Where to Sell Football, Baseball, and Other Sports Cards

The best place to sell your cards depends on how valuable they are and how much work you want to do yourself. Some places to sell your cards are eBay, eBay consignment services, sports card message boards, and sports card dealers. To get an idea what your cards are worth, see my page on estimating sports card values.

Selling Sports Cards on eBay

eBay is a popular place for collectors to buy cards, and it is a good place to sell your cards yourself. If you don't have an eBay account, you can register here.

The condition of your cards is critical to potential buyers, so provide clear pictures and detailed descriptions in your eBay listings. The more detailed you are, the more confident a bidder will be in knowing what he is getting, and the more he will be willing to bid. Don't exaggerate your cards' condition, just describe them to the best of your ability. If the cards have defects that don't appear in the scans, such as light creases or marks on the back, note those in your description.

Because eBay charges a fee for each listing, and because it has to be worthwhile to ship each item, it usually makes sense to group your cards into lots. Sellers typically group their cards by year, sport, and card company, e.g., 1970 Topps baseball cards or 1964 Philadelphia football cards. If you have cards of major stars, say Joe Namath or Hank Aaron, you might want to list them individually, depending on their condition. To decide how many auctions to run, you have to weigh the cards' value, the eBay fees, and the amount of time you want to spend listing them.

Plan to ship the cards securely, such that they cannot be damaged on the way. If you don't already have plastic holders and boxes made especially for cards, you will probably want to buy some for shipping purposes.

eBay Consignment Stores

In many places there are businesses that sell items on eBay for a consignment fee. I have not sold cards through one of these businesses, but I have bought cards from them and had good luck. Because they sell regularly on eBay, they will have the proper tools for creating eBay listings, and I presume they provide shipping services as well. Of course they will keep part of the proceeds as their commission, but because of their experience, they might be able to get more money for your cards than you would yourself.

Message Boards

To avoid paying fees and commissions, you can try selling your cards on sports card message boards on the internet. To find them, do a search for terms like "sport card message board" or "baseball card forum." Collectors Universe has one such forum, but there are many more out there.

Sports Card Dealers

There are a lot of sports card dealers out there, too, of course. Keep in mind that a dealer needs to make money on cards he buys, so he is not likely to pay you as much as a collector would. Also, if your cards individually are not valuable, they might not be worth a dealer's time, or he might offer you a small percentage of retail prices for them.

So that the dealer can more easily assess your cards' value--and to avoid shipping the cards--first try a local dealer if there is one in your area. If there are card shows nearby, try taking your cards to one of them, since there will be a number of dealers there, and you can get multiple offers.