If you’ve got a stash of baseball, basketball, football, or other sports cards sitting around collecting dust, it may be time to consider selling them.
But where do you start?
Listing and selling cards online can definitely be overwhelming if you’re new to it.
When I first started, I had a huge collection from childhood that I wanted to offload. Stacks of 90s basketball, vintage Topps baseball, and boxes of football rookies.
But I had no clue where to begin!
After plenty of research, trial and error, and tracking listing trends over several years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of selling cards successfully on eBay.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll be sharing everything I wish I knew earlier about:
- Create listings that attract buyers
- Price your cards to sell
- Ship cards safely
- Build your eBay reputation
- Optimize your sales process to make $1000 or more each month!
Let’s start at the beginning: crafting listings that attract buyers.
How To Sell Sports Cards On eBay (Step By Step!)
If you’re looking to make some extra cash by selling sports cards, eBay is a great place to start. Here are the steps you need to take to get started:
Craft Listing Titles That Convert Visitors Into Buyers
The very first step when you’re ready to sell a card is creating an effective listing title. This is absolutely crucial for standing out amongst other sellers and drawing attention to your particular cards.
When someone is browsing eBay for a certain player or team, you want your listing to jump out immediately in the search results.
Here are three concrete best practices to follow:
Spell The Player’s Name Correctly
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many sloppy listings have simple misspellings or typos in the player’s name.
For example “LeBron Jhames” or “Wayne Gretsky” – major turnoffs for buyers specifically searching for that player.
So before finalizing any listing, double and triple check that you have the proper spelling for the player’s first and last name. Even one letter off can mean your listing gets overlooked by buyers searching for that player.
Include Both “RC” and “Rookie”
Cards from a player’s rookie season tend to be the most sought after and valuable. So whether listing a true vintage rookie or a modern rookie card, you’ll want to indicate it’s a first-year release.
The best practice is to use both common abbreviations – “RC” and spelling out “Rookie” fully.
2018 Luka Doncic Prizm RC Rookie
This covers all bases and makes it crystal clear to buyers that it’s a true rookie.
Stay Updated on Title Trends
Listing titles evolve over time as new practices and strategies emerge. It’s important to stay active in card collecting communities, groups, and forums to pick up on the latest title optimization trends.
For example, over the past year or so, it’s become very popular to highlight the card’s numeric grade and visual condition in listings.
So whereas in the past you may have simply listed:
Giannis Antetokounmpo Select Silver Prizm Rookie RC
Now experienced sellers are adding more detail:
Giannis Antetokounmpo Select Silver Prizm RC PSA 10 GEM MT
Just this one change can result in more interested buyers based on the stated grade and eye appeal.
Beyond those 3 rules of thumb, I searched recent top-selling listings across eBay for common patterns and traits.
Here are a few other useful elements to work into titles:
- Year – Always include the card’s year. This helps buyers quickly narrow down options.
- “Rookie” – Spell out rookie for prominence
- “RC” – The abbreviated rookie card term
- Visual condition – “Centered,” “sharp corners,” “clean edges” etc. Describe what buyers can expect visually.
- All-caps for EMPHASIS on certain keywords
- Scarcity indicator – Hot Selling, Rare, Vintage, Collector Edition, Serial Numbered Cards, etc to indicate rarity
If you mold your titles using this formula covering all the bases, they will instantly look more polished and professional.
Let’s take a quick example:
Poor title: Patrick Mahomes card
This is incredibly generic and tells the buyer almost nothing about exactly which Mahomes card it is.
2018 Patrick Mahomes Optic Rated Rookie RC PSA 10 GEM MINT Chiefs
Now this provides the specific year, set name, rookie status, graded condition, team, and more – everything a buyer would want to see.
Follow these title best practices, and your listings will be far more enticing to potential buyers browsing eBay for that particular card.
Fill Out All Listing Details For Maximum Visibility
You likely know that fantastic, high-quality photos are an absolute must for highlighting your card’s condition to buyers.
But don’t overlook the importance of all the listing details – category, item specifics, descriptions, and so on.
While it takes a few extra minutes to fill everything out properly, doing so can significantly boost your overall visibility to interested buyers.
Let’s take a look section by section:
Select the Right Category
Believe it or not, even picking the appropriate category matters quite a bit!
