Monday, September 29, 2008

Wigix, Autograph Offering: Favre-Fest

I admit the requirement to list an etopps in-hand on Wigix is unusual to say the least even though it is being done on Amazon. I'm sure this is reflected in the poll. Even though more people signed up with the website than voted, Wigix may not be for everyone and that's fine.

Just keep in mind to form a template of a card you want to list before you can start selling it.

On Wednesday I'll post about another online secondary market that (hopefully) will require less work to list cards.

* * *

Once again there are delivery delays for in-hands. This time it is 2008 Baseball:

Due to production issues beyond our control, etopps is experiencing delays on delivery of the following cards:

2008 Baseball

Jimmy Rollins 2008
Carlos Quentin 2008
Clayton Kershaw 2008
Seth Smith 2008
Joe Saunders 2008
Tim Lincecum 2008
Alexei Ramirez 2008
Armando Galarraga 2008
Cole Hamels 2008
Carlos Gonzalez 2008
Charlie Morton 2008
Cliff Lee 2008
Max Ramirez 2008
Brandon Jones 2008
Jair Jurrjens 2008
Brett Gardner 2008
Chris Davis 2008
C.C. Sabathia 2008
Chris Volstad 2008
Steve Pearce 2008
Jeff Samardzija 2008
Taylor Teagarden 2008
Clayton Richard 2008
Manny Ramirez 2008
Ivan Rodriguez 2008
Jason Bay 2008
Gio Gonzalez 2008
Mark Teixeira 2008
Cliff Pennington 2008
Daniel Murphy 2008
Greg Maddux 2008
Adam Dunn 2008
Daric Barton 2008

We expect to have these cards available for delivery on Monday, October 20th. Please continue to check eTopps Updates for additional information.


etopps Team

* * *

Etopps surprised its community by offering not one but two Brett Favre autographs, 25 of the 2006 and 25 of the 2007. Both cards at $149.99 each. Along with this Favre will be offered during this week's IPO in a Jet uniform.

Only caveat to Favre's autograph offering is he's now a Jet. I always have qualms about how sellable an autograph is if the player goes to another team (I brought this up when I reviewed Josh Hamilton earlier this year after being traded from the Reds to the Rangers in the off-season.) But if the player is good enough or great enough (like Favre), I don't think there's much to worry about.

I'd be worried more about getting one when they become available at 3pm EST on Thursday (10/2).

So beyond etopps-land, is this worth getting? After doing my usual search on ebay, here's what I found: for 2006 and 2007 autos of Favre, most of what I've seen on ebay are stickers on cards and are nearing the price that etopps is asking. With the combined demand for Favre's auto, his first etopps auto and the fact that the signature will be on the card with his jersey number, it's a safe bet that both of these will do well on the secondary market.

* * *

Cal Ripken Jr. will be signing at the

If you live in NJ or the general area, bring your Cal Ripken etopps in-hand with you to Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ at the home of the Yogi Berra Museum. Cal will be signing autographs at the museum on Tuesday, November 11th from 1-3pm. He will only be signing 500 items. What's cool is pre-orders are encouraged and accepted: 973-655-2378.

I highly recommend the museum. It's loaded with Yankee history and rare memorabilia. Last year I pre-ordered Don Mattingly signing his book on hitting. When I went to the museum to pick up the book, I got a chance to see Yogi Berra.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - September 26

As of today, September 26 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 261
Sell-Through: 37.17%
Average starting price: $1.96
Average final price: $11.76

Highest Single Card Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter Barack Obama, $57
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2004 15-card English Football Set, $26.99
Highest Graded Sale: 2001 Albert Pujols, PSA 9, $34.33
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2005 Alex Rodriguez 10 Rod Event, $300
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2007 Adrian Peterson
* 2003 LeBron James
* 2001 Vernon Wells
* 2003 Dwyane Wade

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2007 Dustin Pedroia Autograph, Bids: 14

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A& G Yankee Tribute Set Delay, WIGIX Update & Poll

This was posted today in the updates section on the etopps website:

Please be aware that eTopps Allen & Ginter Yankee Satdium Tribute sets were printed on schedule but after reviewing the cards in person, we felt the quantity was not up to eTopps standards and therefore made the decision to re-print the cards. This decision has lead to a production delay and for this we apologize, but the eTopps team is dedicated to delivering a quality product. The sets are now nearing completion and will be available for delivery mid to late October.

