Collectors are willing to pay record-breaking amounts for trading cards featuring top athletes like LeBron James and Tom Brady. They are also trying to grab all the Pokemon cards that they can.
Online auction giant eBay now wants a bigger share of the action.
eBay (EBAY) unveiled new tools on its site Thursday for trading card enthusiasts, which includes things like Pokemon, the “Magic: The Gathering” game, and the 1980s era Garbage Pail Kids.
Users will be able to track individual cards’ values and list them on eBay.
In an interview with Daily Reuters, Nicole Colombo, general manager of trading cards and collectibles for eBay, stated that the tools made it easier and more efficient.
According to estimates from various industry groups, the sports trading card market is worth more than $5 billion.
Colombo stated that the new features will enable collectors to track their trading card portfolio prices much like investors can do with stocks in an internet brokerage account. She noted that some top basketball cards are trading for more than $100,000, including a rookie card of the late Kobe Bryant.
Basketball is responsible for the majority of our trading card growth. It’s huge,” she stated, noting that Pokemon card trading is “on fire” recently too. Also, prices and demand for tennis and soccer cards have seen a significant uptake as has Garbage Pail Kids.
eBay is a huge business selling and buying trading cards. The first quarter’s gross merchandise volume exceeded $1 billion. Colombo stated that there was a doubled number of buyers and that the gross merchandise value for trading cards on eBay increased by 142% compared to a year ago.
This year, the momentum continues. She stated that eBay had 20,000,000 new listings for trading card cards in the first quarter with 139 cards selling each minute. This is a lot of Pikachus and the two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpos from the Milwaukee Bucks. There are rookie cards for him on eBay selling for up to $7,000.
However, eBay is facing stiff competition in the collectibles market, especially from newcomers selling digital trading cards using non-fungible tokens or NFTs.
Dapper Labs, which is the owner of NBA Top Shot, has raised $2.6 billion in funding. Collectors are becoming more interested in digital trading cards, which often include video highlights rather than static images.
Colombo of eBay said that the company is exploring digital cards and NFTs. He also stated that the company is expanding rapidly, but it is too early to give concrete numbers. She believes that the fans of athletes and pop-culture icons aren’t ready for all things virtual.
She stated that although eBay is the best place to find collectibles, she believes physical cardboard cards will be more valuable.