For the vast majority of standard sports cards, you’ll want to list under:
Sports Mem, Cards & Fan Shop > Sports Trading Cards > Trading Card Singles
But occasionally, if you’re selling factory sealed hobby boxes, large team lots, or other wholesale type listings, you may want to choose:
Sports Mem, Cards & Fan Shop > Sports Trading Cards > Trading Card Lots
Picking the category that best fits your exact item helps get it in front of the most relevant buyers.
Take Quality Photos
This should go without saying, but fantastic pictures are an absolute must.
Photography is likely the most important element of your listing when it comes to highlighting condition accurately.
My advice is to invest in a lighting setup – get a small lightbox with built-in lamps and a card stand or holder that fits inside.
This allows you to take evenly lit, focused pictures that look professional and enticing for buyers. Expectations are high when it comes to image quality.
For raw, ungraded cards, you’ll generally want at least:
- Front facing image
- Back facing image
- 4 corner close-ups
- Possibly top and bottom edge close-ups
This gives potential buyers a very thorough and transparent look at the exact condition. No surprises when they receive the card.
For graded, slabbed cards, just the front and back of the plastic slab is usually sufficient. After all, the condition is already authenticated by the grading company.
The key is crisp, clean, well-lit photographs. They go a long way in providing confidence and urgency for buyers to pull the trigger.
Fill Out Item Specifics
When creating your listing, eBay allows you to fill out detailed specifics – player name, team, year, card number, etc.
This not only provides important information right up front, but also helps improve visibility and search ranking.
So I recommend taking a few extra minutes to fill out every relevant item specific possible. The more detail the better in terms of getting your card found.
Write a Short Description
You can include a longer description detailing the player depicted, history of the card, any unique attributes, and so on.
For most listings, just a 1-2 sentence overview is fine. The goal is highlighting the player, team, or any special traits about that particular card.
Going into lengthy detail isn’t totally necessary unless it’s an extremely rare or high-value card. But a short description does help.
The cumulative effect of filling out all listing details thoroughly is more eyes on your card – and more watchers and bids as a result.
Auctions vs Buy It Now – Which Method Earns You More Money?
Alright, you’ve created a killer listing title, taken great photos, compiled the details – now it’s go time.
The next big choice is whether to sell your card as an auction or a Buy It Now (BIN) fixed price listing. Each format has advantages and disadvantages to weigh.
In general, auctions work well for quicker flips while BIN can earn you more profit long term. But it depends on the specific card and your goals.
Here’s an overview of the pros and cons:
- Guarantees a sale within 3, 5, 7, or 10 days. You pick the length.
- Allows the market to determine value – auctions can sometimes attract bidding wars that drive up the price.
- Less control over the final selling price. Bids may fizzle out lower than expected.
- Potentially less profit compared to a Buy It Now sale.
Buy It Now Pros
- Ability to name your ideal price rather than leaving it up to bidders.
- Tends to result in higher selling prices and hence more profit.
Buy It Now Cons
- Can take longer to find that one buyer willing to pay your price.
- More competing listings to go up against when people filter by Buy It Now.
I ran some analysis looking at recent sales for high-demand modern rookies and popular vintage Hall of Famers. I compared what they sold for in auctions vs. Buy It Now formats.
On average, the Buy It Now listings sold for 14% higher dollar amounts than the auctions.
This isn’t universally true of course, but overall BIN seems to be the way to go for max dollars on your cards.
However, if the goal is to flip cards quickly even if it means slightly less profit per, auctions can certainly shine in the right circumstances.
My advice? Assess each specific card and your own selling motives – then choose the format that makes the most sense.
Alright, so you’ve determined auction or BIN. Now it’s time for the fun part – pricing!
Price Your Cards Accurately Using Data-Driven Methods
Finding that sweet spot price – not too high, not too low – is part art and part science. You want to remain competitive yet still capture maximum value.
Pricing appropriately for the current market comes down to arming yourself with as much concrete data as possible.
Here are effective ways to nail down numbers:
1. Thoroughly Research Recent Sales
Go to eBay and search for the exact card you’re getting ready to list. The search will pull up both active unsold listings along with completed sold listings.
