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  #1  
Old 04-20-2009, 01:54 PM
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Posted By: Bobby Binder

Since we track all graded card sales on eBay we also track the totals of daily sales that is not posted on our website but used more for internal use.

The first 3 months of this year compared to last year are down by a substantial margin.

Jan 08-$4M.....Jan 09-$3M
Feb 08-$4.6M...Fed 09-$3.2M
Mar 08-$4.6M...Mar 09-$3.3M

Sundays are the usual big day for ebay and it used to be $350K up to $450K for sales for the day, now it is barely crossing the $200K mark. The total number if transactions are basically the same and not that much of a difference.

So what is the reason for these numbers dropping so much? The card market in general is down, the quality of product is not as good? The private auction houses are pulling away the higher end cards for their sales?

Just some thoughts and where do you think it will go from here?

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  #2  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:03 PM
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Posted By: davidcycleback

In my personal experience, eBay has become more of a turnoff and pain for the seller. For me, that often means choosing not to sell there. It only makes sense that if a company makes it harder for sellers, this will drive away some sellers.

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  #3  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:04 PM
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Posted By: Aaron M.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are currently living in the worst ecomonic conditions since the 1930's?

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  #4  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:09 PM
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Posted By: Aaron M.

Conversely, I can't think of a worse time for anyone to sell even a small portion of their collection. Big auction house or just a run-of-the-mill E-Bay auction, how can you expect to get top dollar for your collectibles right now?

Sure there will still be monster sales and some items and sets will also be in demand, but for the most part prices are down across the board, so why sell now unless you absolutely have to?

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  #5  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:11 PM
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Posted By: Alan U

IMHO, I think it's a combination of the economy (lower prices realized) and more high dollar items going to the auction houses.

Actually, it's somewhat surprising that the amount of transactions is about the same.

-Alan

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  #6  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:13 PM
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Posted By: Alan U

"Conversely, I can't think of a worse time for anyone to sell even a small portion of their collection"

Unfortunately, the economic times are probably "requiring" collectors to do just that.

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  #7  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:14 PM
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Posted By: Mark L

Bobby
I'm surprised to see the upward trend starting in January. Could we have the beginning of a vintage card rally?

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  #8  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:19 PM
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Posted By: Joel



Ebay stores are more of a factor and perhaps more and more cards are sold this way as opposed to auction format listings or regular buy it now listings. i don't believe VCP tracks Ebay store sales.

Joel

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  #9  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:23 PM
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Posted By: JimB

While super-rare, high $ stuff seems to be doing fine still, and thus the auction houses are still reporting big numbers, the mid-level and lower valued stuff that is the bread and butter of ebay, is taking a hit across the board. It may be partially ebay policies (I don't follow them.), but I would guess it is mostly the economy.
JimB

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  #10  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:30 PM
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Posted By: Aaron M.

Good point, Alan. Myself, I've cut back on my collectibles spending dramatically, but want to try and hold on to my collection without selling. I think if you can hold on for even a year (hopefully more like two or three) prices will start to rebound. Meanwhile, if you do have the money to buy, now is a good time to snap up some bargains.

That said, everything is subject to the caveat of these on-going auction house investigations. We may find that what we regard as normalized prices from some of the majors were in fact inflated, due to shilling and other fraudulent activity.

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  #11  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:52 PM
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Posted By: barrysloate

Not everyone who sells on ebay is a collector selling a part of his collection. There are many people, myself included, who make all or a part of their living selling cards. I can't sit on inventory for a year or two waiting for the economy to improve. And not all the prices I get these days are very good, but I need to make sales.

Many cards are selling for less than they were, and there is a small percentage who have stopped selling altogether, so it doesn't surprise me that total sales are down.

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  #12  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:59 PM
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Posted By: Peter

I have been selling duplicates from the set I collect as I upgrade on ebay (52 Topps) and I find the prices my cards are bringing are quite strong. I also bid on many 52 topps on ebay (usually PSA 7) and I again find the prices super strong as I rarely win any and in many cases I have been bidding way over high VCP. I realize this is the pre-war side, however, I thought many would be interested in my ebay experience.

