What You Can Expect When Selling Your Collection to a Dealer

Here are some insights as to how a dealer calculates what to offer on different categories of cards.

Ebay Commissions
Many people tend to look at the most optimistic outcome when viewing their financial transactions. They tend to neglect the details and focus on the top line number. Ebay charges around 14% commission. Not only do they charge commission on the final sale price of the card, they charge you on the shipping and the sales tax. So if you sell a card to a collector in California, you pay a 14% commission on the 10% sales tax even though you don’t get to keep any part of it.

Other Expenses
The amount you charge the buyer for shipping likely won’t cover your postage, insurance and supplies. There are returns, buyers who claim the item was damaged in shipping, buyers who switch cards, and a number of other cost centers that affect the amount you get to bank after expenses. This doesn’t account for your time. Scanning, describing, listing and packing a couple hundred cards is a larger task than many collectors realize.

A dealer buying a collection has to account for labor when making an offer. It’s difficult to give a straight % estimate based on the expected sales price without knowing the breakdown of a collection. For example, let’s go with a graded card that’s expected to sell for $500. Assume the dealer has direct selling costs of 15%, this includes Ebay fees, payment processing fees, shipping material fees and the cost of shipping that exceeds the amount collected from the buyer. Using these numbers, the dealer would net $425 and probably want to pay $325 for the card. The dealer has to scan the card, enter a description, process the sale, pack and ship card and handle returns (if needed) as well as lay out the money for a period of time. This works out to the collector getting 65% of the expected sale price and the dealer generating a gross profit of $100 (30%) before taking into account the labor.

Example Of Expenses
Let’s look at a similar case for a card that’s expected to sell for $30. The direct cost of sale is still 15%, so the dealer nets $25.50. There’s also the same amount of pre sale and post sale work for the dealer. If the dealer paid the collector the same 65%, his expected profit, before labor, would be $6. Unless the dealer is able to run an operation more efficient than Amazon, they’re not going to be interested in paying the collector 65%. The point is, if you have 100 high value cards, that are already graded, you can expect to receive a much higher percentage of the expected selling price than if you have 2000, low value cards. If your cards aren’t graded, you should expect a lower percentage. The dealer has to pay for grading and wait 9+ months for the cards to be returned and available for sale.

About Baseball Card Market

My partners (Jeff Weisenberg and Mike Parness) and I have been buying card collections for a combined 100+ years. Over those years, we’ve bought some very large and complex collections worth many millions. We can help you maximize the value of your collection. In some cases, that means getting your high dollar value cards graded before you sell them.

We are different from many other dealers because of our capital base. We don’t need to sell a collection at a discount in order to get the money to buy another collection. We sell cards for retail. We never flip a collection to another dealer. Almost 100% of our buyers are collectors. That allows us to pay more for collections. It is very rare that another dealer will outbid us, but we encourage you to get multiple offers. Competition keeps us sharp.

If you have a large, valuable collection, we can come to you. We can wire money to your account or bring you a certified check. If you have cases of cards, we’ll bring a truck and do all the loading.

We’ve bought collections from many large collectors, dealers and even closeouts from major card companies. To my knowledge, all have become satisfied customers. Referrals are a good part of our business and we work hard to keep them coming.

We have locations in NY/NJ, MA, FL and seasonal in CA. My partner, Mike, travels all over the US for large deals.

Please note, at this time, we are only buying large collections. We do not buy 1980 - 2020 Baseball, Football or Hockey cards that are not graded.

I look forward to working with you.

Doug Koval

Baseball Card Market