Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - October 31 (Boo!)

As a follow-up to the listing violation issue with in-port cards, Mark Sapir cc'ed me in his email to ebay, asking for help with this situation. He emailed three different people at ebay and received a quick reply from ebay that they will be working to solve this problem either by today or Monday.

Hopefully, this will be resolved soon.

* * *

As of today, October 31 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 236
Sell-Through: 39.41%
Average starting price: $3.07
Average final price: $11.71

Highest Single Card Sale: 2008 Allen and Ginter Barack Obama, $66.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2008 Allen and Ginter Yankee Stadium Tribute Set, $137.50
Highest Graded Sale: 2002 Jackie Robinson, PSA 10, $19.99
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2007 Adrian Peterson, $175.00
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2006 Cole Hamels
* 2008 Allen and Ginter Hillary Clinton
* 2008 Allen and Ginter Yankee Stadium Tribute Patch Card
* 2001 Albert Pujols

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2001 Albert Pujols: 16 bids

Thursday, October 30, 2008

From Ebay: Etopps In-Port Auctions Are A Violation

After the last post, I phoned ebay in hopes of getting a hold of someone.

I got through and explained the situation, the difference between in-hand and in-port, that these are freakin' sports cards, that this will effect hundreds of people who sell these cards, that I have no control over the template for the listing.

It didn't matter.

Bottom line is these are digitally deliverable goods and should be listed as classified ads not as auctions according to their policy (which has been in effects for months).

So until etopps adjusts the template, I would end my listings if I were you. You can try to get away with not being detected until Sunday but I don't see what the gain is to being a sitting duck.

But there's a problem. No one is going to pay $9.95 to list an etopps card. While you can name your price and it's a buy-it-now. This listing fee is absurb.

So what's gong to happen? Will we be able to continue to list etopps cards as auctions? Will they be listed as classified ads? Is this the last straw between etopps and ebay? Or is it time for the Big Brown Truck?

As TO once said, "Bring your popcorn."

Sellers Beware: In-Port Ebay Listing Violation

I listed a bunch of in-port etopps cards for 7 days to end Saturday night. One of them is a 2008 Steve Slaton. It had bids since being listed last Saturday.

It was just pulled by ebay.

I got an email with the subject line: MC018 eBay Listing Removed: Miscategorization of Digitally Delivered Goods.

Here's what the email says:
You recently listed the following auction-style listing:

400004427345 - 1 - Steve Slaton 2008 - etopps

The listing was removed because it violated the eBay Miscategorization of Digitally Delivered Goods policy. The violation occurred when you included the following information in your listing:

This auction is for an in-portfolio card. This card will be transferred to your eTopps portfolio.

We notified members who placed bids on the item that the listing has been canceled.

To ensure that members can find what they're looking for quickly and easily, items need to be listed in the appropriate category. Sellers need to choose the category that most accurately describes their item.

*****Please read this important information to help you bring your future listings into compliance.

Digital goods are often reproduced at little to no cost to the seller. On eBay, this creates the potential for Feedback Manipulation. To preserve the integrity of the Feedback system, all goods that can be digitally downloaded or transferred electronically (including e-mail delivery) must be listed using the Classified Ad format in the Everything Else>Information Products category only.

Please note that if the appropriate changes are not made, it may lead to the indefinite suspension of your account.*****

For more information on the eBay policy, please visit:

Needless to say this is not a good sign. Anyone listing an in-port is a sitting duck. This reminds me of when people were getting notices of listing violations when cardtarget was listing cards for people's ebay/etopps accounts for CTM and people were getting suspended from ebay.

I forwarded this email to Mark Sapir and hopefully he'll be able to contact ebay or be able to make an adjustment to the listing category for etopps cards or something so no one else will have their listings pulled and get the slap on the hand that I got.

Strange how this pandora's box gets opened right before Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Gift of Cardtarget's New Website

It's here. Finally. Cardtarget now includes in-hands.

Now you can buy and sell in-hands and see how they're doing on ebay.

And it's not just plain ol' in-hands. They're also including autographed etopps cards so you can see how they performed on ebay.

I just did a search on how Hanley Ramirez's autographed card sold in the past. I was expecting the past two weeks. Try more than two freakin' months!

It goes back until May for Hanley's standard in-hands, five months of data.

For Adrian Peterson's auto, you can see a list of the last 23 ebay transactions.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: this is a goldmine. Cardtarget now has the deepest ebay search you will find.

You can't even go this far back for third-party auction services that require a monthly paid subscription.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Favorite Favorites For Etopps Autographs

I have found the best prices for etopps autographed cards by using certain search terms on ebay which you can save as a favorite and then get emailed if there are any new listings with these search terms for up to a year.