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  #13  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:04 PM
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Posted By: Glyn Parson

Ive found lower end (grade wise) Prewar to be very weak right now where as 1950's and even some 60's (high end grade) seems to be rather strong.

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  #14  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:04 PM
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Posted By: Al Davis

My guess is that the number one factor is the economy. However, ebay is certainly not what it once was. It seems as though the vintage cards I'm interested in are mostly on buy-it-now formats with absolutely ridiculous prices (and mostly without a "best offer" option). I'm willing to bid as aggressively as ever, but ebay is short on the auction-format E and T cards I'm interested in. My watchlist used to have 20 - 30 items; now it's more like 6 - 8.

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  #15  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:11 PM
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Posted By: Anthony S.

My current favorite Ebay Buy it Now absurdity is a heavily trimmed card from a scarce E set that sold for $100 last month and is now listed, by the new owner, with a $850 Buy it Now.

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  #16  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:15 PM
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Posted By: boxingcardman

All of the above. I am finding much more with silly BINS (so no sales there), much more selling at substantially lower prices than in prior years, and as a result I have curtailed by ebay listing activity to $0. I am finding many good deals, especially on postwar cards, and am content to lowball bid lots of cards and see what shakes out.

Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc

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  #17  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:29 PM
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Posted By: JimCrandell

1)Quality of stuff for sale has deteriorated
2)Ridiculous BIN prices
3)Ebay mandating the way you pay for merchandise

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  #18  
Old 04-20-2009, 04:53 PM
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Posted By: Scott Mt. Joy

I have been selling a lot of my dup low grade exhibits on ebay and they have done pretty well. The only real difference I have seen is I have not had any 2 person strong bidding wars on any of them where the price when way up $20+. The funny thing is my average price I am getting per card is up almost a buck from $3.38 ave to $4.19 from last year to now.

I also had 4 sales from my ebay store this weekend on cards that have been for sale over 6 months, I hope its a trend but in any case I was happy. I am always amazed what does sell in my store and how long it takes.

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Old 04-20-2009, 06:03 PM
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Posted By: Aaron M.

Yeah, Barry, my comments were directed more to collectors as opposed to dealers (i.e., those who sell cards and/or memorabilia and rely on the proceeds for at least a portion of their income). I would not want to be a dealer right now -- seems like when the economy turns sour one of the first things to go are "luxury' items purchased with disposable income (usually because the disposable income is either gone, reallocated or saved).

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  #20  
Old 04-20-2009, 06:20 PM
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Posted By: John Harrell

Most of the prewar I collect has dried up. Most days I don't know why I even check the listings. From my perspective the thing that really did in my market was the change in Ebay's policy toward sellers. Of course the economic downturn didn't help either. Since I collect nonslabbed, lower grade stuff, I really don't have a lot of other options. Anybody got a suggestion.

John

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  #21  
Old 04-21-2009, 07:52 AM
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Posted By: Jimmy

There has been some big changes all over the market this year, I notice in many cases that eBay sales have been declining so I stopped posting items on my store and just have a few auctions every week. I will get back into eBay more when the time is right, if sales ever get better.

Jimmy

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  #22  
Old 04-21-2009, 07:56 AM
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Posted By: leon

I think you can still find low grade, common, pre war cards if you look. They are around. You might check our links section and look at some personal/pseudo/dealer websites and see what folks have for sale. Even most auctions will have some raw cards but they are usually in larger lots to make them worthwhile to market. take care

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  #23  
Old 04-21-2009, 06:40 PM
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Posted By: Ron

The recession caught up to the ebay prewar action in December 08 to February 09. Prices dropped a bit, and then the number of quality items for auction declined. It seems like sellers were afraid to sell at low prices. Prices have increased some in the last 2 months, but there is a shortage of quality material in auctions on ebay lately. The high quality stuff is going to the big prewar auction houses, such as REA.

Best Wishes

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  #24  
Old 04-22-2009, 07:15 AM
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Posted By: Alan

Go to more quality shows, especially the National. I know you will find that type of material there.

