Monday, June 30, 2008

What about ebay?

Recently I've been spending an awful lot of time on ebay. It seems as if there is nothing that is not available. It kind of sneaks up on you too because you can spend a lot of money, a little bit at a time. $6 here - no problem. $5-there - piece of cake. $17.25 - yeah but look what I'm getting! So you end up spending $50-60 all in one day.

Then what happens? The next day you're back on ebay "just looking" You have to go back there to leave feedback and other stuff right? What's the harm in just taking a look around while you're there? You are watching those other cards anyway "just to get an idea what things are going for." Next thing you know, there goes another $42.37.

So far I've managed to keep myself in check reasonably well. What concerns me is I end up buying stuff that I wasn't looking for and don't really need (not that I NEED any of this, but you know what I mean). Every day is a new day to buy stuff and everything looks like a good deal. In a future post I put up the stuff that I've bought so far so everyone can tell me how bad I got screwed.

What I'd like to know now is how people determine what is a good deal? For example. I just bought the Rickey Henderson Topps RC that I've wanted since childhood for $12.50. Good deal? How the hell should I know? All I know is that I wanted it and I had $12.50 to spare. I guess I could look it up in my Beckett, but who give a crap what Beckett thinks it's worth? I'm sure it would make me feel good about myself though. That is until I see it going for $4 or something. So again, how do people determine what they will spend 0n a particular car/lot/box?

Another thing. I really like opening boxes and packs. There are a lot available on ebay. Should I be leary of them? Can people go through and somehow pick out the good packs and leave the junk? I usually feel better when a box is still wrapped in plastic. But, how hard would it be for someone to rewrap a box? I'm seriously asking. I have no idea.

Example of a box quandary: Growing up the 84 Mattingly was one of the most kick-ass cards any kid could have. I have one myself and I consider it one of the prizes of my collection. I could give a shit what Beckett thinks about its value. It's EXTREMELY valuable to me. The prospect of opening a pack of 84 Topps and finding one in there makes me positively giddy. It makes me feel 12 years old just thinking about it and what a monster pull that would have been considered back then. So then I find this on ebay:

What do I do? Do I bid on it? Is it to much of a risk that it's been tampered with? It's probably wax packs so those are probably easier to screw with? Would any of you get it? I just don't want to be a sucker.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks dudes.


capewood said...

I've been buying baseball cards on eBay since 2003. I've probably bought 100's of singles and maybe 20 hobby boxes. I don't buy many hobby boxes anymore, instead I concentrate on singles. I'm not a set collector, I like to get as many varieties of cards as I can (which is why I buy blaster boxes at the Target instead of hobby boxes on eBay). I'm satisfied with the number of cards I get in a set from a blaster box.

My simple rules: 1. Don't pay Beckett book price. Even if it's a card you think you really need. Unless its a 1/1 card, someone will list it later. 2. Limit the amount of money you can spend. I have an account I only use for baseball card purchases. I have two irregular sources of money for this account, sometimes it's flush sometimes it's not. When it's out of money, I don't buy cards. 3. If you're looking for a specific card, don't buy the first auction you see for it. You might find another auction featuring the same card for less money, or someone might have it at a "Buy it now" price. 4. Watch for the S&H price. A lot of sellers make up for the auction price by asking too much for postage. I'm usually willing to pay up to $3.00 although I'll go higher for a good card at a cheap price. 5. Check the seller's feedback. I usually skip a seller if the feedback is less than 99%. If its a card I really want, and the feedback is less than 99$, I'll read the sellers recent feedback then make a decision on the risk.

About that pack of 1984 Topps cards. Personally, I wouldn't buy it. The odds of getting anything good in it are depressingly long. There were 792 cards in that set and the pack will yield 15. Not many of the cards are worth more than a common. Long odds. Especially if you're hoping for the Mattingly card in that pack. Check out another auction. Right now, someone else is offering 2 1984 Topps Mattingly cards for about $10 (including S&H).

Sorry but I kind of ran on there. Hopefully it was helpful. You sound like you're new to eBay so I hope I didn't tell you things that are obvious.

Motherscratcher said...

Thanks Cliffy. I appreciate the advice. I guess I'm just not sure who I can trust on ebay.

As far as as the 84 topps, it's actually a box with 36 packs so there would be a halfway decent shot at pulling the Mattingly. That's what excited me about the whole thing; the prospect of pulling a Mattingly out of a pack.

I'm just not sure if I can trust the old wax packs on ebay. From what I gather they are rather easy to re-seal. Alas, there are about 20 min left and the box is way more than I want to spend so the point is moo. (moot)

capewood said...

Here I'm trying to give you advice and I didn't look at the auction real close. I agree that old wax packs could be resealed easily. And as for shrink wrap, that can be replaced also. As for this auction, I would say don't buy from him. He's got only 19 feedbacks and all as a buyer, not a seller. EBay is built on trust, that's what the feedback system is for. I wouldn't risk that much money with this seller.