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December 17, 2010 / care4cards

Buying Card Lots – Yay or Nay?

Buying cards on Ebay, at times, is a real enigma for most collectors. Trying to figure out if the sellers is trying to screw you over is way harder over the internet and, if one bad experience occur, paranoia takes over really quickly and you become suspicious of everything and, especially, everything that you shouldn’t be worried about.

One of these things his cards lot.

You see, when done right, buying lots might be the best thing for your collection. But don’t forget the ‘when done right’ part, otherwise, you might just turn into a buying frenzy and go broke over nothing. So how to do it right? To each is own, really, but since I’m a ‘prospector / collector‘ here is my take on the subjet.

Calculated risks are the way to go

If you buy a lot with the intention of breaking it dow to resell (long or short term), you have to know what you are paying for. Too often, we are tempted by large and shiny lots and we overpay for the cards that are actually in it. For reselling purposes, check your favorite players at the door and refer to what you know hobby wise.

There is no magic formula to determine if a lot is worth your time and money. But here’s how I usually evaluate one :

1) Always make sure that I can resell one (or many) of the cards quickly to get at least 50% of my money back the following week. I do that to make sure that my cash flow is always up and running and also, it is less frustrating if you miss out on the rest if you know that you can at least edge your lost with these few cards.

2) Whenever possible, add cards to my PC with the lot. It’s not a priority but if I know I can keep some cards and still turn a profit on the others (or just break even) than it is worth it. After all, I am a collector too and I like adding cards to my collection.

3) Avoid lots with too many base cards. These will stall in your collection for a long time before you can unload them.

4) Stay away from ‘random lots’. These are always a scam. ALWAYS. The seller knows what’s in it and knows also that it’s not worth is time selling it other than randomly. If you can’t see it, don’t buy it.

Make sure you don’t overpay

Sometimes with larger lots it is difficult to evaluate the value (and resell value) of it. Sometimes, to make the lot appealing, the seller will throw in some big times cards or vintage gem just to make sure that you take him seriously. This is where you should be very very suspicious. If the card was that great, it would be a stand alone auction. If the lot was appealing, it wouldn’t need an extra coating to attract buyer.

So make sure that you are not fooled by these added values. Most of the times, these are the only worthy cards in the lot and you will overpay for them.

When in doubt… Don’t buy

That’s one thing I wasn’t doing at first. I was buying first and doubting seconds. After several misses, I switched it around. I put the lot on my watch list and if it is still appealing several hours later, then I consider it.

Too often, your first impression will be wrong about a lot. That’s what the seller wants. If you are ‘wowed’ by a lot, you will pay premium for it. So you have to dig a little before reaching for your wallet, just in case there is a crooked board somewhere. Background cheking is never a luxury and if you’ve never heard about an SP card from the 90’s, it’s probably not worth anything.

Always remember that.

Have fun

That’s a key in everything hobby wise. Keep the buying process fun, otherwise, you will get sour really fast.

Every once in a while, I buy junk lot just to go through some cards from my childhood. It’s not cost friendly but my time is valuable so if I enjoy myself, it’s like a little salary.


If you have tips that you wanna share, please, do so. Let’s discuss. It’s always good to know what you guys think about the hobby.

On that note, I’m going back to my watch list.

Have a good friday



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