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  1. #1

    Opinion - A Key Issue With "eBay Sold Prices" as a Value Guage

    I want to preface by saying that I hate beckett and that source would be the absolute last place I would ever look to figure out the value of cards...but I didn't want to gum up the ongoing beckett discussion too much with this opinion which is centered around what most people provide as the alternative to beckett - eBay sold prices.

    Have you noticed that for a really large percentage of cards on ebay, there are sold prices for FAR FAR below what you feel they should be valued at? This is because eBay is a marketplace that within our hobby especially, many people are using it to sell only - not to buy. Alot of avid buyers are completing their PCs or sets through forums like this one, their local card shop, opening wax, shows, trading nights, etc. In terms of selling though, eBay is one of the only viable places where they can just list their stuff in the hopes of eventually getting a sale (after trying to make trades or deals in the previously mentioned venues)

    Economics 101 here but whenever you have a market where you have tons of sellers (supply) with a much smaller amount of buyers (demand), prices are going to plummet.

    There are countless cup/premier/ultimate/etc cards selling for $1-3 on eBay, but try and find deals like that at your local card shop or from an organized e-tailer even.

    I think the idea is that conceptually, a product's actual sale value is the definite best way to assess it's "value", but unfortunately eBay is a very skewed source for those sales.

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  3. #2
    I agree with what you are saying, although I am not sure what the solution is. I know that sometimes a $10 card sells for $0.99 on EBay because it was listed at the wrong time or with the wrong description and that this $0.99 sale shouldn't reflect the actual sell value of the card. What I don't know is how we can take this into account when figuring out the value of cards.
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  4. #3
    There is a solution to this whole situation but it's unrealistic in a niche hobby like hockey card collecting. The solution is to have a hub (if beckett had any sense at all they would create this) which allows for data integrations with stores, distributors, marketplaces, ebay and scraping tools for the places that are unwilling to integrate mutually. This basically brings in a large enough percentage of diverse transactional data into a central hub where it can be analyzed by software to establish constantly updated values for items.

    The realistic solution is for people to find ways of doing the human version of that on the fly. So, when they're trying to make a trade between card A and card B...try and keep all the sources they know about in mind rather than just the lowest value when buying and highest value when selling.

    If this was a bigger hobby there would be people out there trying to solve this with technology but there's no market for such solutions currently (probably never will be).

    If you look at a much bigger but not entirely dissiimilar hobby Magic The Gathering, there is a massive financial aspect to that community and an incredible amount of tools out there which do exactly what I said above. What that gets the people in that hobby is that there are actually reliable and universally agreed up on values for each card. These change daily or even hourly but the entire system is so well tracked that those values are fairly universal across all sources.

  5. #4
    I do agree with what you're saying. I have no problem citing eBay sale prices as "fair value" for cards - but in particular: If you're talking about a card with many copies (i.e. sells on a regular basis) you can't simply cherry pick one sale, and call that a value.

    McDavid Young Gun (CND $$): Really quickly I see completed sales for: 385, 399, 386, 300, 393, 335, 378, 369, 355, 349. That is for raw (ungraded) cards... and all in the last 5 days. A mix of BIN & Auctions.

    It doesn't factor in ship costs.

    If I'm buying one: Based on that data, I'm probably not going to be willing to pay $399 for it. It has hit that, I'm sure it will again, but I can reasonably say that it's a certainty that I can get it for at least 10% lower... probably 20%.

    If I'm selling one: No way I let it go for 300, or even 335. I know I can do 350+

    If I'm trading one away: If you have a card that I want for my collection, and I would reasonably expect to pay between 300 and 400 for it, it's probably a fair trade. Maybe trade for 2 cards that would cost me between 200 and 250 each.

    If I'm trading to acquire one: I'd expect to trade something that would sell between 300 and 400 (single card).



    I'm talking about a higher priced card though.


    You can readily find Cup / Premier / Ultimate cards in the $1-$5 online (forums like this, eBay, COMC, whatever). My most recent pickup was a 3 colour Cup ARP of a common player (only a cup of coffee in the NHL) cost me $5 on COMC. Those kinds of prices are common, IMO.

    At a show or LCS I would think they're less common..... BUT:

    Factor in exchange, and shipping prices:

    If I buy a card on eBay for $3 USD, and pay another $3 USD to ship it (inside Canada) that $6 USD, which comes out to about $7.50 CAN. In the case of the Ben Ondrus Cup RC I just bought: I wouldn't expect it to have a $5 price tag at a show locally, but I would expect to see it being sold in a $10 bin, which is basically the same price I paid when you factor in ship & exchange.


    There are a bunch of factors that go into eBay auctions (as you mentioned). Time of the listing, quality of the listing (description, title, etc). Shipping costs do matter too. If a seller thinks they're going to be clever and make a few extra bucks per card by over charging on the shipping, they're probably going to get less bids.
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  6. #5
    What about places that are unwilling to have their data included??