Please continue to check eTopps Updates for additional information.

Again, we apologize for the delay, and we appreciate your patience.

The eTopps Team

* * *

Last night I got moving on becoming the category expert guy for etopps basketball and hockey. I also approved a listing for the A &G Yankee tribute set that was distributed at the National and tried out listing one of my etopps cards I have listed on ebay. Here's the listing I did last night.

I noticed on the listing there was no mention of payment methods or anything. That should have been a red flag for me but since I was falling-down tired I waited to see what would happen next.

This morning I received a lot of emails related to wigix. The one that stood out the most was from the Director of the Catalog on Wigix:

I just noticed that the "ETOPPS ALLEN GINTER 2008 NATIONAL PROMO SET W/RUTH" page was added to the etopps category recently. However, some of the contents are not conforming with the Wigix standards and need to be corrected.

Basically, the major difference between Wigix and eBay is that our catalog is a generic one that can be used by everyone for different purposes. "Listing a page" does NOT mean list a product for sale, it's only the first step - to build the catalog. Owner- or Seller-specific information can only be filled in when you add the item to your portfolio and place a sell order on it. Therefore, all the contents in the item page need to be objective, third-person, instead of being specific and personal. Information about shipping & handling, item condition, guarantee, etc, shall strictly be excluded. Watermaked images shall also never appear on our site for copyright concerns (the image of the above item contains eBay watermark).

Please read the following guidelines for more detail if you haven't done so.

- The Guidelines for Item Submission (
- The Guidelines for Approving Item Submissions (

Let me know if you have further questions.

Thank you very much!

Rena He Huang
Director of Catalog

Wigix, Inc.
Keeping fees at bay…

So in a nutshell, I listed my in-hand as if it was on ebay and even copy and pasted the photo I used from my ebay listing while in fact I was only entering an in-hand to build the etopps catalog.


Aside from my mistake this shows that Wigix is very web 2.0 in which we would be sharing information about the in-hand cards. And why not? When you look at the listings for the same exact in-hand on ebay the only differences are price, shipping, item description and seller's feedback rating.

So why not create a catalog of templates?
Because it's a lot of work. I don't want to guess how many hours building the etopps catalog on cardtarget has taken.

They're not trying to re-create the wheel here. Amazon is already doing this. 31 in-hands are listed on Amazon as templates.

But here's the incentive with wigix that makes it better than Amazon: they award you ownership rights for a template. Any transaction on wigix for the in-hand card that you created the template for, you will get a percentage of the revenue. I believe it's 5%. Here's info on this.

I would love to do this all by myself, get the whole etopps catalog listed, rake in all that dough (not!). But I can't. Since I introduced Wigix here, a number of you have registered already.

I am going to open a poll on whether this seems like something worth pursuing or not with either a yes or a no.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Autograph Offering: Marion Barber

What do you get when 10% of an already-accumulated non-rookie card is offered as an autograph for the price of the card if it wasn't autographed? A bad deal.

As an in-hand an etopps autograph seller, the only way I would buy this one would be if I got this card for free in the catalog.

The timing of this autograph offering couldn't be better. Barber had a great game last night against Packers.

However, Marion Barber's rookie card was in 2005. What value can his 2007 card hold? Don't tell me--I know:
  • It's his only etopps card
  • It's a low print run (499)
  • It's an endangered species (read it's being accumulated so the price is inflated)
  • He's a Cowboy
But let's take a look at how he's done as a 2007 autographed card on ebay.

I used the words Marion Barber auto 2007 in the search box. I clicked on completed auctions and sorted them from highest to lowest.

As expected, a non-rookie auto card is more dependent on quantity of total autographs offered.

