Tuesday, August 13, 2013

COMC vs eBay: the Experiment Part 2 - Results

Here are the results of my COMC vs eBay experiment.  These conclusions will not be applicable to every collection or collector.  The subject collection is one consisting of over 5500 cards and a collector who is focused on the acquisition of new cards only.  Results may vary.

In order to make it as attractive as the COMC purchase, I had to pull 52 Griffeys new to my collection from the eBay package (which for some reason the seller decided to ship in two separate packages which is why this post took so long).  I predicted a result of 40 new Griffeys.  Sadly, I fell short even of my conservative prediction.

The final number of new Griffeys is 30.  That’s 30 new Griffeys out of the 370 I bought on eBay, a success rate of just over 8%, and a total collection growth of about 0.55%.  That ain’t gonna cut it, friends.  I did get 340 additional Griffeys to add to the binders, but being duplicates they just don’t excite me very much.  

Got it and don't got it

Looks like I’m past the tipping point for buying large lots.  My only hope in this arena is either to buy whole Griffey collections that are more likely to contain unique cards or spot enough needed cards in auction pictures to make bidding on them worthwhile. 

I have also had reasonable success from very small lots, usually between 12 and 50 cards.  The cost is low and I can see every card that comes with them.  As a result, they usually end up at the same cost per new Griffey as a COMC purchase, but with lagniappe duplicates.

Here’s the final math from the COMC vs eBay experiment:

$54.55 for 30 new Griffeys = new Griffey cost of $1.82, 74 cents higher than that of COMC at $1.08.

The ratio of new Griffeys to duplicates was 12.3, far beyond the required ratio of 7.2.  The ratio from any COMC purchase is an even 1:1.

There were also 340 additional Griffeys that are not included in these numbers.  That’s awesome.

Here’s a breakdown of comparative advantage (all numbers are COMC vs eBay):

Price per new Griffey: $1.08 vs $1.82 - advantage COMC
Quality of new Griffeys: no question - advantage COMC
Quantity of new Griffeys: 62 vs 30 - even when I adjust for difference in cost here, advantage COMC
Total quantity of Griffeys received: 62 vs 370 - advantage eBay
Price per card overall: $1.08 vs 15 cents - advantage eBay

Which of these measures is applicable to you and your collection depends on a lot of factors, the most obvious being the pre-purchase size of your collection and whether you trying to add only new cards or if any cards will do.  My current goal is to add the most new cards for the lowest possible cost, so those last two comparisons that eBay won are not applicable.  Plus COMC allows for customization of lots and provides higher-value cards and even lower-cost sale opportunities.

COMC is the clear winner here.

Thus, the days of buying huge, unseen stacks of Griffeys are done for this collector.  I’m sure I’ll still do it because a big heavy box filled with mystery Griffeys is still one of my favorite things to pull out of a mailbox, and because I’m super hard-headed.  Heck, I already have another two lots on their way:

New eBay lot 1: 48 cards @ $5.48 shipped = 11.4 cents per card, 5 of which are new.  Result: $1.10 per new Griffey plus 43 duplicates.  This is on par with my average COMC purchase.  Not bad.

New eBay lot 2: 146 cards @ $15.00 shipped = 10.2 cents per card, 3 of which are new.  Result: $5.00 per new Griffey plus 143 duplicates.  Hey, the price was right.  And I may have been drinking gin and tonics that night.


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