Online sales giant Amazon.com announced the formation of its online sports collectibles shop on Thursday, claiming to offer more than two million items in a fixed price format. Sellers of sports cards and memorabilia have listed via Amazon for several years but this is the first concerted attempt by the company to promote itself as a destination for the hobby. The company is also hoping to entice more dealers to showcase their inventory in one of the internet's most highly visited websites. It's clearly a shot across the bow of eBay, which has processed the bulk of online collector activity for more than 15 years.
Amazon is offering a money back guarantee on merchandise and merchants must be approved before being allowed to sell.
Amazon customers can browse collectible items by item type, sport, year, team and price to find everything from trading cards and ticket stubs to game-used jerseys and autographed sports items. It's light on pre-1970s vintage cards, but heavy on modern sets, singles, boxes, and other memorabilia. Autographs are a particular focus, with Amazon offering a tidy place for dealers to sell their items and the company is pledging to sell only items carrying professional authentication from the more recognized names in the industry. However, a check of some items Friday would seem to indicate that wasn't being enforced. How Amazon deals with the inevitable controversy over autograph authenticity, especially after the sale, will be interesting to watch.
“Our customers have told us that when purchasing sports collectibles they highly value authenticity, which is why we have teamed with some of the top sports collectibles sellers in the world to provide unique items with easy to find authentication and condition information,” said Peter Faricy, vice president of Amazon Marketplace. “The emphasis on authenticated selection, combined with our A-to-z Guarantee protection on purchases, allows customers to shop the new store with confidence.”
The offered items run the gamut--from a $4 Wayne Gretzky hockey card to a $34,950 Babe Ruth autographed baseball -– as well as signed collectibles from today’s stars like Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Alex Ovechkin.
“This is a big deal for us and our customers because Amazon provides a great opportunity for Icons to reach millions of soccer fans in an easy way and serve them with high quality, unique, genuinely hand-signed items,” said Dan Jamieson, CEO of Icons, official licensee of FIFA. “We have a history of providing customers with authentic jerseys, cleats and photos signed by the world’s most iconic players, and we’re excited about expanding this tradition and reaching millions of potential new customers through Amazon.”
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