Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Autograph Offering: Josh Hamilton

Etopps is now listing on their homepage an autograph offering of the 2007 Josh Hamilton RRO rookie card at $34.99 on May 1st at 3pm EST. 100 autographs will be offered.

It looks like etopps is confirming they are turning the page on a few things with this offering:
  • The time of the autograph offering will be only 3pm EST rather than alternate between 1pm and 8pm EST on Thursdays.
  • RROs have been offered as of late so this may be a continuing trend.
  • Even though etopps produced a 2001 Josh Hamilton when he was on the Devil Rays, current etopps management will not look back. (Though this was already confirmed when they issued this card as an RRO last year.)
While this card will most likely sell-out since it's only $5 more than the Fred Lewis offering. It may do better than what etopps is offering on the flip.

But what about the long-term for sellers?

The hard thing to sell about this card is the team he's on. He's now on the Texas Rangers and this card shows him on the team he played for last year.

Does Josh Hamilton have enough of a fan-base to follow him from the Reds to the Rangers to make this an appealing autograph to buy? He was the feel-good media story of the first half of last season. It was easy to find a print article about how he rehabilitated himself from drugs.

Since April 12th, Josh Hamilton's autographed cards have a pretty good success rate on ebay. The chase is his 1999 Topps Traded autographed card. Graded, it sold for $255.

But anything after 1999, you'll be lucky to sell it for more than double of what etopps is offering. I wouldn't recommend a low asking price to get bid up unless you have a reserve. I would suggest a higher fixed price with best offer and see what happens.

Once again this is another etopps card of a player who's hype has come and gone.

Monday, April 28, 2008

You Can Learn A Lot From The Fine Print

Store this link as a reference or as a favorite:

It is for reporting a listing violation on ebay.

It takes a few clicks on ebay to drill down to this link but it'll be worthwhile.

Over the weekend I saw quite a few listing violations. What surprised me from the drop-down list was being able to report a seller for copying the text or photographs from your listing. What surprised me even more was someone had done this to one of my lisitings. When reporting this kind of issue, you have to show word for word how your listing text was used (which is just a matter of copy and paste).

I had no idea about all of the possible listing violations on ebay until I went through this drop down menu.

So in case you don't know, here's rundown of some of them (and I'm sure you've seen a few of these)

Copying of your listings
Report your picture or description was copied or linked without permission
Someone copied text or pictures from another website or ebay user

Counterfeits and copyright violations
Potential trademark infringements
Bootleg and counterfeit media
Mod chips, game enhancers, and boot discs
Enabling duplication of copy-protected materials
Items or descriptions that encourage infringement
Other potential infringement
Ebay item infringes on your intellectual property rights
Fraudulent listings

Prohibited or Banned Items
(too many to list)

Listing Policy Violations
Circumvention of ebay fees (ie, offering merchandise for sale outside ebay)
Compilation and informational media (ie, pyramid schemes)
Excessive shipping and handling
Featured Listings (online auction enhancement software, weight loss products or services)
Feedback Related (offering to sell or purchase feedback)
Inappropriate Links and Credits
Inappropriate Seller Terms (Item listed for pre-sale that does not meet ebay guidelines)
Item Location Misrepresentation
Keyword spamming (Inappropriate or excessive use of terms not relevant to the item)
Misleading title (Intentionally misleading or deceptive titles - ie, using cardtarget voluntary stats for # of inhands available to the public)
No item offered for sale (invisible or intangible items, item description includes comments not relevant to the item or sale)

Other Listing Policy Violations
My favorites of the eight sub-types:
Miscategorized items
Listing more than 15 identical items
Hateful, discriminatory, or racial language in an item description

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - April 25

As of today, April 25 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 194
Sell-Through: 44.85%
Average starting price: $2.57
Average final price: $10.61

Highest Single Card Sale: 2007 Adrian Peterson, $49.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: Mickey Mantle Set, $255.00
Highest Graded Sale: 2003 LeBron James BGS 9.5, $49.99
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2007 Justin Upton $399.99
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

  • 2007 Justin Upton
  • Allen & Ginter Joe Montana
  • 1954 Mickey Mantle reprint
  • 2005 Chris Paul
  • 2007 Alex Gordon

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: Mickey Mantle Set, 22 Bids.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Autograph Offering: Fred Lewis

Etopps is now listing on their homepage an autograph offering of the 2007 Fred Lewis RRO rookie card at $29.99 on April 24th at 3pm EST. 50 autographs will be offered.

