When to Buy or Sell Graded Cards: 2021

If you’re looking at graded cards, you’re already one step ahead of the average collector! But when is the best time to buy or sell, and what should you take into consideration before getting started? 

The card market is growing at an exponential rate, so much so that it has become a legitimate business for buyers and sellers who aim to make serious money. 

Graded cards also have a role to play, whether it be sending them off to companies to be resold at a profit, or holding onto some of the best versions as a long term investment. 

Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about the best time to buy or sell graded cards, with lots of helpful tips and tricks.

When to Buy Graded Cards: Top Tips 

Buying graded cards is easy enough, but it’s worth putting some thought into it. Try locking down a specific set or card first, and try to get an idea of the potential price it has sold for recently. 

If there are no recent sales, look at similar cards from the set if possible, or take a look at how many graded copies exist according to the registry. 

We’ve come up with a range of handy tips and tricks if you’re looking at buying graded cards in the near future.

  • Don’t be in a rush to buy, ensure you take the time to check out recent sales to have a better idea of a fair price 
  • To this end, expect graded prices to vastly exceed ungraded versions of the same card 
  • Some of the larger auction houses also have a ‘Buyer’s Fee’, which is paid on top of the final sale price
  • If the last sale for a specific card/grade was a few years ago, use it as more of a rough estimate  
  • The very best cards are often sold at regular monthly events held by auction companies, such as PWCC 
  • There will be a difference in price depending on the grading company you’re looking at. The likes of PSA and BGS sell for far more, with SGC lagging ever so slightly behind 

Where to Sell Graded Cards: Top Tips 

For selling cards, we’d advise to look at sites like eBay, or even social media if you plan to go down the online route. There are lots of groups that are packed with hobbyists, and they’re always hoping to add new graded cards to their collection.

If you’re holding onto a collection of high value PSA 10 copies, it might be worth contacting one of the larger auction companies who specialise in card sales. Many are willing to waive the selling fee depending on the quality of the collection. 

There are also eBay resellers who are fairly cheap to use, and have enough of a following to ensure you’ll get a lot of eyes on your cards. 

  • Auctioned items always tend to sell for lower amounts than ‘Buy it Now’ variants 
  • The final sale price will also be dependant on a variety of factors, including the end time and the number of watchers 
  • Try to time an eBay sale to end on a friday/saturday evening when more people are likely to be looking at the site
  • Don’t feel pressured into accepting a sale, especially if you have a high-ticket item  
  • For sports cards, you can time a sale to end just after a big game, or during an important part of the season  
  • You could also wait for a big record breaking sale, or for a player to retire or enter the Hall of Fame – each will have an impact on the price of graded cards  

When to Buy or Sell Graded Cards: Pricing  

Pricing will vary drastically, depending on how desperate you are to buy or sell a given card. For example, if there are lots of graded copies of a specific card on the market, sellers might be more likely to cut a deal if there hasn’t been much interest since it was first listed. 

Either way, we’d advise not to rush in unless you’re sure that the price is right. 

  • If you spot a card you like on a site like eBay, we’d advise you to click the heart icon to favourite it. The seller may get back to you with an offer – even if it’s 10% off that’s a decent saving 
  • A card is usually worth whatever someone is willing to spend on it – and that value will ebb and flow throughout the year
  • We’ve noted that there are better times to sell sports cards throughout the season, the increased interest will always have an impact on the final price  
  • A card from overseas might be sold a cheaper price, but you will have to pay for shipping, as well as import costs 
  • For an idea of how to value one of one cards, consider what you’d be willing to accept 

When to Buy Graded Cards: Summary

There’s nothing stopping you from grabbing some of the best cards today, but there could be decent savings to be found if you manage to buy at the right time

The same goes for sellers, as it’s not necessarily the best idea to take the first price offered. On the other hand, I’ve made early offers in the past, only to be rejected and buy it for a lower price when the auction finally ended. 

Take the time to learn about recent prices for the set/card you want to buy or sell, and decide on a firm price. From there, you’ll have the best chance of seeing a good return on investment in the long run. 

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