Here's my list of search terms for etopps autographs:

etopps auto
etopps autograph
etopps signed
etopps autographed
e-topps auto
e-topps autograph
e-topps autographed

Try them and see what comes up.

After you do a search for each one, there's a link next to the search term called Save This Search. You will be given the option to have the search results emailed to you and you can choose for how long. If you subscribe for six months, days before it expires you will get an email from ebay asking you to re-subscribe. It's a great little tool to have.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - October 24

As of today, October 24 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 286
Sell-Through: 51.40%
Average starting price: $3.80
Average final price: $8.67

Highest Single Card Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter Barack Obama, $64.99
Highest Mult-Card Sale: Mickey Mantle 18-Card Collection, $395
Highest Graded Sale: 2003 Carson Palmer, PSA 10, $6.61
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: Emmitt Smith Event, $199.99
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2008 Justin Masterson
* 2008 A&G YST Patch Card
* 2008 Evan Longoria
* 2004 Josh Smith

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: (tie) A&G Barack Obama, 2008 Justin Masterson: 13 bids

Monday, October 20, 2008

Autograph Offering: Greg Olsen

Thank you for participating in last week's poll. Some were in favor of offering autographs of players during their off-season while others did not want to change when the autographs became available. And it appears I am in the minority on sticker autos which I can get over.

I appreciate the comments submitted by Jeff and welcome discussion for any posts past or present.

* * *

On Thursday, etopps is offering the autograph of Greg Olsen's 2007 rookie card for $39.99 each. The total quantity is 96. Etoppers can buy up to 3 of these starting at 3pm EST.

If you are a Bears fan, a collector of etopps autographs, a collector of autographs on-the-card rather than stickers, or a fellow alumni of Olsen's school (Miami), this is a great autographed rookie card to own.

But don't get your hopes up for making a profit on this card on ebay. Unless you live in the Chicago area and you're a card show seller, the asking price for this card is about the max of what you can sell it for on ebay. So it's a break-even situation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - October 17

As of today, October 17 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 139
Sell-Through: 46.04%
Average starting price: $1.92
Average final price: $10.31

Highest Single Card Sale: 2003 LeBron James: $31.88
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter Yankee Stadium Tribute Set: $174.99
Highest Graded Sale: 2008 A & G YST Babe Ruth, PSA 9, $30.71
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: 2006 Reggie Bush
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: 2007 Adrian Peterson, BGS 9.5/10 $349

Other best sellers:

* 1956 Mickey Mantle reprint
* 2008 A&G YST Don Larsen
* 2008 A&G YST Aaron Boone
* 2007 A&G SB Champions John Elway

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2007 A&G John Elway, 7 Bids.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Idea For Serializing Autographs; Solution to Send & Run on Ebay

If there is a person at etopps who writes the serial number from the square sticker on the back of each autograph on the respective certificate of authenticity, why can't they also write "001/100" somewhere on the COA as well?

This would make the COA more valuable and create a little more demand for certain serial numbers (ie, the player's jersey number).

* * *

It happened again last night on ebay. A potential buyer for one of my buy-it-now/best offer listings emailed me via ebay. Minutes after receiving the email I emailed him back. More than 12 hours after I replied to his email, I haven't heard a word from him.

Similar to hit & run, this is send (email) & run. I'm convinced that ebay buyers assume sellers will not reply to an email until 24 hours after the email has been sent.

Couldn't ebay create an icon that shows up next to your ebay id that indicates logged onto ebay? It could be anything, as simple as a green traffic light so buyers can assume sellers will not return emails. I'm always surprised by how many buyers who do respond to an email I send them through ebay compliment me on how fast I respond.

Bottom line: customer service should not be perceived as optional. It should be a given.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Autograph Offering: Calvin Johnson/Take The Poll: Suggestions To Improve Auto Program

I wish I could tell you this autograph offering of Calvin Johnson is a good deal because of the price or quantity or because he is a high draft pick or because of the team he plays on or the position he plays. But none of these matter.

Good luck if you're considering re-selling this card. I'm sure this is a great opportunity if you're a Lions fan or a fan of his alma mater, Georgia Tech or like to collect etopps autographs as part of your sports memorabilia collection.

The reality is this card is being offered in the etopps autograph program too late. We already know this based on the quantity you can buy in the email sent by etopps: 3. It indicates the confidence etopps has that this will be a sell-out.

One of two things has to happen to get out of this frustrating cycle of releasing autographs of players whose secondary-market hype has passed. It's not the best solution but at least it points in this direction.

