Quite honestly i don’t even know where to start. Let’s dig into what i’ve up to this week within the Sports Cards hobby.
The world i’m beginning to uncover is like some sort of midnight party that happens behind closed doors while the rest of the city sleeps. You know like the ones in fast and furious that are top secret yet everybody’s still there.
That’s how i’m seeing it right now. I can’t believe it’s as big as it is. Honestly, i had an image of sports card collecting as a few nerdy guys swapping cards in their grandma’s basement. But it is not like that at all, and seems to be going the other way entirely.
I watched a three hour Gary Vee video on sports cards this week, and he described it as sports cards becoming our modern generations version of art. It won’t be the Picasso on the wall, it’ll be your LeBron James rookie card cased in your man cave. And that’s something I can definitely get on board with. I love that idea, and I think Gary is absolutely right.
The journey continues…
So what have I been up to? Well shit I have a lot to update you on. I’ve never spent so much time on eBay.
This week it’s been all about learn learn learn. Looking at card trends, prices, sales. The sold function on eBay is your best friend. Don’t buy a card without checking what other people have spent on the same card. That tool gives you every satisfaction that what you’re spending is justified and that you’re not overpaying.
in week 1 I mentioned a site called ShipMyCards.com which acts as a warehouse for your card purchases, basically. This is super handy because otherwise making small price purchases on single cards etc becomes pointless when you get hit with a $12 shipping fee. So you send your cards to their address in Arizona and they hold your cards in your very own personal inventory. Super useful and a very important service for those of us outside of the US. You can also resell your cards from your inventory but I haven’t worked that out yet.
So my inventory is currently holding four cards, and i’ve been busy on eBay, so a load more are arriving over the next few days. Once they’re all there, i’ll select the whole lot to be shipped, and get them sent over to me in the UK.
My focus has been the Gators & Tua. And I’ve learnt so much about eBay this past week, I can’t quite believe it. The feeling of wheeling and dealing on eBay is a tonne of fun. I’m not playing with big money, i’ve probably spent around $120. Which sounds like it’s quite a lot to be fair, but it’s more than i’ll typically spend as I wanted to grab a few cards to get me going and start off a collection. And that includes a $40 ish dollar box break, which we’ll get into in a moment.
So you’ll have seen in week 1 I picked up a couple of Tua cards, both the base and a red chrome version of his optic rated rookie card. Still in his Alabama uniform, however great additions to the PC.
For the Gators, i’ve looked to add a card to represent each of my most appreciated Gator players who’ve entered the NFL in the last couple of years. These guys aren’t really investments, more just cards I am collecting that’ll form a really nice Gators collection over the years. For example this La’Mical Perine:
It’s an autographed card numbered to 25, with a three coloured patch and it cost me $20. It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
So the Perine is the most expensive Gator card i’ve picked up, the rest have been around 2 to 5 dollars. Nothing crazy, just cards of guys like Van Jefferson, CJ Henderson, Tyrie Cleveland etc. Players i’ve enjoyed watching as a Gator fan, who i will now support with their NFL journeys. The guys above don’t yet have cards from their NFL teams, but i’ll look to add those when I get the chance too. Particularly looking forward to grabbing a Van Jefferson Rams card, as those jerseys are flat out fire.
This whole process makes a lot of sense to me, as like i said last week, my original plan was to get a jersey for each of my favourite Gators. If i bought one a year it would be more expensive than buying a few cards, and i’d also run out of wall space pretty quick!
Those cards are all on their way to my inventory in Arizona, and i’ll allow them all to arrive before I request that they’re shipped. That’s going to be a very good day. I’ll be sure to put a video together unboxing all my new arrivals. Very excited.
So we’re still on the collecting side of things right now, and I thought a nice way to take a gamble on my Tua collection was to jump into a box break. A box break is the opening of a box of cards where you purchase the rights to any single team, or more if you wish to bid on multiple. So let’s use my first experience as an example. I bought the Dolphins from a box break which was 10 boxes of 2020 Chronicles Football. It cost me $42 dollars and essentially it’s a gamble. If across the 10 boxes the guy pulls no Tua cards, or Dolphins cards, i lose. But i got pretty lucky, and honestly it was a serious tonne of fun.
Across the 10 boxes 9 Tua cards were pulled, and 8 of them were different. I looked up the prices of them all on eBay and they come to around $60 dollars, so I actually profited! But I think i’ll keep the cards for my collection. Can never have too many Tua cards! None of them we’re anything rare or signed, and obviously if you get those hits then you really win big, but 9 cards I was very happy with. Plus there was a Curtis Weaver in there too. An added bonus! That being said, it is of course a gamble, so be prepared not to get the return on your investment, as I’m sure often you won’t. It’s good fun every now and then, and if you can afford to do so, worth the gamble.
