In Part 1 of this two-part series, we discussed locating regional sports card and souvenir online auctions, and then preparing for the auctions. Today we’re going to go over some auction practices to use and the dangers to avoid when it’s time to put your money on the line.
Best auction practices
If you’re new to online auctions, the first thing you’ll want to do is exactly what you don’t want to do, and that’s practice. This is especially true if you’re someone who likes to put something together first and read the instructions later. Even if you have been bidding on these sites for a while, there is always something new to learn.
Whether you prefer Hibid, AuctionZip, or Proxibid, start by researching sports card and / or souvenir auctions for that day and the next. You should always look for the next day as some auctions will start in the morning. Also, if your money is limited, you might want to spend something to bid on today in order to have money to bid on something better tomorrow.
When you log into an auction, you’ll want to open a second browser and then view your watchlist. With your watchlist open, you don’t have to try to remember which items you liked, what auctions they are on, what the lot numbers are, when they are offered for auction or about to close. It allows you to stay organized and stay focused on auctions.
Now let’s say you’ve found a card you want. You’ve looked at the auctioneer’s photos, checked eBay and / or PSA and / or Beckett for approximate value… and now you need to decide how much you want to bid. Here it is important to know that there will be additional costs incurred with each prize you win.
You’ll need to pay the buyer’s premium (usually 10-20%), sales tax if applicable, and shipping charges, and all of these extras should factor into your bid amount. Shipping costs can vary widely depending on whether the auctioneer ships himself or outsources to a third party. Shipping from Canada can be particularly expensive, so know that before you get carried away by the favorable exchange rate at Canadian auctions.
You need to know the buyer’s premium, the sales tax rate, and by what method the auctioneer ships so that you can adjust your actual bid accordingly. All of this information should be available in the list, in a rules or FAQ section of the website. Otherwise, contact the auctioneer.
When the rubber meets the road
Now let’s take a look at a few scenarios that you are likely to come across and how to deal with them. Let’s say for this exercise you looked at the costs involved and set your maximum bid for each item at $ 40.
Scenario # 1: The bid is already $ 50… but you really want this card. What should you do Stop. It’s finish. Process it and move on to the next batch.
Scenario # 2: The bid is only $ 15, but you notice that two or three bidders go crazy. What should you do Wait. Let the dust settle and see where you are. There is a good chance that they will go out and you can get the card at your price.
Scenario 3: Time is running out when your yard is closed. It’s just you and another bidder. He just bid $ 40, which is your maximum. What should you do Ah, this is where it gets complicated. Depending on the bid increments and the value you placed on the card, I could go for $ 42 or $ 45. But if he continues to outbid, it’s time to fold. Trust what you know about the article and don’t overpay it.
Stay in the fairway to avoid dangers
Just like there are the best auction practices to use, there are also the worst auction practices to avoid. I alluded to a few of these in the previous section, but now I’ll touch on a few other dangers that bidders face and how to avoid them.
Probably the most serious risk to always keep in mind is the downside you encounter in determining the quality and authenticity of items that you can only view online. Since you cannot review the items in person, you are completely dependent on the quality and number of photos and how much detail the auctioneer includes in the description. It is therefore up to the tenderer to learn as much as possible about each element that interests him.
Determination of quality and authenticity … from a distance
If it is to determine the quality of an item, it is not a violation of etiquette to email the auctioneer and ask for more detailed information and more or more photos. clear. Request that the requested documents be sent directly to your email address instead of posting them on the auction listing. That way you see it, but no other bidder sees it.
If you have questions about the authenticity of an item, email the auctioneer and ask if they guarantee it. If it does and it comes back from the grader in a card saver instead of a slab, you’ve got a good record for a refund. It’s critical to understand that many of these little auctioneers won’t know anything about sports cards or memorabilia. What they know is that it’s a hot market and they want to get into it. Again, it is the bidder’s responsibility to know what they are bidding on.
Besides the brief item descriptions and blurry photos, another hurdle to overcome is autographs. Many regional auctions will list the autographed items, but many will not come with certificates of authenticity or their certificates of authenticity will not come from one of the well-known companies in the hobby. While some smaller auctions have genuine signed items, they can be a dumping ground for bad autographs. You can expect these auctions to issue a disclaimer stating that items are sold “as is” and “all sales are final”. In this situation, two words should flash on that big neon sign in your head: BUYER, ATTENTION. If you win a batch of autographs, submit it to Beckett or PSA, and it comes back in an inauthentic way, it never hurts to call the auctioneer and tell them. He can take it back and reimburse you. But if he doesn’t, be courteous, accept it, and take responsibility for the loss.
Now it’s time to come back to the hot seat
Remember, whether you are new to regional online auctions or have been there for a while, there is always more to learn.
Scenario # 1: You find a 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken with the obscenity on the bleached bat button. You know this particular version is rare and can go up to $ 1,500 in mint condition. However, the photo is just blurry enough that you can’t tell if the corners or edges are sharp. There is one minute left until the lot closes and the bid is $ 250. What are you doing?
You pass, because almost inevitably when the card comes in and you open it, the corners will be soft or the card will have some other problem. And you’ll be mad at yourself for going against your better judgment.
Scenario 2: You find a Goudey Joe DiMaggio from 1938. You notice that this is the only vintage card of this type at auction. You email the auctioneer and ask if it’s genuine, and he replies that he doesn’t know, but the sender says it is. What are you doing? When an auctioneer is vague and the details of an item seem incomplete, run. Plus, if the bids look much lower than they should be on a card like this, it’s a sign that other bidders are wary of it too. Stay away.
Scenario 3: You have had a bad day at work, the kids are arguing, and your wife is standing in your grill because you didn’t clean the grill. You were waiting for tonight’s auction because there is a hot Acuna card you want. Your maximum is $ 200. As the bidding progresses you realize that it’s just you and one other guy left. But every time you bid he bid and the frustration mounts. So you decide to show him, and now every time he bids, you bid. And now your bid hits $ 270 when it suddenly folds. What are you doing? Well, it’s a little late to do anything now. You just paid $ 270 for a $ 200 card.
If you pick up anything from this series, let it be this: you have to keep in mind that auctions are a rational exercise. It’s about numbers. So just like you should never get behind the wheel when you are in an emotional state, you should never bid in an auction when you are in this kind of state either. There will always be another.