How To Value A Card Or Collectible

Seven Steps To Always Getting An Accurate Price

By Adam McFarland, Founder of SportsLizard

As a cards/collectibles site owner, business owner, web developer and lifetime collector, the process below is what I believe to be a relatively foolproof process for determining what every card, collectible, or autograph is "worth." It is fair, data driven, and easy to learn, and I hope that it will enhance the enjoyment that you get from your collecting experience.

  1. Define Value: what does "value" really mean?
    A card is only worth what someone will pay for it, and the only way to "value" your card is to find sales data for the same card as yours. What are people asking for it? Is it selling? If so, for how much?
  2. Figure out what card you have.
    Find a few pictures of it online and make sure you're using the same wording to describe it. A few searches on SportsLizard should help you refine exactly what year, brand, and number card you have because we show nice big pictures alongside our results. A Google Image Search also can be helpful.
  3. Find out what it's being sold for right now.
    How much could you buy the item for right now if you tried? A SportsLizard search displays items available for purchase on Amazon and eBay, as well as an estimated value of how much the collectible is worth based upon the Amazon listings.
  4. Find some recently completed eBay auctions.
    How much are people buying the item for right now? A SportsLizard search displays the results of recently finished eBay auctions. We display whether or not the auction resulted in a sale so you can get a feel for both the prices it's selling for and how often it's being sold.
  5. Use other tools, if necessary.
    Depending on the rarity of the card, you might not get a lot of data points from steps 2 & 3. If that's the case, you can try Beckett, who offers online price guides, monthly magazines with prices of most cards, yearly almanacs with prices of all cards, and more. If all else fails, you can try soliciting the opinion of your local card shop owner, emailing a shop owner who has the card listed for sale online, asking around at a card show, or even listing it for sale on eBay with a reserve price to gauge interest.
  6. Determine a range of prices.
    Now that you've gathered all of your data, the value of the card should be pretty evident. At this point try to factor in any market trends and special circumstances. If the player just retired, won a MVP award, or entered the Hall of Fame it's likely worth a bit more.

If you stick with this six-step process, you'll almost ALWAYS have several sources of prices that will enable you to come up with an accurate, data-driven price in less than 15 minutes, usually without spending a penny.


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