Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beckett Marketplace Prices

Topps 1983 Leon Durham. I bought this card from the Beckett Marketplace on February 19, 2008 for 10¢. I could get 10 common singles for $1.00. Today, the same card has a price of 25¢. That is a 150% increase in almost a year.

Last winter I got back into collecting and I had no idea where to go to get singles to finish my team sets and complete sets. I quickly found that star players were easy to find and buy on ebay. But I didn't know where to go for the commons. There aren't any card shops anywhere near me, so I knew online was the way to go.

Some surfing around led me to the Beckett Marketplace and I was happy with what I found. I could get cards for common players from the mid 80's in ex condition for 10¢ or 13
¢. That seemed like a pretty good deal for 20-25 year old cards.

I recently went back to the Marketplace to buy some of the Upper Deck, Score, and Pinnacle cards I needed to complete Cubs sets for these brands. Just about every single common card I wanted could be found for 25
¢. It didn't matter what company, or what year, if the card was 20 years old or two years old, commons from most dealers were 25¢.

That just seemed odd to me. Why were newer cards more expensive than the 80's cards I bought last year. So I went back to the Beckett store for the dealer I bought most of my cards from and looked up some of the older cards I bought. You want to guess how much those singles cost now? Yup, 25

Well, the lightbulb finally went on. Beckett must have set a minimum price for cards. Free market, supply and demand by damned, if you want singles, they are going to cost you at least a quarter a piece.

I emailed the dealer and asked him what was going on with his prices, did Beckett set a minimum price? I got a response the next day and he confirmed my suspicion. There is indeed a minimum price of 25
¢ on each card.

What a major disappointment that was! I know that many of you were outraged with Beckett over the loaded boxes they were busting. With the collecting I do, that didn't really affect me.

But now I have my own beef with Beckett. Don't mess with the prices of singles!! You can't tell me that cards that are 25 years old are worth a quarter and cards that are two years old are worth the same amount. Let the dealers charge what they feel the cards are worth, whatever the price. Don't nickel and dime me! Let me pay the market price, not the Marketplace price!!

My question now is where do I go to get common singles online at a fair price? What online dealers can you suggest to me? I anxiously await answers from you wise and experienced collectors.


  1. I'm sure there were a few shops that did sell commons for a dime, but I don't remember running across them.

    Honestly, I don't have a problem with the quarter minimum price. I'm not paying for the card, I'm paying for the time to sort, organize and store the inventory and pull the order.

    The thing I hate about the Beckett Marketplace is the shipping charge.

    Your only other options that I know about are CheckOutMyCards (which doesn't really have the depth or breadth of product of the Beckett Marketplace), and (formerly Naxcom). I never shopped there because they frequently confuse me by listing auctions and sales together.

  2. Although it's not the case with all sets, most cost much more per pack now too. The $0.25 singles from the 1980s came in packs that were $0.25-$0.50 for 12-15 cards. And the print runs were high.

    Today's sets cost at least $1 per pack, while most are closer to $3 for only half as many cards. Plus I suspect most of the print runs - even for the base products - are lower than they once were as well.

    I've used the Marketplace a few times. I find a seller that has a handful of cards I really want to finish a set and go from there, checking some of my lower priority wants and amassing quite a few needs at a reasonable price. A lot of the sellers also offer free shipping once you get to a certain threshold.