Sports card collectors, dealers and investors have a new way to keep track of up-to-the-minute price trends, even when their primary way to access the internet is via a smartphone. Technology industry veteran and avid collector Ryan Hoge and a team of developers have launched Elite Cards (www.elite-cards.com), a mobile-friendly online service with real-time pricing for over 100,000 of the most popular graded sports cards across all four major sports, from 1933-1989 with plans to expand that data to include modern cards by the end of the year.
Six months in the making, Elite Cards aims to offer users a “great experience” when it comes to accessing from any internet connected device, according to Hoge, an executive at Microsoft. He says inspiration for the online guide came as he returned to his childhood hobby and began purchasing graded versions of the cards he couldn’t afford as a youngster.
“I quickly realized it was important to be able to see past sales data before I make a purchase or to check the values of cards in my collection,” he recalled. “This was especially true for cards that don’t come up for sale very often on eBay. I also found myself needing to access it more and more from my smartphone, such as when I would attend a card show.”
Beta testing confirmed that other collectors were in the same boat.
“When we rolled out in preview form, we found over half of the visitors to the site were accessing it from a mobile device. This is very typical of today’s consumer who is always connected and expects to have their experiences optimized for whatever device they’re using. This doesn’t mean we don’t work great on desktops. We absolutely do.”
From the way the site is architected and built to the cloud infrastructure that’s powering it, Hoge says Elite Cards has been designed with performance and reliability in mind.
The site tracks latest sales for cards in each grade and clicking on the last sale opens up a history of other sales for a card in that grade as well as the current average price. Also among the features is a “favorites” list that offers quick access to sales
history for a particular card a user adds to the list. Users can also choose to receive email updates when a new sale for a favorite card is logged into the database.
An official eBay Development Partner, Elite Cards began tracking full eBay sales in July but also has additional data going back to 2008 for the hobby’s most popular and actively traded issues such as popular vintage rookie and star cards.
“The service checks for new sales activity nightly and our database will only get more robust over time,” Hoge promised. “We do plan add additional data sources from other auction houses in the future as well as expanding the number of sets we track to pre-war issues as well as modern sets.”
Elite Cards is currently offering a 30-day free trial period at http://www.elite-cards.com. After that, monthly ($14.95) and annual ($149.95) subscriptions are available.
“We’re really confident once people use it, especially on a mobile device, they’ll find it very user-friendly and indispensable for tracking pricing for graded cards no matter where they are,” Hoge said. “The market, especially for vintage Hall of Famers and graded rookies is incredibly active and this will make it much easier to know exactly what those cards are selling for right now.”