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A Flippin’ Success

December 11, 2011

When I first started up my eBay Store one thing I realized rather quickly was that I was going to need to make some pretty significant changes in my purchasing habits if I wanted selling on eBay to eventually become my sole source of income for use in my hobby of collecting sports cards and memorabilia.

For those who have followed this blog for any length of time you will know that I am not quite there yet.  In fact, I am probably no further ahead at this point in 2011 than I was in 2010, but that’s not the point of today’s article.

The point of today’s article is to talk about what that shift in purchasing habits entailed and to highlight a number of recent successes I have had as a result of that shift.

That change in purchasing habits came in the form of expanding the types of items I looked to buy, both online and at card shows, and doing so in a strategic manner.  This is something I discussed early in the life of this blog in my Toward Self-Sufficiency series, a series I plan to revisit in the coming year.

Right from the start with my eBay Store I knew that I would need to keep adding to its inventory in order to continue to attract buyers and ensure the store’s long-term viability as an collection-building income.

So rather than solely focussing every bit of my hobby-related time, effort, and money on my priority collecting projects and the occasional box to crack open, I started looking at other items to purchase that I could then flip for a profit online.  Those profits are then used to purchase items for my collection.

Pretty simple concept, but it definitely comes with an element of risk.  I have had some great judgement on this type of purchase in a large number of cases, but have had terrible judgement in others.

Today, however, I want to focus on some of my recent successes with this practice of flipping cards on eBay.

As I indicated in the review I wrote about the Fall 2011 Toronto Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo that I attended a month ago today, I bought a number of items that I felt could be flipped for a decent profit.

As I also spoke to in that show review article, I am truly surprised by what can be found by digging through the boxes and piles of bargain items that some dealers put out at the show.  Whether it’s a case of not knowing what they have or simply wanting to unload as much as possible as fast as possible, as you’ll see shortly, there definitely seems to be some untapped potential in the bargain bins at the Toronto Expo.

By the time I was done at the show I had invested $53 in 27 cards that were purchased for no other purpose than to immediately try and flip them for a profit.

I put those 27 cards up for auction a couple of weeks ago and last Sunday the 13 you’ll see below sold for a total of $141.46.  Not including eBay and Paypal fees, that’s a profit of $111.46 (or 372%) on those specific cards and $88.46 (or 167%) on the investment as a whole thus far.

Pavel Brendl 99-00 Upper Deck MVP Stanley Cup Edition Super Souvenir
Bought for $2.00
Sold for $4.00
100% Profit


Jimmy Howard 05-06 Black Diamond Quadruple Diamond Rookie Card
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $5.00
100% Profit


Simon Gagne 02-03 Upper Deck Rookie Update Top Draws Autograph
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $6.00
140% Profit

Brendan Morrow 06-07 UD Ultimate Collection Jersey Autograph /50
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $7.53
201% Profit


Al MacInnis 06-07 SPx Flashback Fabrics Autograph
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $10.00
300% Profit

Rogie Vachon 10-11 Panini Luxury Suite Private Signings – Kings
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $10.50
320% Profit


Logan Couture 10-11 Upper Deck UD Signatures
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $11.50
360% Profit


Joe Sakic 96-97 Leaf Limited Stubble /1500
Bought for $2.00
Sold for $9.50
375% Profit


Brett Hull 04-05 SP Authentic Buy Back 99-00 SPA Sign of the Times Autograph
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $12.01
380% Profit


Mike Modano 04-05 SP Authentic Buy Back 00-01 SPA Sign of the Times Autograph
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $13.52
441% Profit

James Neal 10-11 Panini Luxury Suite Private Signings
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $14.38
475% Profit


Steve Ott 10-11 Panini Certified Fabric of the Game Team Die-Cuts Prime /10
Bought for $2.50
Sold for $16.50
580% Profit


Claude Lemieux 96-97 Pinnacle Zenith Champion Salute Diamond Parallel
Bought for $1.00
Sold for $21.02
2002% Profit

Regardless of how you look at it it’s a pretty solid return on investment percentage wise (especially the last example!) and it got me thinking about something heading in to 2012.

The success of this most recent round of flips has served as a clear indication that this might end up being an extremely useful way of making progress in pursuit of a financially self-sufficient hobby, much more so than cracking open packs at random and hoping for the best.

By no means am I saying that I’m going to eliminate box breaks entirely, they’re simply too much fun to stop doing.  I simply mean that this form of buying and selling may leave much less up to chance and provide a quicker, easier way of moving toward permanent completion of my goal.

Up until this point I have done an absolutely terrible job of tracking the success and/or failures of my eBay-flip related purchases and sales.  Moving forward, part of my plan for the coming year(s) will be to carefully monitor and manage the portion of my budget that pertains to this sort of transaction.

I’m thinking something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet and routine updating both in the spreadsheet and on this blog will help in keeping things on track, but I’m wondering if any of you do something similar to this type of tracking and if so, how you monitor it.

If you have any suggestions that you think might be of help, please feel free to leave a comment, send me an email at, or connect on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!



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