At first glance, this is not what was expected of etopps to be offering. There are plenty of other 2007 rookie cards that could be offered instead who are better than Fred Lewis, right?

As of this writing, Lewis is hitting .338 and has a .394 OBP. Not bad. He has only one dinger so far, 2 stolen bases, 5 rbis, 6 walks, .523 slugging, and .917 OPS. I thought his batting average was this high because he started well but has been declining. While it's early in the season, his average has actually been rising. In the past ten games it's gone up 28 points. I think he's having a pretty good start but what remains to be seen is if he can keep this up.

In the autograph department, he's quite reasonable. His cards do sell on ebay. In the past week more than 80% of the 50 cards that were listed have sold. The high end autos from Exquisite and 03 Bowman sold for $80-90 while the total listings averaged $11. My guess is if Lewis can keep up his numbers, his autograph value could follow.

Few other points: when his card was IPO'd there was a certain amount of hype for Fred Lewis that I'm sure etopps took into account when they went after him to sign his card. If etopps had him or any other rookie card signed, they will offer it. Just a matter of when. My hunch is if they offer a card like this one week, one would guess someone with more hype will be offered next week.

Since it looks like etopps will be offering an autograph each week, it's likely this will not be the last one that will be in the caliber of Fred Lewis, a player who showed promise (he hit for the cycle last season) but the jury is still out about him this year. Remeber, etopps went after players based on their hype/performance last year rather than 3 days ago.

Etopps will mix in others that will be reasonable. And this is a good thing for those who spend a lot of coin on both the IPOs and the autographs over the baseball IPO season. There were rumblings about the auto offering last week for Justin Upton because of the price. This one is more affordable though don't count on flipping it for a profit yet...wait and see.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ebay Selling Strategies - After Getting Paid

I added a couple of links in the right column, one for the secondary market options and one under Connections. is a website that's been around since 2002. They have a "make me an offer" negotiating format. Think ebay's fixed price with best offer. You have the choice of having an asking price or simply ask for an offer. There are no listing fees but the site takes a small percentage out of completed sales. I checked out the site and typed in the word "etopps." I was surprised there are quite a few in-hands listed.

I have been reading The Brill Report for at least a couple of years now. I consider this blog the pulse of the hobby, covering new releases, new products, significant changes with manufacturers in the hobby and deals to be had online. When he issued his report on Thursdays, he would usually have a blurb about the upcoming etopps autograph offerings. But now that he posts only once a week (Mondays), he no longer gives any mention to etopps. Earlier today, I emailed him about this etopps blog and offered to provide him any updates for his weekly report to keep his readership in the know.

The following is what I do after I get paid. It's just a guideline based on my experience. There are plenty of other ways but this is what has worked for me.

More times than not I receive payment for an in-hand (or a set of in-hands) via paypal. I usually send the card the following business day in a bubble-mailer. I already have printed out sheets of labels that have my return address information on them and with a sharpie pen I scribble the buyer's name on the mailer.

If I get payment via money order or check, I track the time the buyer's email that indicates they will mail their payment. If I do not receive payment after a week or so (more if from Canada), I will email the buyer again.

If I do not hear from them after at least a day or if payment hasn't been received via paypal after 7 days, I will file an unpaid dispute on ebay for the etopps card. Sometimes this works and the buyer pays pretty fast. After 7 days if I still do not have payment, I close the dispute, get my final value fee for the card credited to my account, put the bidder on my blocked list and the bidder gets a "strike" against them from ebay (two strikes and they're out).

For the bubble mailer, I usually use size #000 which fits up to three etopps cards snuggly. If I am printing out a shipping label via paypal for the transaction, I apply at least part of the label where the mailer is sealed, ensuring (optimistically) that the package will not be opened while in transit.

I also email the buyer, clicking the reply button for the payment receipt email from paypal that reads:
Your payment has been received.

Thank you very much for your business.

No Brainer Bargains strives to ensure customer satisfaction with timely communication, fast shipping and satisfaction guaranteed.

Your item will be shipped tomorrow and we will leave you feedback shortly.

Please visit our website for clothing, collectibles and consumer electronic components.

