Card market value, on-line collection organization sites are growing quickly.
It’s quietly become one of the hobby’s new frontiers. Discouraged by printed price guides that are often out of date and inaccurate, at least two sites have launched this summer aimed at providing accurate values for graded cards while providing collectors with an opportunity to maintain their collections on-line.
Started by vintage collector Bobby Binder, VCP is a California-based company of four full-time and five part-time employees. "I started working on this site a year ago when I was trying to buy T206 commons in a PSA 5 or 6," Binder said. "The SMR at the time had the price for a 5 at $75 and the 6 at $110. I placed snipe bids for $80 to $100 on the 5s and $100 to $120 on the 6s and never won. That’s when I decided to put together a site that gives accurate real-time pricing."
"We are eBay developers and our computer communicates with theirs every 15 minutes. We developed a program that scans the auctions on eBay and we input the information..set, player, grade and grading company. It’s automatically posted to the web site." Currently, VCP has data for nearly 80,000 completed auctions.
Members who pay a monthly fee of less than $10 are able to search the eBay selling prices for virtually any vintage card, with available data going back several months. VCP currently includes data for PSA, GAI and SGC graded baseball cards from the 1860s through the 1950s. By the end of September, Binder promises to include 1960s, 70s and 80s baseball as well as an expansion to football, basketball, hockey and boxing cards. VCP also plans to eventually input data for auctions outside of eBay.
VCP offers regular and the VIP-type memberships. Regular services don’t include the pricing information but there are several features that are available free of charge to those who register. Collectors can organize their cards several different ways and keep a checklist of those cards they have or need.
One creative innovation VCP offers is a want list function available to members. "They simply add any card to it by listing preferred grade and grading company and when that card becomes available, they get an e-mail from us with a link to the auction (where it’s located)," Binder said. "You don’t have to spend hours going through eBay looking for your needs. We do it for you." VCP’s "My Collections" function offers collectors the opportunity to keep track of the prices they paid for cards as well as current values so the collection can read similar to a stock portfolio.
Another new tool affords the opportunity to search for cards from a specific set set by grade and grader. By choosing "PSA 7", the system will bring up all of the cards in the database that sold, providing a complete snapshot for realistic values of even common cards in a certain set. The data offered goes well beyond the 30 day limit offered by eBay’s completed items search.
As of late last week, VCP had nearly 150 VIP members and nearly 650 limited, non-paying members.
The focus and function of the new upstart companies would seem to be an encouraging simply because they were started by collectors and are designed for collectors.
"This is the information age," Binder said. "You need access to the best available resources to make yourself a better buyer and seller in the marketplace."