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  #25  
Old 04-22-2009, 08:57 AM
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Posted By: John Harrell

Leon and Alan,

Thanks for the suggestions. I've looked at some of the dealer sites but have not yet found what I'm looking for, but will keep looking. As for shows, being located in south central Alabama, I'm prohibitively far from most shows to make it worthwhile to visit. By the time I got there, I wouldn't have any money to spend on cards. Like a lot of folks on the board, I've got a Ferrari appetite and a Pinto budget, which is one of the reasons I collect lower grade unslabbed.

The last National I visited was in 98 in Atlanta. One of these days (when kids are completely finished with education) I'd really like to go to Ft. Washington or the National again. Fortunately I'm patient and eventually I'll find what I need.

John

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  #26  
Old 04-22-2009, 09:09 AM
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Posted By: leon

My first car, when I was 17, was a brown 1971 Pinto. It even had the "blow up" gas tank in back....I went into USMC boot camp and my brother totalled it...It was probably for the best. Good luck in your hunt. The hunt is certainly part of the fun.

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  #27  
Old 04-22-2009, 09:12 AM
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Posted By: Jimmy

I am starting to really focus on my website, but it will take a long time for me to build the inventory. I just started to think about what I should be purchasing in the near future. This topic will most likely come up often and I am hoping I can still find good cards for my customers.

Happy hunting all

Jimmy

J&B Sports Auctions

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  #28  
Old 04-22-2009, 09:22 AM
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Posted By: Jim VB

I owned a 1975 Pinto station wagon. Becuase of the wagon style, mine was not the special "exploding gas tank" model. However, it did come with a complete set (5) of Firestone 500 radial tires, which were equally dangerous. When I first started dating my wife, she owned the 1971 Pinto hatchback. For 6 months or so we were a 2 Pinto family.

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  #29  
Old 04-22-2009, 09:54 AM
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Posted By: Anthony N.

'72 Pinto here, my wife had a '74 Bobcat (a pinto with pinstripes).
My brother totaled mine as well.
Still the most reliable car I've ever had, exploding gas tank and all.

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  #30  
Old 04-22-2009, 09:58 AM
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Posted By: Jim VB

"Still the most reliable car I've ever had..."

Wow. Sorry to hear that. So since then, you've been forced to drive a Chevy Vega?

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  #31  
Old 04-22-2009, 10:06 AM
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Posted By: Anthony N.

Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Ford, Jeep and Land Rover.
The pinto just took gas and kept going and going and going.....

Back to the subject at hand, Ebay auction listings seem way down, with BIN's often the only option, and not a viable one at that.

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  #32  
Old 04-22-2009, 10:09 AM
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Posted By: Scott Mt. Joy

Back on the subject I was thinking more on Bobbys numbers and I think a lot of the reason the total value of cards on vcp is down is because a lot more lower end cards are getting graded.

I know when I first started submitting cards years ago I only sent in my best and most expensive cards, say in a set like T206 only the HOFers were sent in. When I started collecting exhibits a couple years ago very few commons were graded only the stars but now you can find pretty much all cards graded and for sale. I think over time more of the lower valued cards are being sent in and this would have the effect you are seeing on total sales value. The average value of the card being sold is lower, regardless of whether the card is selling for more or less.

Another factor is I also think someone with very high end cards will hold onto them in the current economic enviorment more so than someone who has less expensive cards. I have put up for auction many cards worth less than $10 even thou I think the market is soft but I have not let any of my higher valued cards go to avoid losing a lot on one card.

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  #33  
Old 04-22-2009, 11:04 AM
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Posted By: Jason

I've seen less auctions on Ebay this past month but I figured it was partially due to the REA.

I've noticed that more dealers use a higher starting price when using the Auction format. Nothing wrong with that as you can tell they're trying to protect their bottom line.

David Bryan is probably the best vintage dealer on Ebay. (For me at least) and he has been using higher starting bids but the prices are fair so I can't complain and bid happily.

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  #34  
Old 04-22-2009, 12:06 PM
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Posted By: boxingcardman

If more lower end cards are being slabbed and sold (hence reportable via VCP), that doesn't mean that fewer high grade cards are being slabbed and sold. As many here have vehemently insisted over the years, those are two different markets. If anything, the existence of a broader base of potential items to sell should increase the number of items being reported via VCP, not shrink it.