The highest selling one that sold was a Sweet Spot auto helmet that went for $60 and was #4 of 5 auto cards signed. The second highest was a Gridiron Dual Jersey Auto (#1/3) that went for $47 and a Donruss Threads Auto /10 went for $36.

The highest selling one that had a run of 50 in 2007 was 2007 National Treasures which ended at $21.49.

Nevertheless there are etopps members who are fans of the Cowboys and Barber who may pay more than what these cards go for, especially since this one is signed on the card rather than on a sticker which appears to be the pattern for a lot of the cards that have been listed for Barber.

So if you do choose to purchase this card to flip either as a pre-sell or when you get it shipped to you and it sells, don't expect your buyer to be oblivious of etopps.

Rather than overpay for the card and auto combined, save your money for the Allen & Ginter Terry Bradshaw that will be offered soon. When you click on the pigskin challenge on the home page, you will be able to open a page to see what the prizes will be for the games. Scroll down the list. First you'll see the Namath A & G and then farther down you'll see the Bradshaw A &G offered as one of the weekly prizes. It'll cost the same as Namath but will be worth the money.


Wigix update: I'll be listing an etopps in-hand or two and will post the link on Wednesday. There are already listings for etopps football cards, all from the same seller, the category guru for football cards.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - September 19

As of today, September 19 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 273
Sell-Through: 40.29%
Average starting price: $2.09
Average final price: $7.40

Highest Single Card Sale: 2007 Joba Chamberlain, $36.77
Highest Mult-Card Sale: (5) 2001 Albert Pujols, $158
Highest Graded Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter Babe Ruth National Promo, PSA 10, $62.01
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2002 Emmitt Smith, $85.07
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2001 Patrick Roy
* 2005 David Wright
* 2008 Allen & Ginter John McCain
* 2008 Johan Santana

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: (5) 2001 Albert Pujols, Bids: 15

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WIGIX Update

An update is long overdue about the Want It Got It Exchange website or

Since introducing Wigix here, I have been doing some back and forth with the staff at wigix for setting up categories and what they call attributes (year of the card, player's name, specific things similar to ebay like grading, serialized, manufacturer, etc.).

For some reason, I wasn't getting notified by email when a Wigix staff member sent me an email in my Wigix inbox. Scrolling through the back-and-forth messages, a week would pass before they responded while other times it would take less than a day to get back to me on a question or submission I had.

At one point, there was a huge lag when I depended on my gmail inbox to tell me I had a message from the Wigix staff because it never came.

Since then, I have logged into my account almost every day. Yesterday I worked on the attributes as mentioned above and this morning I received an email notification in my gmail inbox that I had a message waiting for me in my Wigix account. Go figure.

Nevertheless, I hope we can start listing in-hands on Wigix soon, perhaps within the next week. Once this is a Go, I will post here and will list a few in-hands to see how it happens and will report back here how listing a card went.

Kudos to all of those who have signed up for Wigix. I appreciate your patience.

Enjoy the video:

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Autograph Offering: Anthony Gonzalez

It's too bad etopps didn't continue to include the back of the card with the autograph scan. I thought it was a nice touch last week for the Namath auto.

Up for grabs is the first rookie autograph offering for Thursday, September 18th at 3pm EST.

For only $44.99 each, you can order up to 3 of these. The total quantity is an even 100. And judging by the appearance of the scanned signature, I can see why none were rejected. It's a fresh, clean autograph that's only missing his jersey number next to his name.

I'm not bullish on this first autograph. Gonzalez does a good job as one of Peyton's weapons but I would have chosen another rookie to start the football autograph season. For the price, it's not bad. His Exquisite rookie patch auto sold recently on ebay for $117.90 with a print run of $99. But others haven't sold as well:
2007 UD Trilogy graded BGS 9.5/Auto 10.0 /99 went for only $3 more than etopps' offering.
2007 UD Premiere Auto Jersey /125 only $24.50.

The problem with this initial FB autograph offering during the football season is the good rookies were taken last year: Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.

