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    ARTICLE: Mike's Guide to eBay; tips and tricks to get better deals and higher profits

    By Mike (soxfan455)

    Note: This article is part of a four part "Mike guide to.." series.
    1. Mike's Guide to beginning collectors DONE
    2. Mike's Guide to eBay DONE
    3. Mike's Guide to shipping COMING SOON!
    4. Mike's Guide to TTM Autos COMING SOON!

    I think that these guides will be finished before the end of the holiday weekend.
    And now to start with my guide.

    This guide is for people who use ebay or people who want to use ebay. It explains not how ebay works, but how to:
    A: get good deals on cards
    B: Find exactly what you are looking for
    C: Maximize your profit via selling.

    I myself have done a fair share of both buying and trading cards on ebay, and you really can't get better deals or higher profits if you know what you are doing. I will explain searching tips, buying hints, and selling suggestions.

    The narrowest search gives the broadest results
    There are about 2 million items in the sports and memorabilia category alone. 30,000 of those are GU cards, and another 25,000 have been graded. The key to searching is wading through the thousands of other cards to get the one out of two million you want. Seems like finding a needle in a haystack, and it is. It would take you many months if you had to flip through each page of card listings, looking for the one you wanted. However, ebay helps you out by giving you a very powerful searching feature. To find great cards and great deals, you need to use the search feature wisely.

    1.Use last names whenever possible
    Let's pretend I have a new triple game used card from the new 2004 Classic Clippings set and I want to sell it. I don't have enough space in the title box to list that my jerseys are of Albert Pujols, Rocco Baldelli, and Mark Prior, so my listing would be something like : Classic Clippings Pujols/Baldelli/Prior Triple GU.
    If you want all Pujols GU, you would miss that card by searching for "Albert Pujols." So try to search for just "pujols" and you will see that card along with many others. Of course, this doesn't work with someone like Chipper Jones, so you can't use it in that situation. However, use just the last name if it is unique enough.

    2.(Parenthesis, are, the, most*, powerful, search*, tool*)
    I want to find all GU and certified autograph items of Rocco Baldelli. I could just go type in Rocco Baldelli and get about 600 items, with "Baldelli" getting a little bit more. I really don't want to wade through all of those to find the GU or auto that I want, so I use parenthesis. Putting a set of words in parenthesis, separated by commas, tells ebay to find everything before the parenthesis, and at least one match inside the parenthesis. Also, we need to learn about the asterisk. An asterisk works as a wildcard to any search term. So auto* finds all cards with "Auto" "auto'd" and "autograph" in the listing. It is much easier, because of all the permutations to show a word (you won't believe how many ways you can signify a jersey card), to use an asterisk and just make it easier on yourself. So, back to my example. To find all Baldelli GU or auto'd cards, I would put "Baldelli(GU,Jer*,bat,patch,auto*)" into the search box. This will narrow down my search by 400 items and make it easier to find the card I want.

    "It's so crowded, nobody goes there anymore-Yogi Berra

    That Yogi Berra quote is a perfect example of what you need to do as a buyer on eBay. There are millions of users on eBay. On any given rare cards, probably about 100 users would want the card, and about 5-15 find it. To get better deals, you need to make sure only 2-5 people find the card you are looking at, or use other buying techniques. Here are some tips

    1.Some sellers are just stupid.
    It's true. There are some sellers who probably shouldn't be doing it. Mistakes in the listing is the #1 way of getting good deals. The most common is spelling the name wrong in the title, which I call "Jerter syndrome" because the first card I saw with this was a Derek Jeter Card, spelled Jerter. If the person spells the name wrong, it automatically gets viewed by less potential buyers. However, a spelled last name is not a guarenty of a low price, as I saw a Mark Teixeira card spelled Texeira go up way past what it should. However, you can usually get better prices if the name is spelled wrong. Some common ones are "Garciapara", "Rodrigues", "Blaylock" and so many versions of the name Teixeira. I have even found a listing advertising a auto'd card of "Andres Galaaaaga"