Since we cannot get these cards autographed until they are at least available to be shipped, etopps has to bite the bullet and offer the autograph as soon as possible, regardless of where we are in the football season (read after the football season is over).

Let's take Adrian Peterson's auto as an example. It was offered at the tail-end of the playoffs for $99 on 1/23/07 to be exact. From my Friday Marketwatch posts, you can see that it has been one of the best selling autos on ebay since it was announced...until the beginning of this season. Could you imagine what would be its value if etopps had waited until the beginning of this season to release this auto? It probably would have sold out but the last one that sold went for a little more than $25 over the price of the auto. So if you bought the auto at today's price (upper $20s) and spent the $99 on the auto, you would have broken even if you were the seller who sold this last one on ebay.

Another possibility to take advantage of the hype of rookies while they are in their rookie season is to offer autos with stickers. (I know what you're thinking: "Heresy!") This suggestion would not be for the autos we've seen for Favre, Bill Russell, Tomlinson, Pujols, Emmitt Smith or any of the other greats of football, baseball or basketball. It would only be for the rookies if this would help them become available for the second market prior to their sophomore season when the value of most rookie cards (and autos) go down.

I'm going to open a poll through Friday: keep the auto program as it is, offer autos beyond the season of the sport the player is in, sticker autos for rookies only if it can expedite offering the autos while these rookies are still in their rookie seasons, or something else. If you vote for something else, I welcome you to post your comments on what can improve the timing of offerings in the etopps autograph program.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - October 10

As of today, October 10 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 194
Sell-Through: 53.09%
Average starting price: $1.53
Average final price: $9.51

Highest Single Card Sale: 2005 Ryan Howard, $20
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2008 Allen Ginter Yankee Stadium Tribute Set: $149
Highest Graded Sale: 2005/06 Deron Williams, BGS 9.5, $7.50
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: Allen & Ginter Joe Namath, $179
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: 2006 Justin Morneau, BGS 9.5, (Auto 10): $200

Other best sellers:

* 2006 Reggie Bush
* 2007 Daisuke Matsuzaka
* 2005 Prince Fielder
* 2008 Derek Jeter

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: 2008 Derek Jeter, 9 Bids

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Feedback on the new CardTarget website; Remaining 08 Baseball Ready for Shipping

I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek preview from Mike for the new CardTarget website yesterday. He asked me to look it over and provide feedback on its overall appearance, navigation and in-hand market capabilities.

You're going to like the way this looks. The biggest and most significant change is the division two sections on the homepage. One for in-port and one for in-hand. As it does now for in-port, you will see a parallel listing of best sellers for in-hands and in-ports.

So with this parallel data, how will you tell one from the other? It'll be obvious on the homepage because they will have a title for each listing (in-port on the left and in-hand on the right). But what about a page for a player's card. How will you know, especially for the newbies once the etopps integration will kick in? If you are on an in-port card page, you will see a briefcase symbol that you won't miss. And if you are on an in-hand card page, a nice picture of a hand on that page.

Besides moving a few of the pull-down menus around, the overall navigation will be similar to how you currently navigate on CT. For the newbies, there will be informational sections on what is etopps and what is cardtarget and how they will be working together. I assume there will be quite a few people getting on CT for the first time after etopps makes the announcement that the integration is a go.

Setting up your in-hand portfolio will be quite easy. It's actually like being on Cloud 9. (Keep in mind, you're going to have to build it card-by-card since there's no XML file to transfer what you have in your collection to CT.)

For each card you will have a search box to type in the player's name. If you type in Griffey, you get to see gallery photos of all of the Griffey card produced by etopps as in-hands. You simply select which one you want by clicking on the select button below the photo.

At first I thought they had scanned each in-hand but that didn't make sense. Brilliantly, they doctored each in-port card to look like the in-hand version. And this works.

They also will give you the option to include other photos for your in-hand in case you're not happy with what they provide, but I don't see how you would not want their photo image for your in-hand. I just can't believe no one cooked this up before for making an in-port look like an in-hand.

If the card is graded or autographed, you can pick these options for the card you select and this is when adding your own image comes in handy.

For graded etopps, you will enter the company that graded the card, the grade, the qualifiers and the serial number for the graded card.

In summary, it's great to see how much cardtarget has been working on this while keeping up with the quality website they continue to provide for us.