How about investing?
So all of that is to do with my personal collection, the Tua’s, and the Gator cards, and that’s mainly what I’ve been focusing on this week. However I do also want to start thinking about my angle from an investment standpoint. Who I might go for, and which cards etc. But remember, and this is important. Your cards all have value. I come from a world of FIFA and Madden ultimate team where buying virtual cards will always give you a ROI of 0. Always. With sports cards you can sell everything you have, whether that be through opening boxes or cards you bought on eBay, everything still has a value. So if you collect for a few years and then sell when you move home or buy your first place, or need money for a car. Selling off some of your collection that you’ve invested in will help you. So you’re not throwing money away.
So for my investments this week, I like Matisse Thybulle. Whenever he’s on the floor I appreciate his play defensively, he doesn’t get to take too many shots yet but he will, and i think he has a shot at a really good future in the NBA. I also think if he’s going to keep up the Youtube channel, that he’ll quickly become a very popular personality in the league, which is good for his cards. As a Sixers fan it’s easy for me to invest in Thybulle, so i thought i’d start there. I’ve bought 5 cards, all rookies of course, across 2 different sets. Three of the cards are all the same and came as a set, which meant I got a good deal. If you’re looking at buying a few cards, i’d recommend looking at sets. You save on shipping, and typically get a better deal than buying cards solo.
I am very careful about the cards i bid on or make offers on, and it’s important you check thoroughly before you commit yourself to anything. Read descriptions, check the pictures and if you’re not sure, stay away. The above lot looked like a good deal, these Thybulle cards go for anything between $12 and $20 dollars, and I got these three together for $33 including shipping.
I don’t want to buy cards that don’t have a shot at PSA 10 grades, so i’m thorough with my research before I bid. If a card looks off centre, or you’re not sure, keep looking. These three all look pretty good, and I think once they get to ShipMyCards that I’ll have them sent off to be graded, looking for that PSA 10.
I’d like to get them graded, and then i’ll decide if I want to sit on them, or sell them on, depending on their value. I’m also keeping track of each card I buy, what I paid for it, and that way I can track how i’m doing once i start reselling some things.
My Sports Cards Grading Strategy
This brings me on to my next point, and that’s the crazy difference in price between graded and ungraded (raw) cards. A Gem Mint PSA 10 Matisse Thybulle sells for upwards of $120 dollars. So here’s my theory.
Rich people or those with big money being poured into the hobby, are too lazy to grade cards themselves, and don’t want to spend the time or the risk doing so. They want others to do it for them, and to go onto eBay and only buy PSA 10 perfect cards. Which is fair enough. But that laziness creates opportunity.
Let’s look at this. I bought 3 Matisse Thybulles for $33. It cost’s 11 dollars a card to have them graded through ShipMyCards, which is a better rate than you’d get on your own because they get discounts and bulk order price reductions. So my total for these three cards is $66 dollars. There’s a $2 dollar handling/processing fee per card with ShipMyCards, so let’s call it $70.
Now if i’ve done my homework right, let’s say just one of these cards comes back a PSA10. Which i’d be very happy with. I now have a $120 dollar card, and two cards left over. The PSA 9 card goes for around $50. Some at $60+ too. So if I got a 10 and two 9s, my cards are worth $240 dollars and they cost me $66. And all I had to do was wait a couple of months. So i’m going to try this, and I’ll of course keep you updated and let you know how i’m getting on.
That being said, it’s not easy to get the 10s, and I want to find out for myself just how difficult that is. It’s harder for me because I am not in the US and technically won’t actually see my cards in person before they get sent off for grading. But I can’t do much about that, and it’s cheaper to take the risk, than it is to ship them all the way over the Atlantic, and then ship them back to be graded. Plus ShipMyCards have a cleaning & inspection process before they send the cards off to PSA. So they’re looking after that for me.
I’m excited to see how it goes, and I think i’ll be sending my red chrome Tua card off with the Thybulles as that card looks perfect. I’ll leave you this week with the image of it’s beauty, and i’ll see you next week. Hope you enjoyed this week’s update! Let me know on instagram over at https://www.instagram.com/undraftedsportscards/. I’ve made a page purely dedicated to the Sports Cards journey, so go check that out!
Make sure you join me again next week for more ideas on investment, which NBA players i think are flying under the radar, and the continuous hunt for those Tua Dolphin’s cards. Subscribe down below to stay up to date! A new sports cards blog every Friday!
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