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non sport card market dead?

December 4 2016 at 12:45 PM
tm  (Login 19Century)

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!

 Respond to this message   
J0hn Raff3rty
(Login swarmee)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 4 2016, 5:58 PM 

Auction sales aren't as strong, except for rare cards. The 2x Phoebe Phelps that ended today seemed very strong. Buy-It-Nows are still doing fine.

(Login egbeachley)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 4 2016, 6:01 PM 

The T51 Murads have always been a $1 - $2 card, barring the exceptional condition example or mainstream sport (i.e. football).

Recent sales have actually shown the opposite of what you have mentioned. They are going for a lot more than I have ever seen them sell for.

Is it worth the effort to sell cards for $2 each? If you can make a $1 profit and list 30-40 an hour then I would say definitely yes. If you are unemployed, student, retired, bored with your spare time, etc. then 1/2 those results would still be a yes.

Jon Hardgrove
(Login carbking)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 4 2016, 6:17 PM 

Prices of the various collectibles I collect (cards, coins, models, stamps) have all been totally unpredicable over the last 6 months or so. This often happens during a presidental election cycle.

I look for sales to stabilize after about the 15th of March.

In the meantime, I throw dirt-cheap bids on some auctions (and win some).


Todd Riley

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 4 2016, 7:08 PM 

Yes and No! If it is something I want I never win it. If it is something I am selling I usually have to give it away.


Amos Rucker
(Login oldbubblegum)
temporary moderators

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 4 2016, 7:11 PM 

Todd +1

(Login 19Century)


December 4 2016, 7:22 PM 

I seem to agree with you. When you want something bad; I was just in on some of
the N3 (Arms) auctions, it is tough when the prices are up there. 1 card went for $97,
the highest I would go is $30 for that card. But I have paid more for others, as I'm
sure you have. That guy did all the talking about the T51s so I picked some up at the
show for what I thought was reasonable. Turns out I couldn't give them away on the bay.
With vintage cards today, you have to listen to people with experience such as yourself, Todd.
Just because you list 12 cards on COM - whatever doesn't mean you know non sports cards.

This message has been edited by 19Century on Dec 4, 2016 11:31 PM

(Login luckylarry777)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 4 2016, 8:15 PM 

More and more of my fellow sports card collectors are moving into non sports cards. It's what I did five years ago when my want list consisted of only high priced rookie cards. What fun is that? This of course does not include Civil War News which I've always collected LOL. The last local show my best pick-up was a few Mars Attacks cards I needed for my set. I also bought a '50 "Jiggles" card which I never seen before, and this AM I picked up a few more of these "Jiggles" cards on eBay. Topps Brady Bunch cards are always in my eBay search too, Topps Astronauts, Stooges, 50s 60s 70s I scour eBay quite a bit. I collect some of the tobacco and early 1900s stuff that most here seem to prefer but I'm still looking for Fleer Casper, Goudey Indians, Topps Laugh In, Get Smart, and Combat.
Please send help! LOL

This message has been edited by luckylarry777 on Dec 4, 2016 8:40 PM


Daniel H
(Login PancakeBunny)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 5 2016, 7:47 AM 

For my part I'm spending more than I ever have on cards on a monthly basis. I find an occasional "deal" but I still only win about 20% of any auction (eBay or otherwise) and it's been this way for a long time for me. Monthly I might bid $1000-ish but only ever win $200 or so. I will not consider the market dead until I start winning a significantly higher percentage of the auctions that I bid in. It would be nice if I could get to the point that there weren't $1000 worth of cards that I wanted every month but that never seems to happen. I just keep working on more and more stuff (and I only really collect non-photographic sets between R1 and R177). Recently I have been augmenting auction purchases with private deals with a host of people. I really enjoy this hobby, and have for years. It's been good for the side of my personality that wants to keep things organized.

Jon Hardgrove
(Login carbking)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 5 2016, 9:09 AM 

I mentioned the word unpredictable in my first post in this thread; without mentioning sets, two recent examples:

(1) A non-USA set that I am still trying to complete (and probably never will) of 108 cards. All of the cards are difficult, some more than others (some I have yet to even see). Last month, another collector sold off his partial set on ebay, 1 card at a time. There were 5 cards that I needed. I bid 3 times the average sale value for each of the cards, because I wanted them. Two, I bought at the opening bid (3 times less than the average); the other 3 I was outbid.

