If you’re looking to buy trading cards online with the goal of “flipping” them, then you need to be conscious of what you pay for it. This takes more patience in finding the right price at the right time. This can be challenging, time-consuming, and at times, downright frustrating.
It’s important to realize that for the most part, when you buy trading cards online to resell them right away, profit margins are usually pretty low. You need to also make sure you take fees into consideration.
Do Serious Research Before You Buy Trading Cards Online
The first thing that you need to do is research the specific card (and grade) that you’re looking to buy and then sell. Start with eBay. Find out what they are selling for. Next, check out Heritage Auctions for past sale information as well. As many of you know, I recommend PSA graded cards, so find out what the actual value of the card is as well. Don’t stop there, check out some other sites too. You really want to be completely comfortable with the market for the exact card you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to take some time to really get comfortable with the cards your interested in.
Tip: Different graded conditions can greatly vary the value of a trading card. Do your research.
Once you’ve done the research, write down the lowest you’ve seen it sell recently, the highest you’ve seen it sell for, and what the average price seems to be. Your objective is to buy it at that lowest price (or lower if at all possible).
The Buying Strategy for Investors
Okay, so the buying strategy is pretty simple. Start with eBay. See if you can find a “Buy it Now” with a “make an offer” listing. Offer them the low figure that you wrote down (or maybe even lower because they may counter offer you). If you can’t get it at the low-end, move on. Don’t get sucked into counter-offers that are too high.
Tip: Don’t offer a price that is too low because they may ignore you entirely. The more you engage in these, the better a feel you’ll get for what’s appropriate in your particular card market.
If that doesn’t work, then move on to the regular auctions. Sort it for those ending soonest and wait until there’s less than 30 seconds left in the auction. Then bid that low number and hope for the best. If it doesn’t work, then move on to the next one ending soonest and try again.
Don’t buy until you can get your card at the low figure (or really close to it).
Tip: It may take weeks, months, or even longer to get a specific card. Be sure to recheck the market info so that you don’t get stuck with a card that is not as popular as it once was.
You can also check out other sites such as Amazon or Heritage Auctions. Depending on what type of card you’re looking to buy, there may be some other great sites to search as well.
Remember, the key to buying at the right price is know the market through research and to be patient.
Tip: I always try to buy PSA 10 graded cards because they are the most valuable (and rarest). Savvy collectors focus on these so be the one who has it available. They bring top dollar! Also look for the first or last card in a series. These are usually harder to find in good condition (specifically on older sets).
The Selling Strategy for Trading Card Investors
Alright, so you found a card at a good price. Now what? It’s time to sell!
When I buy trading cards online, I usually sell them on eBay. Not always, but usually. Sometimes you may find niche sites that specialize in specific cards that might be a better choice, but eBay usually works well for me.
If you want a quick sell, you have to be fair. In many cases, I’ve sold to other “flippers” because I’m not looking to make a fortune. If you try to sell on the high side, you’re going to wait a while before it sells. I’d rather sell quickly and use the profits to fund my next investment.
There are three important things you want to remember when you list a trading card for sale.
- List it at the higher end of the mid range (never the highest number unless it’s a super rare card or if you don’t mind waiting it out).
- List it for as long as you can so that you don’t have that price show as a non-sold card on past auctions. This can make it harder to sell at the price you’re looking for.
- Sell it as a “Buy it Now” with the “Make an offer” feature. You may receive offers that would still be profitable and worth the quick hit. You can also get someone sucked into the excitement of counter offers.
Tip: Know all of your expenses and fees to make sure that you make a profit. Don’t sell it at a loss. Be patient and wait for the right buyer.
If you’re unfamiliar with the specifics of creating auctions, eBay offers great articles on best habits. Take some time to check them out.
Remember that this is just a guide. You may find that different rules apply to specific trading card niches, which may be more or less profitable. You may need more or less patience and time. And you may find more or less supply or demand. That’s why it’s so important to do the research before you buy trading cards online as an investment.
Good luck and happy collecting!