Over the last few years, sports card sales have become an increasingly significant part of eBay’s business. eBay has been very aware of that factor and has made a series of solid gestures towards the hobby community.
These moves started with the introduction of eBay’s standard envelope initiative. But that was just the start of the outreach. Since then, the e-commerce giant has launched the eBay Trading Card Authenticity Guarantee, which covers all cards worth over $750. More recently, the company started its own vaulting service, which leverages eBay’s massive market share.
The figures show why eBay is making such an effort. Gross merchandise volume topped the $4 billion mark in 2021. In addition, the overall value of the eBay sports card market rose 142% from 2020 to 2021. Basketball, in particular, exploded, going up by 373% over that timeframe. Meanwhile, soccer went from a negligible market to a massive one, growing by 1586% in 2021. It is quite simply a multi-billion dollar market for eBay.
Every year, the Marketplace Pulse e-commerce intelligence firm releases a list of the top 1,000 sellers on eBay. The year 2021 was, as we said, a massive one for sports cards. So it was an excellent opportunity to do some digging and see just how vital card sales were for the platform last year.
Keep in mind that eBay does not release the total amount of profit made by different sellers. Those numbers are privileged information on private sellers and are not public record. Therefore, Marketplace Pulse uses feedback as an approximation of the success of each seller.
That is a problematic metric. First, not every buyer leaves feedback. I used to, but now that my card buying problem (I mean habit!) is out of control, I no longer bother. Second, it does not differentiate a $1 from a $200,000 purchase. Therefore, these numbers systematically overestimate the importance of high-volume sellers over their high-quality equivalents.
Still, these are the figures we have, and they are pretty helpful.
The top ten on eBay tend to include a group of highly established companies. Indeed, the top three did not change from 2020 to 2021. But two card sellers broke into the top ten.
I was surprised to see DC Sports rank this high. In recent months, they have jumped up the rankings despite being far smaller sellers than, say, COMC overall. The company’s high ranking is a testament to its hard work and strong service record.
The company is located in Virginia, not far from the District of Columbia. DCSports87 has been selling on eBay since 2012 but has emerged as a strong player in the consignment game more recently. One of their main advantages is the fast turnover times. They promise two days to list submissions under 20 cards and 9 days for larger ones. The company enjoys a remarkably high rate of positive feedback at 99.6%. That is one of the highest rates among the top eBay sellers.
COMC jumped from the 16th spot in 2020 to the 7th this year. The initials COMC stand for Check Out My Cards. It is a consignment service and a veteran presence in the hobby. COMC is located in Redmond, Washington, and is actively hiring and expanding. The company was created in 2005 by CEO and founder Tim Getsch, a former Microsoft employee and lifetime sports card enthusiast. He runs it with his wife, Julia Getsch.
Because it is a highly popular consignment company, COMC flaunts a massive inventory. However, despite the enormous volume of cards they handle, COMC maintains solid reviews across the board.
Greg Morris is a longtime card enthusiast and self-proclaimed “top national authority on cards.” In 2008, he began to sell cards off his kitchen table and has become one of eBay’s biggest sellers. In addition, they have gotten into the consignment business in recent years, which has driven up their traffic.
Morris specializes in vintage cards. Indeed, if you are a vintage buyer, there is little chance you haven’t purchased some gems from him.
The user feedback for Greg Morris Cards is nothing short of spectacular. He has 313,616 positive feedback items, 26 neutral, and a single lonely negative one.
If so, 3 out of the top 10 on eBay are card consignment companies. That is a pretty impressive stat. But what about the rest of the list?
Rick Probstein is one of the best-known figures in the hobby and has long held a massive presence on eBay. However, scandal and controversy have followed his career. There have long been rumors of preferential eBay treatment and shill bidding on Probstein123 items on eBay.
Nonetheless, Probstein remains a major eBay player. Unfortunately, the eBay rating for Probstein123 is not as high as some. It stands at 99.5% and with close to a thousand negative reviews. Indeed, complaints about their customer service are quite prevalent.
My neighbors in Burbank own a massive brick-and-mortar store on 1610 West Burbank Boulevard. The shop has a gigantic collection. Indeed, the warehouse they own contains 8 aisles of 12-foot shelving units filled with no less than 43 million cards. The shop has a long history as a family-owned business. Just take a look at this touching series of photos.
However, they have become massively active on eBay as well. While the store was once geared towards visitors, they keep the vast majority of their stock out of sight today. However, it is all cataloged for online shoppers to easily find and purchase.
The eBay sales of the company certainly thrive. With customers leaving feedback no less than 2,283,247 times. They maintain a strong 99.6% of positive feedback despite the large volume of orders through the years.
This outfit is a relative newcomer to eBay, selling on the platform since 2017. Indeed, the company was formed as recently as 2016 by Josh Cohen. But their performance on eBay has been nothing short of spectacular since. They have a 99.9% positive feedback ratio, with 37 negative reviews to almost 55,000 positive ones.
PC Sportscards offers a wide variety of cards, primarily ultra-modern sports. They also have a good selection of gaming cards such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon. They also help prepare cards for PSA submissions alongside standard eBay consignment services.
4 Sharp Corners specializes in PSA submissions and the resale of graded cards. Located in Walpole, MA, the company was formed by Stan House and Roger Rumsey in 2003. The owners claim to be the largest sellers of PSA-graded cards globally.
They certainly have a lot of experience with PSA. Over the years, 4 Sharp Corners has submitted over 3.5 million cards to PSA. They offer to either buy or consign your cards. And customers are fans of their service; they have a 99.8% of positive feedback with over 74,000 reviews received.
2021 was a revolutionary year for the hobby. It saw the pandemic hobby spike peak and the stabilization of interest in sports cards. Big companies like eBay have sought closer ties to collectors and investors following the money.
This list shows some of the results of this sea change in hobby status. With three card sellers among the top ten on eBay, we can see how it brings in 1$ billion per quarter for the e-commerce giant. The recent moves that eBay has made to solidify ties with the hobby community should increase this trend in 2022. Consumers are also winners. If you want a specific card, the chances are that several stores are selling it on eBay, allowing enthusiasts choice.