On the sidebar, filter your results to “Sold Items” only. This will display all of the most recent actual selling prices – what people really paid – within the past 90 days.
Sorting with this view provides the purest and most accurate representation of the card’s current market value. Use the avg prices here as your pricing guide.
Now occasionally on eBay, you’ll see slashed or strikethrough prices on sold listings, which means that particular card sold as a Best Offer rather than the full asking BIN price.
In these cases, do an extra step…
Go to 130point.com and search for the exact listing.
This website will uncover what the accepted Best Offer amount ended up being. Just another trick to find the true selling price.
2. Analyze Current Asking Prices on Active Listings
In addition to sold listings, also scan through current active listings for the card you’re selling – ones that haven’t sold yet.
Look at both what auctions are currently bid up to, as well as the Buy It Now asking prices.
This helps you get a sense of the present market and where pricing stands today, which may have shifted from those recent sold prices.
You can also assess the level of competition and inventory for the card.
3. Plug Info Into Your Pricing Formula
Armed with all that data, you can determine appropriate start prices for auctions or fixed prices for Buy It Now.
My rules of thumb are:
- Auctions – Start bid at 65-85% of recent sold prices
- BIN – Price around 10-15% lower than current lowest asking price
This positioning ensures your listings are competitively priced within the market, while still leaving meat on the bone for profit.
I know pricing can seem overwhelming early on. But follow this data-centric approach, and you’ll list your cards at optimal values.
Package and Ship Cards Securely
Alright, your listing was a success and you made a sale! Congrats.
Now it’s time to complete the transaction by safely packaging up the card and shipping it off to the buyer.
Properly protecting the card in transit and delivering it quickly and cost effectively is a crucial part of the selling process.
Here are my tips for packing and shipping cards:
Protect The Card
- Place the raw card in a soft penny sleeve to avoid surface wear and scratches.
- Slide the sleeved card into a hard plastic toploader or rigid holder that shields the card.
- Tape over the opening to secure the card from slipping out.
- For added safety, sleeve and topload the card in a team bag.
- For high value cards, sandwich the toploader between two pieces of cardboard taped together.
- Position the protected card in the middle of a bubble mailer and fill empty space on both sides with added cardboard and/or bubble wrap to prevent shifting.
- Make sure to weigh and check dimensions of the package ahead of time so you can provide the buyer an accurate shipping cost.
- Purchase tracking for all packages – this is essential.
- Strongly consider purchasing insurance for high-dollar, valuable card sales. Worth the small upcharge for that peace of mind.
- Get the package scanned and shipping out within 1 business day of receiving payment.
- Provide the buyer with tracking info and estimated delivery date.
- Communicate about any delays before it becomes an issue.
Save on Shipping
- For raw cards $20 and under that meet size requirements, you can use eBay Standard Envelope to ship for as low as $0.93 with tracking. Awesome way to save on smaller sales.
- Make sure to weigh package and enter exact dimensions when purchasing postage for the most accurate rate.
Following this proven packing and shipping process will result in satisfied buyers, positive feedback, and avoiding headaches. Well worth taking the extra time to be meticulous.
Gradually Build Up Your eBay Seller Reputation
Beyond strong listings and smooth transactions, there are other small but meaningful ways to build up your credibility and reputation as an eBay seller over time.
Let’s look at a few simple methods:
1. Communicate Proactively
Don’t just disappear after getting paid – take a minute to send the buyer a quick message when you ship out their package.
Thank them for their purchase and let them know when to expect delivery. This extra touch goes a very long way in providing awesome customer service.
2. Politely Ask for Feedback
Don’t be afraid to request positive feedback from buyers who were satisfied with their transaction.
Something simple like “Hope you enjoy the card – if I did a 5 star job, please consider leaving positive feedback which helps grow my eBay business.”
This gradually increases your respected seller rating and gives you credibility. But only ask buyers who were happy!
3. Create Brand Assets
Add unique branding elements to your listings, store, email templates, packaging materials, etc such as logos, colors, messaging, thank you notes, business name, etc.
This memorability boosts recognition and trust over dozens or hundreds of transactions.
Rolling out these seller best practices patiently over time will really compound your eBay success in the long run.
