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Get the Most out of eBay Search

Narrowing your search and knowing how the search engine works can help you save time and find what you’re looking for when shopping for sports cards and memorabilia on eBay.

If you know what you’re doing, you can quickly find what you’re looking for on eBay. You can also find some items others are looking for but can’t find.

Here are a few golden rules.

Be specific: If you’re searching for a program from a certain Super Bowl game, you’ll get further searching for ‘Super Bowl XIX program’ than you will searching for ‘Super Bowl. You’ll get fewer results, but the ones you do get will be far more relevant. Aren’t sure if you’ve got the right Roman numerals? Take two minutes and do some research.

Spell it wrong: It’s a sad fact that many of the sellers on eBay just can’t spell. Whatever you’re looking for, try thinking of a few common misspellings – the chances are that fewer people will find these items, and so they will be cheaper.

Get a thesaurus: You should try to search for all the different words that someone might use to describe your item, for example searching for both ‘Upper Deck’ and ‘UD’, or for ‘autographed’, ‘signed’ and ‘auto’.

Use the categories: Whenever you search, you’ll notice a list of categories at the left side of your search results. If you just searched for baseball cards because you want to buy some from a certain year, you should click the relevant category to just look at results in that category. Why bother looking through a load of results that you don’t care about?

Don’t be afraid to browse: Once you’ve found the category that items you like seem to be in, why not click ‘Browse’ and take a look through the whole category? You might be surprised by what you find.

Few people realize just how powerful eBay’s search engine is – a few symbols here and there and it’ll work wonders for you.

Wildcard searches: You can put an asterisk (*) into a search phrase when you want to say ‘anything can go here’. For example, if you wanted to search for a 1950s car, you could search for ‘car 195*’. 195* will show results from any year in the 1950s.

In this order: If you put words in quotes ("") then the only results shown will be ones that have all of the words between the quote marks. For example, searching for "1941 Rose Bowl" –using quotes–won’t give you any results that include antique bowls that you’ll get when just typing in "Rose Bowl".

Exclude words: Put a minus, and then put any words in brackets that you don’t want to appear in your search results. For example: "autographed" -(poster,photo) will find autographed items but not posters or photos.

Either/or: If you want to search for lots of words at once, just put them in brackets: the autograph example from earlier could become ‘(auto, autograph, signed or autographed)’, which would find items with any of those words.

If you’re looking for graded cards, type in the year and brand with the specific grading companies you’re searching for in brackets.


Try it now: search eBay

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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