Over the last few weeks I have been compiling some definitions of terms that may have an overwhelming effect on collectors who are coming back to the hobby, or people who are new. For the next New Collector Corner post on the Upper Deck Blog, I posted all of the different official terms I could think of with pictures to follow along. Hopefully, we can use it for helping people get acclimated a tad faster than they would by scouring blogs and message boards for definitions.
A couple of weeks ago, Toby from the UD blog asked me to put together a piece designed to help new collectors start up in the hobby. We settled on a series that should be published periodically focusing on questions a lot of people have, mainly with transitioning from a love of sports to a love of cards.
The first article is up now, I encourage you to check it out. I know a few other card bloggers are also working on posts as well, so be sure to keep checking out the updates.
Im personally glad that UD has reached out to the network of people around the net to get some outside perspective on the hobby. Kudos to them for tapping into our vast body of knowledge.
There are a lot of player collectors in this hobby, myself included. Personally, its the only way I can stay sane, because if chased after everything from a team or a college, I would be broke. Same with set collecting, its tough to devote the time for trading and watching eBay. However, that isnt a bad thing in any way. If you are one of those team or set collectors, you have my kudos for your dedication.
Since eBay is the lifeblood of many of us for singles that we want to purchase, I want to discuss bidding practices for possibly getting the card you want, at the price you want it. I know for me, I have personal policies that I only break under very particular circumstances, and I am hoping that this discussion can help some people out, or at least prevent stupid bids from happening to my card.
First, the question of bidding late versus bidding early always presents itself with an auction that is not BIN/BO. I know when I take a look at an item, I always look at the clock first. Normally, unless it is a card that I know wont come up again for a while, I wont even open an auction unless there is a BIN or less than a day left. Its just pointless to examine an auction for a non-rare card if there is eight days left on the timer. In fact, if the card isnt low numbered or rare, you shouldn’t be bidding early either. Just put it on your watch list if its important, and wait until later. Early bidders suck when an auction first comes up, mainly because it normally disqualifies a BIN/BO, and puts the auction in the seller’s court if he is a shiller. If the card is rare, it’s a little different, because early bids can sometimes prevent off eBay sales, and can put you in the drivers seat for watching the item grow. However, the shill is still a factor, and it is always a good idea to look out for that.
As for the BIN/BO auctions, its always safe to believe that the card is not going to go for less than it usually does. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but it’s mostly a waste of time to use lowball offers. If you actually want the card, its better to just offer fair market value, plus a possible incentive of a few extra dollars, just to prevent a loss because the seller hates you. BIN/BO is a great way to buy cards, unless you are dealing with a shop that still operates on book value. Then you should just avoid the item in the interest of time, as they are not going to be accepting reasonable offers. Also, if you want the card, and you put in a lowball offer, don’t expect a counteroffer. Most people, including myself sometimes, just think you are some kid who doesn’t know any better, and will deny you without a thought. If you are indifferent to the card, go ahead and lowball, you may get lucky. No reason to risk a card you want because you want a crazy good deal.
In terms of late bidding, I usually wont bid on a card unless there is less than 30 seconds in the auction. Because sniping, or “eFucking” as my dad calls it, has become so popular, its stupid to put in an early bid on a card you want without considering how many other people want it. Sniping is a great idea, especially if you have found a good program, because you can easily enter in the max price you want without having to sit there and wait. As for me, I don’t like to use programs, mostly because I like to see the auction develop in the last seconds. If the card ends late, I will set an alarm if its important. Its just a thing for me, doesn’t happen often that I need to go out of my way to be there. Plus, the card is going to go at or around SV 99% of the time, so putting in early bids of 10 bucks on a 100 dollar card is just not going to be a good use of resources – unless, like above, its rare and succeptible to off eBay deals.
The important thing remains, if you see a card you want, just be smart about it. Don’t be stupid enough to let a card go because you want to get the best possible deal. Its better to assume the card will go at the expected price, and feel good when you get a deal. Also, the golden rule remains, unless you get some 2,000 dollar card for 200 bucks, there is no reason to go posting steals all over message boards. I will come and strangle you with the cord from your desk lamp.