* * *

Subject:Production Update: Cards Available For Delivery for 10/9/08

The following cards are available for delivery on Thursday, October 9, 2008:


Albert Pujols 2008
Ken Griffey Jr. 2008
Jed Lowrie 2008
Denard Span 2008
Hanley Ramirez 2008
Chase Utley 2008
Ian Kennedy 2008
Justin Masterson 2008
Brandon Webb 2008
Chipper Jones 2008
Hiroki Kuroda 2008
Jeff Clement 2008
Derek Jeter 2008
Ryan Church 2008
Max Scherzer 2008
Joey Votto 2008
David Wright 2008
Edinson Volquez 2008
Luke Hochevar 2008
Matt Joyce 2008
Alex Rodriguez 2008
Evan Longoria 2008
Nate McLouth 2008
Greg Smith 2008
Geovany Soto 2008
Jay Bruce 2008
John Bowker 2008
Nick Evans 2008

We appreciate your patience. Please continue to check eTopps Updates for additional information.

The eTopps Team

Monday, October 6, 2008

Autograph Offering: Brandon Jacobs

A few Nationals ago, I was wandering around the show and found a dealer who was having a blow-out sale, trying to get rid of as many cards as possible before hopping on the next plane out of Anaheim.

I went through his scattered pile and found a Brandon Jacobs rookie auto card. It was from Upper Deck and was a sticker card. At the time he was the t0-be-determined back-up to Tiki Barber on the Giants who was deemed too tall/big to be an effective running back beyond short-yardage gains to reach a first down or the end zone.

I bought the card anyway and it sat on a shelf above my desk for awhile. About a year ago, when Jacobs became a starter I tried selling this sticker auto two times before leaving it in my store with a best offer. Finally someone bought it for $10, a few dollars over what I had paid for it.

I think if I had it again and tried selling it again, I would have gone through the same thing.

Jacobs is underrated due to his size. He's more like a Larry Csonka than a Tiki Barber. Nevertheless, on ebay you're not going to find many of his autos over what etopps is asking for at $40 a pop (total qty 50). Even sticker autos half the print run won't go over this price.

So if you're a believer in a big-bruiser of a running back or a fan of Big Blue, go bonkers and buy one. Just don't expect much from ebay in return for the time being...and don't forget the lovely COI (certificate of issuance) that will be included with the card.

* * *
Auctionbytes, an online newsletter about auctions and ecommerce, just did a positive write-up on Bonanzle that sums up the ecommerce site as simple to use
* * *

I don't do this often enough: here's a good example of an item description of a listing for a 2007 Adrian Peterson autographed in-hand. The seller did not have the COA for the autograph and did a nice job handling this in the listing

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Marketwatch - October 3

As of today, October 3 the following are stats covering the last 7 days on ebay for etopps in-hands:

Quantity of etopps in-hands listings: 179
Sell-Through: 57.54%
Average starting price: $2.12
Average final price: $9.16

Highest Single Card Sale: 2001 Albert Pujols, $50
Highest Mult-Card Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter Yankee StadiumTribute Set, $222.25
Highest Graded Sale: 2008 Allen & Ginter Yankee Stadium Tribute Babe Ruth, PSA 10, $38.89
Highest Non-Graded Autograph Sale: Classic Nolan Ryan, $78.99
Highest Graded Autograph Sale: None

Other best sellers:

* 2007 Allen & Ginter John F. Kennedy
* 2007 Ben Roethlisberger
* 2001 Albert Pujols
* 2007 Tony Romo

In-hand listing (not including graded or autographed) that received most bids that sold well: (tie) Classic Mickey Mantle and Allen & Ginter Mileston Jim Thome 500 HRs, Bids: 11

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Video: Allen & Ginter Yankee Tribute Set

I recorded this video last night but youtube was down for maintenance. I used a webcam so the quality of the video isn't perfect.

If you plan to sell this set on ebay or online somewhere else, you have my permission to embed this video in your listing. I only ask in return that you provide a link back to this blog in the listing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Up & Coming Secondary Market: Bonanzle

I just added a new addition to the list of secondary markets on the right.

In search of alternatives to ebay as a user-friendly secondary marketplace, in a blog I subscribe to here's a good write-up about Bonanzle. Like all competitors of ebay, it's small in comparison but it's growing fast. Unlike Wigix where you have to create a template in order to either buy or sell an item, you can start selling by simply importing your ebay listings on Bonanzle.

When someone clicks on one of your listings, they see all of your listings in your booth (Bonanzle's version of an ebay store).

Listings are free with up to four photographs for the item.

Fees apply to final values:

Final Offer Value 1Fee
Less than $10$0.50
Less than $50$1
Less than $100$3
Less than $1000$5
$1000 or more$10

Another nice thing is you can accept Google Checkout as a payment along with paypal.

I found 16 listings for etopps when I typed in this word in their search box.

If you decide to register and list in-hands (or anything imported from ebay), post here what it was like for you.