    2.Remove the common buyer mantras from your head.
    PRIME EXAMPLE: "Don't buy without a picture". That is a common mantra that everyone believes. It makes sense to do it, but it also makes sense not to. There are probably only 2 per hundred that don't have pictures, but most buyers will shy away from those cards. That is your chance to buy it. You will be able to get a steal on it, and maybe get a rare card if the seller doesn't know what he's talking about, listing a "Rocco Baldelli jersey card" with no picture and sending me a 4 color error patch.

    3.Just my .08 cents
    When someone overbids you, it is done in standard increments of .5, .25, and .50 cents. If you bid $5, and someone else bids $5.25, they will overbid you. However, if you bid $5, plus the increment and some spare change, you will survive if someone tries to snipe you. I ALWAYS use .08 cents. It works with all increments and it's just enough to survive. Let's take that same example again. If I bid $5.28, instead of $5, and the other person bids $5.25, your bid will win. I have saved myself many times with the number eight.


    If you are selling, you are out to make money. That's just what it is. You want to try to make the most possible money that you can on a card. If its a rarer card, you will make more money. A less rare card will make less money. It's just how it works. Besides the basics like adding a good picture and a reasonable shipping rate, there is only one tip I will explain:

    Buy it now (BIN) allows the buyer to buy the card at your price. It is like going to a card show and selling a card for whatever amount. BIN has made me almost $200 more over the years then if people had just bid on the item. It costs a nickel for each listing, but it is worth it. People do use it; in my last 20 auctions, I don't believe one has ended without someone using BIN. I will regularly do just BIN auctions, as the BIN will dissappear after just one bid. To set the BIN, think of how much you would want for the card (or use the completed items search if you know nothing about it), and add $2-$5 to come up with your complete buy it now total. Buyers will be willing to pay much more on a card if they can be sure they have it. Recently, with that 4 color Rocco Baldelli error patch I described earlier which I bought for $4.25, it took 74 minutes to sell buy it now to someone in England for $15, making me at least $10. BIN is the best and probably only upgrade you should buy.

    Well, that's the end of Mike's guide to eBay. I hoped you learned something and tune in next time for "Mike Guide to shipping"


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  3. #2
    Just came across this article. I have to tell you.. You write some of the most informative articles I've ever seen.

    I'm very much looking towards the part on Shipping, as sometimes that's my downfall in great trades. Keep up with the great articles!

  4. #3
    What do think about using the "safety net" reserve price option, especially since it's free if used under $9.99 with the standard .30 listing fee ?

    BTW...Nice Guide.
    Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.
    As of May 2017 ~ STILL Collect the following --> ALL 01-04 UD SP Legendary cuts Mlb G/U *Also, Topps insert Sp's.
    1985T Mlb mini's issue(Canadian release)
    Vintage & Modern issues: Have old school players but want current players? I may want them, please Pm me.Thank You | GINTER G/U

  5. #4
    Voltaic- Thanks. Expect the other two guides this weekend. BTW, are you still interested in the lot? If you aren't I'll list it again

    meuandthelot- I wasn't aware of that. To tell you the truth, I'm using exclusively BIN auctions now (i.e., no bidding at all, fixed price). It makes me so much more than regular, and eliminates any worries.

  6. #5
    thanx for the info once again looking forward to some moreof your fantastic issues lol thanx.
    I Collect Cleveland Browns/Boston REDSOX

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    wow thanx mike.. ive been looking for sometihng like thios... do expert guide to EBAY lol

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    Can you include information on how to protect yourself as a seller? Let's say a scammer wins your auction, pays and you ship the card to them. You ship with delivery confirmation and tracking, so you are covered in that area. But, the buyer claims the card was either damaged or not included (empty box or missing card). How does a seller protect themselves?

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