Is It Even Worth Buying Singles Off eBay Anymore?

I’m frustrated at the minute! Really frustrated!!

Now I can hear all you shouting out “Andy, what have you got to be so frustrated about?”. Well, thanks for asking! Let me take a minute or two to explain!

Back in February I wrote at length about the USPS price increases that came into play at the end of January 2013 and their potential effect on overseas shipping. You can read all about it here –

USPS Price Increases and the Impact on International Buyers

Go on, it’s a spiffing read if I do say so myself!

Over the last few days I’ve been considering picking up the odd Ken Griffey Jr card or two! I’ve had a couple of aborted attempts at starting a Junior collection over the last decade and it’s always something I’ve been meaning to get back to. Since there’s been an increased presence of Griffey Jr in Topps products over the last couple of years I figured that I’d start looking into picking a few of his recent releases up!

So off I go to eBay!!

Now, there’s some great cards out there, some really great looking cards!

Here’s a few examples –

OK then! For starters there are plenty of cards out there! Lets face it, there’s tens of thousands! Funds permitting I’d be grabbing them up left, right and centre!

But hold on a second, I’ve just spotted a potential problem on each of these cards! Just take a look at the shipping!!! $12.75, $25.00 and $19.98 respectively!!! For a single frickin’ Baseball card!?!?!?!

Screw that!!!

Alright, so the above examples are pretty extreme. Postage will often be around the $7 to $10 mark since the USPS increases, but this is still a ridiculously high amount! I’m not blaming the sellers for these high rates – although there has to be some blame laid at the feet of those sellers who seemingly can’t be bothered to find out the correct international postage rates to attach to their listings. Nope, the real blame has to lie with USPS!

As I said, really, REALLY frustrated! I can’t be angry about it though! I realised a long time ago that it’s a waste of time losing sleep over something that you’ve got absolutely no control over whatsoever! But frustrated? – that’s a different kind of feeling altogether!

I’ve checked on the USPS website and found some postage information! As a yardstick I’m using a recent package that I received from the US which contained 15x 100pt cards in a jiffy envelope (about 3/4″ thick) and which weighed approx 3oz according to the postage label.

Small Envelope – This should offer more than adequate protection for a single card in a top loader. Below is the description of the postage option and the accompanying price. NOTE: I did choose the option for ‘rigid’ contents but it didn’t change the overall price and I’m assuming the weight to be a lot less than 3oz.

FirstClassLetter1 FirstClassLetter2

Package – For the package I’m looking at a small jiffy envelope containing up to seven or eight cards. I’ve listed a couple of price options for 2oz and 3oz packages.

FirstClassPackage1

The 2oz price

FirstClassPackage2

The 3oz price

FirstClassPackage3

When you start going up in weight after 3oz the prices increase accordingly!

So what does this tell us? Well nothing new really that I haven’t gone over before. But I guess that it might be handy for some buyers out there to have an idea of what they should be expecting to pay for postage from the US with regard to international shipping.

In an ideal world all sellers would ship singles in a top loader in a regular sized envelope! This would be perfect for international buyers as it would keep the costs down to a minimum and make the prospect of purchasing singles a little bit more appealing. I’d estimate (and bear in mind I’ve no evidence to back this up) that over 95% of the singles currently listed on eBay aren’t listed in this way for international postage.

Please understand, I’m not that arrogant that I believe I’m in a position where I can change seller’s postage and posting habits! Far from it! There are no doubt dozens of different and bona fide reasons why sellers ship their singles in the manner they do, and why they charge the postage that they charge. Although I choose to ignore those particular listings that I demonstrated above with a crazy-high postage amount! That’s just daft!!

And I’m really appreciative of anyone in the US who still considers shipping to us overseas collectors when listing their cards. I’ve pointed out before that the numbers of international sellers has dwindled greatly over the last few years so it’s important to keep these avenues of card-collecting opportunity alive!

But the fact of the matter is – buying singles on eBay is NOT cost effective any more for non-US collectors. It’s fantastic if you’re able to pick up a card that you really, really want for $1-$2 but to then have to pay an extra $7 on top of that to have it shipped??? Not really worth it!

eBay is all but dead to me as a reliable and worthwhile method of buying Baseball card singles. Every now and again I might chance upon a card that I’m after, from a seller who ships internationally and for a reasonable shipping cost – but it doesn’t happen that often! And this saddens me greatly!

If only we had a seller who listed loads of singles of a particular set or player that you collected, in a nice orderly structured format, and that enabled anyone to group all these cards together, pay for them and then ship them off in one package!

Hold on just one damn minute!!! Don’t we have that already?? That’s right! COMC and Collector Revolution are, as far as I’m concerned, the way forward for collecting singles from across the seas! I’ve only used COMC as a buyer so far but will be looking into Collector Revolution very soon!! And there’s always organised box breaks as well!! Let’s not forget those!

I’m hoping that more and more sellers start to abandon selling singles on eBay and turn to these other avenues of getting their cards out to the world. The more the merrier is what I say! eBay have been stuffing sellers for some time with their exorbitant fee structures, so as the Hobby continues to evolve maybe it’s time that the way we buy our cards evolves with it!

I’m still frustrated, but at least the option of other places to buy my Baseball card singles has managed to finally put a smile on my face!

— Sigh — Time to empty my PayPal account again I guess 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Is It Even Worth Buying Singles Off eBay Anymore?

  1. There might be good business in bulk buying low end of new releases and selling singles over there. I’d pay a few pounds more than US book price to avoid importing them.

    • Funnily enough I was going to do something like this recently with a case of 2013 Topps Series 1!

      I had the money together to get the case but then had a problem with our car so the cash had to be used elsewhere 😦

  2. Hi Andy, been reading the blog for a while and pretty much agree with what you say regarding ebay – I used to buy pretty uch exclusively from the US via ebay but honestly thats been down to 2 or 3 cards the last year – Everything is done through COMC these days for me. i’ll be interested to see how their new ailbox feature works – I havent quite got y head around it yet but looks like this may be a possibility for buying on ebay and having it sent to them and then either list n site or pay the flat $3 (plus a mailbox opening fee) to get them sent out – Again I see a problem with customs charges this end for anything of significant value.

    On a side note – I’m a Cardinals fan and collector and have been for we over a decade now. Might be able to do a little swapping of any dupes I have that might help you out. And always good to speak to a fellow collector from the UK!

    • Hi there Dave!!

      Where have you been hiding 🙂

      Great to hear from another collector – the Cardinals bit is just the icing on the cake!!

      Have you signed up to the Group that my friend Glenn set up over on Yahoo? It’s worth heading on over as we’re using that as a way of trying to get everyone (collector-wise) in the same place!

      Thanks for getting in touch though! Interesting titbit about the COMC mailbox service. I need to look into that as well!

      I’ll keep this short as I’m in the middle of a few eBay listings at the minute! Drop me a line again when you get the chance and we can chew the fat over what sort of stuff you’ve got in your collection!

      Cheers, Andy

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