(2) A USA set of 3 cards that I really like came up last month. I had two complete sets, but these were nice! I bid a reasonable price for the set, and won it at the opening bid, 20 percent of my bid! This set is RARE!

If I were selling at this time, I think I would have a reasonable minimum and a buy-it-now; but as a buyer, thankful for those that start cards at 99 cents! wink.gif

(Premier Login autograf)

Some things yes...........

December 5 2016, 9:18 AM 

Some things yes, some things no. As an ebay seller, I generally list things on auction and then rerun as auction before relisting as a fixed price sale. Sometimes things don't get a bid at all as a first time auction, then go WAY above the opening bid on relist. Sometimes things dont get a bid on first or second auction and get bought immediately as a fixed price auction when the sale price was the second auction opening bid price. I think a lot of it is timing. I collect SO many things that I don't search for everything every day or even every week or even every month. I think a lot of it is hit and miss. I think if you have the really quality items in terms of rarity or condition, it seems they generally do well but there are even exceptions for that. I've seen some similar commentary on the BB side as well. High, high grade cards and rookie cards in most any condition are really on fire over there right now. As for other stuff, sometimes it languishes. Not entirely sure what to attribute it to.

(Login mwbeatles)


December 5 2016, 3:46 PM 

My opinion, which means very little, has to do with the buy-it-now system eBay has created for whatever reason.

You check the sold items and see what things are selling for and then go to current auction and there they sit, months at a time, items that are 4-5 times the value.

LOST IN SPACE trading cards
905 total items
45 of that 905 for auction.

MARS ATTACKS trading cards
3750 total items
146 of that 3750 for auction

248 total
4 auction

I always look at it like this. If someone has a buy-it-now it has to be overpriced or it would already by gone. I know I'm not the first person to see the item so why is it still available?

(Login vintagensman)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 5 2016, 4:52 PM 

Ebay is a joke. I set up at shows and my sales have been very strong over the last few yrs. In the 25yrs I have been in business my 2 best shows have occurred in the last 2 yrs. I am finding more and more sports collectors are switching to non-sports as they realize that the non-sport print runs were a small fraction of what was printed for sports cards.

(Login flubadub)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 5 2016, 6:49 PM 

Yes, the non sport market is DEAD, and has been for a while. Try selling ungraded HOW, Sky birds. ect. on e-bay and see what you get. Not much unless
you're giving it away. For many years I sold all my 30's and 40's stuff to Hugh Jones, cause all the guys who collected the stuff either had it or wanted it were dead. Try selling anything in the Wrapper and see what you get, not much if anything. When our fearless leader comes out and says he's in danger of going under, what does that say for his advertisers? The only non-sports I see going for anything at all are high grade PSA singles or sets, (which are in the top 10). Otherwise you've probably lost money on grading fees. T51's, that's a joke, I'd pay more for good toilet paper.

(Login 19Century)


December 5 2016, 7:45 PM 

I can hear her now,the 51's are a little rough, would you pick up some Charmin, its
squeezably soft.

(Login visionlure)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 6 2016, 1:40 PM 

1)I think ebay is finished. The attics are empty. Now ebay recycles cards from collector to another.

2)I also believe Mastro auctions inflated prices over the years and gave us a false sense of value.

3)It appears that a number of whales have left the hobby.

But the scarcer stuff, just my opinion, still commands a decent price.

Bill Bengen
(Login billbengen)

Not dead, just resting

December 6 2016, 2:11 PM 

Hi all,

I don't believe it's accurate to say that the non-sports card hobby is "dead". That would imply the hobby is gone forever. All hobbies are cyclical, and it is possible that certain portions of the non-sports card hobby are at a low spot in the cycle.

I am no expert on baseball cards, but it appears to me that certain portions of that hobby are in a "bubble". Are '52 Mantles really worth those incredible prices, even though so many of them are available? Like all bubbles, which drew capital from other areas, that bubble will eventually burst, and free up capital for purchases in other areas, perhaps non-sports cards.

I have been back in the hobby since 1999, and I am still an avid collector of 1950's NSC. I have just changed the form in which I collect them. At one point I owned about seventy-five #1 sets on the PSA Registry. I have sold off most of them and replaced them with non-graded sets of the same cards. I still love the cards, I just don't want to pay the prices some people are paying for high-grade cards. I would rather receive those prices.

