“How Much Is My Sports Card Worth?”
I’m sure you’ve seen this question pop up somewhere along your collecting journey. Maybe you were the once the person who asked it? Whether that be the case or not, the steady influx of new people entering the AFL Trading Card Hobby always leaves this question relevant. How much is my card worth?
Unfortunately, some people use this phrase as a “price fishing” tactic, enticing different people to silently bid on individual cards, securing the seller a premium price. This is not what we’re focusing on, but it accounts for why most people who ask about the value of their cards don’t get a legitimate answer! Which is a shame, because no one wants new collectors feeling alienated for simply being a novice.
LUCKILY, THIS IS WHO THIS ARTCLE IS FOR! For the person whose just getting into the hobby or revisiting an old pastime. The trading card landscape has completely transformed compared to as recently as 2019. Demand, population size and price points are astronomically greater than yesteryear. Therefore, how should I go about determining the value of the card in front of me?
LETS FIND OUT!
1. Knowing The Specifics of Your Chosen Card
Since Select’s releases and checklists have ramped up over the years, actually knowing what card you own is crucial. With the amount of insert types and variations available however, it can also be quite confusing. Therefore before you attempt pricing the card you’re selling you need to know the following:
- Manufacturer (i.e. Select, Scanlens, Regal, etc)
- Year Produced
- Type of Insert
- Variation (e.g. Gold Predictor vs Platinum Predictor)
- Condition (more important with older cards)
A great resource to use when trying to figure out the criteria listed above is Aussie Rules Collectables! From there you can filter all AFL Trading Cards by Player, Year, Team or Set.
2. What’s The ‘Comp’?
Another term you might hear frequently is ‘comp’ or ‘comps’. These words refer to the previous comparative sales of a particular card on eBay, which is an appropriate place to begin your search for the value of your card. Once your card has been searched, you can then filter for previous sales on eBay under Completed & Sold Items, which will give you a breakdown of all the listings that have ended or sold in the last 30 days.
For some cards, this may be your second and final step, as you’re able to determine what the demand price for your card actually is! Some things to remember with “Comp” prices though:
- They are not set in stone. Just because someone sold their card for “x” amount, doesn’t mean you're forced to sell your card for that price minus theoretical eBay fees! (12.8%)
- Following on from the first disclaimer, sometimes people are also unaware of card values and list cards for too cheap. These listings normally sell very quickly, however eBay doesn’t have a metric indicating how fast a card sold. Therefore, setting your prices around the average selling price rather than the most recent could prevent you from leaving money on the table!
If you aren’t desperate for immediate funds, listing cards for more than supposedly what they’re worth, and using the “Best Offer” feature, is a popular strategy which ensures you don’t list anything too cheaply. Who knows, you might even get an offer greater than first anticipated!
*This is often a great fall-back position when there’s uncertainty surrounding the value of your card*
Alright, I now know the type of card I’m trying to value but can’t find any recent sales on eBay, what should I do now?
3. Creating Your Own ‘Comp’
Sometimes you’re going to find yourself in a position where there’s no previous sales of your chosen card on eBay, nor any active listings. So where should you look when trying to place a value on your card? As scary as it might sound for a beginner, you need to make your own ‘comp’. However there’s no need to fret, these are the ways you can do it:
- Finding cards of other players from the same insert subset and using their sales as a price guide.
- Finding cards of the player that are numbered to a similar scarcity and basing your price off of that extrapolation.
THINGS TO REMEMBER!
· The timing of selling your cards is crucial to the success of your listing. The demand for sports cards, in this case AFL, is cyclical. Don’t expect scorching hot demand for your cards in the middle of off-season, just before a new release drops etc. On the other hand, prices of newly released cards are normally at their hottest within the first week of a new release, so if you’re buying fresh singles, that’s something to be wary of.
· There are tiers of quality when it comes to releases with some having more prestige than others (i.e. Supremacy vs Footy Stars) and therefore are priced accordingly.
· Certain inserts have greater consumer sentiment than others (i.e. Footy’s Finest), so even though cards may have the same print run, the comparative desirability may be completely different.
· Particular players have increased demand for their cards. Most of the time this comes down to the neutral collectability of a player which can either be accolade or hype driven. Because of how small print runs are comparative to other trading card hobbies, you get the occasional hoard of a particular player or insert which artificially increases prices, so that’s just something to be aware of.