Best regards,
No Brainer Bargains

More times than not I receive positive feedback from the buyer.

Recently I received an email from someone who purchased an etopps in-hand card from me. He said he had not received the card. The card sold for about $10 with shipping. It sold near the beginning of this month and the buyer did not email me until more than 2 weeks after making payment via paypal.

My rule of thumb is if an item I sell on ebay goes for at least $15, I will print out a shipping label via paypal to cover delivery confirmation. If it's under $15, I will hand-write the buyer's mailing address on a bubble-mailer and will put the stamps on myself. I decided on $15 as the line-in-the-sand because that's as much as I'm willing to eat if the buyer claims they never got the card.

To get labels specifically for paypal, just do a search on ebay and you can find at least a few sellers who offer half-page sticker labels designed for shipping via paypal. Buying these will save you a lot of time that you will otherwise have to use in cutting out the label from the print-out and taping this paper label to the packaging.

I keep the remaining part of the label in a shoebox near my in-hands and write the name of the item I shipped so in case I have to refer back to a shipment, I can always look through my pile to get all the details needed for the buyer.

Back to the buyer who emailed me: I told them to wait another five days just in case the mail was slow getting to its destination. The buyer agreed to wait and I emailed them again on the day I would check back with them. The buyer said the card never arrived so I refunded them fully.

Luckily this has happened no more than a few times a year. Rarely do I have someone inform me they have never received what I sent them and even rarer when I'm in this situation without a tracking number.

At what price point do you print out a shipping label for delivery confirmation?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - April 18

In the right column, below the photo gallery, I inserted a "widget" to vote for this blog that is linked to a website called blog toplist. It's a directory of over 33,000 blogs registered. Last week I submitted this blog under the category of Sports. Of the 1,183 sports blogs registered on this website, thanks to this readership, this blog is already ranked at #234.

As of today, April 18 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 252
Sell-Through: 53.17%
Average starting price: $2.03
Average final price: $11.40

Highest Single Card Sale: 2007 Adrian Peterson, $49.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: "22 etopps cards in-hand RC vets classic," $55
Highest Graded Sale: 2002 Amare Stoudemire PSA 10, $11.49
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2002 Nolan Ryan Classic, $235
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

  • 2001 Albert Pujols
  • 2001 Brett Favre
  • Raymond Berry
  • 2006 Devin Hester
  • 2007 Ryan Braun

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2007 Adrian Peterson Auto, 16 Bids.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Justin Upton Autograph Offering on 4/17, 3PM EST

Due to the surge of fraudulent activity on the secondary market of online etopps cards, etopps put a link up on its homepage that went to this:

Important Message Regarding Fraudulent Activity on eTopps

We are aware of a recent increase in fraudulent activity when buying and selling eTopps cards. We have been working with our partners to minimize the fraudulent activity, to aggressively pursue fraudulent sellers and to ultimately create a safer buying/selling environment. We hope to have more news shortly, in the meantime if you have encountered fraudulent activity when buying and selling eTopps cards, please report the activity below. Please include as much information as possible regarding payment addresses, paypal information, and current transaction status. While we can't promise any specific outcomes or individual responses from your report, this system will allow us to keep a closer watch on the eTopps secondary market. It will also help keep eTopps safe for all of our users by having a central point of contact for potential security problems facing the community. Shilling reports, non paying bidders, and other eBay infractions should be reported directly to eBay. This page should only be used for reporting issues related to post-transaction problems that cannot be resolved by dealing directly with the other party.

Kudos to etopps for making us aware formally that they are aware of this and want something done about it. I've talked to Mark in the past and he has been aware of this but I think he's heard (or read) enough about the recent activity that this will at least this is a start. There's a box underneath this announcement to state what you've experienced with 512 characters to cover it.

If you're following baseball, it's hard to ignore all the talent with the D-Backs: Jackson, Young, Drew, Owings to name a few. At the top of the talent pool is the player card etopps is offering tomorrow at 3pm EST, Justin Upton. He's currently #9 in the Beckett home page top ten players collected right now. Before this RRO card was offered it was going for over $50 having a print run of 899. 100 will be offered tomorrow, more than 10% of the print run.

It's hard to think of a reason why you should not buy it. If you're invested in the upcoming fantasy games for his online card, you may want to pass on this.

