Whether you’re aiming to add to a collection or get rid of one, there’s arguably no better place to buy or sell trading cards than via one of the many platforms you’ll find online.
This is especially true in the wake of Covid-19, which has had a major impact on the offline landscape. Take the 2020 Atlantic City National Sports Collectors Convention, which was originally postponed, then eventually canceled in December 2020.
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They cited “concern for the safety of attendees and exhibitors and the uncertainty over COVID-19 federal and state guidelines as the major reasons for the cancellation.”
As such, it’s no surprise to learn that online trading card platforms are doing especially well at the moment, given it’s a risk-free way to buy and sell almost any item.
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about the best places to buy and sell trading cards online, along with some tips for beginners and experts alike.
Buying and Selling Online Trading Cards: Before you begin
So, you’ve got a card and you want to sell, or you’ve identified the perfect new addition to your collection.
What next? Before you begin, here are some of the key aspects to consider, which should help you to buy low and sell high.
Research your market
Are you selling a Charizard, or vintage 1950’s baseball cards? Different types of cards will do better on different platforms, and it all depends on what you’d like to buy or sell.
For example, many of the most expensive cards are sold through specialist auction houses. A great example would be Heritage Auctions, or PWCC. For cheaper cards, you can avoid fees if you use local online marketplaces, such as via Facebook.
Then there’s your region. The best place to buy or sell cards will depend on your locale, as well as overall interest. Selling an MTG card in the UK will be more difficult than selling a hockey card in Canada, and you should adjust your strategy accordingly.
Take the time to research your market fully, and don’t go buying the first card you see! A measured approach is always more likely to see a good ROI in the long run.
Accounting for Fees
One aspect that many beginners forget about is fees. This is more important when selling a card, but many buyers have been burned in the past if they haven’t checked how much it’ll cost to ship a card over after they’ve bought it.
Make sure to factor in for any and all fees, as they can quickly bite into your profit margins.
This can be a tough one. How do you determine the value of cards you’d like to sell, or if you’re buying a card for a good price?
Determining value is easier for graded options and collectibles that aren’t particularly rare. You can head over to eBay, check out recent sales, and price the card accordingly. The same goes for purchases, as you’ll have a better idea of how much a card will normally sell for.
With the rarest options, it’s a matter of how much a collector is willing to pay.
Almost every collectible card can be graded, to give a better idea of the overall condition. Grading services such as PSA, BGS, and SGC are some of the largest in the States, and one of their slabs will cause a serious uptick in values.
If possible, look out for graded options, and find out who the best companies are in your region.
The Best Places to Buy and Sell Online Trading Cards
For the most expensive trading cards, it’s hard to beat somewhere like eBay, or Dave and Adam’s Card World. Social media is also a good place to start, especially if there are groups dedicated to your specific collectible niche.
For example, MTG cards are almost exclusively sold online through a Facebook group in the UK, although that will obviously differ depending on your country.
For the rarest cards, you’ll have to find out where they’re being sold, as you won’t get many opportunities. Take the T206 Honus Wagner card which sold at auction in 2016 for a record $3,120,000. There aren’t many good copies, and they rarely come up for sale.
It’s worth taking the time to check out Reddit and smaller local groups to get a better understanding of the best places to buy or sell, as there’s no easy solution.
Of all the online trading platforms, it’s hard to do better than eBay if you want the most eyes on your card. It’s available in almost every country imaginable, and you’re guaranteed to attract at least a few bids if the collectible is interesting enough.
The same goes for selling, as long as the card is worth $10 or more. It’s a true powerhouse, and even auction sites like PWCC use eBay to guarantee the best prices.
Buying and Selling Online Trading Cards: Summary
If you’re solely interested in profit, timing the market can be tricky. It’s often better to play a long game, investing in cards that are likely to increase in price significantly over years, rather than months.
The best places to buy and sell trading cards online will depend on a variety of factors. Sports cards and trading cards tend to have different sets of fans, and you could be excluding yourself from a large audience if you plan to stick to the first platform you find.
There’s no better time than now to buy or sell trading cards online, so look at some of the options listed above if you’ve managed to identify a target to add to your collection, or if you’re ready to part ways with a beloved piece.