Scavenger Life Episode 515: Knockin’ & Talkin’

5/16/21 – 5/22/21

Total items in store: 2375

Items sold: 47

Gross sales: $2779.59 (up 34.7% from one year ago)

Net sales: $1973.14 (up 33.4% from one year ago)

Highest price sold (net): $144.19 — autographed 8×10 print of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham

Lowest price sold (net): $6.17 — 15 year old autographed card of former Vancouver Canucks (hockey) Daniel Sedin

My highest price item sold this week happens to be an item with an interesting back story because it really illustrates how the trading card market has changed in the last few years. I’ve mentioned before in these posts that I acquire almost all of my inventory from eBay auctions and relist using buy it now or best offer. But another method I have to pick up new inventory is through redemption points with one of the main manufacturers, Panini. Here is what their rewards site looks like.

These redemption points are originally found in packs and boxes, usually as a substitute for an autograph where the player couldn’t sign their card on time or to make “card math” work in terms of the number of types of cards (autographs, jersey, inserts, etc) in a box. The points cards range in value from 150 all the way up to 15,000 and 25,000 which are obviously much less plentiful. Panini adds new cards to their rewards site on a weekly basis, and if you have the points in your account, you can pick out the card or cards you want and “buy” it. How they determine their values is a mystery to me, and often there are massive discrepancies between “points” value and dollar value.

The resale market for rewards points had always been pretty consistent at around $5 per 100 points. Until, of course, the early stages of covid last year, when the world (and card manufacturing) basically went on pause and prices for rewards points bottomed out. I had always tried to keep a few thousand points in my account, but those expenses really add up! But when the market bottomed out, I started checking saved searches daily and bought tens of thousands of points, as many as I could afford. And I’ve been eating off those points ever since, which has been particularly useful as the prices for points has risen significantly.

Anyway, to the item I sold. A regular autographed photo of Cunningham, who was a star quarterback in the 90s, would probably cost $20, but this was an 8×10 print with a background in Panini’s color blast design. Color blast cards are only inserted in a few specific sets and they are very highly sought after, with prices that would probably surprise you.

I don’t understand the mindset that would compel someone to spend hundreds of dollars on any collectible, but I can see the aesthetic appeal of this set. It’s a nice design. And so the color blast autograph prints have a moderate following, too. Especially because they were only released on the Rewards site one time and never again. I purchased a few others with the Cunningham and had sold all of them, often for my full asking price. I had not seen another Cunningham listed besides mine in the last two years. Predictably, the listing had a lot of watchers and lowball offers over the last two years, but I couldn’t pass up the offer I received this past week and the buyer basically got a one of a kind item.

Coincidentally, Panini released a new round of Color Blast autographed prints a few weeks ago. I had been eagerly waiting for them since the first batch were so popular, but things have changed so dramatically in the card world in the last few years. I couldn’t add any to my cart, let alone purchase them. They were sold out within minutes — seconds really — on the rewards site. This is because the trading card world has become infiltrated with the methods that resellers of other limited edition items use — bots, cook groups, the types of things associated with sneakerheads. Those resellers are basically playing a completely different game than scavengers. They buy and sell almost immediately so they can use the funds from that sale to buy the next thing that continues the cycle. Some of them probably get lucky and stumble on something that’s particularly valuable that they can make $5000 on in one day. Maybe that is enough for some of them, maybe that’s all they want.

But I will get over the hurdle of 2500 items this summer– hopefully to 3000 — and it is so rewarding to see the inventory grow and see this level of sales sustain. This was a really satisfying week after a few slower weeks. A lot of nice high dollar sales and a lot of items which sold very quickly. Had three $100+ items go to the same buyer within a day of listing them. There’s no bot you can purchase or Youtube course that will teach that level of knowledge.

This post was originally published on this site