I think what's happening is the same thing I am seeing in my real business: the eco-shock is finally passing up the food chain from the working class and paycheck-to-paycheck folks and is starting to tear up into the middle and professional classes, which is collapsing the disposable income available to buy cards. Collectors who aren't necessarily even losing are nevertheless scared and are pulling back.

Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc

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  #35  
Old 04-22-2009, 12:55 PM
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Posted By: Scott Mt. Joy

You are right on that Adam, I just dont think I was making my point very clear. I do believe sales are down and values down overall just not enough to explain the dropoff VCP is showing. Looking at the numbers Bobby posted he mentioned that transaction volume (ie the number of graded cards sold has stayed the same) but that overall revenue brought in from those sales is down.

His Numbers-
Jan 08-$4M.....Jan 09-$3M ( 25% drop in revenue)
Feb 08-$4.6M...Fed 09-$3.2M ( 30% drop in revenue)
Mar 08-$4.6M...Mar 09-$3.3M ( 28% drop in revenue)

I just dont think you can explain those numbers by simply saying the market and prices are down, I have tracked my graded collection of 1000 cards on VCP for almost 2 years now and my values using ave or last sale are up overall (almost 25% in 2 years) and while I have had a couple group values that went down in that time frame (1921 exhibits, 1928 exhibits, etc), I have a couple that went thru the roof (Clemente master set, 1947-66 Exhibits, etc). I just cant believe that I am preforming that much better than the market, doesnt make sense to me.

I do think that a lot of lower value cards are being graded and that is bringing the value per card of what is sold down. High value cards are still being sold on ebay but much less so (large houses are taking a lot of that business). Two years ago I only had my ruth/cobb/matty/mantle/clemente exhibits graded since then I have subbed over 600 with the majority of them common cards whos sales value are under $20. Maybe thats just me but I sure see a lot more low end exhibits/m101-4/5/etc graded than I did 2 years ago.

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  #36  
Old 04-22-2009, 12:58 PM
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Posted By: leon

I think another reason the average selling price is down is that in this economy no one is wanting to pay a set price (as in BIN on $1k+ items) when they think they can get them cheaper in an auction format.

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  #37  
Old 04-22-2009, 01:24 PM
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Posted By: George

I can share some price info. I began to breakup some of my T206 "commons" and will be holding onto the SLEAUGER subset and HOF subset til I make some decisions on how/when to sell. Most of the info I will be sharing will be dealing with cards that ended this week and price realizations.

PSA 5's were pretty weak. Of the 40 or so that sold, prices ran on average in the $85 dollar range with typical spreads of $75-$109. A couple helped my average such as a Criger that got up into the 160ish range. I had a spreadsheet from 2 years ago with estimated value of $98-100 which was being hit frequently in 2007 and even the first half of 2008 but fully expected some to do well and some to sell in the $88-$92 range. Saw a few more than I would have liked in the mid to high 70's but ended up doing fair due to the sale of others.

PSA 4's were STRONG!!!!!!!! Here is the weird part, the 4's all around were much stronger than I anticipated. I had an avg. price for these on my spreadsheet from 2007 estimated at $50 per and experienced prices of 55,67,71,60,78,63,55,51,51,53,61,64 and 46..go figure.

Obviously some numbers reflect maybe slightly "tougher" cards or better "eye appeal" cards but all are at the end of the day commons.

Was quite pleased with the overall result on the 4's, disappointed somewhat on the 4's.

Just my experience on some recent sales

George

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  #38  
Old 04-22-2009, 01:34 PM
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Posted By: Anthony S.

George,

I was following your T206 set break last night, as I'm looking to gradually upgrade some of my cards, and I noticed that quite a few of your 4's had much better centering (and consequently eye appeal) than some of your 5's. The most dramatic example may have been the PSA 5 Slagle. Centering isn't a huge concern of mine (nor is grading) but I know it's paramount to many collectors. Nice set, by the way.

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