One of the most common questions I get relates to figuring out the value of a collection and how it should be priced if selling it.
This is typically a common concern for newer collectors, those that have inherited a collection, or those that are returning to the hobby after a long hiatus.
It can be quite complicated to figure out a card’s value, especially if you’ve never bought or sold a card before.
While we have provided info on valuing cards, I thought it might be helpful to take a ‘live’ look at a collection that was sent to me.
Hopefully, this guide will help you determine accurate resale values for your cards, but if you’re still left scratching your head, feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now this example collection I'm using is unfortunately not all that valuable, but the steps I use would be applicable to all cards and determining value.
So, here's what we are working with. You'll probably notice that these are all 1980s baseball cards, which unfortunately have limited value and would not be worthy of submitting to get graded.
For someone that has no idea even who Don Mattingly is, it can be tough to try and assess what the card values are. If you've inherited a collection, it's possible that some cards have already been identified by the owner as being more valuable.
If they are stored in protective hard cases, it's likely that the hard work has already been done for you. In this case the more valuable cards have been stored in screwdown holders, which is actually not a good thing.
If the cards haven't been separated, you might have to roll up your sleeves and do some dirty work.
So, let's start with the Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss card. I'm assuming you've at the very least determined the year, issuer and player of the card. We have more information on how to do identify what card you have here.
Thus, we know we have a Don Mattingly rookie card. It's ungraded, and for now, we will assume the screwdown case hasn't done any significant damage.
See our video below as we walk through all the steps to help figure out recent comps
Go To eBay.com
Step Two: Type In Year, Make, and Player Name
In this example it would be "1984 Donruss Don Mattingly", for some of the other cards from the photos above, we have others such as
"1983 Topps Wade Boggs"
"1983 Topps Tony Gwynn"
"1983 Donruss Wade Boggs"
you get the idea.....
Step Three: Click On "Sports Trading Card Singles"
It's on the left hand side and by selecting this, we get the appropriate filters for a single card
Step Four: Scroll Down And Check Off 'Graded' as 'No'
If you scroll down the page, on the left hand side, you should come to a section that says 'Graded'. In this case, the card has not been graded, thus we want to select 'NO'. Now of course, if you are dealing with a graded card, you would want to select 'Yes', while also choosing from the above 'Professional Grader' section to choose the grader of the card.
Step Five: Click on 'Advanced' At Right Top Side Of Page
Step Six: Click on 'Sold Listings' and Click 'Search'
Step Seven: Evaluate The Cards That Have Sold And Compare To Your Card
This is where you need to start doing a bit of work. The information from eBay should give you all of the recent comps that you need. There are some observations I'll make off the bat.
First, you might notice sales listings from more notable eBay sellers such as PWCC or in this case Greg Morris cards. Greg Morris sells a lot of ungraded cards and does a good job in providing accurate self grades of the cards. Thus, sometimes you can use these listings to compare to your cards.
Let's use a few of his examples to try and evaluate our Don Mattingly Donruss rookie card.
First, let's take a look at our card in question:
Now, as someone not in the hobby, you might look at this card (protected in a screwdown case) and assume that this card is in pristine condition.
Unfortunately, it is not. There is corner wear on all four corners, most noticeably on the upper right and bottom left, although the other two corners look a bit soft as well. My guesstimate on a grade would be VG-EX which equates to a PSA/SGC 4.
Now, what we can do, is at the very least compare it to ungraded cards that have sold in a similar condition.
Here's a NM Copy that Greg Morris sold for $75. Nope, not even close to the condition of our Mattingly.
Here's one that was advertised as EX-MT by Morris that sold for roughly $47. You can see that despite being off-center, the corners and borders are pristine. Moving on, not even close to our card.
Ok here's one that Morris also sold that was advertised as VG-EX which was my estimated grade. It sold for $27, but it actually looks like it could be in slightly better condition than our card, but it's getting a lot closer.
Thus, I would probably estimate the value of the Mattingly card in question to be worth around $20, give or take a few bucks. Note these are just using one point in time sales figure, and Morris has a good following, so not guaranteeing you will sell for that amount, but it at least gives you a ball park figure.
Let's take a look at one more card from this collector's collection to evaluate.
Few things to point out with the condition here. (Oh BTW be sure to see our guide to card grading to get up to speed with what matters when evaluating card conditions). It is noticeably off -center left to right, and the corners have some wear. I would probably say it's got a grade fairly close to the Mattingly so around VG-EX.
If we go over to eBay and type in '1978 Topps Eddie Murray" and do everything I instructed you to do above, we get all the information we need.
One of the first sold listings I see is actually a VG/EX Murray from Greg Morris that sold for $10.50.
How does that card compare to our card? Fairy similar centering but the corners are a bit more roughed up...i almost think this grade is off.
Here's one Morris sold as EX/EXMT that sold for $16. Maybe slightly better than our card, but really close with similar centering. Thus, my conclusion on the Murray from this collectors collection would be an estimated retail value of about $14 to $15.
Now I'm just using singular data points from one big eBay seller but if you wanted to spend more time you could examine more listings, even set up a spreadsheet averaging out listings over the last few months that approximate the condition of your card.
If selling on eBay you could try a 'Buy It Now' listing using the sales data using the comp data you've collected. You could also try an auction listing, however if you are a newer seller this can be a bit riskier if you don't have an established track record selling on eBay.
Hopefully this can help collectors that are struggling to determine the value of their cards.