Who can we expect? JaMarcus Russell, Trent Edwards, Selvin Young, Brady Quinn and Calvin Johnson probably.

Will we have more Allen & Ginter Superbowl Champions after Joe Namath? And what about the veteran players? I'd love to see Tony Romo, Brett Favre, Aaron Rogers or Philip Rivers.

Or will etopps offer a few of the better rookies for this year like McFadden, Ryan or a rookie who hasn't made a statement yet.

I would rather save my money for something better than this autograph unless you like the Colts, Gonzalez, wide receivers, any auto offered by etopps. And good luck flipping this based on what other autos have sold for on ebay recently -- oh whoops, I almost forgot--this is etopps so any auto will sell out in minutes and will double your money on the flip on the 'bay.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - September 12

As of today, September 12 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 352
Sell-Through: 42.05%
Average starting price: $1.94
Average final price: $22.12

Highest Single Card Sale: Allen & Ginter Barack Obama, $57
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2007 Allen & Ginter Milestones & Moments Set, $75
Highest Graded Sale: 2001 Albert Pujols, PSA 10, $152.49
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2002 Tom Brady, $137.50
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2007 Adrian Peterson
* 2008 Allen & Ginter John McCain
* 2007 Dustin Pedroia
* 2008 Joey Votto

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2008 John McCain, Bids: 16

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Autograph Offering: (Pricing Theories) Allen & Ginter Joe Namath

Kudos goes to Mark for keeping his promise. Those in attendance at this summer's econ in Chicago voted for the Allen & Ginter Superbowl Champs cards to be autographed and it looks like this is going to happen. This is the first Allen & Ginter football card to be autographed ever. (It's beyond me why Topps has not introduced an Allen & Ginter football set yet.)

Of all of the Superbowl Champs cards, Namath is probably the least popular. Smart move on etopps part to have this as the first one introduced and the first football autograph offering for the start of the season.

Only problem is the price: $179. There have already been rumblings on the message board on this price. If Namath is at this price, it'll be interesting to see how much others will cost (like Montana) if etopps carries out their promise and offers the entire set one card at a time.

I've got a few theories why the price is so high:
  • Namath only signed 38 out of 50 or 100 cards that were legible and charged by the card regardless of the quality of his signature so etopps had to eat the cost.
  • Someone at Topps crunched the numbers for how etopps has done in the last year and saw that there was room for profit in the autograph department, especially since there were some low-budget auto offerings for this past baseball season.
  • Eisner got word that Namath was signing and when he found out etopps was only charging $99 (which they should), Eisner said, "that's it?"
  • Topps got word that Namath will be holding a press conference some time during this football season to make a prediction that dwarfs the one that made him famous: when he will die. Since this will be happening in the next six months, Topps knew that his autograph will go up in price and legitimizes the extra $80 cost per auto.
  • It's a typo. It should really be $79.
  • Etopps is banking on the listing freeze. No one bought any cards for more than a week. Registered members are bound to have more cash on hand to spend.
  • There will be a surprise bonus that will go along with buying the auto. Namath will call you and tell you he doesn't want to kiss you.
  • Etopps will include a swatch card of Namath's fur coat.
Have a theory? Submit it by clicking on the word comments.

Two more days left for taking the poll for your favorite baseball in-hand design.

Monday, September 8, 2008

How To Get 5-Star Ratings From Me For An In-Hand On Ebay

Thanks for voting in the poll about which is your favorite in-port baseball design. The clear winner was 2001.

From the message board over the years while in-port designs held certain opinions, there have been threads to descibe how well a particular year's design looks in-hand. What comes to mind is the 2004 design: some couldn't stand it as an in-port while others preferred how the design looked in-hand. Cast your vote in which is your favorite in-hand design by year.


For one penny, we are back up and running to list in-port cards starting officially as of 1pm est today. I can't believe it took this long to reach this solution but what do I know. It's a programming issue so building in a penny cost to the listing template could be like rocket science, especially if no one at etopps management has looked under the hood of the template since it was first built.