Nevertheless, Justin Upton is like a young Ken Griffey Jr. Whether you sell or hold, you're not going to lose on this one. While his cards go back to 2004 with the Bowman Chrome AFLAC edition (now selling for $1.5K on ebay), his autographed cards are selling well, even his 2007 autographed cardboard. One of the highest selling autos is his 2006 Bowman Chrome Auto Gold Refractor /50 which last sold for $900.

47 Cards Ready For Delivery this Friday, 4/18

Looks like these cards passed their QA:

Subject:Production Update: Cards Available For Delivery

The following cards will be available for delivery Friday, April 18th:


Hillary Clinton
John McCain
Barack Obama
Mitt Romney


Troy Aikman SB
Terry Bradshaw SB
Tom Brady SB
John Elway SB
Joe Montana SB
Joe Namath SB


Marion Barber
Ryan Grant
Andre Hall
Zach Miller
Jamarcus Russell
Drew Stanton
Brian Westbrook


Dallas Cowboys 2007
Green Bay Packers 2007
Indianapolis Colts 2007
Jacksonville Jaguars 2007
New England Patriots 2007
New York Giants 2007
Pittsburgh Steelers 2007
San Diego Chargers 2007
Seattle Seahawks 2007
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2007
Tennessee Titans 2007
Washington Redskins 2007
Manning Leads Giants To Victory In SBXLII


Ray Allen
Carmelo Anthony
Mike Conley
Javaris Crittenton
Glen Davis
Kevin Garnett
Al Horford
Dwight Howard
Yi Jianlian
Rashard Lewis
Jermaine O'Neal
Greg Oden
Chris Paul
Luis Scola
Sean Williams
Nick Young


Andy LaRoche 2007

Please continue to check eTopps Updates for additional information.

The eTopps Team

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ebay Selling Strategies - React or The Long Tail

So many in-hands ... so little time to figure out which ones will give you maximum profits. By the time the card is ready for delivery, the player's "it" factor has died down, it's that player's off-season and you'll be selling in a buyer's market.

So what's the point? Why bother? Keep your cards in a monster box under your bed for x months before the season starts again, right? Nothing will sell. Waste of money with all those listing fees, right?

This is exactly what your competition wants you to think: inside the box.

The famous writer James Joyce was once asked what it takes to be a writer. He said exile, patience and cunning.

If you have the latter two, you will find a way out of this box.

Some of the easy ways of knowing on-line what to sell when are:
  • ebay's completed listings search engine - here you get a good idea of what's selling over the past two weeks. But remember, just because it's not listed doesn't mean it won't sell. If you find listings that didn't sell of the card you want to list, look at these listings and look at each one to see why they didn't sell - poor listing quality, low seller feedback rating, etc.
  •'s home page - they list the top ten selling players in the sports card industry. It changes each week and will give you an idea of who is selling. Of course not all of those players will be what you can sell but it is a good starting-off point.
  • Read other message boards, get outside the etopps bubble and see what is selling.
  • Follow the sports of the players you have in-hands. How well are they performing? Pick the best three and see if they sell.
  • Significant event - Is someone breaking a record? Track that player and list when they are about to break it. The more significant the record the better(...unless they are alleged to be using steroids!). Also if a player is retiring, watch their cards spike. We saw this recently with Brett Favre cards.
  • Playoffs & Finals - a player's performance will get more recognition and interest can peak for a player depending on how well they do. The MVP of a Sports' Finals is a sure-thing when it comes to selling their card as well as players who will awards for their performance.
  • Follow the Hype machine - especially before a season of a sport begins, there's focus on who can/will be good in the upcoming season.
All of these ways have one thing in common: you are reacting to what the latest demand is. If you time your core listings right, you can do well but if you miss, you can see listing fees go up without anything to counter them. While watching the Super Bowl in 2005, for instance, I sold a bunch of Steelers in-hands during the fourth quarter and right after the game.

Another approach to take I call the low road: set up a wide enough net to appeal to just about anyone interested in the sports that you are selling cards.

In my ebay store, for instance, I have set up categories for each team in baseball and football so the buyer can easily maneuver through the left-side navigation area to find cards of their favorite team.