Although almost all of my sets are complete, I have many cards which need upgrading, so I will be buying in this hobby for a long time. I expect we will see a renaissance of interest over the next five years. But, I really don't care. I am just enjoying the hobby for its attractions: beautiful objects with historical significance, which have emotional import for me. And the friends you make along the way.

Let's not write the obituary for NSC quite yet.

Best in collecting,

Bill Bengen

This message has been edited by billbengen on Dec 6, 2016 4:45 PM

Brian Chidester
(Login bcxists)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 6 2016, 5:18 PM 

I'm not as seasoned as many of the regulars here, though I have been collecting pre-WWI cards since 1985, both sports and non-sports. Up through 1987-88, things were incredibly reasonable, price-wise. The bubble of the nineties was particularly difficult to weather if you were buying at card shows alone, which I was then. Felt like all prices were pretty much inflated.

When eBay came along in the late nineties/early aughts, it suddenly seemed like the bubble had burst and collectors could see what was rare and what was not. Some cards that were previously priced high, particularly in sports cards, went down; some went up. The other nice thing was the access. If you were patient things would appear that you never thought you'd see in your life.

Again, I'm not a high-dollar collector and never have been, so I'm not insider to a lot of the big traders and trades. However, in terms of recent times, I'm enjoying the dip in prices on some common series, as it has allowed me to get type cards for sets that I didn't go after in the past, like the Kinney N cards or the Lorillard actress sets with the ornamental borders. I always figured they were not that rare, but for some reason had not dipped significantly in price until more recently.

I'm also in graduate school at present (oldest in my class, grrr), so my budget is limited once again, and though I bid sometimes on ultra-rare cards, I almost never win (unless of course they're shot to shit, condition-wise, which I don't care that much about when it comes to real rarity). But my budget is in the $35-65 range right now, which means if nothing great appears, I'll just bundle and grab the type cards you guys are talking about selling cheap above. Guess it depends on what you're looking to get or get out of collecting. It is the never-ending disease.

This message has been edited by bcxists on Dec 6, 2016 5:20 PM

Jason R.
(Login a71678)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 6 2016, 9:38 PM 

Yes, non-sports is dead. But in the spirit of the season, I'll guarantee all your shares for 50 cents on the dollar!

(Login rhettmyeakley)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 7 2016, 2:12 AM 

Pretty cynical view of the hobby.

I disagree 100%

I have made more Non-Sports sales over the past 2 years than I ever have in the past. As mentioned above the Non-Sports market just isn't nearly as crowded as the Sports Card world is, but even in the Sports market there are areas that have become very stagnant and have even lost value over the past few decades, then there are other areas that have reached heights unimaginable. When I first began collecting sports everyone that was into vintage wanted the colorful 1930's issues and tended to look down upon the 20th Century tobacco issues as being "too common" but now in the vintage market the T206 set has become the king. At least for now.

With non-sports cards the auction route is not the way to go at all, just not enough fish in the sea and the ocean is too big. With sports cards there is a finite number of sets that were produced and they have been cataloged to death and only the most active of collectors actually make "New" discoveries. With non-sports the array of items is never-ending...we will NEVER catalog everything and for that reason certain areas of the hobby have become almost completely uncollected and haven't increased in value in many decades (but the good news is that can change with further cataloging which always makes things more exciting to collect...people ultimately collect so the get that feeling of "completing" something)... How many people here actually actively collect the more mainstream trade card issues from the 1870-1890's? I imagine very few even though though they are old, rare and really neat. If you look at the prices Burdick put on things back in the original ACC this area of collecting (H-cards) was at the beginning of the book and carried usually some of the bigger price tags.

History has moved in a different direction from the original ACC and the cards clearly looked down upon initially have become the more highly collected. Things ebb and flow in this hobby. With non-sports cards, having a finger on the pulse of what is hot NOW is very important. Due to this high volatility, going with the traditional auction is a recipe for disaster as you may have only one person willing to pay "market price" for a piece (see Jon's example above where he paid 20% of his top bid) but in an auction you need 2 or more to move the price up, Fixed price is 100% the way to go unless you happen to be holding the sets that are popular at the moment (right now for example rare R-cards, certain N-sets, rare T-cards, and high grade examples of highly collected but common sets seem to be the hottest trends).

This message has been edited by rhettmyeakley on Dec 7, 2016 2:23 AM

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