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If you’re new to the hobby, one of the first things you need to know is where to buy sports cards.
There’s actually a lot of different options out there, and there are some niche markets – for example, there are sites dedicated to vintage cards and whatnot.
However, for this article, I’ll just assume you’re a generalist looking to get into recent and semi-recent cards. If we list every dedicated card site that serves a small niche of the industry this article will be 45,000 words long.
So, we’ve picked seven of the best options for buying cards.
If you’re getting into sports cards, eBay is still the biggest and best retailer you can go to. There is the biggest range of
With eBay, you have three different ways to buy:
- Auction: eBay auctions are probably the most famous buying option for eBay users and what it’s most known for. Basically, sellers list their item up for a timed open auction and buyers bid for it. Whoever has the highest bid on the item when the auction runs out wins. They then pay the seller and recieve the item. Sellers can put a ‘reserve’ on an item (a minimum they’ll accept for the item) to eliminate some risk on thier part. You can still get a bargain in an auction though – although you can pay a lot more than you wanted to if you get stuck in a bidding war. So it’s important to do your homework with an auction and have a max price.
- Buy it Now: Some sellers will also have a ‘buy it now’ price on thier items. If you don’t want to follow an auction along for a few days, then you can choose to buy the product straight out. Again, do your homework as it’s pretty common for sellers to list an inflated ‘buy it now’ price.
- Buy it Now with ability to Negotiate: Similar to the second point, there’s a buying option where sellers have a price you can pay to purchase the product straight-out but with the ability to negotiate. So, if you think the seller has inflated the price, you can try to negotiate a price. You offer prices, and the seller has the ability to accept or reject it. If they accept, you get to buy it for the negotiated price. You’ll find you can sometimes grab a card for 30-40% of the ‘buy it now’ price.
eBay has a wide range of items too, so you’ll be able to find almost anything.
ComC or Check Out My Cards is the biggest sports card and memorabilia dedicated online store.
In plenty of ways, it works the same was a eBay. Sellers list thier cards on the platform and sellers can either buy it outright or make offers.
The beauty of ComC is that it is a platform made for card fans.
That means that there’s little things that ComC has that you won’t find on markeplaces like eBay that serve more of a general audience.
Just check their sales page out.
There’s previous sales data, and there’s even data for the card’s parallels too.
As a buyer, there’s a lot to like about ComC, and you’ll often find a better standard of product because sellers want to deal with other collectors – and there’s a better chance of finding them at ComC.
Facebook cops a bit of flack as a place to buy cards, but I actually think there’s a lot of potential to get a good bargain. There’s really two top-tier options for buying sports cards on Facebook.
- Facebook Groups: There’s plenty of Facebook groups where members sell their cards and packs. This is an attractive option for sellers as they won’t have any sales fees. The lack of sales fees also means you’re likely to get a bargain. Just make sure you pay with PayPal though – and don’t pay anyone as ‘family or friends’, that way you’ll have protection if things don’t work out. After all, you’re literally sending money to a stranger on the internet!
- Local MarketPlaces: Depending on the city you live in, you may have an active card scene in your local marketplace. You’ll unlikely be buying PSA graded cards – but you might be able to get a few good deals from local sellers.
You won’t have Facebook as your main buying site – but you can get a few good deals or trades.
4. Online Stores
Almost every single card store has an online presence, and with the increased online aspect of the hobby there’s a bunch of online-only stores.
And where do we find these online sores?
Well, if you’re in the Facebook groups and visited a few sites, you’ll more than likely be shown a million Facebook ads for different card stores.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to find the stores, they’ll find you.
These stores are usually overpriced compared to marketplaces, so you’d want to have done your homework. However, it is a good place to take parts in some box breaks.
If you’re into sneakers and other collectibles, you’ve probably heard of StockX before.
These days, StockX also has a wide range of sports cards, and the platform is growing. It’s a marketplace platform, but has a different layout and a few key changs compared to eBay and ComC.
One element that StockX has that I like is the double buy/sell element.
Put it simply, a seller can put a sales price on an item and buyers can choose to buy or not. However, along with that, buyers can put an open offer out and sellers can choose to sell at the buyer’s pricepoint.
If a deal is met between the two, a transaction is made.
StockX is an easy platform to get the hang of too, I think it took me about fifteen-minutes to work it out when I started using it.
Another platform that’s similar to StockX in a few ways is StarStock. I use StarStock a bit and it has some benefits like quick turnaround time and low fees – Speaking of fees, StarStock charges a tiny 5% fee ($0.05 minimum) to the seller per sale.
However, it does have a somewhat unique platform.
Instead of posting cards every time their sold, members send their cards into StarStock and they get added to your ‘collection’.
Once a card is in your collection, you can ‘list’ it, which means you put a sales price on it. Otherwise, you’re still open to offers on the card.
As a buyer, you can see all the cards of a particular parallel and bid for as many as you like. Then, StarStock will consolidate all the purchases into the one checkout transaction. That means you can easily invest in a player in bulk.
There’s also great access to past sales data for the card you’re looking for.
When you buy a card, it gets moved from the seller’s collection to the buyer’s collection – meaning the transaction is instant.
You can even day-trade player cards on game days!
And because cards are moved from one collection to another, that means you don’t have to worry about shipping until you want to ship cards from your collection to your home.
7. Hobby and Card Stores
All the places to buy sports cards listed so far have been online. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still opportunity to buy sports cards in your local card store.
These cards may not be the cheapest, as store owners need to pay rent etc.. However, you can get a good deal on the off chance. Your local card store owner is also a great connection to have – it’s likely that they’ll be able to hit you up with boxes and packs as soon as they’re released.
With the price rise from re-sellers on marketplaces, getting in early at a brick-and-mortar hobby store is a great asset.
Where To Buy Sports Cards – Final Thoughts
There’s plenty of places to buy sports cards these days. You I wouldn’t try to use too many platforms at the same time. Instead, start with one (I’d start with eBay), and then as you get more and more competant, expand the sites you use.