While the low road will cost more up-front to get a net as wide as you want, you will not need as much energy to keep up with all the trends going on in sports and sports collecting. Since etopps cards in-port are mostly cheap between 2002-2005, you can cast a very wide net to cover fan favorites of these years. You may not get many sales of one particular card but you can get accumulate sales from many different cards over time. In e-commerce, this is referred to as "The Long Tail." (click this term for the wikipedia explanation)

This is a lot easier with an ebay store now that ebay charges 3 cents per listing.

Probably the best way of selling in-hands is a combination of these two strategies.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - April 11

Before I get into the stats, I just wanted to bring your attention to this listing

Clearly, there are people selling on ebay who have no idea what they're selling.

Which is why there are some people who create a listing title on ebay for a graded etopps card based on BGS and PSA's decision to title their graded in-hands as "e-topps" rather than leaving out the hyphen.

As of today, April 11 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 451
Sell-Through: 58.09%
Average starting price: $1.55
Average final price: $5.45

Highest Single Card Sale: 2001 Alex Rodriguez, $59.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2003 LeBron James BGS 9.5, $15.50
Highest Graded Sale: 2006 Brett Favre PSA 9, $12.00
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2007 Adrian Peterson, $245
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

  • Joba Chamberlain
  • Allen & Ginter Ronald Reagan
  • 2001 Barry Bonds
  • Alex Rodriguez Event Card (10-Rod)
  • 2007 Brady Quinn

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2007 CTNW 1952 Joe DiMaggio , 11 Bids.

Philip Hughes auto offering delayed until 3pm

I just got off the phone with Mark. Once it's fixed they will post when it will be available.

I suggested making the autograph available at the next available top of the hour whether 2pm or 3pm to make it fair game for everyone.

Updated: It's available at 3pm

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Autograph Offering: Philip Hughes

I just added a couple of things in the right column area, links to where you can sell etopps in-hands. If you know of other websites to sell in-hands, please let me know.
Also added to the right column is an ESPN news "widget" and a subscription area that has a drop-down menu to have this blog placed in your My Google, My Yahoo page and other blog-reading sites.

Finally etopps is offering another autograph after what seemed like a hiatus that lasted a little longer than expected, especially with the delay of the intial baseball IPOs until this week.

First up is Philip Hughes. (100 offered, $59, 4/11, 1PM EST) I was expecting Hughes' teammate Joba to be offered first. Unfortunately the Hughes wave of hype has crested already, right before he tweaked his hammy during a no-hitter possibility last season. Nevertheless being a Yankee will help this auto on the secondary market.

I wouldn't be surprised if this sells for double of what etopps is asking. At 100, it looks like Philip Hughes did a good job signing each and every one. I've read on the Beckett message board that he has posted there. If he does, I'm sure he knows about the quality and value of autographs.Comparing cardboard autograph sales on ebay to this one is tricky. The most coveted ones are by Bowman Chrome from 2004 while the ones from 2007 from any card company are measley in value.

So can a 2007 etopps autographed card of Philip Hughes (#100) with the signature on the card sell as well as a 2004 Bowman Chrome of Hughes that has a sticker autograph, is numbered to 400 and is selling at least $200 in the past month?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Designing & Critiquing An Ebay Listing: Pricing

I'll break this up into two parts: pricing of the cards in the listing and shipping charges. For both, the choices you make will have an impact on how successful you will be in selling etopps cards on ebay.

For the listings, I'll break this down to three types of listings: auctions, fixed price and store.

Auction - you've got two approaches, the low road and the high road. If you want to make a profit, starting an auction listing at .99 is both risky and rewarding. You may not get the final price that will give you a profit from what you paid for the card at cost but you pay less upfront (now 15 cents) and your listing could attract more bidders than the same card starting at a higher asking price. It's something that is worth testing to see what works best for you.

Another good approach is using the Buy-It-Now offer. The bigger the discrepancy between the starting bid and the BIN offer, the more likely the potential buyer will take the low road which kills the BIN. A good combo may be a $9.99 starting bid with a $14.99 BIN. A nice incentive would be to have a subtitle offering free shipping if the buyer takes the BIN.

Fixed price - this is a good move especially when adding the Best Offer feature. I've made many sales this way. What's nice now is you can set the floor on offers to the price you want and automatically accept an offer over a certain price. For instance, I have a Mickey Mantle 1952 reprint at $150 fixed price with Best Offer. I can set a minimum for me to consider the offer for $100 and automatically accept any offer over $125. This is a great way to sell higher priced cards as well as autographed cards. Only downside to this is not all bidders are experienced with this method of buying and may not want the commitment of waiting for the seller to decide whether to take up their offer.