    I would be *SHOCKED* and I mean really, really, really, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE COOL WITH THIS ?!?!?!?" if eBay allowed someone to scrape their sales data. That's their data, and while I'm sure they'd be happy to sell it to you - if you tried to run some kind of scraper to mine that information... I suspect your IP would be blocked after about 45 seconds.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stryfex View Post
    There is a solution to this whole situation but it's unrealistic in a niche hobby like hockey card collecting. The solution is to have a hub (if beckett had any sense at all they would create this) which allows for data integrations with stores, distributors, marketplaces, ebay and scraping tools for the places that are unwilling to integrate mutually. This basically brings in a large enough percentage of diverse transactional data into a central hub where it can be analyzed by software to establish constantly updated values for items.

    The realistic solution is for people to find ways of doing the human version of that on the fly. So, when they're trying to make a trade between card A and card B...try and keep all the sources they know about in mind rather than just the lowest value when buying and highest value when selling.

    If this was a bigger hobby there would be people out there trying to solve this with technology but there's no market for such solutions currently (probably never will be).

    If you look at a much bigger but not entirely dissiimilar hobby Magic The Gathering, there is a massive financial aspect to that community and an incredible amount of tools out there which do exactly what I said above. What that gets the people in that hobby is that there are actually reliable and universally agreed up on values for each card. These change daily or even hourly but the entire system is so well tracked that those values are fairly universal across all sources.
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  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 30ranfordfan View Post
    I would be *SHOCKED* and I mean really, really, really, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE COOL WITH THIS ?!?!?!?" if eBay allowed someone to scrape their sales data. That's their data, and while I'm sure they'd be happy to sell it to you - if you tried to run some kind of scraper to mine that information... I suspect your IP would be blocked after about 45 seconds.
    There are a TON of websites that already do this, and a ton of readily available freeware to do it as well.
    Here's one example of a Lego site that scrapes all data into a price guide: https://www.brickpicker.com/bpms/set.cfm?set=21002-1
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  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 30ranfordfan View Post
    What about places that are unwilling to have their data included??

    I would be *SHOCKED* and I mean really, really, really, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE COOL WITH THIS ?!?!?!?" if eBay allowed someone to scrape their sales data. That's their data, and while I'm sure they'd be happy to sell it to you - if you tried to run some kind of scraper to mine that information... I suspect your IP would be blocked after about 45 seconds.
    eBay would never consent...you're right about that, but plenty of sites/applications still do it anyway. Look at mtggoldfish as an example (very large and popular site in that space...scraping ebay data endlessly)

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Stryfex View Post
    eBay would never consent...you're right about that, but plenty of sites/applications still do it anyway. Look at mtggoldfish as an example (very large and popular site in that space...scraping ebay data endlessly)
    Ebay is fine with it, it's free advertising for them.
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  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Maggot View Post
    There are a TON of websites that already do this, and a ton of readily available freeware to do it as well.
    Here's one example of a Lego site that scrapes all data into a price guide: https://www.brickpicker.com/bpms/set.cfm?set=21002-1
    The graph is showing eBay sales prices? It doesn't explicitly say that... just says sale prices, and there is a nice eBay feed showing links to current listings (which eBay is happy to have you post, and pays for traffic)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stryfex View Post
    eBay would never consent...you're right about that, but plenty of sites/applications still do it anyway. Look at mtggoldfish as an example (very large and popular site in that space...scraping ebay data endlessly)
    I have a little experience in scraping data (past job, it was address info, 10 years ago, not all that relevant now). At the time - to do things like that and keep it above board - sites all used a standard called robots.txt (or something like that?). If you were running a crawler you basically had to announce that you were a crawler, and respect whatever was in their robots.txt (basically it was either "Welcome, Robots!" or "Get away from me!". It may not work like that anymore, I'm not sure.

    Of course with a high functioning proxy server, so you could change your IP every few hits of the site, you can get around it.... which is how I would imagine sites like this do it.

    Could it be done? Yes. For sure. It would expensive to set up though.... so your paid subscriptions & advertising revenues would have to be pretty significant to work.
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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 30ranfordfan View Post
    The graph is showing eBay sales prices? It doesn't explicitly say that... just says sale prices, and there is a nice eBay feed showing links to current listings (which eBay is happy to have you post, and pays for traffic)
    Mostly from Ebay, but they scrape other sources as well. Their methodology is posted in a couple of places on their site. This is for 1000's of Lego sets, not all that different than cards, really.

    Like you pointed out, proxies have changed everything so as far as I know sites don't bother worrying about web-scraping anymore. Yes, robots.txt are still a thing. Software is widely available and computers are more powerful than ever, it's not a high cost proposition anymore.
    *I have a little experience scraping data from social media using Alteryx, and also own several websites, so I'm not completely full of it.
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