Monday, January 28, 2008

IPO Watch, Marshawn Lynch Auto and How The Autograph Program Works

At 1PM EST today, etopps offered the following cards:

Allen and Ginter Super Bowl Champions:
Joe Namath Print Run: 999 $9
Tom Brady PR: 999 $8
Troy Aikman PR: 999 $8.50

2007 Basketball
Greg Oden PR: 1,499 $8
Javaris Crittenton PR: 599 $5
Ray Allen PR:699 $4.50

As with last week's A and G SB Champs offerings, these are a great buy to collect the set and re-sell to all of the Allen and Ginter set collectors. As stated in a previous post, these are the first Allen and Ginter football cards. The outlier in the set is Brady because he's active, some people can't stand him but it's hard not to consider him after what he's done and what he could still accomplish with a win next Sunday in Arizona.

For Basketball, I ordered the Oden for the flip. I don't expect it to hold much and can easily pick these up when they become available for delivery at a lower price than $8. Think September.

While the Terrell Davis autograph offering on the website hasn't sold out yet at $69 each for a total of 49, it's nice to see they are still doing football autographs. I thought they would be winding down by now. They had a good football autograph season - Reggie Bush and LaDainian Tomlinson to name a couple.

Today they posted the offering of Marshawn Lynch. He signed 98 and they will sell out at $59 each. The offering will be Thursday, January 31 at 8PM EST.

You want to be quick to make money on this one on the flip. When doing a comparison on ebay for other autographed cards of this player that were limited to 100, the best price in the last month was what's being offered by etopps. Quick because the first few listed will probably earn something while others will barely break even (and this is without taking the price of the card into consideration before the autograph). I say this because the card won't be shipped until at least the middle of next month when any lingering appeal to the football season is waning while baseball is waxing. And this doesn't look good especially for a small market like Buffalo. Unless you are doing a pre-sale or want to make a few bucks on the flip of the online card before the autograph offering goes live, save your money.

Regarding the above photo, I always like signatures that include the player's jersey number. As usual, etopps chose a thin blue marker for the signature even though there's plenty of blue in the card already. Why can't they use a color that doesn't appear on their cards that often like gold or silver?

I assume the reason both offerings on the home page (and previous offerings too) are not sold in a round number quantity like 50 or 100 because the player signs right on the card rather than a sticker and I'm sure one or two do not make the final cut.

In the future to qualify for the autograph program, one has to meet the following criteria:
  1. You have to be a registered member of etopps
  2. You must have the card that will become available for autograph already in your online portfolio by the time the offering goes live on the site.
Once you've met these two requirements, you can purchase the autograph...but you have to move fast. Depending on the popularity of the player, you can get shut out. This happened to me with the Ladainian Tomlinson offering. I went after his rookie card rather than the safe bet, his 2006 card and got shut out. I've seen sell-outs occurring within 30 seconds from the time the offering goes live.

Autographs are now announced ahead of time (few days in advance) on the etopps home page. If you don't have the card, you may have to pay an inflated price on cardtarget or ebay because the demand for the card goes up to have it in one's online portfolio in time before the autographed card is offered.

I've made a few bucks flipping in-port cards that are announced on the home page as future autograph offerings. Emmitt Smith's event card usually sells below $3. I recall selling two at $35 each on ebay after scooping them up on Cardtarget for $6-$7 right after the offering was posted on the etopps homepage.

Rule of thumb: if an auto offering is underpriced, it's likely the difference between what the auto usually goes for and the etopps offering price will be what you'll get flipping the card quickly after the offering is announced.
But you have to be quick.

There's no gain in listing it so it ends an hour or two before the offering goes live. When an etopper wants an auto and they don't have the card, they will pay for it even if it's cheaper to buy on cardtarget.

Before the beginning of the current football season, for example, there was an online article on Beckett's site that mentioned a few upcoming autographed cards on etopps. This article was posted on the etopps message board. Some etopps members bought these cards ahead of time while others didn't see this article or see the posting on the etopps message board.

Once you place your order, the card will be removed from your online portfolio and the signed card will be shipped to your provided mailing address that you give when you register your account via UPS anywhere between 2-5 weeks.

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