Beckett Price Guide vs eBay comps, what is the best for finding sports card values?
The 2 Most Common Methods for Valuing Baseball Cards
There is a big debate as to what’s the best method for finding the value of baseball and other sports cards, but there are 2 common ways that people will use and we will go over the pros and cons both. The first, and oldest method is using a monthly price guide such as the Beckett monthly. The other is to use the records from real time online sales from eBay.
Beckett and other Monthly Magazines
First of all, not one person can deny what Beckett has done for our industry. They have the most trusted name in the industry, were pioneers in the monthly price periodicals, and currently are one of the 2 most trusted grading companies on the market! That being said, the first thing to remember is even their monthly magazine is titled “Price GUIDE”, key word there is GUIDE. And while I remember dying to get the new Beckett and inspect all of the arrows indicating the rise or fall in my cards values, using a monthly price guide would be like buying stocks on the stock market by using printer materials from 30-60 days ago. Seems to be a bit of a dated technique this day and age. So where do you go to find the real time value of your cards? Let’s talk about that!
eBay, and eBay comps
Today with the advent of the internet you can find most of your baseball card values and prices in real time. The quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to do this is to use eBay comps. There are many ways to get your eBay sales comps. The first, most basic, and simplest way is to just log into eBay, search for your item, and click on the “Sold Items” tab on the left hand column of your eBay page. (Its under the “Filter” tab on the mobile app) This will bring up a list of all items matching your search that have sold. You can filter this search by highest/lowest price, most recent sale, and the almost completely useless “Distance”. From there you can see exactly what some items have sold for. Highest to lowest, and recent sales are the 2 important ones to keep an eye on. We obviously know that High/Low is very important, and why. But what about recent, why is that important? If a player is trending up you can see how much growth there is in value, and you see the opposite if the player is trending down.
Seems pretty straight forward, right? In most cases it is. But there are some anomalies to keep an eye out for. There are lots of reasons why a sold listing could be more of an outlier than a solid comp, let’s take a look at a few. First thing to look for in an outlier situation is the seller’s reputation. If the seller has very low or bad feedback this may deter others from buying or bidding. Second thing is an error in the listing. Did the seller spell Antetokounmpo correctly, or did they add or forget a letter? Though you may be a savvy enough buyer to only search “Giannis” to include as many results as possible, the seller could make a mistake that costs him or her. The last thing that I want to point out as an outlier is in an auction situation, WHEN did the auction end? If the auction ended at 3AM on a Tuesday it likely had many less eyes on it. If the auction ended on a Sunday or Monday evening, without errors, and from a reputable dealer, then it most likely reached its full potential. Last thing to consider here is sometimes people are desperate to sell their item, so they let it go to a “lowball” first offer.
3rd Party Search Apps
Sometimes you will see a completed sale in the Sold’s that says “best offer accepted” and the original asking price is crossed out. I want to share 2 of my resources in finding the values of these cards when the answer is not right there in the sold listings. If you need to look up one specific card, identify the item number, copy it to your clipboard and go to watchcount.com. Paste your item number into the “Keywords” box and click the “Show Me!” box. Bam! Easy Peasy. One single comp!
My favorite way to look up eBay comps when you want to examine all of them is using a 3rd party search app like this one at cardsnoop.com. Just set up a quick and free account (all you need is a valid eMail address) and get your search on! The great thing about the 3rd party search like cardsnoop is they will have the “Best Offer” prices already looked up and included right there to compare with the auction style listing all in one spot.
After all has been said and done, let’s remember that anything (not just sports collectables) is really only worth what someone will pay. But it does seem to make more sense to lean pretty heavily to eBay comps for value due to the vast amount of real time information that is available. Just be sure that you are not in an anomalous situation as a buyer or seller by checking for outliers.
If you need help on how to sell your cards we will tackle that in another article later so bookmark the resources page and check back later!