When you’re looking to buy vintage sports cards there are a lot of deciding factors. Are you collecting an entire set, team sets, or a particular player? What is your price point? But assuming you know what you want, where is the best place to buy vintage sports cards online?
Ebay is still the number one place to buy vintage sports cards due to the sheer number of cards that are available. But you can find great deals on online auction sports card websites, Net54 / Blowout card forums, Facebook groups, and PSA.Com.
We will discuss each place, giving you the pros and cons. If you aren’t buying from ebay or online auctions, building a rapport with the seller is an important part of any deal.
I did a podcast on this very topic back in November of 2019. Take a listen.
We all know about Ebay. It’s the biggest marketplace for sport cards on the internet. All of the big consignment companies post their sports cards on Ebay as well. Do you know why? It has the most eyeballs. You can pretty much find everything that you are looking for.
But, you might not always like the price. States now require Ebay to charge sales tax, which is an extra expense that you have to factor in. You can buy as either a Buy it Now or at Auction. The better deals are usually buying through auctions but a lot of the Buy It Now or BIN, as they are called, accept offers. Don’t just buy the card if they are accepting offers.
Quick and Simple Ebay Tips
1. To get the best deal look for lots. So if you are looking for 1957 Topps – search 1957 Topps Lots or 1957 near complete sets, or 1957 complete sets.
2. If the card doesn’t have an offer option, email the seller and ask if he would take a lower amount. Give them a specific number. If you just ask, “What’s the lowest you will take?”, you probably won’t get a response.
Online Auction Websites
I have bought the bulk of my vintage cards from online auction websites. Most auction websites tilt towards vintage cards. You can find great deals because not everyone can bid on these cards. You have to sign-up and be vetted to ensure their auctions don’t end with someone not paying or have a less than stellar reputation.
One drawback is they usually only run a couple of auctions per month or one every couple of months. Another drawback is the buyer’s premium which is added on to the winning bid. It’s extremely important that you factor these costs into your final price. They are a minimum of 12.5% and up to 22.5%. You would then have to add shipping and sales tax. But even with all of these extra costs you can still find great deals.
I bought many graded singles for way below Ebay solds which I sold on Ebay for profit. You can buy complete and semi complete sets where you can get the best deals. Here is a list of some online auction websites and their associated fees.
- Sirius Sports Cards – See chart below for fees. I usually get the best deals from this website.
- Robert Edwards – High End Cards – Graded and Ungraded – Good place to buy sets 20% buyer’s premium + min. $10 shipping fee, plus they charge sales tax for most states.
- Mile High Card Company – High End cards – 22.5% buyer’s premium (paypal) + shipping (cost varies) + sales tax
- Clean Sweep Auctions – Been in the industry a long time. 20% buyer’s premium + shipping cost + ny sales tax. They don’t accept paypal or credit cards.
- Memory Lane Inc. – High End Cards – 20% buyer’s premium + $20 minimum shipping fee over $100 + sales tax.
Online Auction Quick Tip
Find out all of the fees and create a spreadsheet on google. I would create the spreadsheet like the one seen below for my Sirius Sports Card Auctions. I would then compare this to what I could buy the card for on ebay. This would set my maximum bid for a card I was looking to purchase.
|0||Buyer’s Premium – 12.5%|
|Shipping – Graded – $3 (1-3) , $5 (4-6), $7 (7-9)|
Net54 and Blowout Forums
Both of these forums have vintage sections where you can buy cards. On Net54 the top left menu bar has a Buy/Sell Cards section. They have auction threads where you can find some great deals on vintage cards. All you have to do is create a user account and your in. Net54 is more geared towards vintage cards but blowout forums has plenty of vintage card threads to keep you busy. On Blowout you just have to scroll down and look for the section Vintage.
On forums it’s important that you engage with other people and build a rapport. If you are just looking to buy sports cards and you aren’t asking/answering questions or trying to be part of the community, you may be missing out on a bigger deal. Answer questions, comment on people’s cards, be active!
Don’t see the set, team, or player you are looking for? Create a thread and start the conversation. Now this isn’t the same as Ebay and it may be harder to find the card you want, but you will spend less and get a better deal. You won’t have to pay eBay’s 10% fee or tax. If using paypal, which you should, you still would have to pay 3%. If you build great relationships, after awhile deals will find you on both of these forums.
Net54 and Blowout Forums Quick Tip
When buying vintage cards from someone, always pay with paypal goods and services and not friends and family. There is an extra fee that they have to pay but you will be protected if they don’t send you the card. If you paid friends and family and they don’t send the card then you are out of luck, or SOL, whichever you prefer.
There are a lot of people posting some great vintage cards. But just like the forums you won’t be able to get everything you want. But if you can’t find the card you are looking for by searching through posts, just post what you are looking for. Also, like forums, the more you participate with the group, the more you will get out of it. Engagement will help people recognize you and give people confidence about you.
Once you have a smooth transaction they will look for you when they are trying to sell more cards. It’s a win win situation. The more groups you join the better. Some collectors/sellers aren’t in all of the same groups so you won’t miss out on opportunities. Here are two vintage facebook groups I recommend
- Daniel Harmon’s Old Time Baseball Cards Buy Sell Trade Show
- Buy Sell Vintage Baseball Cards & Vintage Sports Cards (Pre 1980)
You can do a basic facebook search to find more vintage baseball card groups on facebook. You will see a list similar to the picture below.
Facebook Group Quick Tip
When making a deal, especially an expensive deal, make sure you get vouchers from the group. This is the other buyers/ sellers room the group recommending this seller as a good person to deal with. You can also check the seller’s name on baseball card scammers website database to make sure they aren’t on there.
A feature that PSA has is a set registry. If you are collecting psa graded cards, you can register the set you are collecting and keep track (where you bought it and for how much) thru PSA’s website. From there your set will be ranked compared to other people’s collections from the same year. Now this is where the fun begins.
When you go to PSA.com and you sign in and click on the top left where it says Set Registry. Go to the top right where it says explore and click and pick which sport you are looking for. From there you will pick a set. Next to the collection’s name it will have an envelope. That is where you can contact people who have the same set as you and ask if they are willing to buy, trade, or sell their cards. You have the list of cards they own so it takes the guesswork out of it.. Email everyone. You now have a direct lead on exactly what you’re looking for.
PSA.com Quick Tip
You don’t have to have sets for PSA to track your cards. If you have any PSA card you can have PSA track the date, where you bought them, and how much they cost. They will keep track of your entire PSA collection. If you ever wanted to sell these cards you would know if you made a profit or not.
If you have any questions or comments – let me know below!