Another great part to the Best Offer option is Counter Offering. If I'm not happy with the offer, I can submit a counter offer. And in return, the buyer can submit a counter offer to my counter offer. In addition to both parties reaching an agreement in this haggling/negotiating process, going through this process is fun. I've had buyers who have gone through several series of counter-offers email me afterwards thanking me for negotiating with them.

Another good thing about Best Offer is setting the price of a newly-available in-hand. Rather than starting the auction at .99, why not start from the top with best offer. Ask for (half of) the sky and see how many offers you get. You have 48 hours to consider an offer so you can weigh in on which is the best.

Store - if you don't have a store, the short and long of this is it's similar to fixed price except the listings are below the core (auction, fixed price) on a search results page but the listing fee is quite cheap - 3 cents if listed below $25.

Over the last few years, more and more in-hand sellers have opened ebay stores to sell their cards and compete with one another on price. Just do a search for Derek Jeter's 2006 card. The difference sometimes between listings can be as slim as a penny.

There are also low-ball store listings prices for cards that hove a penny or more above CT's 7 day average. I used to scoop these up to replenish my inventory and get a sense of my competition's shipping process.

What I have noticed with low-ball store listing offers are less conscientiousness from these sellers. They don't communicate with the buyer even when I as the buyer inquiring about when the card was shipped because they take their sweet time shipping the card.

Ebay buyers are finicky. These low-ball offerings work only to a certain extent if the rest of the buying experience is less than desired. Buyers will look at the feedback and see how much of this feedback is from repeat customers.

As for shipping, your choice determines how you'll do.
The facts:
  • The lower your shipping cost the slimmer your margins (between gross and cost)
  • The lower your shipping cost, the more attractive will be your listing compared to another with the exact same asking price and higher shipping.
  • The higher your shipping cost, the higher your margins but the lower your sales based on another card at the same asking price.
  • To add to this, the higher your shipping cost, the lower will be the shipping Detailed Seller Rating on ebay's feedback which will eventually prevent you from getting a 5% Final Value Fee discount from ebay.
Find a cost for shipping somewhere in between and stick with it. Give a nice discount for multiple items to encourage in-hand shopping sprees. You can also give options for shipping both first-class and priority mail in case someone is buying an in-hand for a gift.

For autographed in-hands with the COA, I would charge a little extra than a regular in-hand because the weight is a little more. One in-hand weighs a little less than 3 ounces while the auto in-hand w/ COA is more than 3 and will be charged as 4 ounces.

If I left out something with pricing, please feel free to add your insight in the comments section below.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - April 4, Monthly Marketwatch: March

As of today, April 4 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 383
Sell-Through: 38.64%
Average starting price: $2.09
Average final price: $5.50

Highest Single Card Sale: 2006 Kobe Bryant, $26.00
Highest Mult-Card Sale: None
Highest Graded Sale: 2006 Brett Favre PSA 9, $12.00
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2001 LaDainian Tomlinson, $225.00
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

  • Cal Ripken Classic Baseball Event
  • Torrie Wilson Autograph
  • 2006 Peyton Manning
  • CTNW 1982 Wade Boggs
  • Allen & Ginter Milestones & Moments Barry Bonds

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: Torrie Wilson Autograph, 16 Bids

The following are stats covering the month of March for etopps in-hand cards:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 1,348
Sell-Through: 53.49%
Average starting price: $2.77
Average final price: $8.47

Highest Single Card Sale: 2007 Cameron Maybin, $24.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: Mickey Mantle Collection, $300.00
Highest Graded Sale: 2001 Albert Pujols BGS 9, $115.00
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: Brett Favre 50,000 Yds Event, $250.00
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: 2001 LaDainian Tomlinson, BGS 9.5, $278.56

Other best sellers:
Allen & Ginter Presidents Set
Allen & Ginter John F. Kennedy
2001 Mark Brunell
2001 Brett Favre
1954 Mickey Mantle Reprint

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: Allen & Ginter Presidents Set, 12 bids.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Designing & Critiquing An Ebay Listing: Item Description

As important as having a picture in a listing, having a quality item description is key to selling these cards. Even if you do not sell often, it is important to develop a handy template so it won't feel like you're "re-inventing the wheel" each time you set up a listing

A good way to develop one is to do a little research. Look at ebay listings. See which ones are selling. Read over their descriptions. Those who sell more than a few etopps in-hands already have the same language in each in-hand listing.

