top of page
  • Writer's picturekevin

Test driving eBay Collection beta: Jordan Edition

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Valuing your collection with eBay Collection

Valuing a collection has always been a challenge. The lay collector of yore had to rely on price guides or the expertise of self-proclaimed professionals, many of whom had an incentive to low ball for personal gain. Fortunately, we live in the internet era and there are a whole host of tools from startups to established companies attempting to leverage technology’s sweet promise to make our lives a bit easier.

Ebay, the online auction stalwart, has a live beta version of eBay Collection and I decided to give it a test drive with a slice of my sweet late 80s, early 90s sports card collection. I chose Fleer Michael Jordans as an homage to my hometown being close to Fleer’s Philadelphia headquarters and the GOAT was my favorite basketball player as a young buck, along with millions of other kids. One Christmas, my late dad even made a “pack” of all Michael Jordan cards using scraps of Topps, Upper Deck, NBA Hoops, and Fleer wrappers. “Another Jordan! Another Jordan! ANOTHER JORDAN!” Best Christmas ever!

The Evolution of Fleer, 1988-1997, Behold the beauty!

The Process

So now I have close to 100 Jordan cards in near mint condition, although they are all still raw. I haven’t had anything graded as I just enjoy having the cards from my childhood in the same form they were nearly 25 years ago. eBay’s site suggests an app is on the way, but for now, I spent about a half hour entering my 26 Fleer cards into a CSV excel sheet.

Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler

The Result

Honestly, it is pretty cool to see your collection’s value reflected historically and in real-time, as if all of your adolescent decisions in the card shops nearly a quarter century ago have yielded a unique mutual fund of sorts.

Looking Good Billy Ray! Feeling Good Louis!

Areas for Improvement

1) The algorithm misses key cards even though the data is accurate

WHAAA?!?!?! Porque no?

2) The algorithm misses cards if the data is off by ONLY ONE character and there is no way to adjust the data on the fly I had to go back and edit the spreadsheet, delete my collection, and re-upload

Sh%t! My bad!

3) Perhaps most disappointingly, there is no feature to sell the collection after getting valuation results – What if I wanted to sell the entire lot, or just that Metallized card that despite being from 1996 was worth more than my 1988 Fleer #7 Sticker card that apparently has no value (except that it does!), there is no button I can click to instantly sell the lot or individualized cards, add pictures or descriptions. In short, it’s not integrated very well into eBay’s core auction platform. Armed with my semi-accurate value of my collection, I then must scroll up to Sell and start uploading images of my cards from scratch. Having seamless integration would mean a lot more of these collections would end up being sold through eBay.

Final Thoughts

Overall, when I think about what a Beta version should be, like when I signed up for Gmail as a Beta User in the mid 2000s, it was a product that worked extremely well and did everything I expected. I could detect no obvious flaws or areas for improvement. eBay Collection leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, some collectors wonder whether the decision to start with sports cards (versus video games) was a smart move. Also, real time push notifications would be nice so a user can see when a particular card or collection is spiking or tanking.

If eBay wants to leverage data analytics to solidify its place as the de facto marketplace for collectibles, driven by its ability to be a clearinghouse for the latest market prices for collectibles, it has made some decent headway, but it still has a long distance to go.

bottom of page