I have a bunch of comics and cards that I have purchased just in the last several months, which I have paid an insanely low price over retail for, all because I exercise patience and wait for great deals. There is an impulse to buy, buy, buy when it comes to comics and cards – watching the trends you see that a particular player, card, or comic is increasing in value, and you immediately jump on eBay and buy up as much as you can afford. This is great if you have a massive amount of disposable income and finding those “under the radar” auctions doesn’t matter to you – but I’m in the business of finding the best bang for my buck so to speak – looking for the best deal I can get which will produce the highest potential profit.
This is when exercising patience comes into play – fighting the impulse to buy what is available now, and waiting for an even better deal to come around. In this article, I am going to provide a couple of examples of purchases I have made in just the last month, which are potentially going to return as much as 9000% return on investment – all because I waited and found those under the radar auctions on eBay and low-cost pulls and breaks.
My first example is the 2018 Panini Score Collegiate Jerseys Alvin Kamara #12 card – I received this card in a pulls deal from a card breaker/ripper on Instagram that I follow. They were running $2 pulls on football cards, with four or five big hits available in the rotation (I don’t remember what I was chasing). If you are unfamiliar with “pulls” it is where a card breaker/dealer has a bunch of cards that they sell off at a set price per card, with grail or high dollar cards sprinkled into the mix as chasers. You pay for a specified amount of pulls and provide the numbers you want. The card breaker then counts through the cards, and every number that you bought, you get that card. In the case of this Alvin Kamara card, I got it on a $2 pull.
After receiving the card, I listed it on eBay – I listed it on 14 August for $14+shipping and put it in my collectible’s promotion sale items, dropping the card price to $9.99+shipping. The card was on eBay for 11 days and sold at my asking price of $9.99+shipping. Now on the face of it, I made nearly a 400% profit on this card when you compare the price paid vs. price sold. Obviously, my actual profit will be a little lower when eBay and PayPal fees are considered, however, this was a huge profit margin.
For an example of an under the radar auction – on 16 August I purchased a sealed box set of the 2020 Topps Designed by Lionel Messi Champions League soccer cards for only – wait for it – $0.99 – talk about under the radar – these sell on the Topps website for $25! My shipping was $6.75 putting a total investment cost of $7.74 on the box. Looking at sales data for this exact set on eBay, the last three sales put an average sales price of roughly $14 plus shipping – so my purchase, including shipping is already 50% under the average! If I was able to sell my box at the latest average of $14 it would give me a potential 1300% return on investment. Holy Toledo Batman!
Take the Topps Designed by Lionel Messi cards a step further, and rather than flipping the box, flip the individual cards. While a lot of cards in the set are currently selling on eBay for only $0.99, there are quite a few catching prices of $5 or more, including Christian Pulisic, Kylian Mbappe, Joao Felix, Jadon Sancho, and others. All total, based on sales data from eBay, the 40 base cards (not including the 10 Messi Moments cards) sell individually for a combined total of $92.90 – equating in this example to a 9,284% return on investment! That’s not a bad haul!
If you are going to be prospecting for cards to turn into investment pieces, it is important to exercise patience in your pursuits so that you can make the most return, especially if you plan on having your purchases graded as this will increase your initial investment in the card. Had I purchased the Designed by Messi cards at retail I would have first off, not been able to make a profit at all by flipping the box, and secondly, reduced my potential profit for flipping the cards individually to only 268% – otherwise, a loss of profit potential by 9,016% – profit which I would much rather have coming back in to fund future prospecting endeavors!
I will be writing a follow up article to this, detailing how I find “under the radar” auctions and what settings I have on eBay for notifications. I will also be looking at other outlets that I use for card buying other than eBay and how to find great deals on those platforms as well.
*Disclaimer: Investing in trading cards, comic books, memorabilia, and any other item involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone. Cardboard Prospector does not provide financial advice, and none of our articles or opinions should be construed as financial or investment advice. We do not guarantee results from your decision making based on our opinions and content. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence prior to making any investment.
I started collecting cards when I was about 8 years old, with my passion being baseball cards. I grew out of collecting in my teens and spent the better part of my 20’s focusing on education and career. Now in my mid-30’s I have dove back in to collecting and now prospecting and investing in cards and comics as well. I like to write about ways to collect and invest and share my experiences in the collecting and investing world of sports cards and comics. I am also an avid cigar enthusiast and you can get cigar reviews and information on my sister site Cigar Informer at https://www.cigarinformer.com