A good rule of thumb is your template should cover about 80% of your description so you would only have to adjust the remaining 20% for each listing.

In the 80%, your listing can stand out with a template design from Auctiva. It would be wise to describe what makes etopps cards special, their quality, their availability as well as other basics like your shipping and return policy. My policy is simple: 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

You may consider having a template for different sports or years. If you sell 2005 cards, for example, a template would make sense for to describe the Certificate of Issuance that are included with each card or 2004 cards with their total print run stamped on the back.

In summary, the template should be versatile enough to apply to most of your in-hands to save you time but it should have some thought behind it so it doesn't appear that it was slapped together.

The downside to templates is you run the risk of overlooking a typo or mispelling and having to go back to every listing you used with that template to correct the mistake. (I've been there. It sucks.)

Just remember, how you write your template will reflect what kind of seller you are. Will you give off a professional impression? Will you seem clueless? Friendly? Boring or asleep at the wheel? I love finding the ones who are asleep, the ones who list their in-hand(s) at 3AM on a Friday night after coming home from partying. That's how I won a BGS 10 LeBron rookie card for $40.

I think the impression you want to give is you're selling something that you like and believe the buyer will like as well.

Some of the best descriptions I've read for etopps in-hands start with one word that can set this tone: Wow! And that's what we want buyers of etopps in-hands to feel when they open the package we sent them. It's the feeling customers get at the National when they put an in-hand card in their hand. It's that expression on an 8-year old boy's face at a card show when they discover your table of in-hands and yell for their parent to come over.

The other 20% is where you plug in the player's name, year of the card, and possibly the total print run or serialized number. It may be helpful to place this information in a different colored font or in bold for buyers who are going through a few of your listings, making it easier on their eyes rather than having to read through your template each time to get the info they want.

Let's take a look now at the Ken Griffey Jr. listing's item description:

This is a card from 2006 Etopps of Ken Griffey Jr.. The card is #13 in the set. This card is serialed #/999 with the majority of them being in online portfolios. The card is also uncirculated and comes in the factory case and a baggy that is sent with the card from Etopps to keep the case from scratching.


$2.25 for the first item and 50 cents each additional item.


$50 coverage: $1.65

$100 coverage: $2.05

$150 coverage: $2.45

Insurance is optional on this item but I am not responsible for any uninsured packages.

Payments are to be received within 7 days of auctions closing. Failure to do so will result in negative feedback being given.

It covers most of the basic information you would cover in a template with the card information, shipping, insurance and payment policy spelled out pretty well in four sentences at the top. He shows he's going to ship this with its baggie and tells you why it will be included which is a nice touch.

Three things caught my eye besides the mispelling of serialized:
  1. Writing what the number of the card is on the back doesn't really do much for the listing. I know this is standard for cardboard but not etopps listings. Anyone trying to collect the 2006 Baseball set will probably try to collect the online cards than the in-hands on ebay.
  2. The card does not come in a factory case. This implies the case can be opened but should not. The word "factory" in a hobby listing refers to being sealed by the manufacturer and usually implies a case of something like hobby/retail boxes of cards or a hobby/retail box rather than an acrylic casing.
  3. The seller gives a warning - payment in 7 days or negative feedback. As a buyer, I'm not keen on a seller that gives me ultimatums in their listings no matter how many times they've been burned in the past. Just mentioning negative feedback in a listing is threatening and pretty soon will be superfluous when ebay begins their no negative feedback to buyers policy in the near future.
The seller could probably do a lot more for the description to sell the card so I'm grading his description a B.

It would probably take him 5-10 minutes to beef it up a little based on the suggestions I've made. If I was selling this card I would say that Ken Griffey Jr.'s 2006 card is his best etopps card because of the photo of him with his baseball cap turned around: while he's all grown up, he's still a kid at heart. Wouldn't this be something the buyer could relate to?

To conclude, selling in-hands on ebay is competitive and by expecting the picture to sell your card for you as good as this one is not enough.

Give the buyer reason to do business with you besides pricing which is what I will cover next.