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.