I was inspired by a YouTube video series that I stumbled into the other day. The series featured a person’s quest to build an “impressive” video game collection with just $10. The idea is that you start with $10, flip for profits until you can afford to keep some of your favorites, and continue to buy & flip with the fund you originally funded with the tenner.
I mean, yeah, a lot of people have done it. Why in my 42 years traversing the solar system I never considered doing it myself is a mystery that will be unsolved.
I decided to give myself a $50 challenge. I have some cards sitting around, I bought a bunch of packs of random goodies over the last three years, and my mom saved a very random assortment of cards from my youth (I found a 1989 Star Vancouver Canadians card in the 50ct box as I remember).
Last night I started the challenge. I’m going to be working pretty exclusively through eBay for the time being to stock my collection, and using Comc for the sales. Eventually, I would like to build enough of a collection and reputation within the community to start sales & fulfillment myself. If only to give myself a reason to build a website.
Now, let’s take a look at what we’re starting with…
I did a really cursory and probably hasty eBay search for baseball card lots under $10. The best hits I saw where a pair of 1961 Topps lots at 8 cards each. They’re both from the same seller, and were both starting at $7.50 with no bids. I did some numbercrunching using http://www.priceguide.cards (which slows way the hell down after three or four searches) to see what the median value of the cards were. Then I had a better idea and went right to Comc to see what the cards were fetching in the marketplace.
There was plenty of meat on the bone. I offered $30 for both lots (with as quickly as the seller accepted, I probably could have offered $15 or $20 total, but lesson learned).
This is where math and planning are going to come into play.
I have a Google Doc spreadsheet set up now. I’m keeping track of my current inventory, and the items I’m shipping off to Comc.
The Comc sheet has the card information, the price (adjusted) and the comc.com price. The adjusted price is basically 16 cards divided by my total price, which after fees was $32. So we’re at a nice round $2.00 each on my initial investment.
I’m going to send all 16 of these cards in to sell, and the total estimated Comc value comes out to just about $80. That’s my current total value. So already I’m ahead. But wait, there’s more! Comc isn’t free, so I even though I’m waiting for the cards to deliver, I went through the process to build a shipment, and sending them in as Vintage & Obscure, their estimated fees are $8. I subtract the estimated fees and my adjusted cost and my margin, the total I anticipate to make after all 16 cards sell, is about $40. So on a $32 investment, I anticipate being up $40 to a total of about $72.
The problem with that math, of course, is how long will those 16 cards sit to sell, and will I incur any additional storage fees from Comc. Now, I still have $18 to put towards more stock, but I’m going to be a little more judicious when it comes to spending that money.
If you’ve read down to here, drop a comment and let me know you’re hangin’ tough like Joey Fatone. And I’ll let you know what I got.
I hit one prize card, that if this wasn’t a “build a bear” challenge, I would add to my PC immediately. In Lot A is a Robin Roberts valued at approximately $15. All things equal, if I sell that, Lot A is paid for, and the rest is bonus money.
Lot B didn’t have 1 break out card, but it does include Harry Bright and Johnny Callison, both pulling down about $7 each. So, same. If Bright & Callison go for $7, Lot B is paid for. That was my thinking. Minimize the number of cards I would have to sell to make the lot profitable.