair up to a vendor’s 5000-count boxes of 25-cent cards or, better yet, 10-cent cards. Usually you can get a better price if you buy more, so come prepared to look over the whole box. Over the years, I have become quite selective and only – at most – spend $10 on 50 cards. But, I often make $100s on these cards. Plus, I have fun, get to talk to a collector, and get to look at some of their unique cards.

I particularly like oddball cards – like Jimmy Dean sausage or K-Mart cards. Sometimes, because these are not listed in Beckett, you can find them cheaply. Again, look for cards that don’t sell locally. For example, during Connor McDavid’s RC-year (2015-16), I found many great Upper Deck inserts cheaply priced at a Phoenix, Arizona, card show – left overs from collectors looking for a McDavid Young Guns’ cards (which still sells on eBay for hundreds of dollars). Over the years, a couple of favorite dime pulls were a 1983-84 OPC Pelle Lindbergh RC, a Vladimir Guerrero Upper Deck RC, and about 7 Jari Kurri RCs (I am an Oilers’ fan). You would be surprised what you might find with a little sorting.

Thrift Shops, Flea Markets, In-person Auctions, and Garage Sales

As I noted in a previous post, I often poke around thrift shops and do well buying supplies, but I have only found one good lot of cards at a thrift shop. Perhaps your luck is better than mine, but for me this is not a good place to buy. But, you never know – so, keep looking.

Flea markets can be a crapshoot. Huge flea markets can be profitable, but small-town local flea markets are often not as good. My experience is that a flea market vendor, often with little knowledge about the card market, has purchased a lot of cards from someone who came by. These cards often have little value, but because the vendor hopes to sell them for much more they mark up the cards. I regularly attend one small flea market where, at the end of the year, vendors still has the same cards they started with asking the same price. You can’t blame them for trying to at least make their money back, but you can’t afford to buy their cards either.

On the other hand, garage sales can be good places to buy cards. Again, I advise you to look carefully at what you are buying. Often these cards are a bit tattered, because they were a kid’s cards that are being cleaned from a closet. But, it is great to look.

Attending an auction can also be profitable; however, if you are tempted to get sucked into a bidding war, be careful. If you can find an estate auction or a card store going out of business, you can really do well at auctions. My son and I have.

What’s Next?

In my next post, I want to review Internet-based, Sports Cards Sales Houses. I particularly will review Dave & Adams Sports Cards Shop []. I have had great success with this large company based around Buffalo, New York, especially if you are living in the United States or can have cards shipped there. I find their level of service and often their prices excellent.

Good luck in your buying and selling. Let’s keep this fun hobby alive.

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