A collection of 70 of the 76 Hall of Famers in the T206 baseball card set arrived at Just Collect’s offices last week thanks to a long-time collector who has decided to liquidate and turn his attention to other investments. The New Jersey-based eBay consignment specialist is offering them one at a time on eBay over the next couple of weeks.
“T206s are one of the most collected sets, but they had weakened about 12-18 months ago,” said Just Collect’s Scott Greenwald. “Within the last three to six months, however, they have come back strongly and are now selling well.”
Several of the cards include semi-scarce backs like Sovereign and Old Mill.
Competition for such lots can be stiff. It’s always a big score when a dealer can offer a new selection of cards from the most popular pre-World War II baseball card set. Offering the consignor the chance to sell card-by-card was key according to Greenwald, whose company doesn’t publish a catalog, but moves more vintage sports cards via eBay than anyone else.
“The auction houses were willing to sell the most expensive cards individually but wanted to sell the cards worth less than $500 in a large group. Our consignor considered working with them but called us to see how we would sell them. I explained that we would sell all of the cards individually with the goal of maximizing his value, and he found this suggestion very compelling. I further explained that we, like many other dealers, often buy cards from auction houses in large lots with the intention of selling them individually on eBay at a profit. By consigning to us, he cut out the middle man and will avoid selling his cards in dealer lots, only to be broken up for a profit by someone else.”
Selling cards individually rather than in lots is dicey business. Sometimes it can take up an inordinate amount of time, but in a venue where weekly turnaround is key, Just Collect has relied on technology to be as efficient as possible.
“We have developed an excellent IT infrastructure that allows us to quickly scan, inventory, and list the cards,” Greenwald explained. “Auction houses have much larger overhead and often less IT. Additionally, if an auction house sells 40 cards individually versus in a group, that also increases their direct printing costs, as this would add several pages to the catalogs they print. While selling the cards individually does take more time and effort than selling them in lots, we have seen time and time again that this is the most effective way to maximize the value.”
Most of the cards in the collection range from PSA 4 to PSA 6; a respectable but fairly affordable mid-grade grouping that puts a variety of collectors into bidding mode.
“Mid-grade cards tend to be the most popular amongst tobacco card collectors,” said Greenwald. ” Cards graded PSA 4-6 can have excellent eye appeal, however they are priced far below PSA 7 and up. Often a small crease prevents the card from grading higher but does not necessarily interfere with the image of the player.”
Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and Cy Young cards were part of the first group offered. Here’s a link to the current lots from the collection.