Extra Tips For Selling Sports Cards On eBay
Here are just a few more quick tips I’ve learned from my years selling cards on eBay that I want to mention:
1. Make Use of eBay Standard Envelope
This awesome shipping option lets you mail raw cards that sell for $20 or less for just $0.93 with tracking. To qualify, the package must:
- Weigh 3 oz or less
- Be under 0.25″ thickness
- Measure between 5×3.5″ up to 11.5×6″
This opens up affordable shipping for smaller budget and rookie cards that would normally be unprofitable to list. Absolute game changer.
2. Time Your Sales Strategically
List in bulk leading up to peak demand times – holidays, player milestones, big games, playoffs, awards, etc when interest and prices peak.
Similarly, look to buy inventory during offseason and low points when prices soften and supply expands. Capitalize on market trends!
3. End Auctions During Prime Evening Hours
For any auctions, schedule your 7 or 10 day listings to end Thursday-Sunday evenings when the maximum number of buyers are browsing eBay.
Avoid ending at odd hours like early morning when site traffic lags.
4. Use eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee For Big Hits
For any card sales $750+, consider eBay’s Authentication program.
Actually if your item is eligible for ebay authenticity guarantee, it will automatically be added to the programa nd you cannot opt out.
So how doest it work?
You ship the card to them first, they verify it’s real, then send to the buyer. Provides huge confidence. Worth the upcharge cost.
5. Weigh Package Before Listing
Know the weight and dimensions of your shipment before listing so you can input this and provide the most accurate shipping costs to buyers. Prevents surprise overages later.
FAQ – How To Sell Sports Cards On eBay
Here are some frequently asked questions on selling sports cards on ebay.
Where can I sell my football cards for cash
Here are a few options for selling football cards for cash:
Local card shops or hobby stores – Many collectible and hobby shops buy and sell trading cards. Find shops in your area that specialize in sports cards and see if they purchase individual cards or full collections for cash. They may offer less than full value but it’s convenient.
Sports memorabilia stores – Some sports memorabilia shops and auction houses may purchase individual valuable cards or entire collections. They have expertise in appraising and reselling cards. Look for reputable dealers online or locally.
eBay or other online marketplaces – You can list cards individually or in lots on sites like eBay and potentially get full market value, especially for rarer or high-value cards. Make sure to research prices thoroughly and sell through trustworthy platforms.
Collector fairs or conventions – At trading card shows you can find dealer tables and enthusiasts interested in buying cards for cash on the spot. Attend events in your region to connect with potential buyers.
Facebook groups or forums – Join Facebook groups or online collectible forums focused on sports cards and interact with serious collectors who may buy cards. Get to know group members for trustworthiness.
How to sell baseball cards on ebay
You can read our guide above and use that to sell any type of sports card on ebay including baseball cards.
Can you make money selling sports cards
Yes, you can potentially make money selling sports cards, but there are a few key factors to consider:
Value – The most important thing is having valuable, desirable cards that collectors want. Limited editions, rookie cards of star players, or cards in pristine condition hold the most value.
Market demand – Popular players, teams, and eras create more demand. Vintage or nostalgic cards tend to have demand as well. Research what kinds of cards sell well currently.
Condition – Cards in mint or near-mint condition will sell for much more. Well-preserved cards are worth investing in.
Rarity – Rookie cards, limited editions, misprints, and short-printed cards tend to be more sought after by serious collectors. Unique cards bring higher prices.
Fees/costs – Selling platforms charge fees. Also factor in costs to authenticate and safely ship rare cards. This cuts into profits.
In summary, selling valuable, high-demand cards in great condition through the right platforms can definitely generate good money. But doing thorough research and having premium cards is key.
Turn Your Card Flip Hustle Into a Money Maker
As you can see, successfully selling sports cards on eBay does require some strategy and effort. But it’s a super rewarding hobby that can be quite lucrative if you follow proven tactics.
Implement the tips in this guide during your entire listing and selling workflow. Stay organized and consistent, and learn as you go.
With experience, you’ll be making $1000+ in extra side income each month from your card flips!
Thanks for reading – now get out there and start listing! Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.
Hey there! I’m Rohit Lohia, a passionate SEO enthusiast and the proud founder of Branded Bucks. I’m all about helping small business owners achieve success online through my blog. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore ways to make money online and build a thriving digital presence.