I listed some cards when it became available and noticed that the cards I listed were going up on ebay within 15 minute intervals. I also noticed they updated the optional picture gallery as being free rather than claiming the old cost of thirty-five cents.


I've focused a lot on selling in-hands on this blog. For a change, I want to give some kind of perspective for the other side of in-hands: buying them.

Here's what I expect when I buy an in-hand on ebay:
  • The condition of the card is in genuine mint condition as stated in the listing. If not, the listing should clearly state if it is not and (possibly) for what reason.
  • The cost of shipping is not ridiculous (i.e., over $3).
  • The picture looks like the condition of the card I will be receiving, not a copy and paste job from cardtarget or etopps of the in-port picture of the card. In other words, I want to see what I'm getting.
  • Feedback from the seller is given by the time the seller has packaged the card for shipment.
  • Delivery confirmation is used via paypal so I know when the card is shipped.
  • Shipping should be no more than 48 hours from the time I pay for the card and when it is shipped. Anything more than 48 hours without an explanation by the seller is inexcusable unless I purchase the card in the late afternoon on a Friday and the shipping is done the following Monday.
  • An email from the seller acknowledging payment, when the card will be shipped and thanking me for their business. (Pet peeve is a seller who does not communicate anything)
  • The card is shipped in a bubble-lined mailer
  • If my mailing address is hand-written, I expect the mailer to write my address exactly as I have provided it through paypal (ie, mistaking the letter S for the number 5 in my street address).
When all of this goes well, I am happy to give the seller 5-star ratings for each category. Otherwise, I'm not going to be 100% satisfied.

If I forgot anything that you expect as a buyer of an in-hand on ebay, please add your comments.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - September 5

As of today, September 5 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 275
Sell-Through: 49.45
Average starting price: $1.73
Average final price: $8.90

Highest Single Card Sale: Allen & Ginter Barack Obama, $51.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2001 Baseball Etopps In-Hand Set, $800
Highest Graded Sale: 2001 Albert Pujols, PSA 9, $49.01
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2007 Adrian Peterson, $197
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2007 Allen & Ginter Bill Clinton
* 2008 Allen & Ginter Hillary Clinton
* 2001 Lance Berkman
* 2008 Evan Longoria

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2008 Jed Lowrie, Bids: 15

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Polls And Thoughts On The Listing Freeze

Thanks to all of you for contributing to the poll. Three choices stood out as blunders: allowing multiple ports, not realizing ebay's new shipping policy which we still experience as of today, and not publicizing in-hand quantity for each card taken for delivery.

Since 2008 Baseball IPOs are complete, I've created a new poll: which is your favorite in-port etopps baseball design from 2001 to 2008. From what I've read over from the message board over the years, it's apparent that opinions can differ between an in-port and an in-hand design for any given year.

While we continue to wait for etopps to fix the listing problem, one thing I've noticed is the number of people who have started threads about this issue on the message board who hardly ever post. They don't read the message board judging by how many have started threads, inquiring if anyone else is having the same problem they are having.

Something else that's startling to me is the current moderator posting over the weekend and saying he has not been the one deleting threads.

I'm sure whoever is deleting threads is thinking of someone's best interest but I'm not exactly sure whose interest they have in mind. As posted in so many ways on the message board, not giving active participants a say in what gets deleted but instead moderating covertly is a step back in improving this message board.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that this will get fixed soon (and improved to include fixed-price as an option so we can take advantage of ebay's upcoming 30-day fixed price listings), the cardtarget/etopps merge is successful and the start of examining how to improve the message board and how etopps interacts with it current membership in a more timely and transparent manner.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wish I Had Written This Blog Post

Ever find something written better than what you just did?

There's a blog about e-commerce and ebay by Randy Smythe called My Blog Utopia!

I recently read this post by Randy and afterwards wished I had written it myself.

It's about getting ready for the 4th financial quarter. Think etopps in-hands when he talks about getting your ducks in place for the upcoming holiday season and how to approach the new pricing structure on ebay.

Give it a read and let me know what you think.